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April
4

Helpful Tips for Planting a Tree This Spring

Tree Planting

Trees provide some much-needed shade in the summer and can even attract beautiful birds to your land. The right trees may also increase the value of your property as they improve your home's curb appeal. If you've been looking for the perfect time to add a new tree to your landscape, that time has come. Spring is the best season for tree planting. To help ensure your trees grow strong and healthy, our real estate agents have some helpful tips to share.

  • Plan Ahead When Choosing a Planting Site
    When deciding where to plant a tree, make sure you consider how your home and yard will look with a mature tree in that spot. Ensure the tree won't interfere with your home or structures once it's grown. 

  • Choose the Right Tree for the Site
    Consider the conditions in the site where you'll be planting, and choose a tree that can thrive under those conditions. For example, if you're planting in a shady area, you need a tree that tolerates shade. If your soil is poorly drained, look for a tree that can tolerate some flooding. Take your time reading the labels at your local garden center to ensure you pick a suitable tree.

  • Remove the Container
    While you can technically plant a tree that's been wrapped in burlap, doing so will slow down the tree's root growth. So, whether the tree is contained in burlap, wire casing, or a plastic pot, it's best to remove the root container before planting.

  • Create a Wide Hole
    When digging a hole in which to plant your tree, you need to make sure that the hole is wide enough. The loose soil in the hole around the root ball makes it easier for the tree's roots to expand when it first begins growing. Experts generally recommend the hole is at least three times as wide as your tree's root ball, but it's perfectly okay to dig wider than this.

  • Don't Pack the Soil Too Tightly
    After you put the root ball in the hole, you'll need to refill the hole with loose soil. Be careful not to pack this soil down too tightly. Pack it firmly enough that it holds the tree upright, but not so firmly that the tree's roots will struggle to push through it.

Mulch

  • Mulch Around the Tree
    After you plant the tree, put some mulch around it. Organic mulch will break down over time, serving as a natural fertilizer for the tree as it grows. Wood mulch tends to look the nicest, but you can use pine needles, straw, or even leaf litter if desired.

    When mulching around the tree, be careful not to pile the mulch directly against the trunk. Doing this could trap moisture against the tree trunk, leading to rot.

Water

  • Avoid Overwatering
    Sometimes homeowners, having the best of intentions, end up overwatering their young trees after planting. Overwatering the tree can be even worse than not watering it enough. Long-term exposure to overly moist soil can cause root rot, which will eventually cause your tree to wither and die.

    A good strategy is to always test your soil before watering. Stick your finger or a stick into the soil, and see if it's still moist an inch or two beneath the surface. If the soil at this level is still moist enough to clump together, your tree does not need watering yet. When you determine that the tree does need watering, make sure you water for long enough to penetrate into the deeper soil. Consider setting a hose about a foot from the tree, then letting it flood the area for about an hour.

planting tips

  • Wait a Year Before Fertilizing
    The soil and mulch should contain enough nutrients to sustain the young tree for its first year. Fertilizing too soon after planting can cause the roots to remain "stuck" in the area where you dug rather than expanding out into the surrounding soil.

    Once a year passes, you can fertilize the tree, but make sure you use a fertilizer formulated specifically for young trees. General-purpose fertilizers are sometimes too high in nitrogen, which can cause a tree to develop too much foliage and not enough branch growth.

If you follow the tips above when planting your trees, you should have many years of shade and beauty to look forward to. If you're new to the area and still looking for Staunton homes for sale, feel free to contact us. We'll help you find the perfect spot so you can plant your own trees next spring.

February
16

How to Start Planning for Your Spring Garden

Augusta Spring Garden

April showers may bring May flowers, but planning the perfect spring garden starts well before that. When it comes to creating the right conditions and choosing the best plants, even Mother Nature needs a helping hand.

So what are the secrets to adding curb appeal to Virginia homes for sale with a stunning garden? Our real estate agents share their favorite tips for planning a garden that makes your vision a reality.

