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Tips to Make Your Outdoor Space a Family Favorite

Summer months are filled with outdoor fun. It’s a great time to enjoy cookouts and other backyard activities with family and friends. Most of us see our patio or deck as an extension of our home. Have you made yours as inviting as the rest of your living space? Here are a few tips to make it a favorite spot for your family and friends:

Consider the Flooring

Your wooden deck or concrete patio floor may seem a little plain, so why not add an outdoor rug to brighten the space? It’s a great way to add color and it works well year-round.

Create a Little Privacy

Would you like to have more privacy from your neighbors even if you don’t have a fence? Consider creating a privacy screen – a vertical planter, potted tree or free-standing lattice with ivy could all be simple ways to make your space feel cozy and made just for you.

Expand Your Outdoor Seating

Outdoor seating is a must, whether you want to dine, read a book or just enjoy visiting with a neighbor. Small benches, tables and chairs can make your guests feel at home in your backyard.

Add More Lighting

String outdoor lights from a tree to a patio to create beautiful dining for evenings outside. String lights are magical. They make any space feel more intimate, romantic, and finished.

Plant a Garden

If you don’t have a lot of colorful bushes in your backyard, potted plants and raised gardens can be a great way to add color and make your outdoor space feel warm and inviting. Don’t just think of flowers, vegetables and herbs make beautiful additions that will also improve your outdoor dining. Many different types of edible produce can be grown in a vertical garden including peppers, peas, beans, and lettuce.

Prepare for Barbecues

Consider buying a grill to enjoy cookouts and expand the space for the chef in your home. Not only will it provide a fun area to cook and enjoy family and friends; it will also keep your home cooler by cooking outdoors instead of heating up your kitchen.

Warm Up on a Cool Evening

A fire pit for cooler nights can be a perfect spot to hang out while enjoying your family and friends year-round. And, it’s a great way to cook favorite deserts, like s’mores. Add a cover and you instantly have an extra table.

Don’t Forget to Recycle

Recycled items can be a cost effective way to decorate your outdoor space. Wooden palettes can make great vertical planters. Add new life to an old chair with bright paint and a plant in place of the seat. Spray paint an old colander and use as a hanging basket. Recycle an old table to sip lemonade. The sky is the limit if you think outside the box.

A few of these small changes can increase your living area and brighten up your outdoor space. Even the smallest patio or deck can be transformed into something larger than life with the help of paint, creative DIY projects, and some TLC. Before you know it, your family and friends may want to spend more time in your backyard.

 

 

Tips for Lowering Your A/C Bills

 

It’s starting to get hot outside! While you may be tempted to enter vacation mode and work on that sun-kissed glow, there are a few home matters you should take into consideration. For starters, is your air conditioner ready to work hard for you this summer? One of the best ways to save money and improve efficiency in your home is through A/C maintenance. You can also do several things in the home to reduce the work of your A/C and help save even more! Here’s how:

Close the Blinds and Draw the Curtains

Opening the windows and letting the fresh air in is one of the best ways to celebrate heading into spring and summer. A perfect match for spring-cleaning, listening to the birds and the breeze will make your home less stuffy and stale. But, be smart. During the hottest part of the day, make sure to close the blinds and draw the curtains. Doing so will stop the sun from heating up your house, help to insulate your windows and block out any street noise.

Use a fan

Considered a throwback by some, the power of a fan is understated. Whether ceiling or standing, fans are a good go-to for keeping cool – especially for sleeping. Easy to move and available in different sizes, they just might make for a good DIY project.

A trusty tidbit: a ceiling fan can make a room feel 10 degrees cooler and uses a tiny fraction of the energy of a central air conditioner. You can also run the fan at the same time as your A/C for even more efficiency and savings.

Adjusting your thermostat

If you don’t have a programmable thermostat, consider making manual adjustments based on the time of day and your activities.

  • Turn the thermostat up 5-8 degrees about 30 minutes before you leave for work: This will make it comfortable for you in the morning hours, but reduce your energy consumption while no one is home for the day. You can return to normal temperatures when you return home after work.
  • Turn the temperature up a few degrees while you sleep: Your body naturally reduces its temperature when you sleep by 1-2 degrees. If you can comfortably rest with a lighter blanket or sheet, or without any covering altogether, you have the flexibility of lowering your temperature a few more degrees to achieve comfort.

Get Out and About

For most of us, the bright sun and clear skies means spending more time outside with family and friends. When it comes to barbecuing and swimming, get the best of both worlds: some fun in the sun and a sure-fire way of giving your A/C a break. In addition to bringing the community together, these activities will prevent you from breaking a sweat and experiencing a heat wave in the kitchen.

