Friday, March 12, 2021

signs of spring

Outside I hear the birds chirping and notice tiny buds on the bare brown branches. Could it be? Is spring really here? After the year we have all had, these are welcome signs, indeed - the beginning of nature's renewal, including our own.

For me, it signals the rebooting of garden parties, Sunday brunch and long chats with friends and family on the terrace, flowering white hydrangeas, vibrant green grass and, oh yes, a ton of work to get the gardens ready!

We're funny here in the Pacific Northwest. The moment we see the sun, we pull on the shorts and sandals (even if it's a balmy 45 degrees), and head outside. That might be why I find myself gravitating to my yard work and my 'to do' list rather than my real work. Here's my list so far:

Schedule pressure washing of drive, walkway, backyard patio and patio set
Elevate Property Services is fabulous! Connor 206.355.1524

Schedule window washer
Crystal Panes always takes care of my old, old glass! 206.284.5183

Clean gutters and downspouts
AA Window and Gutter Cleaners are the bomb! 425.821.3814

Service lawn mower
Who am I kidding? I have a service....but if I didn't, I'd be on this!

Pull out dead plants that didn't make it over winter and plant to fill holes.

Clean the fountain, service the motor, turn on, enjoy the birds playing

Change the furnace filter and smoke alarm batteries (every spring and fall)
Greenwood Heating is great for annual maintenance. 206.202.2633

Clean the BBQ grill and cover, pull out BBQ utensils and cookbooks

Test the water hose and spray nozzle front and back 
I like the FitLife Flexible Hose with nozzle 

Clean and condition teak bench
Starbrite Teak Cleaner works really well!

Locate and wash outdoor accessories like lanterns, linens, outdoor ware

Wash outdoor cushions and pillows, spray with a mildew protector
AllerTech No More Mildew is great. Honest makes a good one as well!

Fluff up front porch urns with new plantings
City People's is getting some great new color spots in.

Clean front porch ceiling and wax front door hardware

Pull out front porch screen and have repairs made prior to installing in June
Dunn Lumber is very helpful if you need to replace the mesh.

Well, work is calling and obviously I have some calls to make to make this all happen. If you need a copy of my preferred vendor resource guide, pop me an email with your address and I will send one off.

Happy (oh so close) spring, everyone!

Until next time

la chasse au bonheur

Friday, March 5, 2021

Springtime Curb Appeal

Whether you are getting your home ready for market (improving curb appeal has shown to increase not only your property's value, but also the property values of your entire neighborhood) or just itching to shake off the winter doldrums, these five tips will help you welcome spring and beautify your home.

1 Sidewalks and Driveways

This may be the first part of your property that your guests or prospective buyers step foot on, literally.

An affordable, virtually maintenance free option for sprucing up your paths is concrete stain. This do-it-yourself project can cost around $30 a gallon and requires very little prep work. Consider picking a color that is in the same color family as that of your home. A blue home could be happily complemented by a gray drive.

Another tip: fix cracks and uneven sections of your sidewalk and pathways. This project may require a bit more professional attention but will give buyers the right impression - that your entire home has been maintained.

2 Accent Door

It has been called the lipstick on the lady. It's inviting and it draws visitors, or buyers, in to your home. A plain door tends to recede into the background.

Consider a contrasting color to your home's exterior. On the color wheel, green is opposite red and yellow is opposite blue. Don't be afraid to be daring. Just a pint of paint can cover most doors and if you don't like the result you can try another color!

3 Trimming Trees


Stand in front of your home and take a close and fresh look at your trees and bushes. Are there branches that have become overgrown and now obstruct the view of your home? You want your landscaping to complement your home, not hide it. Trees, shrubs, bushes should just frame paths and entries, not obstruct them.


To trim tree branches yourself you can buy a pole pruner or chain saw. Or you can hire a professional who has experience in shaping trees. Keep in mine, however, that spring is NOT the time to prune flowering trees or maples. These types of trees should be pruned in late Summer or early Fall.

4 Early Spring Planting

The last frost date varies by area. It also varies from year to year. If you feel that your home will not see another frost then you may be safe to plant a few hardy annuals to add some pop of color to your yard. Even if a frost catches you by surprise, you can cover the plants for the evening to save them from succumbing to the cold.

Some plants that can give you an early burst of color:
     Pansies - these bolts of color can even survive Winter
     Calendula - these "pot marigolds" are a versatile plant
     Violets - heart shaped petals create vibrant color spots
     Other options - cornflower, foxglove, larkspur, sweet alyssum, dianthus

Cleaning out your garden beds also adds an element of neatness that conveys the right message!

5 Outdoor Lighting

Low voltage (12 volt) and solar lighting are good options for improving curb appeal. There are hundreds of designs of solar lights. These small fixtures generally sit on stakes in the ground and can be used to accent paths or gardens and are a great do-it-yourself option.

Also, consider using uplighting on trees to create night-time focal points. This is a great way to showcase your home for those driving by after work.

I better get busy!

Until next time,

la chasse au bonheur