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Perfect Your Patio on a Budget

by Melissa Thompson


Now that warmer weather is here, you will want to start spending more time outside.  But chances are you might have let your patio go over the winter months and it doesn’t look or feel too appealing right now.  Now is the time to give your patio a little makeover so you can bask in the fresh air, whether you are simply enjoying a good book and a cup of tea, or you are dining al fresco.  Here are some ways to upgrade your patio without breaking the bank:

  1. STOP PESTS

Pests can cause your patio to become unsightly with debris from their digging and trampling.A great way to keep them away is to surround your patio with simple pine cones instead of mulch.While critters will be deterred by the spiny cones, your plants will love them because they add acidity to the soil.They will make plants like azaleas and rhododendrons burst with color!Also, pine cones are slow to decompose, so they will last a long time!

  1. REMOVE RUST

If you have metal furniture on your patio that has become covered in rust, you won’t feel much like lounging on it.But you don’t have to get rid of it or replace it with expensive pieces.You can remove the rust and have it looking good as new!There are many ways to get rid of rust.If it’s not too bad, you can simply scrape it off using a wire brush, sandpaper, or steel wool along with a bit of elbow grease.For more severe cases, try an acidic agent like vinegar to help take it off.You can also use a chemical rust converter (such as Rust-Oleum), which changes the rust into a different substance and gives added protection from rusting again. Patio Furniture Rust Removal

  1. ADD COLOR

Nothing brightens up a gloomy concrete patio like a pop of color!You can keep it simple and paint your patio floor a nice, bright color to spice it up. Or you can be super creative and try painting patterns or even using stamps to create a bold design.If painting the concrete seems like too much for you, then add color with accessories like chair cushions and pillows, side tables, and planters. How to Paint Your Concrete Patio

  1. BUILD A FIRE PIT

Did you know that you can build a fire pit with no tools?A fire pit adds a focal point to your patio and creates a cozy atmosphere.The best part is that it doesn’t require much time or money to build one.For a small fire pit you can purchase heat-resistant pavers (or “fire bricks), which cost about $5 each.Stack two layers of them in a small circle, about six blocks in circumference on top of a stone slab, and voila! You have a fire pit!Remember that this will only work on a patio surface that is fire-safe.So, don’t try to do this on a wooden deck!And be sure to check your Local Fire Codes!

  1. DETER INSECTS

There are many ways to keep your patio as insect free as possible.First, keep your patio clean.Be sure to sweep up any crumbs and wipe up spilled liquids after dining. Any tiny morsel or stickiness is sure to attract ants and other insects.Second, replace white light bulbs with yellow bulbs or Sodium-Vapor Lights which are less likely to attract bugs.  Third, plant pest-deterrent flowers and plants. And finally, while on your patio, burn citronella torches or candles to help keep bothersome bugs away.  These are just a few ways to keep your patio insect free.  Here are some others: Keeping Flies and Pests Off the Patio.

If you are in the market to buy or sell a home in the Memphis area, contact professional Realtor, Melissa Thompson, and let her help you with all your real estate needs!  Give her a call at 901-729-9526 today!

Photo Credit: Pinterest.com

Fabulous Fall Flowers

by Melissa Thompson

Fall is just around the corner and with it comes Fall foliage and a burst of majestic colors. But if you would like to add some of the glorious autumnal colors to your home’s landscaping, now is the time to start planning and planting.  Whether you are partial to yellows and golds, burnt oranges and rusts, or deep reds and burgundies (or if you like to mix it up with a variety of hues), there is something for everyone when it comes to fall flowers. Here are some favorites:

Chrysanthemums -  These popular flowers come in a variety of sizes. With seasonal, festive shades of yellow, red and orange they provide a perfect backdrop for all your outdoor fall décor.  Learn how to plant and grow chrysanthemums here.

Pansies - Found in just about every shade of the rainbow, these versatile flowers create a majestic ground cover and look equally amazing in hanging baskets.  If planted in fall,  pansies can last up to eight months, so you definitely get your money’s worth of beauty with these hardy plants! Growing Pansies

Goldenrod -  Many people think that goldenrod causes hay fever, but ragweed is the real culprit, not this beautiful fall flower!  It is a late bloomer, bringing a blast of gorgeous gold to late fall.  You can grow tall varieties to stand guard over your garden or dwarf versions for the front of your beds. John Muir, a naturalist known as “Father of the National Parks” said of goldenrod, “The fragrance, color, and form of the whole spiritual expression of Goldenrod are hopeful and strength-giving beyond any others I know. A single spike is sufficient to heal unbelief and melancholy.”

Croton - An ideal plant for autumn, croton has brilliant shades of red, orange, yellow and purple.  It works as a houseplant in cold-weather regions or as a shrub in frost-free areas.  It also can be grown outdoors as an annual. Be on the lookout for different varieties to find the best crotons to complement your fall garden. Care of Outdoor Croton Plants: How to Grow Croton Outdoors

Black-Eyed Susan - These golden-yellow stunners bring to mind happy daisies.  Bees and butterflies love them and they brighten up any landscape or container garden. Learn How to Grow Black Eyed Susans and create a blanket of color for fall!

Helenium - Also known as “sneezeweed” (don’t worry, it doesn’t make you sneeze…the name comes from when they used to make snuff out of their dried leaves) they look like small, copper hued coneflowers.  They can grow quite tall and add a burst of warm cheer to your fall garden. How to Grow Helenium

Take advantage of what’s left of late summer and start your fall garden while the days are still longer and the temperatures are still mild.  Before you know it, you will be enjoying the glory of Autumn!