Keep It Clean

Leading to the change in season, either clean or replace the filter in your air conditioner. Although regular maintenance of your A/C is recommended, this quick fix will allow the system to work less and ensure lower energy costs.

Get in touch with The Rogers Group to learn more about getting your home ready for summer!

HVAC Maintenance

 

Aside from shedding your layers and swapping your wardrobe, the best thing about spring is switching off the heater. Along with the change in season, comes a change in heating to cooling systems. While making the transition is cause for celebration, it’s important not to get distracted by the fresh air. First things first: check the state of your air conditioning unit. After a long winter season of ignoring it, the unit might need a little love. By taking an early look, you’ll be able to avoid any problems – and confidently beat the heat in the dead of summer.

Provide Early and Regular Care

Just like everything else, catching problems early on is ideal when it comes to saving money. By investing in early care for your HVAC system, you can avoid massive breakdowns and ensure your AC unit doesn’t leave you stranded when you need it most.

The month of May is a good time to start thinking about preparing for summer. If your HVAC is acting sluggish and you can’t figure out why, the reason might be as simple as changing or cleaning your air filter. The air filter enables fresh air to enter the HVAC system and ensures the unit works efficiently. Over time, the air filter gets blocked with dust and debris, which will cause the unit to lose efficiency and perhaps break down. Keeping your air filter clean is the easiest way to prevent breakdowns, keep your indoor air quality high, and ensure your HVAC is working efficiently. Many experts recommend changing your air filter at least twice per year, however, if you have pets or if people in your home have allergies or asthma, you should consider cleaning it or changing it more often.

Learn About Easy Alternatives

For those not wanting to spend extra on cooling costs, learn more about easy alternatives to using your air conditioning unit. By giving the unit a break from working over-time, you’ll not only lengthen the time between calls but also its lifespan. Top of the list: installing a smart ceiling fan.

With summer around the corner, tick off your to-do list with these tips and ensure a hassle (and heat) free summer. Contact The Rogers Group today for more information about HVAC maintenance.

 

Outdoor Home Maintenance Tips for Home Renters

 

Winter is the time of year where we tend to hibernate. Going outside requires extensive layering, and bad weather makes us just want to sit at home and watch movies. But when spring arrives, it’s almost like we all come out of hibernation. In addition to planning your exciting summer activities and opening the windows to get some fresh air in your house, you should also consider some spring home maintenance to keep everything running smoothly and to keep your rental property in tip-top shape.

As a renter, you’re not required to perform major repairs or significant maintenance on your rental home, but here are a few spring tips to transition into this lovely season and keep your home looking great and remaining efficient through the seasonal transition.

Clean the Gutters

Although you might not see it, your gutters are probably full of dead leaves and debris after the fall and winter. Cleaning the gutters is a spring task that should be done every year, and the reason for that is two-fold. For one, clogged gutters will cause them not to work properly and could cause rainwater to spill over and flood areas where water is not meant to go. Additionally, dirty gutters might also include dead leaves and debris spilling over, making your home look shabby and unappealing.

Wash the Deck

After a season of bad weather, chances are, your deck or patio is starting to look a little worse for the wear. One of our top spring tips for rental homes is to simply clean your deck. This could be as easy as using a gentle cleaning product and a hose or taking out the pressure washer to make sure the deck is free of any mildew or debris that got stuck over the winter. This way, when the temperatures rise and patio season arrives, you can entertain on your deck without having to worry about any gross debris or unsightly mess.

Prepare the Lawn for Spring

If your rental home includes a beautiful yard, you should also consider adding lawn work to your home maintenance checklist. Aerating the lawn and spreading fertilizer on any bare patches will get you ready for summer and produce a lush, beautiful lawn that your neighbors will admire. Additionally, you should double-check your lawn mower to make sure it’s ready to cut the grass when needed.

Spruce Up the Flowerbeds

Spring is also the best time to get your flowerbeds in order. This doesn’t need to be an involved process, and many renters can simply head to the nearest garden center and get a few plants and flowers to add some dimension and color to the property. In many cases, using native plants and flowers is best because these species are most likely to thrive in the area. The North Carolina Native Plant Society has a helpful list of native shrubs, trees, and flowers that would look great and be easy to maintain.

Replace Air Filters

If your home has an AC unit, it’s probably been sitting dormant for months. But now is the time that you should start thinking about using it again. Spring is a short season, and before long we will be right in the middle of summer. Before using your AC for the first time this year, replace air filters to ensure the system is working efficiently. This will also help reduce allergens in the home and keep you comfortable.

Looking for more home maintenance spring tips? Contact The Rogers Group and learn more about what you can do to get your rental property ready for spring!