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Low-Maintenance Landscaping

As a homeowner, you’ve had it drilled into your head a thousand times by now: curb appeal is crucial! For those who love being out in the soil and leaves and sunshine, it’s no problem. For the rest of us, sometimes life just gets in the way, and yard maintenance gets pushed to the bottom of the list. But there’s good news: having a beautiful yard doesn’t have to mean constant watering, weeding, and pruning. You can get away with bare-minimum upkeep by choosing plants, grass, and other landscaping materials that are low-maintenance. Here are a few examples of grasses and flowering bushes and trees that don’t require all that much attention.

GRASS

A lot of homeowners tend to take grass for granted, but if you’ve ever had a lawn that’s super shady or tends to get covered by falling leaves, you know the struggle. Grass needs mowing, fertilizing, and watering, and sometimes it’s hard to find the time to do it. Keep your grass maintenance easy by planting what’s natvie.

Bermuda grass is hardy and difficult to kill. It can grow from seed to full lawn quickly, even in poor soils, and stands up to lots of abuse from outdoor play. Bermuda grass does great in a drought, loves hot weather, and tolerates salt water well, making it perfect for our coastal community. If your yard is particularly shady, though you’ll want to consider another type of grass. Bermuda grass does poorly even in light shade.

Centipede grass is quite common and widely grown in South Carolina. If you want a dense-looking lawn that doesn’t require much mowing or fertilizing, you’ll want to consider this slow-growing grass. It’s good for yards that get full sun or are partly shady.

St. Augustine grass, also known as “Charleston grass” is the perfect coastal grass. It tolerates salt spray well and can be grown in even the shadiest of lawns. This is a fast-growing grass, so it’ll need more mowing than some other types, but too much watering or fertilizing can cause it to become thatchy, so you’ll save time in that area.

BUSHES AND TREES

Choose native bushes that don’t need a lot of pruning or watering, and you’ll be golden.

Azaleas are a local favorite, and they actually look best when they’re allowed to grow naturally and unpruned. With over 10,000 named varieties, there’s an azalea bush out there that’s perfect for your yard. Azaleas are very hardy and can literally live for a hundred years.

Hydrangeas produce some of the most beautiful flowers out there. They grow quickly and are covered with gorgeous blooms from spring all the way through fall. Hydrangeas like shade, and they hate to be pruned. In fact, a pruned hydrangea bush will not bloom.

Crepe myrtles are a prevalent tree in the Lowcountry. It’s common for new home builders to plant them as starter trees in a new neighborhood. Crepe myrtles thrive in our climate and produce brilliant blooms of pink, white, red, and purple. Even without flowers and leaves, the crepe myrtle’s branches are sculptural and lovely.

Camellias have a long blooming season and tend to flower in winter and spring, when other plants are still hibernating. While a new camellia does need to be watered regularly during its first year, established camellias don’t need much supplemental watering at all. Make sure to give them partial shade, where they’re sheltered them from hot afternoon sun.

Emerald green arborvitae is an evergreen that grows quickly and can stand up to Charleston’s famous heat and humidity. It enjoys full sun or light shade, and its natural conical shape means it won’t need pruning.

FLOWERS AND PLANTS

Yellow flag iris is a vigorous plant that loves wet spots like ponds or water gardens. It has sunny yellow blooms in the spring, and its foliage is evergreen, which means you’ll still have beautiful greenery in the colder months. They need full sun or part shade and moist soil.

Crinum, often called a bog lily, is one of the toughest low-maintenance plants you can grow. The crinum loves moist soil and full sun, and it produces beautiful and fragrant flowers in pink, white, and purple clusters from spring to fall.

Canna is a classic tropical plant for a low-maintenance garden. With gorgeous, variegated foliage that stands out in the crowd, it looks great next to Lantana. Canna prefers full sun a moist yet well-drained soil.

Black-eyed Susans are the perfect summer flower for your garden or flower beds. They have no problem withstanding hot summer climates, and they enjoy full sun and well-drained soil. In fact, Black-eyed Susans are at their very best in hot temperatures.

Phlox is the perfect low-maintenance perennial for drawing bees and butterflies to your yard. This incredibly fragrant plant flowers in the early summer and lasts for the season. Phlox thrives in full sun or partial shade and likes moist, well-drained soil.

