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How to Get Your Garden Ready for Spring

How to Get Your Garden Ready for Spring

Whether you have owned your home for a while, or you’ve just purchased your dream home this winter, you’ve likely spent some time over the winter fixing up, decorating or adding a few fun touches to your home. As the warmer weather arrives and the snow begins to melt, you may be turning your thoughts outside towards your garden, and that it could use some serious TLC.

Whether you have a green thumb or not, knowing where to start when it comes to getting your garden spring ready isn’t always clear. Here are a few helpful tips that will get your garden blooming in no time.

Make a Plan 

Everything good starts with a plan. Before you get to work on getting your garden ready to go, it’s a good idea to sit down and create a solid strategy.

When creating your plan, the first thing you should consider is the type of garden you want to go with. Is your dream garden filled with delicious and healthy veggies, graceful ornamental grasses or colourful blooms of all shapes and sizes?

Once you have a vision of your perfect garden, it’s time to do some research. For best results, you’ll need to learn about the plants that will thrive in your environment. Remember, different plants have different needs, so it’s important to understand what your chosen plants needs in terms of sun, shade, water, soil and space. Online blogs, books from the library, garden centre staff, and even Pinterest are fabulous resources that will help you learn more about the best annuals and perennials for your garden.

If you are very new to gardening, you might want to consider starting small. Container gardening, for example, is a good way to ease your way into gardening and spruce up the outside of your new home.

Get a Head Start 

Once you have a planting plan in place, it’s time to get a head start. While the weather is still a little too chilly to plant, you can get your garden going now by starting your seeds indoors. Fill planting pots with moist soil, plant according to the directions on your seed packet and place in a well-lit area. You’ll be sprouting in no time, and you’ll have sturdy little starters to plant in the ground come May. This is also a good time to beat the crowds and shop around for garden tools, supplies and accessories.

Out with the Old 

As your plants flourish inside, it’s time to get the outdoors ready. If you have any dead annual plants, extra leaves or brush from last season, you can remove these and use them for compost. Many perennials can remain standing, it just depends on the type. Some need to be cut way back each year, and others can be left alone. Once you notice new growth happening, you can remove and prune the dead parts of the plant.

Ready, Set, Go 

You’ve got a plan, a head start, and you’ve gotten rid of the old growth. The final step to getting your garden ready to go is to ensure that your soil is ready to support all your beautiful plants. A home soil test kit from a local hardware store can help you determine whether your soil contains the right balance of nutrients and minerals to help your plants thrive. If not, you may need to add certain things to your soil to create a better balance.

Haven’t found the perfect home to plant your dream garden in yet? Take advantage of the spring real estate market and start your search today. If you’re searching for a home in the Collingwood, Blue Mountains, Wasaga Beach or Georgian Triangle area, we can help! Call our experienced REALTORS® at Clairwood Real Estate today at 705-445-7085. 

Tips To Start & Maintain The Best Garden In The Neighbourhood

Tips To Start & Maintain The Best Garden In The Neighbourhood

The Canadian dream… every homeowner strives to buy that dream home with an amazingly luscious garden but if the home you’ve recently purchased or are looking to buy doesn’t already have one, starting your own garden is always an option! Now I don’t know about you but juggling a garden, work, getting the kids to school, making all of the appointments in your calendar doesn’t leave much time for playing around in the garden. When it comes to gardening it takes a lot of patience and know-how, and with Canadian weather all over the place, it makes things that much harder. To help you out we’ve gathered the best tips and tricks of the savvy green thumbs out there to get your garden started out with its best roots forward! 

First things first…whether your new home has an entire backyard to landscape or just a small plot of grass to grow, you are going to need the right equipment. The tools you are going to need whether you’re planning to start planting vegetables, annuals or perennials are: a watering can, wheelbarrow, and a hoe, which will make for a great tool to create clean cuts around the edges of your garden. You’ll also need a pruner, garden gloves, a garden hose (preferably long enough to reach even the farthest corner of your property), a trowel, gardening boots, shovel, and if you want an easy way to keep the grass and weeds at bay, a little gardeners cloth to put under the plot you’re making into a garden.

