Thomas Murphy - Pine Shores Real Estate



Posted by Thomas Murphy on 9/27/2015

Flowers, if properly planted add color, style and allure to the look of the home. They are a cost effective way of giving your home and yard that desired face lift. However, to optimize the benefits that flowers provide, there are a few basics that should be understood in order to give the flowers what they need. Sun is fundamental Planting and growing flowers requires some hard work and consistent maintenance. However, it is important to recognize that the energy from the sun is the key element in keeping flowering plants in full bloom. The recommended sunlight exposure to plants requiring full sun is between 6 to 8 hours daily. Shade tolerant plants do not have the same sun requirement, therefore it is important to know the needs of your flowers prior to planting. Good Soil Is Critical The quality of the soil is very important as this is where the success of your plant lies. It should be rich in organic matter to increase themineral availability and the diversity of other microbes. The texture of the soil will vary depending on where you live. Your goal is to provide a rich, PH balanced soil for your plants that will allow for easy expansion of their root systems. Healthy soil is equally as important to vegetable and flower gardens. Feeding your garden soil is an ongoing process. Annuals and Perennials As far as planting is concerned, this needs to be taken into consideration as these are the two major types of plants. For annuals, their entire life cycle is in a single growing season. The plant sprouts, grows leaves and roots, produces flowers, and dies at the end of the season. Some gardeners prefer them because if properly taken care of, they will bloom all season. Perennials are flowers that stay alive all season and come up every year. Even when the part above the soil dies back, the root systems stay alive and sprout again the next growing season. Most perennials spread and multiply making them a gardener's delight. However, spring and fall transplanting is often required to maintain a well manicured perennial garden. Which is preferable? The choice of which type of plant to use in the garden is relative as they all serve a different purpose. If you desire lots of flowers, annuals are great, however, they will require lots of care and watering to keep them alive. Be ready to replace them after one year. For perennials, they provide a steady structure for the look of the garden. Depending on your preference, you can go for either. For perennials, whether they are bought as plants or seeds, they may require up to a year or more to get established and bloom. If you desire flowers right away, annuals are recommended, however, some gardeners combine perennials and annuals to ensure full color throughout the season. Seed or Plant Annuals and perennials can be sown directly from seed. It will take time for them to sprout and develop. The duration for this depends largely on the plant variety and environmental factors. You need to provide the optimal growing conditions in order to produce healthy plants. The other option is to purchase plants from a greenhouse that were grown by a professional. Choose plants that are strong and healthy looking and hardy to your area. Selecting a plant that is in the budding stage will typically provide a longer flowering season than one that is already in full bloom. Cost of Labor Taking care of flowers requires a commitment to regular watering and fertilizing. Plants that produce flowers throughout the season require a lot of nutrients, water, as well as sun light. Perennials are not totally carefree either, depending on the season, they may require some measure of attention. However, perennials tend to need the least amount of basic maintenance. Here is a list of 5 annuals that can be grown from the seed.

  • Carpet of Snow Alyssum
  • Jaguar Marigold
  • Sonata Mix Cosmos
  • Cleome Queen Series
  • Heavenly Blue Morning Glory




Categories: Yard Improvements  


Posted by Thomas Murphy on 7/5/2015

Selling a house is a stressful experience. You have to look at your home with the eyes of a potential buyer and, when you do, all those nicks, stains, scratches and worn finishes become glaringly obvious. The same thing happens when you look around your yard: all those flaws you've managed to ignore all these years suddenly become visible. There are many things you can do--with or without professional help--to fix up your property and get it ready for sale. Most people focus on the house itself; after all, freshly painted walls and steam cleaned carpets do make a big difference. But there's one area that's often overlooked--one that can make a big difference not only in attracting potential buyers but also in sales value. "Curb appeal": you've probably heard the phrase before. But what exactly is it and what can you do to achieve it? Curb appeal is evident in that first glance at your property: does it look well-kept, is it attractive, does it look like someplace your prospective buyer would like to call home? The first step is to take a walk around your property, looking at it as if you were a stranger. It can be very helpful to have your realtor take this inventory with you--a trained eye can make a big difference. Look for the obvious things first: bald spots in your lawn, overgrown shrubs, cracked steps, dandelions, piles of leaves and sticks. Make a list of everything you see. It may seem overwhelming and you may not have the means to take care of everything, but prioritizing will help. If you can afford professional help, all the better; if you can't, there are things you can do yourself to improve the appearance of your property. The following list will help: Start with general yard clean-up: remove any branches, piles of leaves or dead plants. If you have a dog, make sure there are no "land mines" on the property. Reseed and fertilize your lawn; make sure it's kept mown and watered at all times while you're trying to sell. Take an edger and neaten up where the grass meets walkways and foundation. If you have areas of dead grass, consider treating for grubs. And, get rid of those dandelions! Trim overgrown shrubs, especially those close to your house. If you don't have any shrubs, consider buying a few. Even a small evergreen on either side of the front door can make a welcoming difference. If you have flower beds, make sure they're free of weeds. Renew or add a layer of mulch around flowers, shrubs and any trees you have in your yard. Not only does mulch keep weeds down and help retain moisture in the soil, it makes the beds look neater. mulch comes in different colors: choose one that will complement your flowers and your house. If your yard slopes, a low stone retaining wall will not only hold the soil (and flowers) in place, but it will also make the bed look neater. What about the approach to your house--do you have a walkway? If you do, it may need replacing. If you don't, now is the time to add one; even a few simple pavers between the driveway and the front door can make a difference. If you don't have a railing on your front steps, consider adding one. Make sure your front door is clean and in good shape. Do you have a driveway? If you have asphalt, look for cracks and oil stains. If you have dirt, consider laying down some gravel or pea stone. Fencing can make a big difference in your home's salability. People with young children or dogs will most likely want one for safety's sake. Privacy is another reason for fencing; it doesn't have to be a stockade fence--a few fast-growing evergreens like arborvitae can make a big difference. Aesthetics is another reason to edge your property. If your home is in a rural area, you may already--like many homeowners in New England--have a stone wall around your property. If so, check it for loose or fallen rocks. If you don't have any perennial flower beds, consider planting some annuals. Flats of bright, long-lasting blooms like marigolds and impatiens are inexpensive and add to your yard's beauty. As with any plants, consider the growing zone in which you live. If you're purchasing shrubs or perennials, choose ones that are hardy and require little maintenance. If the soil has a high clay concentration, loosen it up and enrich it by mixing in some loam. If you have a deck, you may need to power wash and re-stain or paint it. Check for loose support beams; sand any areas that feel rough and might produce splinters. If you have a patio, make sure it is free of weeds and cracks. Consider replacing a cement patio with slate or brick which not only look nicer but are easier to replace. Check your outdoor lighting; replace the bulbs, remove any dead insects. If you don't have any, consider adding some. If you can't afford wiring, solar-battery stake lights are inexpensive. If your mailbox is battered or wobbly, replace it. It sounds like a lot to consider and there's no denying that selling your home can be a difficult thing on more than one level. You want the highest price you can get, however, and these things that add curb appeal will increase your home's value and can make the difference between someone who makes an appointment to look at your home and someone who drives by and keeps on going.