How to Plan and Plant Your Own Vegetable Garden

Deciding to plant your own vegetable garden is a healthy plan and rewarding in many ways, but when confronted with the actual execution and all the planning and care taking required, it can seem a little daunting.

Never fear! It’s actually as easy as 1-2-3-4 (and some numbers in between). Check out these easy tips on how to plant your own vegetable garden this year:

  1. Picking out your vegetables:

Patio garden

  1. Choosing a place for your vegetable garden:
    • Try to pick a place close to the house for easy access
    • The average vegetable garden is 400 to 600 square feet
    • Full sunlight exposure is best for vegetable gardens. 6 hours minimum of sunlight is necessary for optimum growth
    • Access to plenty of water is key so consider setting up a sprinkler system

Edible Landscape

  1. Prepping the area:
    • Consider how you want to plant: Raw Cropping means you plant in rows versus Intensive cropping with closer spacing between the produce
    • Check the quality and drainage of the soil or you can opt to raise the beds and fill with new loam soil (see how to raise the vegetable garden beds here)
    • Plant your seeds!

Lush backyard garden

  1. Caring for your vegetables:
    • Your veggies are in a safe, light filled healthy soiled place
    • Ensure the crops receive about an inch of water a week
    • Weed your garden regularly.  Consider using a mulch or compost to help promote healthy growth.

Even if you don’t have a green thumb, you can still plant your own vegetable garden this Spring and when you’re eating a delicious salad with fresh, incredible produce that you grew yourself (with the help of the Internet, of course), you will be glad that you did it!

Photos courtesy of Fine Gardening, Pinterest, Balcony Garden web, and Shutterstock

Article originally appeared on LeverageRE.com

How to Plan and Plant Your Own Vegetable Garden

Deciding to plant your own vegetable garden is a healthy plan and rewarding in many ways, but when confronted with the actual execution and all the planning and care taking required, it can seem a little daunting.

Never fear! It’s actually as easy as 1-2-3-4 (and some numbers in between). Check out these easy tips on how to plant your own vegetable garden this year:

  1. Picking out your vegetables:

Patio garden

  1. Choosing a place for your vegetable garden:
    • Try to pick a place close to the house for easy access
    • The average vegetable garden is 400 to 600 square feet
    • Full sunlight exposure is best for vegetable gardens. 6 hours minimum of sunlight is necessary for optimum growth
    • Access to plenty of water is key so consider setting up a sprinkler system

Edible Landscape

  1. Prepping the area:
    • Consider how you want to plant: Raw Cropping means you plant in rows versus Intensive cropping with closer spacing between the produce
    • Check the quality and drainage of the soil or you can opt to raise the beds and fill with new loam soil (see how to raise the vegetable garden beds here)
    • Plant your seeds!

Lush backyard garden

  1. Caring for your vegetables:
    • Your veggies are in a safe, light filled healthy soiled place
    • Ensure the crops receive about an inch of water a week
    • Weed your garden regularly.  Consider using a mulch or compost to help promote healthy growth.

Even if you don’t have a green thumb, you can still plant your own vegetable garden this Spring and when you’re eating a delicious salad with fresh, incredible produce that you grew yourself (with the help of the Internet, of course), you will be glad that you did it!

Photos courtesy of Fine Gardening, Pinterest, Balcony Garden web, and Shutterstock

Article originally appeared on LeverageRE.com

Ways the Modern Home is Evolving

To some extent, many houses look similar to ones built years ago. However, a lot is changing on the inside. We use our homes differently than we did 50 years ago, and building/remodeling trends are keeping up with these changes.

Trends can be broken down into two major interconnected subsets: ways that technology has changed how we live, and ways that how we live has changed our homes.

1. TECHNOLOGY

Many newer homes now feature a garage charging station for modern electric cars (or at least the underlying infrastructure to set one up easily). The same is true for solar power. More and more homes are being built either with solar capabilities installed or are solar ready for when the owners decide to add solar panels.

