Lake House Activities for Spring Break

Throughout the United States, there are many highly desired homes. From mountainside living to high loft city apartments to a beautiful lake house oasis, we all have our fantasy home. If you grew up with a lake on your property, you probably have many fond memories of it. However, if this is your first lake house, you do not want to be missing out on the fun! There is plenty to do with your lake this spring break. Here are the top three must-dos for any lake house owner:

Boating

If you have a lake, you need to be on it! There are hundreds of different styles of boats to get for your home. Depending on the size of the lake and your community regulation, find the boat right for you. You can get powerboats like bay boats, cruisers, or deck boats, or you can get smaller options like kayaks or canoes. Depending on your swimming level, you may want to invest in some lifejackets as well.

Fishing

Fishing is also a great way to facilitate your lake. Make sure you invest in everything you need. Get your rod, extra line and hooks, bobbers, and bait. You may also want to pack some needle nose pliers and a small first aid kit for the day. Fishing is a great hobby to help relax and pass the time. Just do not forget to bring the sunscreen!

Swimming

Nothing feels more authentic and true to nature as swimming. Swimming is a timeless pastime that is great for all ages! Simply set up some lake activities and purchase some floating devices. Swimming in the lake is a great way to get the most out of your lake house.

If you are blessed with a home on a lake, make sure you use the many advantages associated with it. This exterior privilege is excellent for hosting guests and making great memories. All landscapes have different advantages, do not miss the opportunity of yours.

Three Outdoor Seating Ideas for a Comfortable Spring

Is your outdoor space like your second family room? Is it an area where you spend a lot of time entertaining guests? Whether your yard is big or small, it is essential to give some consideration to an outdoor seating arrangement. No doubt, you want your outdoor space to be comfortable. The key to achieving that is combining functionality and beauty. In this article, we are going to share some tips for creating a seating arrangement that will accommodate your guests and family.

Shopping for outdoor furniture can be overwhelming because there are many different options. Whether your outdoor space is limited or plentiful, you can find the perfect outdoor seating that will work best with the available space. So, where do you start?

Built-in Seating

If you are determined to save on space, the best way to do so is by implementing built-in seating. In fact, in small landscapes, building a seating area into the deck or the wall on the patio can be a versatile, spacious option. All you have to do is push a table up against the area to get the full dining effect.

Building a bench on a low wall in the backyard that is approximate “18 to 30” inches in height. In a landscape that features stonework or flat natural boulders, you can add bolt-in seating, which is usually found at parks. Bolt-in seating can also be installed on high walls. This type of seating arrangement can accommodate large parties.

Suspended Seating Arrangement

Love the idea of a hammock or swing seats? You can achieve the same look in your outdoor space without having large trees to host them. In fact, manufacturers have produced hammock and swing seats to come complete with their own stand.

Take Advantage of the Garden

If you have a beautiful garden, there is no better place to install seating than in this area. Placing a seat under the arch can create a cozy spot that shades you from the sun during the hot summer months. Just be sure to position the seating so that you can take advantage of the fresh smell of the flowers.

We hope you enjoyed these tips and tricks, and for more outdoor ideas, be sure to visit our blog hub here.

Spring Gardening in Arizona

Spring is right around the corner as we enter March. The average temperature throughout the month of March ranges from 71-84 degrees but can drop into the mid-50s at night. This favorable weather is the perfect time to start planting some vegetables outside your home. However, living in a desert means the planting season can be a little different than the typical seasons. To help, here are several vegetables you should consider planting this spring:

Cilantro

Cilantro is the leaf from a coriander plant. Cilantro is a very popular herb used in many Spanish cuisines. In fact, living close to the border, many of these popular dishes become household favorites. Enlighten your food by adding this powerful spice. This herb is also an excellent remedy used for medicinal purposes to remove hazardous metals from the body and is often given to cancer patients.

Potatoes

Arizona offered some of the most diverse plant lives for gardening. From citrus fruits to starchy vegetables, many delicious fruits and vegetables can be grown in your own backyard. Another great option to include in your home garden is potatoes. Potatoes are great starchy, hearty vegetables that go great in many food dishes. So be sure to add this American classic to your own garden this spring.

Carrots

Add some color to your garden by growing some carrots. This crunchy root is another highly nutritious option to add to the garden this spring. It is a great source of potassium, antioxidants, vitamin K, and beta carotene. Carrots can be a great way to help lower your bad cholesterol and improve your eye health. 

