Many builders in the Southwest have turned towards stucco as a decorative finish to the exterior of homes. While vinyl and brick are both excellent choices, this low-maintenance siding is superior against the intense heat and has become a staple in many Southwestern home designs! Stucco is a plaster that is exceptionally durable and resistant to many traditional exterior home issues. However,?there are some of the low maintenance options you can do to keep your stucco looking brand new. Let’s take a look!
While stucco rarely needs maintenance, you may notice over time some discoloring or mildew build up near areas with high shrubs or plants. Plants require water which can cause unwanted algae to build-up on your homes. This will not happen overnight, but you may notice over time that some stucco can begin to form darker spots. Using an oxygen bleach solution can help remove stains. That being said, do not use bleaches that are too harsh for the environment outside since these can kill your nearby plant life.
Stucco is a decorative concrete and is porous. Being naturally porous can allow liquids to penetrate it and absorb stains. However, painting your stucco should never be your first means of fixing the issue. You will not need a complex formula to clean your stucco. A power washer with some dish soap will do just fine. Test the power of your power washer in a hidden area to see how your home reacts. Next, spray down your home and watch unwanted mold and mildew build up disappear!?
If moisture gets into your walls, it can lead to unwanted cracking or bowing. Sealing your stucco is recommended. Being porous is stucco’s main vulnerability. By sealing stucco, you can prevent moisture penetration. New stucco should be sealed with clear concrete. Stucco sealing can be done every five years, and the waterproof finish will significantly improve the longevity of your exterior. Some sealants are made with micro holes which will allow water to escape but not enter. This gives your stucco the opportunity to breathe, and these sealants can last up to 10 years.
Stucco is very low maintenance. Remember, if you decide to paint your stucco, this can bring more annual maintenance. Depending on your preferences, you may decide to leave your stucco unfinished for lower maintenance. These simple tricks and tips will keep your curb appeal beautiful for decades to come.
Gardening can be relaxing, great hobby to add to your lifestyle. If you are looking to incorporate flowers and plants to the exterior of your home, there are several great DIY projects to consider. First, not all gardens are alike. You may want flowers, produce, or shrubs. The way you display your plants can be just another way of giving more character to your garden. Whether this is your first garden, or you are just looking for some new creative ideas, we gather our top three DIY projects to consider doing.
You can buy planters or create your own beautiful, aesthetically-pleasing ones with hypertufa. These can be created with some simple compounds. First, find a bucket or a mold in the desired sizes you would like to make your planters. Create a homogenous blend of Portland cement, peat moss, and vermiculite. Mix the minerals together until you have an even blended powder. Pour water into the mixture to make a mucky consistency. Add a nonstick spray to your mold and cake on your cement. You can add another mold in the middle to create the hollow center. Allow these to dry for 24 hours and enjoy your new planters. You can even add some color grout to give some unique coloring to the planters or just paint them when they are done.
Elevated Garden Box
Maybe you would love a garden, but your home does not offer an exterior that has enough space. Whatever the reason may be, elevated garden beds are great for planting your flowers and herbs. Look for a wood option that will not rot over time. Cut four 4×4 wood pieces to create the legs to the height you want your bed to sit. Create your box, making sure that it is leveled during the process. Add some supporting cross boards to help distribute the weight for longer beds. When you are done creating your box, give it swift sand and add your stain of choice. Remember, not all woods take stain the same, so be consistent on the woods you choose.
Find a small planter you would like to hang. This can be a succulent, small flower, or even herbs. Find rope or macramé and cut four equal length ropes to double the distance you want your planter to hang. Fold all four ropes in half and tie them together to make your hanging end. Next, you can tie patterns together throughout the ropes. At the bottom, connect all the ropes together in which your planter can rest. It creates a beautiful finished product. Plus, this quick project can take less than 10 minutes!
These three simple projects can be done over the weekend with a little patience. You may need to give them some time for the staining or concrete to cure; however, they are worth the wait.
If you are new to the desert or just looking to improve your landscaping, you came to the right place. Arizona landscaping and curb appeal can be very different from other typical climates in the United States. While grass lawns can still work in some parts of Arizona, they can be very high maintenance. While the desert creates some dilemmas, it also opens a new world of possibilities and beautiful features to consider adding to your home. Your landscape encapsulates all the visible features and outdoor aesthetics your home has to offer. Creating your landscape is an art and making this masterpiece will call for a couple of key elements:
Where green may be the primary color theme through of other landscapes of the United States, it comes a little less frequently here. Grass may not be the best choice for this climate, but that does not mean you need a blank, dirt yard. Colored gravel with warm burnt tones can really give your yard a pop of color. You can even create beautiful rock beds and patterns/designs with different colored rocks. You may also want to include sand, pebbles, and concrete for their durability and lack of dependence on water.
This arid region makes most plant life hard to maintain, but also has many dynamic landscaping opportunities to explore. Adding a splash of color can really spruce up your dry yard. Cacti are very common plant life that many Arizonians add to increase curb appeal. Try including other drought-tolerant plants like red yuccas, roses, or honey mesquite trees. These plants are tolerable to some of the dust, soil, and heat of the desert. You can also add some great fruit trees like lemons, grapefruits, oranges, and more in this climate. Palm trees can add height to your lawn or adding large cacti as well. Just be sure to create a diverse landscape with a mix plant life of all sizes, shapes, and colors while allowing them to complement one another, not work against each other.
Add an element to your curb appeal to help make your home “pop.” Water is scarce out here, but some fountains are beautiful and can be real eye-catchers. If you want something more subtle, try making a tree or a cactus your homes focal point. You can add a rock path to a bench or side patio or even add a half wall in front of your home for other focal points. Just try finding elements that complement your home and work with the land.
Arizona is very different than other landscaping in the United States. Discovering and exploring different avenues to decorate your yard can be fun. Try to add some color and a variation of different plant height. Not all of Arizona has the same climate. What may work for a town an hour away may not work where you live. Explore the neighborhood and gather ideas. They say that copying is the greatest form of flattery. Just remember to add some of your own original touches to tailor it to you and your style.
Imagine: you are driving through a neighborhood, and you begin to pick out the homes that you like. Maybe, you even imagine houses that you have seen in real life. Most likely, those homes have some feature of curb appeal that draws you towards them. Is it a gorgeous landscape? Maybe a beautiful front door? Whatever it may be, there is something special about this home. To help you captivate this look of the house, we have created a list of three curb appeal boosting items that can help you win over the neighborhood. Who knows, by the end of this, maybe your home’s curb appeal will be on someone else’s mind.
Curb Appeal Boosting Tips & Tricks:
- A Nice Trimming. If your plant life is overgrown, it can take away from the beauty of our home’s exterior. In order to boost your curb appeal with fresh new flowers, you will need to begin by removing any dead/diseased plants, trimming brushes/hedges/shrubs, and begin to mulch the area. Your home’s garden can play a crucial role in how it is perceived. Luckily, you can spend a weekend getting it back into shape.
- Establish a Focal Point. Just like with the interior, you will want to establish a focal point on the exterior of your home. Traditionally speaking, a focal point is what you want to catch the most attention. It can really be any element of your yard if done correctly. In fact, it can be as simple as a bright blue front door. Whatever you decide to be your focal point, go in with full dedication. Do not hold back.
- Be Different. In styling your home, it is easy to follow trends and go with the most popular ideas but being different is what helps your home to stand out the most. Whether you try incorporating different plants or play with different colors, try to think outside of the box visually. Plus, you can even play with different leveling and heights of plants to help give a more intriguing look.
What is your favorite feature of a home’s exterior? We would love to hear your thoughts in the comment section.