Home is no longer just a place you live but a place that lives with you. This takes many shapes, from the smart thermostats that keep your home at the perfect temperature, to webcams that let you peek in on the family cat while you are at work, to smart home networks that oversee much of your home’s functioning. Smartphones are now both communication devices and remote controls; letting us do everything from locking the door to turning up the heat with a few quick swipes.

Tribeca Luxury Loft

2. LIFESTYLE CHANGES

While home theatres and gaming rooms are still popular, home offices are becoming the new essential. As telecommuting and entrepreneurship continues to rise across Los Angeles, your best office might be the one down the hall. Home offices were once afterthoughts but now they are often positioned more prominently in the home.

Multi-generational living is an ongoing trend that continues to evolve. From co-housing in a single home to in-law suites and guest houses that do more than house temporary visitors, our housing reflects a shift away from the traditional nuclear family setup. With space at a premium, the basement, once a home’s foundational afterthought can now be an entertainment center, office, or family gathering spot.

Some trends are also fading. Stainless steel appliances are less popular. Granite countertops have given way to marble and quartz.

Styles change but what remains is the joy and value that the right home can bring.

Photos courtesy of LeverageRE.com

Article originally appeared on LeverageRE.com

Ways the Modern Home is Evolving

To some extent, many houses look similar to ones built years ago. However, a lot is changing on the inside. We use our homes differently than we did 50 years ago, and building/remodeling trends are keeping up with these changes.

Trends can be broken down into two major interconnected subsets: ways that technology has changed how we live, and ways that how we live has changed our homes.

1. TECHNOLOGY

Many newer homes now feature a garage charging station for modern electric cars (or at least the underlying infrastructure to set one up easily). The same is true for solar power. More and more homes are being built either with solar capabilities installed or are solar ready for when the owners decide to add solar panels.

Home is no longer just a place you live but a place that lives with you. This takes many shapes, from the smart thermostats that keep your home at the perfect temperature, to webcams that let you peek in on the family cat while you are at work, to smart home networks that oversee much of your home’s functioning. Smartphones are now both communication devices and remote controls; letting us do everything from locking the door to turning up the heat with a few quick swipes.

Tribeca Luxury Loft

2. LIFESTYLE CHANGES

While home theatres and gaming rooms are still popular, home offices are becoming the new essential. As telecommuting and entrepreneurship continues to rise across Los Angeles, your best office might be the one down the hall. Home offices were once afterthoughts but now they are often positioned more prominently in the home.

Multi-generational living is an ongoing trend that continues to evolve. From co-housing in a single home to in-law suites and guest houses that do more than house temporary visitors, our housing reflects a shift away from the traditional nuclear family setup. With space at a premium, the basement, once a home’s foundational afterthought can now be an entertainment center, office, or family gathering spot.

Some trends are also fading. Stainless steel appliances are less popular. Granite countertops have given way to marble and quartz.

Styles change but what remains is the joy and value that the right home can bring.

Photos courtesy of LeverageRE.com

Article originally appeared on LeverageRE.com

Tips for Owning a Vacation Home

The dream of owning a second home is something many people seek to make a reality. But adding another property into the mix can come with a lofty set of responsibilities. If you want to make the most of your investment, but still reap the rewards of your own personal vacation spot, there are a number of things to consider.

1) Where in the world? 

Perhaps the first question to ask yourself is where you’d like to vacation on a regular basis. Did you grow up going to a particular lake, beach, or mountain retreat where you’d like to foster more memories with a more permanent domain? Or perhaps you’ve found you keep coming back to a certain place that has captured a certain place in your heart, drawing you back when you find the urge to escape. If such a place exists for you, then you can cross general location off your list of places to search for your second home.

2) Digging Deeper

While it’s true you may have located the general area for your vacation home, you may want to scope the landscape for general living amenities. Do you like to cook on vacation? If so, are there ample shopping options like farmers markets for fresh produce and well appointed grocery stores for the ingredients you’ll want for cooking?

Not into cooking on your time off? Does the area you’ve chosen have a good selection of restaurants locally and in nearby towns? Don’t box yourself in if you know dining out is a key part of your vacationing enjoyment.