If you are in the market to buy or sell a home in the Memphis area, contact professional Realtor, Melissa Thompson and let her help you with all your real estate needs. Give her a call at 901-729-9526 today!

Photo Credit: blog.gardenloversclub.com

Budget Friendly Curb Appeal

by Melissa Thompson

Looking to spruce up your curb appeal, but don’t want to spend a fortune?  There are lots of ways to improve the look of your home’s exterior without breaking the bank.  You might be surprised by how much difference small projects can make.

  • Paint the front door, trim or shutters.  With Exterior Paint costing about $30 a gallon, painting is an economical way to brighten up your house.  Choose a color that pops, yet compliments the overall color of the home.  Make sure to properly prep all surfaces before you paint so you’ll get great results that will last for years to come. 
     
  • Upgrade your mailbox. If your current mailbox is looking shabby and old, you can fix it up or replace it at minimal cost.  You can find new mailboxes for as little as $20.  When installing a new mailbox, make sure to follow guidelines set forth by the city you live in. 
     
  • Plant a tree.  This is a common and easy way to beautify your yard.  When choosing the tree, be sure to consider how big it will get to make sure it is a good fit for your space.
     
  • Replace exterior lighting.  This is an easy way to upgrade the style of your home.  Exterior light fixtures can be found anywhere from $20 and up.  You may also be able to find unique, Vintage Lighting at second hand stores and salvage shops.  Make sure that whatever you choose, they adequately illuminate your entryway and make it safer.
     
  • Install flower boxes.  If you want to add color to your exterior, but don’t to paint, this is the way to do it!  They can be installed on front porch railings or below the windows. Window boxes are relatively inexpensive or can be built and installed in no time.  Choose flowers and plants that are easy to maintain and that will keep away pesky insects so that you can enjoy spending time outdoors.

These small, simple improvements can make a huge difference in the curb appeal of your home. Also, if you’re thinking about putting your house on the market, you will make a great first impression on potential buyers! Let Melissa Thompson and her team of professionals help you get your house listed and sold.  Call them today at 901-756-8900.

Photo Credit: lowes.com

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Those Pesky Insects!

by Melissa Thompson

This time of year, many of us enjoy spending time outside in our yards. Whether we are playing, dining, doing yardwork or simply relaxing, our time outdoors can be ruined by pesky insects.  There are many remedies for getting rid of the annoying little pests, but if you are looking for natural ways to do the job, here are several plants you can put in your yard that will repel unwanted insects.  While they will not guarantee an insect free environment, they will help!

BASIL - Basil repels house flies and mosquitoes.  Use containers for planting basil by your house doors or in any outdoor areas where you like to relax and entertain.  It will serve more than one purpose because you can also use the fresh basil in your cooking!

LAVENDER - This pretty plant repels moths, fleas, mosquitoes and flies.  Its pleasing, sweet fragrance appeals to humans, but the bugs hate it! You can place bouquets inside your home to keep flies away.  Outdoors, plant it in sunny areas or near the entryways of your house to keep those areas pest free.  Check out the Everything Lavender website to find out how you can use lavender oil to make your own mosquito repellent. 

LEMONGRASS - Lemongrass contains the natural oil, citronella, which is commonly found in candles that are used to keep mosquitoes away.  Ornamental lemongrass can grow up to 4 feet tall and 3 feet wide in one season.  It is an annual that does well in a pot or in the ground in sunny, well-drained locations.  Its aromatic, narrow leaves can be used in chicken and pork dishes and to flavor soups and salad dressings.  Many Asian recipes call for lemongrass.

MINT - Another plant that mosquitoes don’t like.  It’s best grown in pots rather than in the ground because it spreads aggressively.  Once established in a garden, it can be difficult to remove.  The leaves can be used to flavor minty iced tea. Containers of mint strategically placed in the garden or on the patio will assist in keeping nearby plants insect free.

ALLIUMS - If you have a vegetable garden, beautiful, tall alliums will help keep insects out of it.  Considered a broad-spectrum natural insecticide, plants in the Allium family repel several insects that plague vegetable gardens, including slugs, aphids, carrot flies and cabbage worms.

CHRYSANTHEMUMS - The ingredient in chrysanthemums that makes the so effective as an insect repellent is pyrethrum.  Roaches, ants, Japanese beetles, ticks, silverfish, lice, fleas, bedbugs, spider mites, harlequin bugs and root-knot nematodes all will avoid chrysanthemums.  Pyrethrum is used in America’s most commonly available home and garden insecticide sprays. You can make your own bug spray using chrysanthemum oil, but make sure you know the risks of using it first.

PETUNIAS - These whimsical beauties repel aphids, tomato hornworms, asparagus beetles, leafhoppers and squash bugs.  Some people think of them as “nature’s pesticide”.  Popular because of their availability in a variety of bright colors, they require minimal maintenance and can be grown in numerous locations including beds, containers and hanging baskets.

http://www.yourkeytomemphis.com/Blog/Making-Your-New-House-a-Home

http://www.yourkeytomemphis.com/Blog/Making-Your-Home-More-Desirable-in-2017-Home-Improvement-Projects

http://www.yourkeytomemphis.com/Blog/Eating-Healthy-Farm-to-Table

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