9 Summer-Ready Pools to Daydream About

You can practically smell the sunscreen and chlorine from here.

If you can’t make it oceanside this summer, a cool and refreshing backyard pool is the next best place to be.

Check out these nine gorgeous swimming pools — any of which would be perfect for a summer staycation.

Sleek and modern with clean lines, this Los Angeles, CA, pool looks like the perfect place for a romantic midnight swim.

Photo from Zillow listing.

The high temperatures of St. George, UT, are no match for this chic desert pool with views of the mountains.

Photo from Zillow listing.

Simple but luxe, this pool in Toluca, CA, has more than enough room to host friends and family for a summer pool party.

Photo from Zillow listing.

Seamlessly blending into its tropical surroundings, this infinity pool in Longboat Key, FL, offers a luxurious place to relax at the end of a long day.

Photo from Zillow listing.

In Johns Island, SC, the natural surroundings create a lush background for a few laps on those hot summer days.

Photo from Zillow listing.

This Santa Rosa Beach, FL, pool boasts its own built-in hot tub for ultimate relaxation.

Photo from Zillow listing.

A tropical getaway or someone’s backyard? Who can tell! This pool in Key West, FL, oozes island charm.

Photo from Zillow listing.

With a classic shape and design, this lakeside Seattle, WA, pool provides plenty of space to soak in the summer sun.

Photo from Zillow listing.

 

Posted by Jamie Birdwell-Branson on Zillow

 

 

 

 

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5 Simple Ways to Stage the Exterior of Your Home Before an Open House

If you’re selling your home, chances are good you’re familiar with the concept of staging your home. Real estate agents recommend your home look its best to prospective buyers, and home staging is a great way to ensure you receive top dollar. But did you know you should stage the exterior of your home too? Failing to update the look of your home’s exterior can cause buyers to get a bad first impression when they initially arrive to view your home.  Whether your audience are luxury home buyers or you are selling your starter home, staging the exterior of your home will have a major impact in the sale of your home.  If you want to put exterior home staging to work, here are five elements you should consider tweaking.

Clean Your Exterior Windows and Screens

Nothing says poor maintenance like dirty windows and window screens. If your windows are caked with dust or muck from the last rainstorm, open house visitors are going to wonder what other maintenance jobs you haven’t attended to. Don’t give visitors the opportunity to question whether your home has been properly maintained or not; clean those windows and screens before authorizing an open house.

Refresh Your Gardens and Walkways

Just like dirty windows are a real estate faux pas, so are unkempt flower beds. Weeds and overgrown bushes tell visitors you can’t be bothered with the small stuff. Spend a day removing weeds and trimming flowers, or hire a professional landscaper to refresh your gardens.  It is amazing what a refreshed garden can do to your home’s curb appeal.

Refresh Your Home’s Siding

No, you don’t have to replace your home’s siding prior to an open house. A quick power wash could be all it takes to remove years of dust and grime. You can attempt this task yourself, but it might be worth your while to hire a professional. Some homeowners have been known to damage their home’s siding by using too forceful a water stream. This is one task that is often best left to experienced professionals.  The last thing you want to deal with is replacing siding before an open house.

Update/Clean Door Fixtures and House Address Signage

Something as simple as a new doorknob or address signage can give your home a refreshed look. You needn’t spring for a new door; just update the faceplate and/or doorknob. Purchase new address numbers from the local hardware store and you’ll have tweaked the look of your home’s exterior in just a few minutes.

Clean Patio Furniture

Whether you have chairs on your front veranda or a dining set on your back deck, tired patio furniture can cost you big dollars when it comes time to negotiate with a potential homebuyer. Dilapidated patio furniture instantly gives a bad impression and can cause potential homebuyers to request replacement furniture as part of their deal. Spruce up your existing furniture with a quick power wash, or replace it if it is beyond cleaning.