Beyond that it’s good to know if your vacation escape has good options for shopping, entertainment and recreational outlets like skiing, bike or boat rentals, or fishing outfitters.

3) Touristy or secluded? 

Is the property you’re considering in a hot vacation market? Are there frequent visitors to the area throughout the year or just during seasonal times for winter skiing or summer beach combing? More importantly, do you want it to be? Often times, people enjoy the daily flourish of activity surrounding a certain vacation area. But others may prefer a more quiet, secluded environment. Before you make your investment, be sure you’re clear about what you really want during your vacation time. This way your expectations are set, and hopefully met, each time you visit.

4) Private or Shared? 

If you’re looking for a second home in hotter real estate markets, you may want to consider using it as a rental property during times you’re not using it. It may be able to help supplement your mortgage with the rent income you receive from guests. These days there are plenty of rental management companies that help to do all the work for you, from online sites like HomeAway.com that manages the rental listing, to local companies that help clean and maintain the property when you’re not around.

5) Friends and Family? 

Perhaps you opt to keep your second home off the rental market, are there friends or family members you’re considering sharing in the investment? Often times a family vacation home is something that brings people closer together, building lasting memories for holidays and special occasions. Not to mention the fact that sharing the responsibility can help offset financial constraints. But it’s always good to have a long discussion with friends or family members about expectations for how the home will be used and how time will be managed for individual visits. Will you allow other friends to use the home? Are there particular house rules you should put in place such as allowing pets or young children? As potentially awkward is it could be, make sure you have all details hammered out and reviewed by an attorney before entering into a financial obligation with someone else.

6) Consider the Living Space

When looking for just the right house, be mindful of the ideal layout you’d like to have. Do you plan to host large groups of people like family and friends? If so, you may want to consider an open plan that allows people to mix and mingle freely throughout the living space. It may also help to have a separate game or family room for younger ones to enjoy themselves when adults have the main area.

Opulent Telluride Penthouse

7) Keep a Pantry Inventory

You shouldn’t have to buy groceries every time you visit your home. At least not the shelf-stable basics like rice and beans. Keep a running inventory of necessities you have on hand and make a list of what you need to buy for your next visit before you leave. If there are other friends of family using the home while you’re away, make sure there’s an obvious place-such as a dry erase board on the refrigerator-for people to leave notes about needed items. Also be sure guests know what’s appropriate to use and not use when you’re not there.

8) A Well Stocked Kitchen

Cooking at a second home should be just as convenient as it is at your primary home. Not only should you have all of the common utensils, appliances and service-ware you’d need for a fully functional kitchen, but take stock of everything once a year to keep an eye on items that may have broken or have been lost from entertaining and hosting other friends and family.

9) Find Ways To Host More

Often times a vacation home becomes a place you want to share with many other friends and family, especially during holiday and popular vacation times. Be sure to maximize the amount of sleeping space you have. Invest in bunk beds and twin beds for younger guests. And pullout couches can always be a good option for last minute sleepovers. But while it’s important to have a comfortable space for others to sleep, it’s also good to try to keep space for privacy in mind as well. Do you have plenty of bathrooms to open your doors to more people? Would adding a couple of outdoor showers help for bathing kids and post- pool or beach activity? Do you have plenty of towels and toilet paper on hand? The key to great vacation hosting is making sure you never come up short in making others comfortable.

10) Appealing Outdoor Living

Whether you’re opting for a beachside home or a mountain winter wonderland, don’t overlook the importance of outdoor entertaining. Whether hosting guests of Tyour own or letting renters use the grill, it’s a good idea to make the outdoor area inviting and functional. Dining and seating areas are key as well as a well-defined outdoor cooking space. A patio hot tub, porch swings or hammocks are all great features for added outdoor pleasure.

