Curb Appeal Week: How To Create a Welcoming Porch

“April Showers Bring May Flowers.”

May is finally here which means it’s time to break out your gardening gloves. If your thumb isn’t exactly the greenest then we have some simple tips that your flowers will surely appreciate.

Scotts potting mixTip 1: Potted Plants Make for a Memorable Welcome

MIRACLE-GRO® POTTING MIX will help you get your front porch container plants off to a great start. It feeds for up to 6 months and you’ll get more blooms for more color (vs. unfed plants).

“Want to see more beautiful flower blooms and make it easy? The secret is to try Miracle-Gro® Potting Mix (designed for containers) along with regular feeding-watering-sunshine and you can maximize success.” – Phil Dwyer, Scientist at ScottsMiracle-Gro

Check this video out for ideas on how to craft an impressive container plant design

Tip 2: Save Time! Feed Your Plants While You Water

MIRACLE-GRO® LIQUAFEED® UNIVERSAL FEEDER connects directly to your spigot so you can feed your new and existing plants with any watering device. It takes out the guesswork when feeding by automatically mixing the right amount of nutrients so plant food is applied evenly. Now feeding is as easy as watering, no matter how you water. Grow plants two times as big with LiquaFeed® All Purpose Plant Food (vs. unfed)!

Always read and follow label directions.

Find more curb appeal project ideas from Scotts®, Miracle-Gro®, Ortho® and Roundup® here. 

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Curb Appeal Week: How To Refresh Flower Beds

It’s day three of Curb Appeal Week and by now we hope you have realized just how easy it is to get your yard looking gorgeous with help from our friends at Scotts®, Miracle-Gro®, Ortho® and Roundup®.

Spring is a time where our senses are woken from their winter slumber from the smell of fresh cut lawn, sight of blooming flowers, sounds of birds happily chirping,  and feel of a lush lawn between our toes there is nothing that can quite compare. Here are just two more ways to get your garden looking fabulous.

Tip 1: Mulch for a Fresh, Clean Look

SCOTTS® NATURE SCAPES® COLOR ENHANCED MULCH keeps your garden or landscape looking fresh with year-long color, guaranteed! A three-inch layer of mulch naturally prevents weeds by blocking growth and access to sunlight.  It also helps the soil retain moisture.

“One of the easiest ways to enhance the beauty and performance of any garden or landscape bed is by applying mulch.  Mulching adds rich color and a manicured look to your landscape.” – Phil Dwyer, Scientist at ScottsMiracle-Gro.

Tip 2: Kill Weeds in your Flower Beds

ROUNDUP® SURE SHOT™ WAND helps kill your weeds in 3 easy steps without the hassle of hand pulling. Step 1. Reach: Sure Shot™ Wand extends 2 feet so there is no more bending over. Step 2. Target: Protective shield fits over the weeds to help contain the spray and protect nearby flowers and plants from damage. Step 3. So Long Weeds: Roundup® branded products kill weeds to the roots so they don’t come back.

Find more curb appeal project ideas from Scotts®, Miracle-Gro®, Ortho® and Roundup® here. 

Always read and follow label directions.  Roundup, Roundup & design, Sure Shot Wand and FastAct are registered trademarks of Monsanto Technology LLC.  (C) 2015 Monsanto Company, worldwide rights reserved.

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Why Home Sellers Should Improve Curb Appeal & How to Start

Welcome to the start of Curb Appeal Week! Whether your lawn took a beating from the harsh winter weather or you just aren’t sure where to get started with your outdoor yard work, we’ve got you covered. We are dedicating the next five days of blog and Instagram content to providing the best tips and tricks to improve your lawn and garden with help from our partners from Scotts®, Miracle-Gro®, Ortho®, & Roundup®.

Whether you are just sprucing your home up for spring or getting ready to put it on the market, there is nothing like green grass and beautiful flowers. If you are in fact getting ready to sell your home, great curb appeal can make a nice impact on your home’s value.

