Make the Most Of A Small Yard Space

Living With a Small Green Space: How to Make the Most of a Smaller, Intimate YardIt’s great to have a yard in this day and age, but so many new developments in the city have limited green space for you to let your imagination run wild. If you’re wondering what you can do with your patch of green space or small yard, here are a few options for making it aesthetically appealing and still maximize the potential.

Pick A Centerpiece

In order to stretch the look of your green space, try adding a centerpiece or focal point that will draw the eye and instantly improve your yard’s appeal. Whether you decide on a planter, a birdbath or an awning covered in vines, a unique piece will work to distract from the limitations imposed by your yard. A centerpiece may do nothing to expand your garden space, but by changing the way you view it, it will make all the difference in how you feel about it.

Make It Match

Your garden or back green space is going to look a whole lot smaller if it’s eclectic style diverges greatly from your home, so keep the two aligned. If there’s a selection of colors and style you use in the room that faces your yard, use them outdoors! It’s also important to make it something you’ll really use. As landscape architect Amber Freda of Amber Freda Home & Garden Design says, “A plain dining table with wooden chairs won’t entice you to use it very much, but really comfortable lounge seating will.”

Keep It Clean

It’s a well-known fact that clutter in any enclosed space will instantly make it look smaller, and it’s no different when it comes to your yard. Instead of jamming an excessive amount of stuff into your small space, keep it simple and decide exactly what you want to get out of the area, whether it’s a vegetable garden or a comfortable place to sit. In keeping with clutter free, you’ll also want to make sure you keep any invasive or aggressive plants from making themselves too comfortable!

It may seem limiting to have an undersized green space, but by deciding what you want to get out of it and creating a central point of interest, you’ll be well on your way to a comfortable place. 

If you are interested in purchasing a new property, be sure to contact your trusted real estate professional.

I Can’t Believe It’s Not Grass!

I Can't Believe It's Not Grass!For those who have not taken a look at the innovative technology that is now used to make artificial grass, they will be surprised at how realistic some of the newest products look when compared to living grass. Installing artificial grass, which is high quality, does not come cheap.

Prices range from $8 to $14 per square foot. However, this investment may pay off well because of improved resale value, low monthly water bills, and other benefits. The best artificial grass can last up to 25 years with little to no maintenance.

Here is a comparison of the advantages and disadvantages of the most innovative artificial turf to help homeowners and business owners decide if these new products are suitable for their properties.

Disadvantages

Besides the investment cost, here are some other disadvantages.

Hot To The Touch

Some artificial grass products do no dissipate heat very well. In areas where there is a lot of direct sunlight this problem can make artificial grass too hot to walk on barefoot.

Nevertheless, there are advanced designs of artificial turf, which have perforations that allow water to easily run through. These can be quickly cooled down by simply spraying the artificial turf with a light water mist spray.

Homeowners Association Rules

The rules of the homeowners association (HOA) may prohibit the use of artificial turf. Check the HOA rules before installing artificial grass. There may be a need for an exception to the rules.

High-quality artificial grass looks as nice, if not better, than real grass. Low-quality artificial turf looks like cheap, green, furry plastic. Make sure the HOA sees a sample of the artificial grass product for the project for their more accurate understanding and consideration.

Advantages

There are many advantages of using high-quality artificial grass.

No Water And Low Maintenance

In drought-stricken areas, water for irrigation may not be available at all, has use restrictions, and/or is extremely costly. Artificial grass does not need a huge amount of water that real grass needs to survive. It is very low maintenance.

No mowing or lawn care is needed to keep it looking perfect. It is washable, which makes it easy to remove dirt, dust, and pet litter. It is durable and tough.

Curb Appeal

High-quality artificial grass makes a home stand out. When all the neighbor’s homes are dull with dead, brown, real grass or another bland-colored ground cover, a vibrant green artificial lawn really looks spectacular in comparison.

Pet-Friendly

Pets like quality artificial turf. It is easy to clean. It should be able to withstand plenty of pet activity without showing ugly wear and tear. Depending on the installation, pets are discouraged from digging up the lawn.

If a portion does get damaged, it is fairly easy to replace a damaged section.

Conclusion

Artificial grass is increasing in popularity. In most cases, the advantages far outweigh the disadvantages. Even for properties, which have the option of maintaining a real-grass yard, artificial grass is something worth considering.

