Patty Connolly's Blog
For houseplant enthusiasts, there never seem to be enough plant pots. While lots of household items can work as planters for houseplants, finding items that work as well for succulents can be difficult. This holds true especially for succulent arrangements with multiple plants in the bunch. To help inspire you here are some tips for items you can turn into DIY planters to house all of your favorite succulents.
If you like tea as much as houseplants, you might already have some empty tins looking for a second use. Tea tins are the perfect size for single succulent planters and the variety of tea labels provide you with a bit of art on every one. Try poking a hole into the bottom of each tin for drainage and arrange multiple succulents in tea tins for a charming piece of kitchen or dining room decor.
Berry baskets are full of holes and therefore may not seem like an excellent choice for planters. However, as long as you use chunky potting mix made especially for cacti and succulents, you’ll find the holes are incredibly useful for drainage without losing soil. Try planting a few colorful succulents in a berry basket to give as a gift or even to use as a festive centerpiece.
For a rustic and natural take on DIY planters, try hollowing out a stump or log. Succulents do not have deep root systems and therefore don’t require a lot of room to grow, so you don’t have to hollow out the entire thing. Instead, you can use a handsaw to cut out a small portion in the top for the potting mix and plants to rest. This makes a fantastic piece of outdoor decor for your porch or patio.
Cinder blocks are fantastic DIY planter options because you can use them almost as-is. The only thing you may wish to do is add a tray underneath so the potting mix doesn’t fall out of the open bottom. Otherwise, simply clean up a cinder block, add the planting medium and succulents and you’re done. The contrast between the rough edges of the cinder block and the soft colorful shapes of succulents makes for a great statement piece and adds instant rustic charm.
If you’re short on space and looking for ways to hang your plants, try repurposing an old shower caddy. You can turn these into DIY planters in a few steps by adding a layer of mesh or moisture-wicking fabric to the bottom of each caddy shelf. Then all you need to do is add your soil mix and plants. This gives you a great opportunity to mix in trailing succulent varieties and other varieties that spread or grow upward. Hang the shower caddy planter off of your fence outside or off of the wall in the home for a funky and simple vertical garden solution.
2 Beach Plum Path, Falmouth, MA 02536
When it comes to making your home and property safer for your family and others, the Boy Scouts motto says it all: "Be prepared!"
While it's next to impossible to completely eliminate all risks and potential hazards in and around your home, there are dozens of things you can do to make your property safer.
Every family's safety needs are unique, but here are a few basic precautions that can help reduce the chances of home accidents occurring -- both large and small.
Stair safety: All things being equal, it's riskier to walk down a flight of stairs than it is to walk on level ground. While that may seem obvious, most people don't stop and think about the potential risks of descending stairs as they're about to do it. Although tripping and falling on stairs can be injurious to just about anyone, it's especially dangerous for elderly people. From a homeowner's standpoint, there are several things you can do to reduce the risk of family or friends stumbling on your stairs. On an ongoing basis, it's necessary to make sure there are no loose objects on the stairs that could cause someone to lose their footing. Keeping stairs clear of toys, building blocks, and slipping hazards can be challenging if you have young children. Until they're taught to pick up after themselves -- which might occur sometime between now and college -- stair safety is an important issue to be aware of. Another key strategy for preventing household accidents is to make sure railings are properly installed and firmly anchored. Basement stairs can pose additional risks because they're sometimes inadequately lighted. Concrete floors at the bottom of some staircases can make a fall even more hazardous (not to mention painful). Increasing lighting, if needed, and making the bottom step more visible so that it's not accidentally skipped, are two preventative measures for reducing the chances of anyone falling on basement stairs.