 

 

Photos courtesy of LeverageRE.com  and Pinterest

Article originally appeared on LeverageRE.com

Tips for Owning a Vacation Home

The dream of owning a second home is something many people seek to make a reality. But adding another property into the mix can come with a lofty set of responsibilities. If you want to make the most of your investment, but still reap the rewards of your own personal vacation spot, there are a number of things to consider.

1) Where in the world? 

Perhaps the first question to ask yourself is where you’d like to vacation on a regular basis. Did you grow up going to a particular lake, beach, or mountain retreat where you’d like to foster more memories with a more permanent domain? Or perhaps you’ve found you keep coming back to a certain place that has captured a certain place in your heart, drawing you back when you find the urge to escape. If such a place exists for you, then you can cross general location off your list of places to search for your second home.

2) Digging Deeper

While it’s true you may have located the general area for your vacation home, you may want to scope the landscape for general living amenities. Do you like to cook on vacation? If so, are there ample shopping options like farmers markets for fresh produce and well appointed grocery stores for the ingredients you’ll want for cooking?

Not into cooking on your time off? Does the area you’ve chosen have a good selection of restaurants locally and in nearby towns? Don’t box yourself in if you know dining out is a key part of your vacationing enjoyment.

Beyond that it’s good to know if your vacation escape has good options for shopping, entertainment and recreational outlets like skiing, bike or boat rentals, or fishing outfitters.

3) Touristy or secluded? 

Is the property you’re considering in a hot vacation market? Are there frequent visitors to the area throughout the year or just during seasonal times for winter skiing or summer beach combing? More importantly, do you want it to be? Often times, people enjoy the daily flourish of activity surrounding a certain vacation area. But others may prefer a more quiet, secluded environment. Before you make your investment, be sure you’re clear about what you really want during your vacation time. This way your expectations are set, and hopefully met, each time you visit.

4) Private or Shared? 

If you’re looking for a second home in hotter real estate markets, you may want to consider using it as a rental property during times you’re not using it. It may be able to help supplement your mortgage with the rent income you receive from guests. These days there are plenty of rental management companies that help to do all the work for you, from online sites like HomeAway.com that manages the rental listing, to local companies that help clean and maintain the property when you’re not around.

5) Friends and Family? 

Perhaps you opt to keep your second home off the rental market, are there friends or family members you’re considering sharing in the investment? Often times a family vacation home is something that brings people closer together, building lasting memories for holidays and special occasions. Not to mention the fact that sharing the responsibility can help offset financial constraints. But it’s always good to have a long discussion with friends or family members about expectations for how the home will be used and how time will be managed for individual visits. Will you allow other friends to use the home? Are there particular house rules you should put in place such as allowing pets or young children? As potentially awkward is it could be, make sure you have all details hammered out and reviewed by an attorney before entering into a financial obligation with someone else.

6) Consider the Living Space

When looking for just the right house, be mindful of the ideal layout you’d like to have. Do you plan to host large groups of people like family and friends? If so, you may want to consider an open plan that allows people to mix and mingle freely throughout the living space. It may also help to have a separate game or family room for younger ones to enjoy themselves when adults have the main area.

Opulent Telluride Penthouse

7) Keep a Pantry Inventory

You shouldn’t have to buy groceries every time you visit your home. At least not the shelf-stable basics like rice and beans. Keep a running inventory of necessities you have on hand and make a list of what you need to buy for your next visit before you leave. If there are other friends of family using the home while you’re away, make sure there’s an obvious place-such as a dry erase board on the refrigerator-for people to leave notes about needed items. Also be sure guests know what’s appropriate to use and not use when you’re not there.

8) A Well Stocked Kitchen

Cooking at a second home should be just as convenient as it is at your primary home. Not only should you have all of the common utensils, appliances and service-ware you’d need for a fully functional kitchen, but take stock of everything once a year to keep an eye on items that may have broken or have been lost from entertaining and hosting other friends and family.

