Updated: Tuesday, March 31, 2015
What To Plant When Your Thumb Is More Brown Than Green
When spring arrives, we all get a little itchy to get outside and enjoy our surroundings. For many of us, that means hitting the local nursery or Home Depot and hauling home a car full of flowers and plants for the yard. But for those of us who lack a green thumb, spring may be a bit bittersweet. We want a pretty, colorful garden. We just dont want to waste our time planting stuff we know will die in two days.
"Many of us have trouble keeping plants alive in our garden, and have quite the "black thumb". Either we are too busy to maintain them, or our gardens have issues that make it difficult; hot, dry sites, poor soil or bad weather, said The Garden Glove. "Dont let that stop you from growing flowers There is hope for even the most murderous of gardeners you can grow flowers, and you can plant them today and trust they will still be there next year and the year after that."
Here are some plants and flowers that may be your spring salvation.
"The garden experts agree that sun-loving lantana is hard to beat, with a variety of colors and a low- maintenance profile that allows it to do well even next to hot pavement in spots like parking lots," said The Tennessean.
"Aloes are succulents hailing from South Africa, Arabia and Madagascar. Theyre >
"While most of you recognize this as a spice from the kitchen cupboard, there are many very ornamental varieties that can offer texture, color and scent in your garden," said The Garden Glove. "Oh, and did I mention they grow like weeds? In a good way, of course. Drought resistant and sun lovers, these plants come in creeping forms to tuck between pavers, and larger varieties that fit right into any garden bed. Flowers are usually white, pink or red, and cover the plants spring through fall. They are fragrant when crushed, make great filler for flower arrangements, and attract butterflies like crazy These plants come back every year, and yes, you can use them in the kitchen"
"If you have a t>
"This perennial blooms a long time throughout the season with spikes of bluish lavender flowers, and has gray-green foliage that is pretty even when not in bloom. "If you cut it back, itll even bloom a second time," said Yahoo. "Catmint makes a good filler plant for the front of a garden, since it doesnt get tall. It does best in sun, but doesnt require particularly fertile soil, and once theyre established, theyre fairly drought resistant."
"Often the street tree of choice in some council areas around Sydneybasically the new powdery mildew resistant cultivars can be planted and forgotten," said Home Life. "They like a hot, dry climate, and aside from the beautiful flowers from January to March, their bark makes them one of the most beautiful plants around."
"A tough and beautiful pick for any garden, Yarrow is an easy bet no matter how black your thumb may be. Flowers are tightly packed on flat heads, giving some architectural structure to your garden design," said The Tennessean. "This plant thrives on neglect, loves poor soil, and blooms right through the summer. Its most common color is yellow, but there are also varieties in pink, red, salmon and white.
The foliage is ferny and lower to the ground, but the flower stalks can be anywhere from twelve inches, to four feet off the ground Foliage can be anything from a deep green to a soft sagey gray depending on variety. It is attractive out of flower, starts early in the spring/summer, and keeps going through the fall."
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Solar Panels May Effect Your Homes Value, In Either Direction
There is no shortage of newspaper and magazine articles that extol both the virtue and the value of solar panels for residences. Curiously, there is a similar abundance of articles telling of buyer resistance to homes with solar panels and how the presence of solar panels has caused either price concessions or failed sales. Try googling: solar lease scaring buyers.
Actually, there is no contradiction here. We just have to read the fine print. In short, solar panels per se -- with no qualification regarding financing -- are generally perceived by buyers in a positive way. But, when the panels come along with a lease that may have 15-20 years to run, the reaction is somewhat different.
Two studies looked at the effects that solar panels have had on sale prices. One was published by the National Bureau of Economic Research "Understanding the Solar Home Price Premium". It looked at utility data, sales records of single family homes and building permit data in San Diego County and Sacramento County Calif. from 2003 through year-end 2010. For the average installation, the authors found that solar panels added a 20,194 premium to the sale price of a home in the mid-500,000 range, based on repeat sales data.
Another study, >
For the most part, though, these studies looked at homes that had panels installed prior to the advent of solar panel leasing programs. In June of 2014 a Bloomberg report said this: "Leasing is driving a boom in solar sales because most require no money upfront [Leasing has] made solar affordable for more people, helping spur a 38 percent jump in U.S. residential installations in the past year."