While there are dozens of varieties we could include here, these are just a few of the least fussy yet beautiful plants, flowers, and trees to jumpstart your low-maintenance landscaping.

Friday Five // April 6th, 2018

Happy Friday! It’s one of the busiest weekends of the year in the Lowcountry, but there’s only room for five local events in the Friday Five. Attend a huge annual festival, hoof it over the bridge, participate in a crawfish-eating contest, and more. Whatever you choose to do, the staff and agents at Johnson & Wilson Real Estate Company wish you a safe and happy weekend!

Join the Summerville Chamber of Commerce in the Chamber parking lot on Friday for Flowertown Friday Night. This block party is free and open to the public. Bring your folding chairs and enjoy live music, food trucks, and libations. Parking for Flowertown Friday Night is available in various lots after 5pm, including First National Bank of SC and the Dorchester County Offices. No pets or coolers, please!

This weekend marks the 46th year of the annual Flowertown Festival in Summerville! From Friday through Sunday, festival-goers take in the azaleas, wisteria, and dogwoods and enjoy all the festival has to offer. Shop with over 200 jury-selected artists and craftsmen; eat your way through delicious culinary samplings at The Taste; have fun with the little ones at the Children’s Jubilee, and more! Please note that pets, drones, and personal golf carts are not allowed at the festival.

Running and walking enthusiasts will gather at the foot of the Arthur Ravenel Jr. Bridge on Saturday morning for the Cooper River Bridge Run. The world-class 10K race begins at 8am, but participants should be in their assigned spots by 7am. Runners and those who just want to cheer them on are also invited to Finish Festival in Marion Square for entertainment, food, vendors, and souvenirs.

On Sunday afternoon, Sunshine Family Expos hosts the 4th Annual Lowcountry Kids Expo & Summer Camp Fair at the Gaillard Center. This free event takes place from 12-5pm and is a celebration of the best products, services, and entertainment for children and families. It features local businesses and resources that focus on education, health and wellness, safety, summer camps, special needs, childcare, entertainment, and other family-related topics. Kids will love the free bounce houses, face painting, reptile petting zoo, photo booth, bubble soccer, balloon animals, stage shows, and character meet and greets!

Head out to James Island County Park on Sunday from 12-6pm for the 27th Annual Lowcountry Cajun Festival. The festival brings Louisiana to the Lowcountry through live Zydeco music, Cajun and Creole foods, a crawfish-eating contest, and more. Music acts include Shrimp City Slim, Jeffery Broussard & the Creole Cowboys, and Nathan & the Zydeco Cha Chas. There will be a kids’ section with carnival rides, inflatable games, and carnival games all day and unlimited for $15 per child. Coolers, outside beverages, and pets are not permitted at the Cajun Festival.

Staging Mistakes You Don't Know You're Making

Staging a home that’s for sale is a great way to make it appealing and inspire buyers to picture themselves living in it. But there are rights and wrongs when it comes to staging. Let’s look at a few mistakes you might not realize you’ve made when staging your home.

Over-Personalization

Home decor is a very personal thing. Sure you love that coastal, beachy theme in your living room. It might be inviting and relaxing to you, but not every potential buyer will agree. The same goes for that accent wall. Walking into a room to see one bold red wall can be off-putting for many buyers. Wallpaper accent walls have become popular lately, but wallpaper patterns are incredibly taste-specific. Yes, paint and wallpaper can be changed easily, but there are some buyers out there who can’t look past it or who just don’t want to do the work before they move in.

Not Enough Furniture

You want buyers to be able to see how well a room can accomodate different types of furniture. It’s easy for them to envision it when a house is vacant, but being able to actually see how much and what size furniture fits in a space is much better.

Too Much Furniture

So yeah, there’s definitely a balance here. While you want to show what a room is capable of holding, you don’t want to stuff it full. Putting too much furniture in a room can make it feel cluttered and unwelcoming. Be sure to leave enough space between furnishings for easy maneuvering and flow.

Too Much Color

It’s a good idea to freshen up the paint on the walls before putting your home on the market, but don’t go crazy and paint every room a different color. Likewise, don’t go with too bold of a color. If you don’t like the uniform look of one color throughout, at least keep it in the same family. For example, you could choose a dove gray for the main living area and a darker gray for the bedrooms.