For tips on home improvement projects that can improve your resale value and attract buyers, be sure to consult with your trusted real estate professional.

The Economics Of Going Green For Home Sales

The Economics Of Going Green For Home SalesEarth Day is celebrated each year in April to remind us all of the benefits of ecologically-sound living that is more in harmony with Mother Earth. There is quite a bit of positive news when it comes to going “green.” There are significant benefits for home sales.

Green homes may sell faster and for higher prices. Many people are willing to pay more for a green home in order to receive the long-term benefits of the savings on utility costs.

The Numbers Are Very Appealing

AHS reports many encouraging statistics. The estimates are about one-third of the real estate market for single family homes in 2016 was for green homes. The National Association of Builders says that 90% of home buyers consider looking for energy-efficient green homes to be a high priority when shopping for a home.

About 61% are willing to pay up to $5,000 more for a home that as low utility bills because of its green design. The Earth Advantage Study concluded that a green home, which is certified sells for up to 35% more than non-certified home.

The Green Value Proposition

Lawdepot reports that for every dollar that the utility bill is reduced for a home, the average resale value increases from 15 up to 20 dollars.

Here are some cost-effective investments that improve a home’s resale value:

  • Energy-Efficient Windows and Doors: Old, leaky windows and doors are horrible energy-wasters. Upgrade windows and doors to drastically lower energy costs. This also dramatically improves a home’s curb appeal. In terms of resale value, the return on investment is up to 100% over the cost of the installation.
  • LEED Certification: A home that has a LEED certification for energy-efficiency can sell for up to 35% more than a non-certified home.
  • Insulation: Upgrading attic insulation with high-performance blown fiberglass returns about 17% over the cost of the installation.
  • Solar Energy System: Solar energy installations return about 97% of the cost upon resale according to a study conducted by the National Bureau of Economic Research. Depending on the tax incentives and how much was saved on utility bills before the home is sold, there is typically a net positive financial benefit to a homeowner for installing a solar energy system. Moreover, these homes continue to operate normally in a grid-down emergency, which is a big selling point.

Conclusion

Going green, in these suggested ways, helps maximize a home’s resale value. This is helpful for the environment and makes excellent financial sense. Green homes are very attractive to potential buyers, especially in areas that typically have high monthly utility bills.

If buying a green home is a top priority, be sure to let your trusted real estate agent know so that they can help you find your dream property.

Reduce Your Carbon Footprint with These DIY Home Projects

Reduce Your Carbon Footprint with These DIY Home ProjectsYour carbon footprint is the measure of your impact on the earth’s natural resources. This number describes the amount of fossil fuel it takes to support your lifestyle. In the United States, each person produces an average of 19.78 tons of carbon dioxide every year. A high carbon footprint means your daily habits are a quickening drain on our finite resources. 

Homeowners can use these DIY projects to reduce the effect of their lifestyle on the environment.

Try Solar Solutions

A residential solar system gathers photo-voltaic energy from the sun and converts it into usable electrical current. Once installed, any energy your system produces is essentially free. However, the initial investment for a residential solar system to power your entire home can be prohibitively high. There are some ways to use solar power without a large upfront investment.

  • Take advantage of state and federal incentives to lower your out-of-pocket costs.
  • Opt for individual appliances like solar water heaters or solar lighting.
  • Talk to your utility provider about existing programs that allow you to sell back your excess power for bill credits.

You could also get your neighbor involved and build a neighborhood solar bank for charging batteries and electric vehicles.

Plant A Vegetable And Herb Garden

Food transportation is one of the leading contributors to greenhouse gases. Reduce your impact even further by growing some of your own food. Use containers, shelves, or construct a hanging wall garden to keep your home supplied with salad greens, tomatoes, and herbs of all kinds. Having a garden means fewer trips to the grocery store, which saves our supplies of natural gas.

Install A Clothesline

Skip the gas-powered appliances and hang your freshly washed laundry out on a clothesline to dry. When the weather is nice, your clothes will come back in with a sweet scent you can’t get anywhere else. And instead of spending the time staring at a spinning machine, you get the added benefit of fitting a little extra exercise into your day. You don’t have to completely ditch your dryer. Save it for rainy days or other unfriendly weather conditions.

Lowering your carbon footprint doesn’t have to be a big life change. Start with small steps and slowly build your property in an earth-friendly fortress.