9) Find Ways To Host More

Often times a vacation home becomes a place you want to share with many other friends and family, especially during holiday and popular vacation times. Be sure to maximize the amount of sleeping space you have. Invest in bunk beds and twin beds for younger guests. And pullout couches can always be a good option for last minute sleepovers. But while it’s important to have a comfortable space for others to sleep, it’s also good to try to keep space for privacy in mind as well. Do you have plenty of bathrooms to open your doors to more people? Would adding a couple of outdoor showers help for bathing kids and post- pool or beach activity? Do you have plenty of towels and toilet paper on hand? The key to great vacation hosting is making sure you never come up short in making others comfortable.

10) Appealing Outdoor Living

Whether you’re opting for a beachside home or a mountain winter wonderland, don’t overlook the importance of outdoor entertaining. Whether hosting guests of Tyour own or letting renters use the grill, it’s a good idea to make the outdoor area inviting and functional. Dining and seating areas are key as well as a well-defined outdoor cooking space. A patio hot tub, porch swings or hammocks are all great features for added outdoor pleasure.

 

 

Photos courtesy of LeverageRE.com  and Pinterest

Article originally appeared on LeverageRE.com

Home Design Trends: Boxwood & Beyond

Some of the most influential designers in the world are reinventing the use of boxwoods in the home landscape.

There are many reasons to love boxwoods in the home garden. Their evergreen qualities mean they are year-round providers of color and shape – even providing visual charm under a blanket of snow. Available in a host of sizes from miniature to large scale, they can form the backbone of almost any garden in any climate. And good news – deer are not interested in munching on them.

But it may be the versatility of boxwood gardens that is their most appealing quality. Gone is the fussy and formal geometry of the past – today’s best practitioners are using dramatic large-scale proportions and breathtaking structure to set off naturalized trees and background plantings.


Paul Bangay

Australia’s garden superstar Paul Bangay epitomizes this style when he mixes classic parterre boxwood with wild roses or clouds of lavender. His thoughtful ideas about garden design and some great inspiration can be found in Paul Bangay’s Garden Design Handbook.


Paul Bangay

British landscape designer Miranda Brooks, whose clients include Aerin Lauder, Oscar de la Renta, Anna Wintour and the Rothschild family, creates outdoor rooms where clipped box hedges and manicured globes coexist with magical natural forests. Her signature style is to invest a garden with elements of calm and order while leaving some space for wildness where not everything is pruned to perfection.



Miranda Brooks

These designers’ works demonstrates that boxwood gardens can dazzle in any setting – from stark contemporary architecture as well as more traditional architectural styles.

Photos courtesy of Paul Bangay, World of Aerin, and Miranda Brooks.

Article originally appeared on LeverageRE.com

Home Design Trends: Boxwood & Beyond

Some of the most influential designers in the world are reinventing the use of boxwoods in the home landscape.

There are many reasons to love boxwoods in the home garden. Their evergreen qualities mean they are year-round providers of color and shape – even providing visual charm under a blanket of snow. Available in a host of sizes from miniature to large scale, they can form the backbone of almost any garden in any climate. And good news – deer are not interested in munching on them.

But it may be the versatility of boxwood gardens that is their most appealing quality. Gone is the fussy and formal geometry of the past – today’s best practitioners are using dramatic large-scale proportions and breathtaking structure to set off naturalized trees and background plantings.


Paul Bangay

Australia’s garden superstar Paul Bangay epitomizes this style when he mixes classic parterre boxwood with wild roses or clouds of lavender. His thoughtful ideas about garden design and some great inspiration can be found in Paul Bangay’s Garden Design Handbook.


Paul Bangay

British landscape designer Miranda Brooks, whose clients include Aerin Lauder, Oscar de la Renta, Anna Wintour and the Rothschild family, creates outdoor rooms where clipped box hedges and manicured globes coexist with magical natural forests. Her signature style is to invest a garden with elements of calm and order while leaving some space for wildness where not everything is pruned to perfection.



Miranda Brooks

These designers’ works demonstrates that boxwood gardens can dazzle in any setting – from stark contemporary architecture as well as more traditional architectural styles.

Photos courtesy of Paul Bangay, World of Aerin, and Miranda Brooks.

Article originally appeared on LeverageRE.com