Did you know up to 15% of a home’s value can reside in the landscaping?1

According to SmartMoney Magazine, “…landscaping can significantly increase your home’s value and selling price.”1 Spending 5% of the total value of your home on landscaping, and doing it wisely, you can add 15% or more to the value of your home.1 Moreover, HomeGain reports that investment in landscaping generated an average return on investment of 258%, in terms of the increase in value of the home.2

Better yet, landscape improvements show fast results.  Simply put, that means high impact for moderate investment.

So are you ready for Tip #1? Here is it:

Green Up Your Lawn in Just 3 Days! (yes, really!)

SCOTTS® GREENMAX™ LAWN FOOD provides essential nutrients grass needs for deeper greening in just 3 days. It also improves a lawn’s ability to absorb water and nutrients as well as thickens grass to help fill in bare spots.

Phil Dwyer, Scientist at ScottsMiracle-Gro, adds “When homeowners need a fast way to green-up their grass , I ask, ‘Have you ever tried GreenMax™?’ A lawn fertilizer plus iron supplement, GreenMax™ can provide noticeable greening in just 3 days.”

Curb Appeal Week will share daily tips from Scotts®, Miracle-Gro®, Ortho® and Roundup® to start improving your home’s curb appeal. Learn how to update your lawn, flower beds, front porch, deck and other outside areas to prepare for sale. All tips can be completed in a single weekend!

Find more curb appeal project ideas from Scotts®, Miracle-Gro®, Ortho® and Roundup® here. 

1 SmartMoney, 2003

2 HomeGain, 2011

Always read and follow label directions on these products.

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6 Spring Style Tips for Your Home

The following is a guest blog post from Patti Stern of PJ & Company

The start of spring means its time to celebrate the season with some fresh style for your home, both inside and out! Not sure where to begin? We hope the following tips will inspire your imagination when deciding the best ways to brighten, renew and add curb appeal.

Bring The Outdoors Inside. Place a variety of natural garden-like elements such as potted plants, topiaries and moss-covered balls on mantels, floors and shelves. Accessorize with beautiful botanical prints, fresh cut fern or boxwood clippings in glass vases, dried flower or pussy willow twig wreaths, ceramic bird figurines and plates which will make you feel closer to nature.


Master Bedroom Staged By PJ & Company Staging and Interior Decorating

Add a Fresh Coat of Paint. Go brighter, crisper and cleaner for spring. Start by choosing one new color such as yellow or green for an accent wall and combine with complimentary accessories which will make the room feel cohesively inviting. For your front door or shutters, try a fresh coat of a trending spring color such as Benjamin Moore’s Champion Cobalt to add instant curb appeal.

Update Bedding. Now is the time to consider some new bedding for your master bedroom, guest room, or kids room. Layer your bed starting with white and add some of the freshest colors for spring — coral, turquoise, or butter yellow. And, if your bedding is in great shape, just add accent pillows, new shams, and large European size pillows to transform the look of your room.

Get Bold With Fresh Colored Accents. Add color and texture to your entertaining areas (living rooms and patios) by switching out winter pillows with new spring colors and organic designs. Navy and white, orange and yellow, and linen pillows are great accessories to liven up any space. Don’t forget about your lamps which are also available in many different colors this season from green to orange. Add special string lighting and colorful hanging lanterns for garden ambiance in the evenings.


Source: HGTV

Refresh Kitchen and Patio Dining Accessories.Switch out dinnerware for ones with bright, garden-inspired patterns which pair well with lighter weight tablecloths and place mats in natural woven textures. Replace umbrellas that are stained and damaged with the latest trending patterns and colors. Add complimentary accent pillows along with a cozy rug for under the table. Finish off with some beachy scented candles and you’ll be reminded that summer is just around the corner!

Spruce Up Your Curb Appeal. Repair cracks in driveway, walkway, front porch steps and patios. Add personal touches to entryway with a beautiful floral swag or wreath, a new welcome mat, clusters of potted spring flowers on the porch and a hanging swing if space allows. Refresh with new accessories such as house numbers, lighting fixtures, door handles and knocker to create added appeal. Remove dead shrubs, prune bushes, and add pops of color with new annuals. Assess the condition of your lawn and decide whether to reseed or add sod if uneven and patchy. Add a generous layer of natural mulch to beds to complete the whole look.