If you are interested in greener living, be sure to tell your trusted real estate professional that finding an environmentally friendly property is a top priority.

3 Green and Gorgeous Trends in Home Design

3 Green and Gorgeous Trends in Home DesignThese days, people want energy-efficient homes that look great. To answer the call of passionate environmentalists, developer are rising to the occasion and designing home features that minimize waste, save energy and reuse reclaimed materials. The results are gorgeous, green homes that help move the sustainable living trend forward.

Hidden Solar Panels

Solar panels are a great way to save energy, but not everyone loves the optics. A series of solar panels on the roof may save you money on your utilities, but it can detract from the natural shape of your home. As an alternative, innovative in-roof solar panels are installed level with the roof line.

This is accomplished by designing a deeper roof so the solar panels are flush with your shingles or other roof material. Of course, this requires some forethought, but it’s not impossible to retrofit your existing home to take advantage of the clever development.

Reclaimed Materials

Deconstruction involves the “un-building” of a house. Specifically, when buyers or developers tear down a structure before building a new one, they attempt to reuse, salvage or donate as many materials as possible. Otherwise, all this material ends up in a landfill.

Reclaimed brick brings a rustic character to a new home. It also adds a historic appeal and interest to an interior or exterior space. Wood siding and beams reduce further deforestation and often give you beautiful hardwoods and rugged lumber that has stood the test of time. Reclaimed flooring often nets you thicker wood slabs that you can refinish for a powerful visual effect.

Bamboo is the ultimate sustainable building material. This fast-growing wood results in light-colored, unique wood floors. Although its’s softer than traditional hardwoods, it’s a great wood substitute that can regenerate in three years with minimal pesticides or fertilizers.

Large Windows That Conserve Energy

In the past 20 years ago, windows have gotten larger – and more energy-efficient than ever. High-performance glazing and innovative frames hold in heat in winter and cool air in summer.

Steel windows now open up and require fewer mullions to support larger glass panes, which reduces construction materials and air leakage. This means that green-minded homeowners can enjoy floor-to-ceiling views of the ocean or mountains without paying a huge utility bill or expending vast amounts of energy.

Be sure to let your trusted real estate agent know if green living is on your priority list for your future property.

 

 

5 Trends Shaping Green Homes

5 Trends Shaping Green HomesThink green home design is a fad? Well, think again. Sustainable home designs are gaining popularity at a breakneck speed. In 2017, green homes accounted for more than 60 percent of family home builder’s portfolios, according to a survey conducted by the National Association of Home Builders. 

But what is really driving green home designs? In this post, we explore five trends shaping sustainable homes. 

1.    Energy Efficiency 

Home designs that cater to consumers’ need to reduce utility bills continue taking center stage. From net-zero energy homes to energy conserving products, home buyers want to save money. Moving forward, industry experts predict that ultra-efficient building designs like net-zero-energy or passive home designs will continue dominating the industry. 

2.    Health 

Most home buyers are more aware of the dangers of chemicals than before. As such, most of them are seeking non-toxic interior products. 
The manufacturing industry trend is leaning towards healthier materials. As the demand rises and prices stabilize, these products are more likely to be game changers. Most home designs will probably focus on eliminating troublesome chemicals such as VOC paints and phthalate free flooring. 

3.    Home Performance And Monitoring 

Home energy audits are major factors considered by consumers, and home performance is key. Some cities like Austin expect new homes to undergo performance tests before recommendation for resale. 

Energy software programs allow home builders and remodelers to monitor how slight changes in home designs can save thousands of dollars in utility bills. Homeowners are also benefiting from energy monitoring devices to track their household energy consumption. 

4.    Water Efficiency 

80 percent of American states anticipate water shortages in a few years, says a Government Accountability Office survey. Therefore, wise water usage is becoming crucial as consumers demand for water efficient homes. Most builders are already getting their homes HERS Rated as consumers look for ways to save dollars from rising water prices. 

5.    Biophilic Home Designs 

Nature is beneficial to us biologically, physically and psychologically. However, in the last century, home designs separated us from nature. Today, biophilic designs (connected to nature) strive to reverse that by integrating nature into homes. Modern building can capture the sun’s movement using windows, architectural details and patterns, connecting us to the season, time of day and our inner biorhythms. 

If any of these green trends are on your list of must-haves for your new home, be sure to tell your trusted real estate professional.