Spinach

Another great leafy green vegetable that loves the Arizona spring weather is spinach. Spinach is excellent for bone health and packed with vitamins. Plus, it goes great as a lettuce alternative for burgers or salads. When growing spinach, make sure to space your rows about a foot apart. The seeds will germinate in about a week and be ready to harvest in just under two months.

Remember, Arizona has two main growing seasons: fall and spring. Take advantage of the weather and grow the right plants and vegetables during springtime. Thanks for reading!

Salt vs Chlorine Hot Tubs

There are many attributes that can make a house feel like home. From the interior to the exterior of your property, every spot has a chance to become more tailored to your needs. Your home should have areas that can allow you to escape from the world and relax and rejuvenate. One great way to accomplish this is with a hot tub! If you are searching the market for a hot tub, there are typically two kinds of systems: chlorine and salt. Both have their own set of advantages and disadvantages. Let us explore both options to help you decide which is best for you.

Chlorine

When it comes to hot tubs, you have two leading solutions for sanitation consisting of either salt or chlorine. Traditionally, chlorine was used as a chemical to help sterilize and neutralize bacteria in the water. Both systems require standard upkeep to allow the systems to be working properly. Chlorine is a powerful chemical that is great at killing bacteria. However, the downfall to this chemical is a strong odor as well as it can agitate sensitive skin.

Salt

Saltwater seems to be the new buzz on the market. This more natural approach is less aggressive on your skin. While it still takes upkeep to have the right concentration, the simple upkeep can be less time-consuming. You will also not need to drain your hot tub as often for maintenance. Some of these benefits alone have made many homeowners switch to salt. Yet a downside is saltwater pools can traditionally be more expensive as an initial investment.

Which Is Best for You?

Both hot tub systems come with their own pros and cons. While chlorine may be a harsher chemical to soak long in, the initial investment is much less expensive. Chlorine tubs will also use less electricity while being fixture friendly. The choice comes down to personal preference.

Many people have preferences on which they like best. What do you think about each hot tub system? Have you owned either? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below, and remember to subscribe!

Painting Exterior Stucco

Southwestern-styled homes will traditionally use stucco as a decorative siding and finish to homes. Stucco is a fine plaster coated onto walls wet, which dries with a very grainy texture. This plaster handles great against the desert heat and looks great as well. However, these extreme climates can really wear down and fade the paint on the walls over time. If your paint is beginning to fade, it may be time to repaint the exterior of your home. With stucco being so texture, it can propose several dilemmas. To help, here are some of the best ways to paint stucco:

Prep

Before you are going to start painting, you will need to prep the surface. For the exterior of your home, you will just want to remove all the outdoor dust and dirt that has accumulated on your home. This step can easily be done by spraying your house down with a hose. Let it air dry completely before you begin to paint. Tape off or tarp any areas you do not want the paint to get.

Roller

For stucco, there are generally two main ways of painting. A roller is less effective but generally foolproof. When you get your paint, let the supplier know you will be rolling the paint. This paint will be sold much thicker and can be applied with a roller. You will still need to use a brush for harder areas like corners and edges.

Spray

A more effective technique but takes practice and equipment is spraying the paint onto the stucco. With such an aggressive texture, this will allow you not to have to go over the same spot multiple times, as the roller may. Simply add the paint and spray it directly onto your home. You can keep the spray gun very close to the house because bleeding paint is uncommon with this high of texture.

Stucco is excellent but will need to be repainted after many years of sun exposure. Make sure you can complete the task before starting it. If this seems too far out of your expertise, you may want to consider hiring a professional. For more tips and tricks on home improvement, make sure to subscribe.

Flowers That Attract Birds to Your Yard

Nature is beautiful in so many aspects. We can enhance our home’s exterior by incorporating many bushes, flowers, trees, and even rocks to the landscape. However, there are some aspects of nature that can be more sporadic. Birds are beautiful spectacles and can really make your home look alive and vibrant. Yet, can you attract birds to your yard? Yes! The plants in your yard will help increase the number of flying friends that visit as well. Here is everything you need to know about attracting the right kinds of birds:

Attracting Birds and Keeping Them Around

A colorful landscape will attract colorful birds. Many birds use colors to help attract other birds. Naturally, birds see colors and realize the environment is healthy. These bright colors will attract insects for nectar, and with insects come birds. They also use color to determine when the seasons are changing, toxic plants and predators, and to identify fruits and berries quickly. Once you have attracted the birds, it is important that they stay. Add some bird feeders to your yard. Decide what birds you want to stay around and specialize in the feeders for their species. You can also encourage birds to stay by having fresh water or birdbaths and adding birdhouses.