For more examples of interior decorating and home staging, visit


patti-sternPatti Stern, principal, interior decorator and professional stager of PJ & Company Staging and Interior Decorating, has been decorating and staging homes since 2005. She and her team provide turnkey, full service home-staging and interior decorating to clients across Connecticut, New York and Massachusetts. She also developed an award winning staging program for luxury home builder, Toll Brothers.

Patti has been featured in Connecticut Magazine, the Hartford Courant, Danbury News-Times and on NBC Connecticut and FOX TV.  She is a regular contributor tothe National Association of Realtor’s Blog, “Style, Staged and Sold.

 Header image courtesy of Ballard Designs

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Find the Perfect Dallas Home Tour for Spring

A great Dallas home tour is the bedrock of the avid architectural appreciation of North Texas residences. With so many tours available in the area, selecting the right journey through the best of Texas homes can depend on your interests, preferences, and desire to couple the tour with other activities. Below are some of the most unique house tours that Dallas has to offer. These treks through impressive abodes in the region ensure that you’ll want to stroll through these dwellings ’til the cows come home.

White Rock Home Tour

Aficionados of mid-century architecture and design will love the White Rock Home Tour, which takes place April 25–26. Mid-century modernism is on full display during this tour, which emphasizes the Texas-centric and often sought-after Ju-Nel design. A highlight of the tour includes introductions to homes that have been constructed out of homegrown materials, making it literally one of the best home tours that the land of Texas has to offer.

Mother’s Day Home Tour

Make it a weekend full of architectural appreciation, history lessons and unconditional love by taking part in the 42nd annual Swiss Avenue Historic District Mother’s Day Home Tour. Schedule a getaway on Mother’s Day Weekend, May 9–10, to take in a Dallas home tour featuring early 20th century homes with Revival architecture and other delights specifically designed to cater to sweet matriarchs. Arrive to the homes in style by hitching a ride with horse-drawn carriages or mini-coaches. An English Garden Tour, live entertainment, antique car show, and arts and crafts section make this tour a regal standout amongst the home tour circuit.

Fairmount Tour of Homes

In Forth Worth, Texas, the annual Fairmount Tour of Homes occurs in one of the biggest historic neighborhoods in the Southwest. Between May 9–10, the Fairmount Neighborhood Association invites non-residents to learn why this historic district prides itself on the conservation and display of its homes every year. With seven awe-inspiring properties billed for the tour, visitors are sure to be transported back in time and return to the present with a new respect for yesteryear.

Spring Modern Home Tour

On May 16, the Spring Modern Home Tour offers an opportunity to become acquainted with the Southern majesty of Dallas residential architecture. Talented, licensed architects created these showcased homes, which have also been featured in prominent media outlets. The wide array of styles and inclusion of luxury abodes make it one of the finest Dallas home tours open to the public. Though visitors are encouraged to explore the homes at their own pace, all participants must wear shoe covers to protect the integrity of the homes and their surfaces. Along with the modest admission fee, this extra precaution is a small price to pay for an open door to extravagance.

Image Source: Flickr/geraldbrazell

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Things to Do in Dallas, TX, During Springtime

Lone Star State residents, business owners, and cultural enthusiasts offer a wide variety of fun things to do in Dallas, TX. Festivals, competitions, live music and art shows are just a few of the activities offered in North Texas every year during springtime. Whether you enjoy reveling in booming celebrations or simply like to kick back with a good libation and better company, there’s sure to be a North Texas event that is perfect for you and your favorite people to get out of the house and enjoy together.