 

4 Top Sustainable Home Trends

4 Top Sustainable Home TrendsThe emergence of sustainable energy and products have solidified the go-green movement. Solar energy and electric cars are just the tip of the iceberg.

The impact of products on the environment has become a significant measure about their value. Those same principles are also being applied to homes. Smart homes and energy efficiency have a direct correlation to home values and listing prices. That’s why homeowners and home builders alike have an eye toward sustainable trends. These are some of the top-ranked home trends.

1: Durability Matters

After the catastrophic weather that damaged and destroyed homes in Florida and the Gulf states, “resiliency” has emerged as a key sustainability term. Contractors and home designers are including materials that stand up to extreme weather. These materials also consider toxicity levels, with the most non-toxic being among the more favorable. The storms will come, but how properties resist them and impact the environment afterwards are important sustainability trends.

2: Natural Light Keeps Trending

The use of sustainable solar energy has prompted many to go directly to the source. Large skylights and windows allow natural light to warm homes and reduce the need for electric lighting. Natural light also helps stave off Seasonal Affective Disorder during shorter winter days. Simply put, incorporating natural light resources is a trend that builds off of solar energy thinking.

3: Water Filtration Systems

It’s no secret that municipal water supplies have been compromised on occasion. This trend that started ramping up in 2017 continues to have legs as homeowners are securing water purity. In terms of sustainability, homeowners with water filtration systems have been utilizing them as a method to reduce the amount of bottled waters they purchase. Above and beyond the cost-saving benefits, the reduction in unsustainable plastics is helping to protect the environment.

4: Electric-Only Homes

The high carbon emissions from fossil fuels has motivated environmentally conscious Americans to turn to wind and solar. These days, improved energy storage from high-capacity lithium batteries has opened the door for homes to go all-electric. This appears to be an emerging trend that could pick up additional steam as energy storage technology moves forward. Electric-only homes could be a major step in allowing average homeowners to get off the grid. This trend is not only sustainable for the environment, it lessens the monthly impact on wallets.

Living in the technology era means that change can occur rapidly, and green-friendly homeowners may want to stay up to date on the latest sustainable home trends. They could improve home values going forward.

If green living is one of your priorities, your trusted real estate professional is ready to help you find eco-friendly homes in your area. 

How To Green Up Your Home To Reduce Your Carbon Footprint

How To Green Up Your Home To Reduce Your Carbon FootprintIf you are a home owner trying to reduce your carbon footprint, it’s time to make some changes to your property. The more you can do to reduce energy costs, increase efficiency and reduce waste, the less impact you and your home will have on the earth.

From small changes, such as using energy efficient light bulbs, to big changes such as adding solar panels to your home, you can make your home a more Earth-friendly space.

Install Energy Efficient Appliances

Appliances that are labeled energy efficient are going to help you reduce your carbon footprint. When you need a new appliance, look for ones that are energy efficient.

When doing things like washing dishes, flushing the toilet or washing clothes, look for the settings that use less water and energy. Take the time to understand your dishwasher or washing machine to see how you can reduce energy and water waste.

Use Energy Saving Light Bulbs

One of the easiest ways to make your home a little more Earth-friendly is to replace old light bulbs with energy saving ones like LED lights. In many areas you can have an energy audit done on your home and get ideas on ways to save even more on energy related costs. Pay attention to turning off your lights when not in use.

Saving Energy Saves Money And The Environment

When you reduce your use of energy to heat, cool or run your home, you are going to save money on utility bills. Try having your home a few degrees cooler in the winter to see if it is still comfortable. Use fans instead of air conditioning whenever possible in the hot weather. Hang out clothing to dry instead of using a clothes dryer. Save money on bills to run your home and protect the earth at the same time.

Collect Rainwater For Your Garden

If you have a garden, use rain barrels to collect rainwater to be used to water your flowers and vegetables. You won’t have to turn on the hose, and you will save a little bit of money on water fees. Rainwater is healthy for your plants, and can be used for a variety of things when you collect it properly.

Check Into Solar Energy

Check with a solar panel company and see if you can have solar panels installed. This may save you money on electrical bills and may allow you to sell electricity back to the grid if you produce enough. Saving energy and water is possible in your home, you just have to look for ways to do it.

If you are looking for an eco-friendly property, contact your trusted real estate professional today!