Simple tweaks to the exterior of your home can have a big impact on your home’s final selling price. By spending just a few days improving the look of the outside of your home, you can increase the amount buyers are willing to offer and make your home the cleanest real estate listing on the block. Will you be trying these exterior home staging tricks when you list your home for sale?

 

Posted by Charles Muotoh on RISMedia

3 Outdoor Parties to Plan This Spring

Now that spring has officially sprung, and we’re busy looking ahead to the warmer days to come, it’s also time to start thinking about seasonal party plans. Spring is, in my opinion, the ultimate time of year for outdoor entertaining — it’s warm and sunny, but not so hot that your guests will be uncomfortable, and it’s cool enough at night to light up a fire or throw on a cozy sweatshirt.

And sure, simple barbecues and backyard gatherings are great, but when it comes to outdoor parties, getting a little creative can really pay off. So this year, throw a fete your friends and family will never forget with one of these fabulous (and simple!) ideas.

1. Homegrown Music Festival

iStock/wundervisuals

Instead of dropping hundreds of dollars and having to deal with hundreds (or thousands) of sweaty strangers, host your own low-key music festival. Create a Spotify playlist and invite your guests to add a few of their favorite tunes, that way you’ll have a personalized soundtrack to score the event. Set up a dedicated dance area in your yard’s sunniest spot to truly capture that festival feel (just make sure to stock up on sunscreen first).

2. Personalized Wine Tasting

iStock/courtneyk

Hitting up wineries is a popular spring activity, but actually finding a vineyard and getting your crew on the road can be an ordeal. So instead, have each of your guests commit to bringing a few of their favorite budget bottles, and let each person lead of tasting of their picks. Ask for the bottle names before if you can, that way you can prep a list of wines for each guest to take home.

3. Flower Crown Crafternoon

Kendall Peters

Fresh flowers are one of the best parts of spring, so why not get your best buddies together to craft flower crowns out of some beautiful blooms? Make sure to set up a selfie station too, because we all know flower crowns make the best Instagram bait.

 

Posted by Bridget Mallon on hgtv.com

 

3 Tips for Enhancing Curb Appeal

Here are three quick, easy ways to improve your home’s exterior (and you can do them all in a weekend).

Whether you’re polishing your home’s appearance to put it on the market or just making some cosmetic changes for your own satisfaction, exterior improvements can have a big impact. As you gather inspiration for revving up your home’s curb appeal, keep in mind that low-cost updates and a little extra landscaping  can go a long way. Pretty soon you’ll have the best-looking house on the block.

Looking for more curb appeal ideas? Check out Digs Guides.

Posted by Zillow Group

6 Fall Gardening Tips You Need to Read

If you thought spring was the only time to plant and indulge in some gardening, you’ve come to the right place! There’s no need to worry about your garden turning dull and lifeless as fall approaches as there’s a lot you can grow depending on where you stay.

Even if you don’t want to grow plants in the cold months, preparing your garden for next spring will be helpful in more ways than one.

Here are some great fall gardening tips you’ll find helpful.

Clean up the Place

Start with clearing the ground of fallen leaves and twigs. Remember to save the leaves to make compost. Pick up fallen flowers and fruits, and dispose diseased or infested plantsappropriately after uprooting.

Check the ground carefully for weeds and get rid of them. Some perennial weeds can be killed more easily with fall weedicides than with summer applications.

Don’t Uproot it All

While you may want to uproot annuals that flower in summer, leave a few of them untouched. Certain annuals and perennials like ornamental grasses, tall sedums, and Russian sage will add interest to your fall and winter garden.

Store Bulbs and Seeds

If you had planted some great annuals in the summer, you can store the bulbs and seeds for next spring. For bulbs, let root structures dry out for a few days after you dig them up. Shake off excess soil and store in a cool, dark place in sawdust or peat moss. Seeds of open-pollinated plants can be stored in paper envelopes placed inside glass jars indoors.

Freshen up the Soil

Freshening up the soil will help your fall plants grow to their full potential. Further, by growing plants that can replete the soil with nutrients, you’ll be doing your future spring plants a favor.