Choco-holics will rejoice in the opportunity to indulge in confectionery delights, good spirits, and beautiful artisanal work during the annual ChocolateFest in Grapevine, TX. The festival, separated into two events, guarantees a sweet time. On April 24, adults can enjoy an Evening of Chocolate and Wine by sipping fine drinks while sampling decadent chocolates, listening to live tunes, and participating in a silent auction. April 25th ushers in the Day of Chocolate and Art for visitors of all ages. These candies are the icing on this cake of a festival that includes art, contests, and children’s activities. Ticket sales support the programs and initiatives of Travelers Aid Dallas/Fort Worth, meaning that visitors will be eating chocolate for a good cause.

Cottonwood Art Festival

For over 40 years, the Cottonwood Art Festival of Richardson, TX, has been making its mark on more than just canvases. Between May 2nd and 3rd, you can take part in this legendary and prestigious event that features talented artists from across the nation. Located in Cottonwood Park, the festival allows visitors to enjoy exhibits, live music, and the bustling art community for free. While there, pick up a piece of art from a burgeoning or well-known artist, or introduce young, imaginative children to craft work with on-site activities. The festival’s semi-annual events make it one of the most popular things to do in Dallas, TX. Best of all, well-behaved dogs can accompany their owners for a walk amongst creative geniuses.

Wildflower! Art & Music Festival

The Wildflower! Art and Music Festival, an outdoor celebration devoted to promoting and appreciating live music, takes center stage May 15–17 in Richardson, TX. Enjoy an impressive band line-up across six stages, guitar auctions, and the social harmony of all kinds of music-lovers. While there, witness an epic Battle of the Bands in which groups compete for the noteworthy title of winner, or tune into other competitions like Budding Talent, Student Art, and Songwriting Contests. A Kidz Korner ensures that young, musical prodigies can stay occupied with petting zoos, a butterfly tent, and age-appropriate games.

Image Source: Flickr/Stefan Ogrisek

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The Dallas Arboretum: Fun in Bloom

The Dallas Arboretum has always been one of the heights of nature and culture in the Dallas-Forth Worth area. With its large exhibits, grand events, and memorable displays, it offers city dwellers a convenient way to learn about and appreciate the Southwest’s floral bounty. Fine arts and live music make this destination a favorite amongst those willing to lose themselves in exquisite beauty and sounds. A kid’s museum and designated area ensures that even the youngest of a party can glean something special out of a visit.

Dallas Blooms

Through April 12, the Dallas Arboretum hosts a mesmerizing festival called “Dallas Blooms.” This year, the theme “Deep in the Hearts of Texans,” celebrates all that makes the Lone Star State special. Along with fantastic topiaries shaped into instantly recognizable symbols of Texas, the exhibit features at least half a million springtime flowers. Associated entertainment and activities take this floral festival to another level. Visit throughout the month of April to note how the Arboretum changes from week to week, as the flowers grow and bloom at their own paces.


Dallas’s reputation for being a patron of the arts extends even to its most famous botanical garden. On April 25th and 26th, the Arboretum hosts its Annual Fine Art Show and Sale. This event allows many talented local artists to showcase and sell their nature-inspired wares to the public. Sign up for a special preview on the Arboretum’s website to ensure that you get first pickings on the most beautiful of paintings.

Cool Thursdays Concert Series

The warmth of spring often encourages individuals to be more social and lively. If you feel like you want to connect with nature and other people, consider attending one of the many concerts offered on Thursdays at the Arboretum. These outdoor concerts allow you to spread out on a blanket and rub elbows with other fine folks who enjoy a mellifluous day in the sun. Check the website’s schedule for more information about bands and booked concert acts.

Rory Meyers Children’s Adventure Garden

While the delicate blooms of the Dallas Arboretum provide a gentle and sophisticated look into nature for adults, the Arboretum also offers exhibits and activities for children to enjoy. The Rory Meyers Children’s Adventure Garden boasts more than 150 activities spread out over eight acres that kids can dig deep into. Each activity focuses on fun and education, and can serve as lessons that can be brought back home or into the classroom.