Aside from the tools here are a few top secret tricks of the gardening trade for you.

Invest in a good shovel and make it non-stick. Yes! You can make a shovel non-stick just like your baking pans…almost. You do this by spraying your favorite garden shovel with a silicone or Teflon lubricant. A good coating of this spray will ensure any type of soil slips right off the shovel without a mess. 

Lighten your heavy pots if you’re planting deck planters. Lifting large planters doesn’t have to be a back-breaker. Make moving them around a little easier by filling 1/3 of the pot full with packing peanuts (those Styrofoam little things you put into the box when shipping something delicate). Then, be sure to place a piece of your gardening cloth on top of the packing peanuts before layering on your potting soil. To make the pot even lighter you can also use a potting mix with lots of vermiculite and peat moss which helps to retain water while dispersing the weight of the water. Just remember the more peat moss you include the more water will be retained which will affect how often you water and how much.

Include an easy to read rain gauge as an element of design in your garden. This will help you know how much water your garden has gotten since the last time you watered it to prevent you from overwatering plants that like a dry soil base. If you like, you could spruce up your rain gauge by adding a few drops of food coloring to the bottom, which may help to attract the bees to pollinate and the birds to your feeders if you have any nearby. As a bonus, during the next rainfall, the water will combine with the dye and the water level will have a bright colour and be easy to read. 

Restrict aggressive plants. The worst mistake a new gardener can regret is planting a very aggressively growing plant in the wrong place as they can take over your garden as early as the end of the summer depending on what it is you have planted. If you really love the plant but are afraid it might take over you can always plant it in a planter at the edge of the garden or perhaps on the patio without fear that it will take over as it will be restricted to the pot it is in.

Don’t forget to protect your bulbs! Many beautiful spring and summer flowers are grown from bulbs planted in the late fall or early spring and rodents like squirrels, ground hogs, and even bunnies are known to be bulb thieves, so be sure to protect them after planting with a staked netting around them that goes around all sides and over the to prevent the munching type. You’ll want to make sure whatever you use as netting lets the sun through or they won’t grow at all or as quickly as they should. Then, come springtime, simply remove the netting or cut holes in the cloth and let the plants grow through. 

Now that you have a few insider tips to starting and maintain your dream garden, maybe that gorgeous house that you wished had a little more landscaping will become the canvas for your first gardening adventure! On the other hand, if you don’t have a house in mind to buy just yet, give us a call at 705-445-7085. Our experienced REALTORS® are always happy to help you find you your next home no matter the location around the Collingwood, Wasaga Beach, Blue Mountain, Grey Highlands or Thornbury area. In fact, they might even have a few gardening suggestions for the backyard to help you realize the full potential of the homes they’ll show you.

How to Make A Big Statement with Your Small Front Yard

How to Make A Big Statement with Your Small Front Yard

As the spring weather begins to warm, many homeowners are starting to think about their outdoor décor options. Although those with a smaller front yard may be feeling a little limited by size, it is possible to make a big statement with your yard regardless of its relative scale. All you need to do is incorporate these simple tips and tricks:  

Keep it consistent 

Consistency is often the key when adding a little ‘wow’ factor to a front yard that is a bit on the small side. Using a simple plant palette and repeating a key foundation in plant groupings is key to cultivating a compelling view. Keeping it simple when it comes to plants and flowers will also ensure that your smaller space is not overwhelmed or crowded by too much variety. Just like our indoor decorating, small spaces can look cramped and appear even smaller when we overwhelm them with too much. 

Keeping things simple is also a good rule of thumb when it comes to any outdoor planters or other decorative elements you choose. When making your selections, remember that less is definitely more. It’s also a good idea to keep any planters, outdoor ornaments or sculptures in the same colour family or palette to maintain consistency and visual appeal.

Think outside the box 

You might not realize it now, but when it comes to designing your front yard, a smaller size can actually be a bonus. That’s because smaller front yards lend themselves to more creative and ‘outside the box thinking’. For example, instead of just opting for the regular grass and flowerbed options, you may want to forgo the grass altogether. Instead, you could opt for ornamental grasses or a rock or stone garden – as these elements tend to lend themselves well to smaller front yards and can make a dramatic impression. 

