A great home is complimented by a good looking yard. No matter how well built your home may look, if your yard is not well maintained, it gives a bad impression to a first time visitor.  Interestingly, it is note worthy that you do not need a huge budget to spruce up your yard.  Through ingenuity and creativity, a great looking yard can be developed at a minimal expense. There are several options to be considered when sprucing up your yard. If you have a larger budget with a lot of cash to spend, adding a patio, deck, arbor or gazebo would enhance the look of your yard while also providing additional areas to enjoy it. However, for those on a tighter budget, the following tips may help them achieve the yard they have always desired.

Add some color to your yard by planting a flower garden or expanding an existing one. Look around for plants that are easy to propagate. Ask friends and neighbors if they have any hardy perennials that they are willing to share.  You will find that most gardeners have an abundance of easy to grow plants they are happy to give you when doing their spring and fall transplanting.  This will keep your need to purchase plants to a minimum.

When starting a new garden, plant flowers in groups. This will allow your garden to look fuller and more lush quicker and be easier to maintain.  Have a gardener help you identify a few plants that grow really well together.  Take a small clump of each plant, ensuring you have an adequate amount of roots, and plant them a few inches apart.  Spacing of the plants should be based on the size and height of the mature plant.  If well maintained and nourished, you will have a well established garden in no time.

Try not to be tempted with beautiful annual plants as they need to be replaced every year. However, a small investment in a few flowers will help add color throughout the season while your perennials become established the first year.  Be cautious not to let a trip to the garden center eat up your budget buying annuals that you will only enjoy for one season. However, purchasing a small garden statue, bird bath, or sundial at a yard sale or consignment shop will add beauty to your garden for years to come.

Investing in big pots, and patio containers is a great idea.  Planters are a great way to spread color throughout the yard and are a lot easier to maintain.  However, the start-up expense of container gardening can be relatively high.  You will need to purchase good soil and compost or manure to help feed the plants throughout the season.  Placing large rocks in the bottom of the planter will help reduce the amount of soil needed and help with the drainage aspect of the container.  Typically annuals are best suited for this purpose, when spaced correctly, only a few well selected plants are need.  Consistent watering and fertilizer is key to keeping your planters in full bloom.

Strategically placing rocks and boulders in your yard and gardens would increase the aesthetics. There is typically no need to purchase these, there are plenty of places that you can get them for free.  Visit a local construction site,  the contractor may be more than willing to let you take what ever you want.  Rocks that are native to your area always look best and blend well with the landscape of your yard.  A bit of exploring around the wooded area in your neighborhood may produce just what you are looking for.  There is no need to over do it, less is more when it comes to adding rocks that are not naturally occurring in your yard.

The addition of trees and shrubbery will also make a great difference to the yard. Trees are often planted first, with the remainder of the landscape designed around them.  Younger trees are much more affordable, be certain to choose a variety hardy to your area.  Adding trees to your yard can be an ongoing project, planting one or two a year can help keep you within your budget.  The shade and beauty the trees provide will make your yard even more inviting.

A little creativity, some yard work, and a few dollars is all it takes to spruce up your yard. Keeping your yard clean and well maintained will produce the landscaped look you desire.

 

Make your own cleaning products its is easy and less expensive. One great cleaner to make homemade cleaners is oven cleaner. Oven cleaner often has lots of chemicals but when you make your own you can use less toxic items you have around your home.

Here is a recipe for homemade oven cleaner:

Ingredients:

2 tablespoons dishwashing liquid
2 teaspoons borax
1/4 cup ammonia
1–1/2 cups warm water

1. Mix all of the ingredients together.

2. Apply the mixture to oven spills, and let sit for 20 to 30 minutes.

3. Scrub with an abrasive nylon-backed sponge and rinse well.

WARNING: Never mix cleaning products containing bleach and ammonia, as dangerous fumes will result.

Buying a home is still one of the best ways to build wealth. If you are looking to add value to your home without breaking the bank there are many projects that will increase your home’s value for less than $1,000.

One thousand dollars can go a long way when it comes to home improvement projects. If you think and plan smart your profit should outweigh your investment. Here are a few projects that will give you the most bang for your buck.

1. Organize Your Home

Declutter your home by organizing closets, cabinets and pantries. Add bookshelves for more storage. Maximize space in the kids’ rooms by installing platform or bunk beds. A neat and organized home is easier to live in and shows better to potential buyers.

2. Make an Entrance

Simply updating and replacing your entry door will spruce up your curb appeal. Not only will the new door look great it can also help save money.  Adding a steel door will save on energy. Most of the new steel doors are made to look like wood. A new door will cost approximately $400.

3. Install a Programmable Thermostat.

Another way to save money is to switch from a manual to a programmable thermostat. Prices vary greatly on these thermostats but don’t expect to pay more than a few hundred dollars for a high end model.  A programmable thermostat can save you $180 a year in energy costs.

4. Update your Cabinets

Cabinet hardware makes a huge difference on how new your kitchen looks. Simply update the cabinet hardware by installing new knobs and pulls in more modern metals and looks. Most large hardware store have a large selection of hardware you can usually buy a 10-pack for approximately $20.

5. No more Bathroom Blues

Bathrooms can be one of the most expensive updates in a home. You can give a bathroom a quick facelift by replacing old tile. Vinyl tiles are inexpensive and easy to install or with ceramic tile can cost as little as $3 per square foot for material and installation.


Did you know you can clean your house with things you already have in the cabinets? No need to buy expensive cleaning products. Save time, money and clean with less chemicals by using everyday products.

Here are some unusual ways to clean your home.

Use white bread to: Dust an oil painting. Gently dab a slice of white bread over the surface to pick up dirt and grime.

Use ketchup to: Remove tarnish from copper and brass cookware. Squeeze ketchup onto a cloth and rub it on pots and pans. They should go back to their coppery color in minutes. Rinse with warm water and dry with a towel.

Use oatmeal to: Scrub very dirty hands. Make a thick paste of oatmeal and water; rinse well

Use rice to: Clean the inside of a vase or a thin-necked bottle. Fill three quarters of the vessel with warm water and add a tablespoon of uncooked rice. Cup your hand over the opening, shake vigor-ously, and rinse.

Use club soda to: Shine up a scuffed stainless-steel sink. Buff with a cloth dampened with club soda, then wipe dry with another clean cloth.

Use hydrogen peroxide to: Disinfect a keyboard. Dip a cotton swab in hydrogen peroxide to get into those nooks and crannies.

Use cornstarch to: Clean grease spills on carpets. Pour cornstarch onto spots and let sit for 15 to 30 minutes before vacuuming.

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