  1. Do Your Homework
    Johnny Appleseed may have been successful with random planting, but that's the stuff of legends and children's tales. Agent Judy Linhoss points out that it's easy to find webinars, how-to guides, and all the information you need online. Sit down with your tablet or laptop and a hot cup of coffee, and you're ready to go.

  2. Put It in Writing
    Any goal begins taking shape when you write it down. Use whichever style you prefer, whether electronic or paper and pencil. In addition to documenting the actual steps, be sure to sketch out a diagram of the layout, including which plants will go where.

  3. Create a Schedule
    Agent Renee Whitmore warns about planting too early, advice she learned from her husband's grandmother, Janice. Despite warm weather and sunshine in April, the danger of frost still lingers, and you may be left scrambling to save your plants. As Renee says, "Always listen to Grandma! She knows best."

    Indoor Garden tips
  4. Order Seeds and Plants
    As soon as you decide exactly what you'll be planting, order the corresponding seeds from a local nursery or online source. If you decide to go with garden-ready starter plants, they'll be shipped when it's the right time to plant them.

  5. Clean Garden Beds
    Agent Kay Horn stresses the importance of cleaning the garden beds as soon as weather permits.  Clear out any rocks or dead leaves and sticks cluttering up the surface and removing existing weeds. Start a compost pile to hold any organic debris. Adding a layer of mulch will help keep moisture in while preventing new weeds from gaining a foothold.

  6. Gather Your Gardening Tools
    When you're having a great gardening session, the last thing you want is constant interruptions having to look for the proper tool. Assemble your gloves, pruners, trowels, and other tools in a convenient location. If you don't already have one, consider purchasing a tote or bag that will make it easy to store and carry tools. Be sure to get a tune-up for shears, spades, hoses, and other items that may need maintenance.

  7. Collect Starter Pots and Trays
    Some seedlings, such as petunias and tomatoes, are too fragile to survive outdoors, no matter how warm the weather is. If this applies to any plants you'll be including in your garden, you'll want to start them indoors and transplant them once they have grown enough to gain some strength.

    Planting Tips
  8. Prepare the Soil
    Just as food fuels our bodies, soil provides the nutrients that plants need to thrive. If a handful of soil clumps together, it's still too damp for planting. Whether you're using in-ground beds, raised beds, or container gardens, supplement the existing soil with a revitalizer that can be found at nurseries or home improvement stores. A soil testing kit gives more detailed information as to which specific minerals and nutrients are lacking.

  9. Manicure the Yard
    This dormant period is a good time to prune bushes and trim trees and ornamental grass. Use a flat-bladed spade to cut a clean edge around the garden beds so the lawn won't creep into them. 

    Garden Tips

  10. Make Plant Markers
    Markers help you identify what has been planted where until the plants grow large enough to take shape. While a wide variety of plant markers can be purchased in stores and online, it's a great DIY craft project, especially if you have kids who will love to join in on the fun.

  11. Develop a Contingency Plan
    As in many parts of the country, weather around Rockingham homes for sale can be unpredictable. Come up with an action plan outlining the steps you'll take if the area should be hit by an unexpected frost or heavy rains.

  12. Update Accessories
    Styling gardens at Augusta homes for sale increases the visual appeal. Use this time to paint and repair bird feeders, statues, and other accessories or add new ones for an updated look.

Want more tips for indoor and outdoor projects that will boost your home's value? Our experienced and knowledgeable real estate agents are ready to help. Contact us at Old Dominion Realty to learn more.

June
13

How to Add Home Value with These Backyard Investments

Add Home Value with Curb Appeal
Whether you're preparing to sell your home or interested in adding value to it, look no further than your own backyard.  Getting started doesn't necessarily require a major investment because many backyard projects will fall comfortably in the DIY category for homeowners. Even if you have to hire a contractor, updating your backyard with the right additions will typically generate a solid return on your investment – both financially and in terms of curb appeal.

Our team of REALTORS® at Old Dominion Realty knows what catches the eye of home buyers, so we've gathered a collection of backyard curb appeal ideas that are sure to add value to your home.