Fire safety: Most people are aware that it's essential to have several working smoke detectors placed in strategic locations in your kitchen, bedroom area, and other parts of your house. Even though it's common knowledge, people don't always remember to install enough of them, replace worn out batteries when necessary, or test them every few months to make sure they're in good working condition. Some people remove the battery to silence smoke alarms while they're cooking, which can be dangerous if they don't remember to put them back afterwards. If your kitchen smoke detector has a "push to hush" button, then that can be a safer way to temporarily quiet a smoke detector when you're cooking dinner. Home fire safety also entails several other precautions, including having a fire extinguisher in the kitchen (and other areas), having a second-floor fire-escape ladder available, and teaching children how to avoid and respond to potential fire dangers. More detailed information and educational materials on fire safety is available from government agencies and non-profit organizations like the American Red Cross and the National Fire Protection Association.
Stay tuned to this blog for more helpful tips, pointers, and ideas for keeping your home safer and more secure.
Buying a home is a big decision made up of dozens of smaller decisions. With so many moving parts in the process it's difficult to know you’re making the best choices. Some of the most important choices in buying a home have to do with finances. Here we will go over some tips to avoid common financial mistakes when buying a home.
Talk to More Than One Lender
One of the biggest mistakes first-time homebuyers can make is talking to only one lender. It’s extremely beneficial to shop around for mortgage quotes and carefully weigh the different term options. Getting quotes from multiple lenders will help you find the best interest rate, down payments and closing costs for your situation. Talking to multiple lenders also means you can negotiate for a better deal by leveraging another lender’s offer. It might feel like a lot of back-and-forth, but the more you prepare and educate yourself about a mortgage decision, the happier you’ll be.
Look Into Other Loan Programs
Don’t forget that there are other mortgage options than banks and lending firms. Look into other options like FHA, VA or USDA loans, especially if you want a low down payment. There are also first-time homebuyer programs run by state governments that are available to help you afford a mortgage. Research these options and see if you qualify, otherwise you might miss out on a big savings opportunity.
Keep Your Credit Stable
The home buying process can take a long time. Even after the seller approves your offer, it can be weeks or more until the transaction fully closes. Many homebuyers use this period to plan for things like appliances or other moving costs, which is always a good idea. However, avoid opening up a new line of credit or applying for any sort of short-term loan before you close. It might feel like the process is stagnated, but mortgage lenders will pay attention to the stability of your credit score. If your score changes due to applying for credit, your lender may even change the terms of the mortgage—typically by increasing the interest rate. Avoid the temptation to borrow more money until after the closing date, and you’ll avoid the risk.
Don’t Forget the Ongoing Expenses
Planning for all the upfront costs of buying a home is important but so is planning for the ongoing expenses. Along with your mortgage payments, you'll also have several other regular costs to plan for. These include homeowners’ insurance, property taxes, utility bills and maintenance costs. You might also have mortgage insurance or homeowners’ association fees to factor in. Budgeting for the ongoing expenses will help you stay afloat financially without getting overwhelmed in the early stages of home ownership.
This is only basic advice and may work better for some potential homebuyers than others. Always consult a professional financial advisor or accountant for more specific guidance. This is the best way to make sure your first-time home purchase is a success.
Zoning laws have been in place in the United States for many years. They serve communities in a number of ways. As a home buyer, it is important to know and understand the zoning laws that cover any property you consider purchasing.
Generally, residential zonings laws indicate what kind of structures can be built in a particular area. Some residential zones are restrictive and allow for only single-family homes within a neighborhood, other locations may welcome multi-family complexes. Some commercial zones allow space for both businesses and housing in the same area. If the home you are considering is in a location like this, be prepared for businesses to change and grow, potentially impacting the neighborhood.
If you run a business from your home or plan to do so, be aware that this activity can be restricted within a residential zone. The general aim of this restriction is to keep traffic issues at bay as well as to limit noise or other disruptions within a neighborhood. Even if your business is conducted virtually, it’s still wise to check with your local zoning board to gain an understanding of the rules specific to your community.
Perhaps your dream is to raise goats or maybe you plan to move a flock of chickens with you when you relocate. Residential zones can have different rules that govern animals on your property. In some cases, farm animals are not allowed at all while other zones may limit the number of animals you can keep within a certain amount of acreage.
It is possible to request a zoning change in some cases but the process can be difficult and long drawn out. With that in mind, it is best to know and understand local zoning laws before entering into an agreement to purchase.