Image Source: Flickr/A Davis

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Hot Colors for Your Home in Spring 2015

One of the greatest joys of making a house a home is personalizing it. A simple, and affordable, way of doing is by adding colors. But have you ever really thought about the impact and role colors play in your home? The importance of choosing the right palettes goes far beyond aesthetics which was elegantly articulated in Elsie de Wolfe’s book, The House in Good Taste, where she wrote “we must consider the effect of color on our nerves, our eyes, our moods, everything.” When I look for home decor inspiration I often find myself wandering into the world of fashion as I believe home and fashion trends are very much aligned. This is why  I turned to the titan of the color trends, Pantone Color Institute®  to answer the question, “what are the hot colors of Spring 2015?”

This season, cooler and softer color choices with subtle warm tones follow a minimalistic en plein air theme, taking a cue from nature. -Pantone Color Institute®

Colors like yummy and cool Tangerine Orange and Custard Yellow to gorgeous pastels like Lavender Herb Purple and Strawberry Ice Pink make it hard to choose just a few. The hot neutral color that continues to hold them all together? Gray…glacier and titanium to be specific. Wondering how to make these colors work in your own home? Here are some examples from homes currently listed for sale from

Tangerine + Custard

This beautiful Bahamian villa is pure paradise! We love how the tangerine and custard pool accessories add to the casual island elegance of this serene getaway.

See more of this Ocean Club Estate listed with Coldwell Banker Lighbourn Realty.

Glacier Gray + Aquamarine + Lavender Herb + Tangerine

Sometimes a view can set the stage for a room’s color palette. In this case, the gorgeous aquamarine water of Miami Beach is a perfect compliment to this bedroom’s bold, yet sophisticated multicolored theme. from the soft tone of the lavender herb bedspread to the pops of tangerine in the curtains and couch, every element of this room screams fun in the sun. Finally, the neutral glacier gray bedside lamps tie everything together.

See more of this Miami Beach penthouse listed with Coldwell Banker Residential Real Estate.

 Scuba Blue + Treetop + Strawberry Ice + Marsala 

This magnificent country French estate certainly takes a cue from nature from the strawberry ice and marsala colored roses to the forest green appliances and sea colored backsplash.

See more of this Pacific Palisades, CA home listed with Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage. 

Custard 13-0720 + Sandstone 16-1328

This room, which happens to be part of Villa Sorriso (the crown jewel of Napa Valley), does a wonderful job of marrying shades of custard and sandstone all the way from the ceiling right, down to the tint of the wood and finally to the hue of the light from the lamp. What really ties in the color scheme though, is the pop of color from the throw pillows.

See more of this Napa, California mansion listed with Coldwell Banker Brokers of the Valley.

Aquamarine 14-4313 + Scuba Blue 16-4725

Two beautiful blues with nautical names couldn’t have been a better fit for how this Martha’s Vineyard homeowner spruced up their luxurious wrap around porch which has both park and water views.

See more of this Oak Bluffs, MA home listed with Coldwell Banker Landmarks Real Estate.

Looking for more interior design inspiration? Check these homes out.

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Bluebonnet Trails: Celebrate Spring in Dallas

The season of spring almost always ushers in a budding of topographical and personal renewal. Ring in the warm months and lay the seeds for a prosperous year by stepping out of your Dallas home by spending some time in the Texas countryside and acknowledge all that this unique land has to offer. The month of April, especially, offers specific opportunities to commune and reconnect with the natural bounty of the land. Blooming Bluebonnet Trails and engaging outdoor festivals are sure to make an appreciation for the great outdoors sprout in even the most persistent of city slickers.

Bluebonnet Trails

Frolic through more than 40 miles of bluebonnet-dotted terrain in Ennis, Texas, any time during the month of April. This natural showcase of blooming beauty will keep you swaying in the wind with amazement. While this official flower of Texas tends to boast full blooms towards the end of month, regularly checking in with the Ennis Garden Club or Bluebonnet Love can keep you up to date on specific areas along Bluebonnet Trails that flourish with vivid azures and stark whites that rival the midday sky. Book tours on trails with a knowledgeable and friendly guide to learn about history and botany while also searching for that perfect, album-worthy snapshot.