Outdoor Updates Add Major Curb Appeal and Value to Your Home

Before we dive into the updates, it's time for a little tidying up. Literally. If your backyard has doubled as a storage space or your garden has seen better days, cleaning up is the perfect way to get started. It won't take much time, you can do it yourself, and it's always best to work from a nice, clean slate when updating your home's outdoor aesthetics. With that out of the way, you'll be ready to move ahead full-speed.

  • Outdoor Lighting – Just as it does inside, lighting makes a big difference in the visual appeal of your home's outdoor spaces. Adding outdoor lighting is also quite affordable, and the many solar-powered lighting options available make installation a breeze. Get started by scouting your lighting options online for inspiration, or visiting your favorite home improvement store.
  • Rustic Walkways – Another relatively simple update, adding walkways is an excellent way to boost your yard's visual appeal while also saving wear on your lawn. Slate walkways are still popular and have a classic look, while pavers are easy to install, with plenty of variety in shape, color, and size.
  • Outdoor Cooking – There's nothing like a backyard barbecue, and adding a dedicated cooking space provides a perfect excuse to fire up the grill regularly. You can opt for something simple like a grill enclosure on your patio, or even add a full outdoor kitchen if you're aiming to appeal to the luxury market.
  • Landscaping – There is a ton you can do to upgrade outdoor landscaping, so this is one place you can get creative with curb appeal ideas. Trees take time to mature, but add serious value if you plan to wait a bit before selling your home. For a more immediate upgrade, shrubs, flowers, and a healthy lawn are perfect. Sticking to plants that are native to your area will simplify maintenance, for you and your home's lucky buyer.
  • Just Add Water – If you're looking to create a peaceful, tranquil backyard atmosphere, a water feature will look great next to your updated landscaping. Adding a small pond or fountain won't take a major investment, either. Just remember to add a few nice chairs nearby for relaxation.
  • Decked Out – An outdoor deck or patio is the perfect place to spend a warm summer evening with friends and family. It's also an effective way to increase the value of your home. Most homeowners will want to call a contractor for this one, but there are few better ways to dramatically update the look of your yard.

Contact Old Dominion Realty

Upgrading your yard is a great start, and your REALTOR® will help you find shoppers who are ready to fall in love with your home's new look. Contact our team at Old Dominion Realty for more ideas and advice on selling your home.

May
15

Modern Tips For Landscaping Your Home

Landscaping is often the first element of a home that a person sees. If it is done properly, home landscaping can have a significant positive impact on the value of a home. There are several things to remember if you are a seller that is interested in landscaping your home to help it sell more quickly on the market.

Landscaping

Come Up With A Plan

Instead of haphazardly adding plants, flowers, or other landscaping elements to your yard, come up with a strategy to landscape the entire yard. Consider where your doors and windows are and how you want people to walk up to the property. The more time you spend planning the way that your yard will look, the easier landscaping your home will be.

Be Aware Of Your Time Constraints

The amount of effort you invest in landscaping your home sometimes depends on how long you plan to be in your home. For example, if you are planning on being in your home for a number of months or even another year, you may have time to incorporate plants that take a while to mature. On the other hand, if you are going to be landscaping your home with the goal of selling it in the next few weeks, you may want to invest in plants and flowers that are more temporary in nature.

Types Of Plants

The kinds of plants that you choose to landscape your home with will also affect the value of your home. Remember that many people prefer to see landscaping with plants that are mature. Some popular plants to use for landscaping your home include tulips, rose bushes, and apple trees.

Consider Hiring A Professional

Although not everyone wants to spend the money that is required to hire a professional landscape designer, the investment makes sense for some people that anticipate a sufficient profit on the sale of their home. Landscaping your home is much easier with the help of a landscaping company. These experts take care of all the tough parts of landscaping your home after you give them direction based on your preferences.

Landscaping can be a difficult endeavor for a homeowner looking to sell their home. However, there are things you can do to make it easier. For help with all aspects of selling a home in Virginia or West Virginia, get help from the experts at Old Dominion Realty.

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