Move the existing layer of mulch to one side. Compacted soil can hinder root growth so use a garden fork and fluff up the ground. You may want to test the pH of the soil at this stage and make amendments as needed.

Once you’re done, see if the old mulch can be reused; you might have to add in fresh organic matter if the mulch has decomposed considerably.

Shred the dead leaves you picked up while clearing your garden and spread them over the ground. Shredding leaves is important as whole leaves will form a mat and prevent water from flowing through the soil. Wet the shredded leaves down or cover with a light dusting of compost to stop them from blowing away.

If you’re planning to grow fall vegetables in your garden, use straw as mulch. This will help as you can easily scatter and move straw about. Moreover, it will provide an excellent home for spiders who will help keep pests away.

Take Care of Green Cover

Grass will turn green again after the blistering-hot summer and will grow vigorously next spring if you fertilize it while it’s still green. Refrain from mowing it too short, and continue to aerate and water it until it turns brown. If snow cover is scant where you live, you can water your lawn once a month throughout the winter.

Synthetic grass won’t require as much care and maintenance. However, continue caring for your synthetic turf as you normally do to keep it looking lush and natural.

Choose Fall Plants Wisely

Before you start planting fall varieties, identify your fall gardening goals. Do you want to grow plants of a particular color or texture, or do you want to fill in blank spots created by dead warm-weather plants?

Decide on a fall garden plan and remember to stick to established gardening guidelines to ensure your garden looks as pretty as it does in the warmer months.

When it comes to selecting plants, note that depending on where you live, you can grow several plants and vegetables in your garden in fall and winter. Try growing vegetables like lettuce, cabbage, broccoli, kale, and chard, and you’ll fall in love with the taste of home-grown produce! Do plant some quick growers like radishes and spinach- these can go from seed to table in a month or so.

To add color, you can grow ornamental grasses or succulents. Trees that show fall colors will also be a great addition to your garden.

Conclusion

Gardening in fall allows you to appreciate the beauty of nature season after season. With fewer pests to deal with, your fall plants are sure to grow better. And when you plant perennials in fall and winter, you can relax knowing that they’ll grow bigger by spring and be better adapted to brave the hot summer!

Now that you’ve read these tips, you know that fall gardening isn’t tough at all. With just a little care, you’ll have a beautiful garden to look at even in the cold months.

Happy gardening!

Posted by Francesca Holmes on HomeZada

6 Genius New Uses for an Old Swimming Pool

Before you rule out a home with an out-of-date pool, read these clever ideas for repurposing that old swimming pool.

Instead of going through the costly (and sometimes unsuccessful) process of bringing an old swimming pool up to date, why not turn it into an entirely new, seriously cool feature that sets your home apart?

Swimming pools have many virtues, especially during scorching summers. But they can easily become eyesores — not to mention money pits — especially if they leak or have other functional issues.

Instead of going through the costly (and sometimes unsuccessful) process of bringing an old swimming pool up to date, why not turn it into an entirely new, seriously cool feature that sets your home apart?

From a detached, lower-level studio space to a fully realized aquaponic farm, here are six smart ideas (some DIY projects and some that require a little professional help) to convert your old swimming pool into something useful, beautiful, or both!


1. The sunken patio

Though part of a rooftop lounge in Midtown Manhattan, this patio retrofitted within a rooftop pool by Future Green Studio holds a lesson for homeowners — work with the site rather than against it. The final dining area maintains the pool steps, depth indicators, handrails, and even a retooled version of the pool lights, telling the story of the space’s origins beautifully.

2. The practical deck

A simple but elegant solution for an unwanted pool? Drain it and build a deck over the top. Work with a landscape pro to design a deck that blends perfectly with the original pool’s shape and structure. Not only will it add valuable entertaining square footage to the backyard, but it’ll also boost your home’s value over time.