To date there have been no voluminous studies of the sales effect of leased solar panels. The evidence is only anecdotal. But stories have been surfacing all around the country, and have been reported in a variety of news outlets and internet posts.
The issue is that many buyers are resistant to assuming the solar panel lease, which might have 15 years or so left to run.
Some argue that the leases are too long commonly twenty years at the outset for an item that may be technologically obsolete well before the lease term is up. Others are concerned about the long-term viability of the companies that provide the panels. Will they be there to provide service for the life of the lease?
Even those who are ok with a lease have to face the fact that they will be taking on new debt at the same time they are trying to qualify for a mortgage. Most people who can qualify for a mortgage will meet the credit standards for assuming the lease. But, taking over the lease will, in many cases, lower the amount of mortgage for which the home buyer can qualify.
Of course there are many ways to skin this cat. The considerations involved in selling a home with leased solar panels are certainly not insurmountable. Sellers of such homes are well advised to do some homework in preparing to go to market. Find out about the lease-assumption process from the company doing the financing. Investigate buy-out provisions as well. Most of all do the math on the energy cost savings. Have records available.
You might even want to have some information on those studies that show the price premiums that panels can add.
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Spring Home Prep and Maintenance Inside and Out
The spring real estate market is picking up. Is your home ready for the many buyers who will see it in the coming days? Its imperative that your home stands out among all of the others so youll get the best offer possible. Dont leave one stone unturned -- inside or out -- when it comes to spring home maintenance and preparation. Heres a checklist to help you prepare:
Home exterior courtesy of Roof Real Clean
On the outside:
Lawn: Clean up the lawn following the frigid winter. To prevent weeds, lay down an herbicide. Check that your in-ground sprinkler system is still working.
Decks/patios: Sweep off the deck and patio to remove any debris. Clean, stain and reseal your deck. Hose down your patio to get back to the original layer.
Exterior wall: Look for trouble areas following the cold winter months and climate conditions. Water stains mean your gutters arent handling runoff well, for example. Look for holes, cracks and other issues and repair as needed.
Roof: Any cracked or missing shingles? How is your roof deck performing following any ice dams? Address any issues to keep your roof in top shape.
Chimney: If you have a stone chimney, check to see how the bricks are doing. Look for efflorescence, a white calcium deposit that means your chimney is absorbing water. Reseal chimney if needed.
Gutters and downspouts: Clean the gutters and make sure downspouts are in the right position so they direct water away from your house. You can hire a professional to clean your gutters for between 100 and 200 to avoid injury.
Home interior courtesy of JFC Real Estate Development, LLC
Inside the house:
Windows: Check caulking and weather stripping and replace as needed.
Leaks: Check for leaky faucets, clogged drains and broken pipes. Look for any puddles around the dishwasher. Call a plumber to perform repairs if needed.
Attics: Search for pests and mold and repair as necessary. Proper insulation and good ventilation will prevent more problems, so you might add a new layer around the attic floor.
Air conditioning unit: Change the filter, check for leaks around the house and make sure the drain pan is working correctly. Vacuum all the dust away and have an air conditioning professional perform any necessary repairs.
"Spring" cleaning: Your house should be in tip-top shape to welcome the new season. To get out the last of the cold and welcome the warmth, you should:
- Dust window frames, wood furniture, ceiling fans and areas above the cabinetry.
- Vacuum furniture and carpet; steam clean if needed.
- Wash cabinets and walls.
- Clean tile and repair any missing grout.
This is only a portion of the spring checklist you might have for your home, but it focuses on the major areas that may need work following a frigid winter. You never know how much damage snow and ice may have caused to your roof or attic, and you dont want your air conditioning system to fail halfway through the warm months ahead. Tackle the problem areas now as spring begins. Then you can work to update and stage rooms for the spring market ahead.
Photos courtesy of DesignMine
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|Andrea Davis is the editor for HomeAdvisor, which helps homeowners find home improvement professionals in their area at no charge to ensure the best service in the shortest amount of time.|