Bring the inside out 

Bringing the inside out is another great way to ‘up the ante’ when it comes to your outdoor living space. By creating harmony between the indoors and outdoors, you’ll not only increase curb appeal, you’ll also increase your quality of life.

One great way to bring the inside out is to set up some comfortable chairs and a table on your front porch. This outdoor living room will encourage you and your family to spend more time outside and also adds another decorative touch to the outside of your home. 

Get inspired by others 

If you are struggling to find the best way to increase the appeal of your front yard, remember that you can always derive inspiration from others. Home and garden websites, magazines and blog articles provide a wealth of info and ideas. Pinterest is another great source for creative ways to make the most of your indoor and outdoor living spaces, including smaller front yards. 

Looking for a house with a compelling front yard or wondering how to maximize the appeal of your smaller front yard for prospective buyers? We can help! Our team of REALTORS® takes pride in really understanding the needs of our buyers and sellers in Collingwood, Wasaga Beach, Blue Mountains and the Southern Georgian Bay area. Connect with us today at 705-445-7085 to get started. 

Think Outside the Box: What Buyers Are Looking for in a Backyard

Think Outside the Box: What Buyers Are Looking for in a Backyard

In our hot real estate market there are a lot of motivated sellers, and lots of motivated buyers, searching for their dream home in the Southern Georgian Bay area.

With some competition in the area, you may be wondering what’s the best way to stand out from the crowd. You’ve likely done some renovations, cleared out some clutter, added a fresh coat of paint and some new decorative items to your home in order to freshen it up. Is there anything else you can do to prepare to sell your home? 

The answer is a resounding yes! However, it will require you to think ‘outside the box’. When sellers are preparing their homes to sell, they often concentrate mainly on the space inside their homes and sometimes forget to consider the curb appeal that can be created outside. A backyard is a great opportunity to increase the allure of your home. To help inspire you, here are the top things buyers are searching for when it comes to backyard bliss: 

Privacy 

One of the top things that buyers are interested in when it comes to the backyard is privacy. While you don’t need to go ahead and enclose your backyard in 9-foot-high fencing, there are smart ways to increase privacy without breaking the budget. Hedges or tall decorative grasses, for example, can provide a greater sense of privacy and can help to increase a potential buyer’s interest in your home. 

Well-kept and attractive landscaping and gardening  

While we wait for those gorgeous spring and summer blooms, it’s a good idea to give some love to your landscaping now to highlight your yard’s potential. Clearing leaves and old plants, preparing your soil and cleaning off and arranging patio furniture will go a long way to highlight the outdoor living possibilities for buyers. As the weather warms up, you can start working on touching up that garden, keeping weeds in check, and maintaining your lawn. 

Good use of space 

If you’re worried that the size of your backyard is a drawback for potential buyers, you can re-evaluate how you’ve set up your space. You don’t need a gigantic lawn to impress; in fact, for some buyers it could mean unwanted maintenance and upkeep. Using your space in a smart way is often enough to up the appeal of your home’s backyard. One good strategy is to create and designate different areas in your yard. You might, for example, have a space designated for a vegetable garden, ornamental shrubs or trees, a space to sit and enjoy meals outdoors, and a place for children to play. 

Play spaces for the little ones  

If you live in a family-oriented neighbourhood, another great feature that potential buyers may appreciate in a backyard is a play structure or designated safe play area for children. If you already have one in your backyard, it may be a good idea to spruce it up a little and make sure it’s in tip-top shape to entice parents (and their little ones) to get excited about buying your home. 

Highlighting the best assets your home has to offer is a terrific way to get your home ready to sell, and it motivates buyers to make your home theirs. When doing so, don’t forget to think ‘outside the box’ and focus on highlighting the best aspects of your yard.  For more tips on selling your home, or if you are looking for the perfect dream home in Collingwood, the Blue Mountains, Wasaga Beach or anywhere in the Southern Georgian Bay area, connect with our knowledgeable, experienced Clairwood Real Estate team at 705-445-7085.