3. The detached studio

This gorgeous studio by Walk Interior Architecture & Design in its own right becomes even more awe-inspiring when you realize it’s housed in an old, neglected in-ground pool. The finished space feels at once industrial, modern, and airy, and the solar panel–topped A-frame roof is both functional (preventing water from seeping in) and beautiful. Such an inspired idea!

4. The peaceful pond

If you’re imagining spending lazy afternoons surrounded by nature instead of cleaning the pool, think about transforming your pool into a pond. It’s the perfect way to invite more wildlife into your yard, and it just makes sense. In the spirit of repurposing, you may even be able to get away with converting the original sand filter into a koi pond filter.

5. The water-wise garden

A Southern California couple converted their little-used pool into a rainwater harvesting system. Now in the pool’s place they have a stream, small waterfall, and some 100 plants, all fed with rain collected from the roof and stored in underground, recycled-plastic tanks. The resulting garden is luscious and inviting while making the most of the region’s scant rainfall.

6. The food-producing farm

And then there’s the family who built a food-producing greenhouse, known as the Garden Pool, in the pit of their former swimming pool. The finished ecosystem includes solar panels and a greenhouse, and produces everything from tilapia (through an aquaponics system) to fresh fruits and veggies to poultry.

While you might not be ready to go full-scale eco-farm, the project proves that an old pool site might be just the spot to pull off the herb-and-veggie garden of your dreams.

Posted by Jill Russell on Trulia

 

How to Grow a Successful Hanging Garden

The vertical garden is an efficient, beautiful way to give your green thumb a workout — no backyard required.

Who says you need a backyard for gardening? A vertical oasis can satisfy your green thumb with minimal need for space.

Few things are more satisfying than growing your own vegetables or plants. Yet people often think gardens require ground space, which can be hard to come by if you live in a concrete jungle or don’t have a big backyard to play around with. Enter the hanging garden, an efficient, beautiful way to give your green thumb a workout, no matter how much space you have.

“Hanging baskets allow you to grow plants in places with no soil, like decks and patios,” says Derek Fell, a garden designer and author of Vertical Gardening. “They can also create a column of color by using the steps of a ladder or attached to brackets on a wall at different heights.”

Here, a few things to keep in mind before you grow up.

Suss out the sunlight

Some plants (we’re looking at you, tomatoes) need a ton of sunlight. Others, like lettuce and cabbage, prefer some shade. Observe your space from sunrise to sunset to determine which hours of the day are sunniest. Take pictures and jot down notes as you go. Then decide which plants to include based on your findings.

Choose the right plants

Petunias, pansies, coleus, various kinds of Swedish ivy, and sweet potato vines are best for hanging baskets, says Fell. For edibles, stick with strawberries, “which have long runners that hang down the sides like a curtain,” lettuce, cucumbers, parsley, and vining tomatoes, such as Sun Gold.

Repurpose your pots

You don’t need to spend a ton of money on pots and containers for a vertical garden. Shipping pallets are an excellent choice for planting, and you may even be able to find them for free. Ditto an old dresser. Just fill the drawers with soil and add plants. That aforementioned ladder works well as a display too.

Another idea: hang shoe dividers to grow greens such as lettuce, kale, and herbs. Fill the pockets with a mix of equal parts potting soil and garden topsoil to give plants good anchorage. (Or if that’s too DIY for you, Woolly Pockets are recyclable plant pouches with metal grommets that easily attach to walls or fences.) Used water bottles are also ideal for growing herbs and can be easily hung from a balcony railing.

Have a water source in place

“The biggest problem with baskets is that the soil can dry out quickly,” says Fell. “Water daily or use a hydro-gel in the soil that helps retains moisture.”

In other words, be sure your agua is at the ready because you’ll need it frequently. And if you don’t already have one, invest in a watering wand that attaches to a garden hose. The nozzle is designed to reach the root zone of plants, allowing for thorough watering, says Fell.

Posted by Michelle Hainer on Trulia