Terrell Heritage Jubilee

Nothing says “fun” for Texans quite like an old-fashioned, country celebration. At the annual Terrell Heritage Jubilee during April 16–19, you’ll be treated to the sights and sounds of a down-home festival. A barbeque cook-off, rodeo, carnival, arts and crafts show, and live entertainment tickle the senses of visitors from across the state. Tours of local museums spotlight histories and antiquities that remain off the beaten path for most. The freeing, open space of the jubilee’s location offers to transport festival-goers to a simpler time and place where the only mandate is to have a rollicking good time.

Arbor Daze

Billed as the “ultimate family festival,” Arbor Daze skyrockets environmentalism into the stratosphere with its wide variety of fun activities, learning opportunities, and hands-on volunteerism. At this festival, you’ll have more nature-infused entertainment choices than you can shake a branch at. Arts and crafts, children’s areas, and local entertainment color this celebration with the right shades of joy. More than anything else, Arbor Daze promotes environmentalism by gifting its festival participants with a tree to plant and grow in an area of their choosing. Mark April 24–25 on your calendar and leave a preference for the concrete jungle behind.

Image Source: Flickr/John McStravick

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Home Improvement Projects for Spring

The beginning of spring can be the absolute best time to take on home improvement projects. With a rejuvenation of seasonal elements and a personal renewed sense of vigor on your side, many incubating home cleaning projects and upgrades become feasible once again.

Windows: The Eyes to a Home’s Soul

While you may have spent most of your winter sealing up and protecting your windows, the warm promises of spring require that you let down your guards — literally — and open your world back up to the outside. Clean your windows to remove the ravages of a harsh winter, including dirt, dust, and snow particles. If you heat your home using a fireplace, especially with smoky Texas Mesquite wood, wipe away soot buildup. Suitable and inexpensive cleaning solutions can be found right in your kitchen: A mixture of water and white distilled vinegar can leave your windows spotless. A quick, yet thorough cleaning of window panes can help guarantee you have a front-row seat to the new weather and all of the joy that’s born of it.

Dust for Home, Health, and Hearth

Take advantage of one of the gloriously warm pre-spring days in Texas by opening your windows and doors and allowing drafts of air to circulate throughout your Lone Star home. While enjoying the fresh air, jump on the opportunity to dust and vacuum. Remember to start at the highest possible place — this powdery nuisance can even accumulate on ceilings — and work your way down. Dust storms of varying intensity can provide enough of a reason to break out your best dusters, furniture polish, and microfiber cloths. Since North Texas’ allergen load tends to rank very high compared to other cities in the nation, this pre-spring cleaning exercise can be just what you need to help combat unwelcome sneezing, sniffling, and wheezing.

Walk Out on Winter

The tracking in of dirt and mud into a house is something that even the most conscientious of homeowners can’t always avoid. Dallas soil, however, has a particularly notorious reputation for being difficult to clean because of its clay-like properties. Use the period right after winter to scrub down your floors and coax stubborn accumulations out of all the nooks and crannies that it may have settled into throughout the colder months. Consider this ground-floor vantage point the perfect opportunity to check your foundation’s stability: North Texas soils can often expand and contract throughout the year and affect structural integrity, necessitating additional home improvement projects.

The Great Outdoors

Some of the first casualties of winter include tree branches and other unprotected, wild vegetation in yards. To ready your home’s landscape for the upcoming warm weather, prune lifeless tree branches and other cold-rocked vegetation to make room for new blooms and budding greenery. Use raked leaves to create mulch or compost; this can give your yard a facelift just in time for the season of youth and new beginnings.

In your backyard, spruce up your garden to prepare for the coming life-imbuing weather of spring. Consider remodeling or transplanting garden beds and positioning flowers that are meant to bloom during the warmer months. These pruning and transplanting activities give you the opportunity to transform your yard into a new landscape: For example, removing certain branches of trees and tending to annual flowers can influence how they grow when they’re revitalized by the spring sun.

Image Source: Flickr/Nadya Peek

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