Spring Landscaping Projects For More Curb Appeal

Spring Landscaping Projects For More Curb Appeal

As we watch the last bits of snow melt and see the tips of grass poking through our muddy yards, it’s not hard to start thinking about the lush green gardens we’d like to see this spring. However, before you pick up a shovel, it’s best to do a little preparation to ensure your gardening projects grow to be as beautiful as you’ve imagined. While the last weeks of cool weather roll by, get inspired and start your planning to get your yard ready for a springtime landscape overhaul to give your home the curb appeal boost it needs.

Start With Research

Before you reach for your shovel and start digging up your yard like an untrained puppy, you should probably do a little research into what exactly you’re planning to do and will be dealing with. First, you should take a look at what kind of climate you’re living in and do a little investigating into what types of plants and greenery do best in those temperatures and conditions. This will help narrow down what sorts of things you can plant when the snow thaws. You should also look into factors such as the cost of purchasing and maintaining your choices, a planting schedule so you know when to plant it and when it will bloom and even what other items you may need to accomplish your landscaping ideas, such as sprinkler systems and gardening tools. You’ll also want to take a look at how much sun your new garden will receive during the day, to make sure you purchase the kinds of plants that will thrive as a result.

Consider Other Living Things

In almost any climate, you’re bound to run into some local pests. Whether they are neighbourhood animals, insects or even wildlife, they can all play a big factor in maintaining your perfectly landscaped property. While some insect problems have preventative measures you can take, some need to be controlled throughout the summer months, such as mosquitos and wasps, which can greatly affect the use of your yard and surrounding area. Another thing to take into consideration is which plants and fertilizers are toxic to animals. Whether it is your family’s pet, a local stray or even just wildlife, it’s best to avoid any greenery or chemicals that could harm animals. Always double check the toxicity of anything you put in your garden before you reach for your trowel. This is also a good idea to keep in mind as water run-off from your garden could end up in our waterways.

Get Inspired!

If you prepare your yard for the spring thaw in gradual stages, it’s much easier to allow your creative juices to flow. Begin with clearing last year’s dead plants from beneath the muddy ground in order to start with a clean slate to envision what styles and colours you’d like to introduce to your property. Does your home’s exterior call for a more modern Zen appearance or a colourful lush garden of perennials? Flip through your favourite home and garden magazines to get an idea of what landscaping looks will work for your home. And remember, when done in stages, you can get a better idea of how much more or less you’ll need for the final look that will become the wow factor of your neighbourhood.

Plot, Plan & Map It Out

While the idea of landscaping your property can be exciting, it’s best to take it one step at a time. While you’re waiting for the snow to melt, start a plan and schedule for your projects. Take your time to research and map out where and what you’d like to plant, and consider their ideal planting times. While some greenery is best planted in the early spring, others survive best when planted in the later spring months. A great thing to remember is that while differing plants & flowers bloom at different times, this can make for a great way to stretch out your gardening commitment as well as change the look of your landscaping as the months roll on. If you have any questions about when to plant each type of flower, don’t be afraid to consult your local greenhouse or garden centre. Additionally, take into consideration things such tree roots, long-term growth and even whether or not you may need to bring in a professional to help with some bigger landscaping projects.

Consider The Upkeep

The biggest factor with landscaping is the cost and effort for its upkeep. Even though you may be planning to sell your home with a gorgeous garden, if the on-going maintenance is overwhelming to the potential new home owners the on-going costs and work might deter them from making an offer. While the final product can add so much aesthetic value to your home, the maintenance is not always easy. Once you’ve got your plan of what you’d like to add to your property, take into consideration how much time and money you’re willing to invest in keeping up appearances. Factors such as trimming, raking, watering and pruning can take up many Saturday afternoons, so make sure you can keep up with what you’re planting. If you’re new to landscaping and gardening, aim for smaller projects that require less maintenance to avoid finding your yard dried and dead by early summer.

A beautiful yard can add so much to the enjoyment of your home and can be a great project for the spring and summer months. However, it’s important to remember to work in stages and to not get in over your head by the commitment. If you have any questions about how your landscaping can help enhance the curb appeal of your home and attract the right buyer, give one of our fantastic for your home when it comes time to turn your investment.