Flowers to Use

The colors of our flowers will attract different birds for varieties of reasoning. To attract hummingbirds, add warm-hued flowers like red, yellow, and orange. You can attract orioles with orange flowers as well. Some birds are attracted colors of their own kind. Blue jays will be attracted to blue or purple-tinted flowers, whereas you can attract goldfinches by adding some yellow to your garden.

Colors to Avoid

White is a color that is used for most birds to show aggression or signal danger. Do not use white in your yard. Even a white picket fence or some white lawn chairs can deter some bird breeds from flying into your yard. Be cognitive not only in the flowers of your home but the exterior modifications you include as well.

Adding the right flowers to your home can help attract birds. Avoid whites, if possible. Remember to keep birds returning, create an inviting atmosphere with food, fresh water, and shelter for these animals.

Ways to Enhance Your Sunroom

A sunroom is a great addition to any home! Sunrooms allow you to enjoy the natural lighting from the outdoors in the comfort of your home. These seasonal rooms are perfect for people who want to spend more time outside. It is the perfect hybrid of interior and exterior home living. If you have a sunroom or are looking to add one, there are some simple ways to help enhance your space. Let’s take a look!

Seating

Every great sunroom will incorporate a type of seating. These rooms typically use furniture that can withstand the elements of nature. While your sunroom may not get rain inside it, it can experience more humidity and exposure to some of nature’s harsher elements. Consider patio furniture with cushions or some whicker seating. You can also add some more outdoorsy details such as a hammock or a suspended chair.

Throw Rug

A way to add some style to your room is by getting an area rug. A rug can help add comfort to your outdoor flooring. Most sunrooms are not fully finished and can experience some moisture. Make sure your rug can handle moisture. Typically, indoor/outdoor carpet is preferred. You can also invest in turf or composite tile to give your room a little extra styling.

Biophilia

Sunrooms are the perfect place to incorporate plant life! There is no spot better in your home for more sun exposure. Adding plants and herbs can help add life to your atmosphere. This perfect blend of indoor and outdoor living will feel more balanced with a little more greenery. Just remember to water your plants because they will not experience rain!

Whether you plan on just reading out there or enjoying the sounds of nature, sunrooms are a terrific place to unwind. With a little love, these rooms can become your favorite place to spend your morning or afternoons. What do you love about your sunroom? Let us know below in the comment section!

Preparing for an Outdoor Get-Together

Just because summer is officially over and your friends may stop hosting backyard barbecues and pool parties does not mean that you cannot take advantage of Arizona’s gorgeous fall weather with an outdoor get-together. Get ready for your company to come over with five easy outdoor updates. All you need are these five easy steps to transform your yard into the perfect outdoor getaway.

Prep the Yard

Before you begin, make sure you wipe down your patio furniture, clean up any the leaves from your fruit trees, mow the lawn, sweep the patio, and trim any outgrown bushes. 

Disinvite Bugs

Bugs can be a real party crasher on outdoor gatherings. Eliminate bugs in a safe way by purchasing citronella candles. You can even make your own by using citronella oil in your custom candles. 

Light up the Night

Get-togethers can run late into the middle of the night; therefore, you should be prepared by hanging some stringed lighting. String lighting looks beautiful and is an inexpensive way to light up your backyard. 

Deep Clean Your Grill

Between each cookout and party, your grill can take a beating from food and grime. Make sure to deep clean your grill with these steps:

  1. Turn on your grill to begin warming it up. 
  2. After the grill is warmed, take a heavy-duty grill scraper and begin removing all grime on the cooktop.
  3. Take a wire grill brush and scrub the heated grates.
  4. Let the grates cool down then put them in a bucket with warm, soapy water. Have them sit for 2-3 hours then using a scouring sponge wipe away any remaining grime. 
  5. Using a degreaser, wipe down the outside of the grill with a damp sponge. Afterward, you will want to dry it off with a microfiber cloth. 
  6. Using a microfiber cloth and stainless-steel cleaner, shine off the exterior of the grill. 

Provide Warmth

Arizona nights can get pretty cool, so if you plan on hosting well into the evening, you will want to provide some heaters or blankets. By adding warmers, you will be able to continue the party even when the sun drops.

We hope you enjoyed these simple tips for preparing your yard for a get-together. Let us know how you host guests outdoors in the comment section.

Stucco Maintenance

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!

Staining 

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. 

Cleaning 

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!?

Sealing 

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.

DIY House Planter Ideas

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.   

Hypertufa 

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. 

Planter Hanger 

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.