A quick-improvement here, a quick-improvement there, and soon you are enjoying your home and lifestyle with a whole new perspective. We love to do at least one of these every week to keep our homes fresh and inspiring, both inside and out.
Who says that home improvements need to be complicated? While many can be, these are the easy ones that tie you over between those other larger projects; they're a lot of fun, should be very spontaneous and need to feel like they're part of your overall design goals.
They also require a very abbreviated Envision-IT, Design-IT, Plan-IT, and Build-IT process. You can do a quick-improvement in your head, you don't need an architect or designer, and these improvements can be accomplished in little time.
This page is dedicated to our fans that need some inspiration for a quick-improvement on a week night or maybe even squeeze in a couple over a busy weekend. Remember, the strategy here is continous quick-improvements that accumulate and improve your lifestyle and reselling advantage.
Enough with the Preamble...let's get to work!
Quick-Improvement Tip The Gutter Filtration Project
On a recent trip to Sam's Club we were doing our serpentine walk through the aisles--low and behold, we found the Gutter Filtration Kit. We checked out the package info and I was sold. I have read about these materials in the past and now they were in our cart...easy decision.
After spending the past twenty years constantly cleaning out gutters, this was an easy decision. It's a simple wedge that you insert into your existing gutters after you have cleaned them thoroughly. We started with three boxes.
Here's a cross section of the "wedge". The material is a very pourous open cell fiberous web like material. This material allows water to flow through, but the leaves and other tree droppings are trapped on top of the wedge--the next time there is a slight breeze, it blows everything to the ground.
Before the Gutter Filtration Kit--all of these leaves and branches eventually make their way to the downspout and clog the hole. When this happens, the gutter overflows down the sidewall and dumps water against your foundation. Ideally, all rainwater needs to be diverted at least six feet away from your foundation.
We've cleaned out all of the leaves, twigs, and other tree debris. Using a high pressure hose, we got rid of all of the gunk. We also make sure the downspout doesn't have any trapped debris. This ensures a good clean installation of the medium so it can operate at peak performance.
All in all, this was definately and quick-improvement with a high return on investment.
It's now been about three weeks since these have been in place. They are doing exactly what they are designed to do. We've had a couple of heavy rain storms over the past few days, along with some windy gusts. The leaves lay on top, then the wind comes along and blows them to the ground. All the rain is going right where it's supposed to go.
Out With the Old--In With the New--Mum's the Word
We decided to replace the petunias in the planters on the rear deck steps. They were positively beautiful in the early summer as you see can see. Very sad. So we said good-bye to the petunias and planted some lovely red mums.
We specifically chose these plants because there were very few flowers that were open. To buy them already in full flower means much less time to enjoy them.
We would only have bought them in full bloom if we were having an event and needed the color for the event. We will enjoy watching them mature.
We buy mums every year. A couple of years ago, we decided to start planting them in a whiskey barrel in the back yard once they were past their prime.
This way, they will come back each year so we get to enjoy them year after year.
We'll do the same with these once they have gone dormant for the season. We wouldn't mind eventually having many pots of different colored mums placed throughout the back yard. That would be spectacular.
Front Door Wreath--Welcome Home
Nothing says "Welcome" or "Welcome Home" more than a seasonal wreath on the front door. We always adorn our front door with a seasonal wreath. Fall is here, so the Summer fruit wreath came down, and up went the fresh, aromatic Eucalyptus wreath.
I particularly love this one at this time of the year because of the wonderful, fresh scent of Eucalyptus that fills your nostrils every time you open the front door. It's deep purple hues are the perfect compliment to the Fall season.
Taming the Devil's Triangle
Fall is finally here and what a welcome reprive to the area's heat and humidity. Now we can get back outdoors and tackle some of those neglected areas.
Spending some time cleaning up and replanting here will go a long way in giving the front yard and surrounds a fresh look. As you see, the area had become overgrown with weeds and crabgrass.
This first photo is showing an area between my driveway and the next-door neighbor.
These little areas frequently do not get the attention they need.
The ground was somewhat moist so that made for easy removal of these weeds.
I brought a little hand rake and a spade as backup. The spade was useful in helping to dig out some of the more relentless weeds.
Once that was done, I was left with a nice clean patch of ground to work with.
I found a flat of lillirope at my local Lowe's which I thought would work splendidly in this area. Lillirope are perennials, and they tolerate sun as well as shade, and are drought resistant.
These are very important factors to consider when planting in this spot as it gets a lot of morning sun and is prone to be dry, even when we have rain.
This area is near the street and sandwiched between concrete which makes it inhospitable to most plants. I planted pachysandra here a few years ago and it was a disaster. Pachysandra likes shade and water. I don't know what I was thinking. But, as you can see, it did not make it. I was able to rescue a few plants, but the majority simply died. So, I decided to plant lillirope.
And there you have it. A lovely island of lillirope. What a nice, fresh, updated planting and one that will make it through difficult weather.
Lillirope will stay green through the fall and winter but will not continue to grow.
In early spring all you have to do is cut it back with a pair of ordinary household scissors to about an inch or two above the ground and it will reward you with new spikes of green.
This particular type is variegated but you can buy it with solid, dark green leaves. Either is beautiful as part of your quick-improvement strategy.