Why Curb Appeal Is a Big Deal

Why Curb Appeal Is a Big Deal

Here at Clairwood Real Estate, we are all revved up about the spring real estate market! Everyone’s busy preparing their homes to sell by cleaning, painting, upgrading, repairing and decorating as needed, but most of that work often focuses strictly on the interior of the home. While those efforts are certainly important for a successful home sale, we can’t forget the importance of sprucing up your home’s exterior as well. Curb appeal is not just a big deal when it comes to getting top dollar for your home, it’s necessary to motivate buyers to walk through the door in the first place. Even if you’ve just done a major renovation and staged your home to perfection, if a buyer doesn’t love the look of the home from the outside, they won’t want to venture inside.

Luckily, creating a strong curb appeal doesn’t need to take a lot of work or money. In fact, you can likely tackle a lot on this list in one weekend. We’ve 6 ways you can improve your home’s curb appeal to really wow potential buyers and get them to fall in love with your home:

1) Your lawn

Naturally you’ll want to keep your lawn mowed and in good condition, but there are a few extra areas that should not be overlooked. For example, fill in any bare spots with grass seed and top soil or purchase a few rolls of sod to patch up where needed. You’ll also want to manage your weeds if they are out of control; and be sure edge around driveways and walkways.

2) Trees, shrubs and plants

Stand at the end of your front yard and look at your trees and shrubs. Do they need some pruning and shaping? While you can often do this on your own, there are also experts you can hire if it’s a big or potentially dangerous job. If your front yard looks bare, you can purchase a few plants to give it some depth and colour, keeping in mind your type of soil and our cold Canadian winters when buying. Add fresh mulch to the base of your trees, gardens and shrubs; you’d be surprised how much it improves the overall aesthetic of your lawn. If it’s spring, summer or early fall, be sure to have some flowers in planters, especially near the front door. To really entice potential buyers, plant fragrant perennials such as lavender, honeysuckle, peonies or roses.

3) Your driveway

We often pay little attention to our driveways and walkways, until of course they are scrutinized by would-be buyers, then suddenly, every crack, loose stone and speck of dirt become very apparent. Start with a good power wash, and if needed, add a coat of sealant to your paved driveway if needed. Remove any weeds growing in the cracks, and inspect for areas where drainage or water can be a concern.

4) The front porch and door

Even if your front door isn’t your main entrance, it is still the focal point of any home’s exterior. Can your door use a new coat of paint, or a new screen? Again, this small investment can be quite impactful in the overall appearance of your home. Don’t forget about your lighting, planters, porch furniture, mailbox and even the numbers of your house. If they are old, faded and worn, they’ll need some love, or replacing. Add some cute touches like a welcome mat, a stylish rocking chair or new chiming doorbell.

5) Don’t forget the backyard

While the front curb is important to get folks into your home, don’t forget that they’ll be touring around your back yard as well. They’ll want to know it’s a well-maintained area so be sure to spruce it up as needed and clean up after your dogs if you have any. If you have kids’ apparatus and outdoor toys, be sure they are clean and in good repair.

6) Windows & your home’s exterior

Most people know to clean the windows both inside and out (keep an eye out for water damage, mildew and ripped screens), but your overall home might need a good power wash, especially if it’s got siding. Again, it’s a job you can do yourself if you’re the weekend warrior type, or you can hire someone to do it for you in a jiffy!

Highlighting your home’s features both inside and out is the best way to impress prospective buyers. While a little elbow grease may be needed, you’ll be glad you did it when the offers start coming in at – or above – your asking price! Your home’s curb appeal is the ticket to impressing those buyers so they fall in love with your home from the moment they step out of their car. Even in winter when our lawns are covered in snow, the overall look of your home will always be a key selling point. For more tips on what to do when listing your home, or if you are looking for the perfect dream home in Collingwood, the Blue Mountains, Wasaga Beach, Grey Highlands or Meaford, connect with our knowledgeable, experienced Clairwood Real Estate team at 705-445-7085.