Making Things Too Stark and Sterile

The last thing you want is for buyers to feel like they’re in a museum. Stay away from stark white walls and furniture. Don’t put out fragile decor that will make visitors feel like they can’t be comfortable. Remember that some buyers will have children with them, which means curious (and maybe sticky) hands and wandering feet.

Closing Doors

A closed door is a “keep out” sign, whether you mean it to be or not. Keeping doors open promotes flow. It’s also a cue that permits potential buyers to come on in and check things out.

Using Fake Items

We’ve all been inside that pristine model home that’s staged right down to the cardboard television and plastic food on the table. You’re not fooling anyone with that fake food, and it honestly just looks silly. Let’s talk about fake scents, too. Burning a fresh-scented candle or simmering a pot of spices is one thing, but please don’t pop a plug-in air freshener in every single room. Like decor, scents are highly personal and specific to each person who walks through your home. Overpowering fake scents can be downright offensive.

Forgetting the Exterior

Don’t forget to ramp up the curb appeal! The exterior and landscaping are the first impression every buyer will have of your home. Rake any stray leaves, mow the lawn, plant colorful flowers, put out a welcome mat, and maybe freshen up the front door and trim with new paint. You don’t want buyers to take one look at the outside of your house and decide it’s a no!

Have you made any of these staging mistakes in the past? Are there any we left out that are important? Let us know in the comments section!

How-To Tuesday: Set Up the Perfect Home Office

Those of us who work from home—whether it’s occasionally or full time—understand the need for a well-stocked and organized home office. Creating a space that is all at once inspiring and relaxing is important for the promotion of productivity and the reduction of stress. Read on for our best advice on setting up the perfect home office.

Designate an office space. If you’re not lucky enough to have an entire room to set up your home office in, find a spot that you can designate as your workspace. A corner of the guest room, a small, unused closet (just remove the door!), or a stair landing/loft area are all perfect spots. Just make sure you have access to electrical outlets and the WiFi access and cell reception are good.

Make a plan. Measure your office area so you’ll know what you need in the way of furnishings. Even if you have the perfect office setup in your mind, space constraints might require you to do things a little differently. Ideally, your home office should have a different vibe than the rest of your house, which contributes to the feeling of “going to work.”

Shop around for ideas. Take a stroll around your local office supply store, big box store, or bargain store. You can find great ideas for office supplies and decor at places like TJ Maxx or HomeGoods. If you don’t have an idea for the overall feel of your office, a little window shopping can help you figure out what you do and don’t like. There’s also a wealth of ideas on Pinterest!

Customize your workspace by using various pieces to make up the desk. For example, if you have a small table that you really love but also need drawers or shelves, buy a separate drawer set or storage cart and situate it under the table for a modular type of desk that you can switch up anytime you feel like it.

Install proper lighting. An office with lots of natural light is ideal, but if you’re short on windows, make sure your overhead lighting is sufficient for your type of work. Include a desk lamp for extra light or for those days when the overhead lighting feels too harsh.

Create an inspiring space. Give the walls a fresh, custom paint job. Go with a calming hue if you need an office that deters stress. If your job is a creative one, choose a fun, inspiring shade to keep things lively. Hang artwork that makes you happy, or hang a mood board so you can switch out artwork and inspirational articles/quotes from time to time. Stock your home office with fun office supplies that’ll bring a smile to your face when you need it. Add a plant or two to bring a little life to the space.

Go vertical if you’re short on space. Use shelves, baskets, or other hanging organizers if you don’t have much room on the desktop. Keeping horizontal spaces nice and tidy helps you feel more organized overall and leads to a more productive workday. We love this DIY ladder shelf as an example of how to take storage vertical in an updated way.

Get comfortable. One of the most crucial pieces you’ll buy for your home office is a desk chair. You’re probably going to spend a lot of time in it, so make sure it’s comfortable and promotes good posture. This is one area where splurging might be a good idea. The last thing you want is to feel hunched over and achy after a long workday. If your legs are on the shorter side, add a footrest under the desk for your dangling feet. This helps correct your posture and lets you keep your chair at the right height for the desk.

Don’t forget a trash can. Believe it or not, this is a little detail that tends to get overlooked. Trust us; you’re going to want a small trash can in your office. If you do forget one, you’ll either end up amassing a trash pile somewhere on your desk or you’ll have to keep getting up to throw things away in another room.

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