Monthly Archives: October 2014

How to Move Your Plants and Pack Up Your Garden

Packing to move can be stressful and require meticulous organization in order to know what you’ll need at your new home, and what’s better off staying behind or being donated to the thrift store. For an invested gardener, or someone attached to the basil they’ve been growing in their kitchen window for a few years, there are special considerations to be made in preparing your plants for the journey ahead. While some plants—indoor or outdoor—are hearty and tough to disturb, others are delicate and very sensitive to even subtle changes in lighting or soil conditions. Knowing ahead of time which will likely survive the trip and which ones are better left for the next homeowner will help save you time and a little flora heartbreak.

Indoor Plants

There are a few basic rules to follow in preparing your fronds for transplant. Find a stable, open-air means of transporting your plants. Get a crate and arrange small house plants so they won’t tip over, and are protected from being smashed or having their leaves torn off. Keep your more delicate plants in a temperature-controlled environment like your car, where they won’t be subjected to unusual highs and lows of temperature, especially if you’re moving long-distance.

Be sure to keep the soil moist, and be careful about over-watering, as this will not only be bad for your plants but it can also create a muddy mess. Make sure all the pots and containers have proper drainage, and that the carrier will prevent any of that drainage from seeping out into the interior of your car. It’s important to be gentle, but most house plants are resilient and accustomed to small, confined spaces in which to grow.

If you’re moving between states or to another country there are some limits about what species of plants you may take with you. Due to pest control laws, some states, such as California, have a strict border enforcement policy. This is their way of protecting the state from any unwanted pests from getting in to their agricultural environment from an outside source. Check the agriculture website for the state you’ll be moving to, and all the states you’ll pass through in between, for more specific information about what’s allowed through the checkpoints, and what must be left behind. If you are moving to a new country, many plants are not allowed through customs, and you may have to give them to a neighbor before you move on.

Outdoor Plants

Transplanting outdoor plants can be more difficult, given their size and scope. If you have a backyard garden, it may be better that you leave most of it behind. If there’s a plant you’re determined to take with you, ensure that you dig out enough soil to support the root ball, and place it in to a plastic pot large enough to safely transport it. Use sterilized soil, which does not contain banned pesticides or foreign organisms and is available in many garden centers, if you’re moving to a more restrictive state. If you’re going to move larger outdoor plants, be sure to uproot them while they’re not actively growing, if at all possible.

Wrap large plants, after you’ve pruned them, in tissue paper or a sheet in order to protect branches and limbs from breaking on the ride. Make sure the plant can still breathe, but is secure enough to transport. Load the plants in to a car or truck just before departure, and when you arrive at your new location, they should be the first things to be unpacked. Small trees, shrubs, and other bushes do best in transport. More fragile plants such as vegetables, flowers and succulents are more delicate.

If you have questions relating to transporting a specific plant, ask your neighborhood gardening center, they may have more information.

Tips for Staging Your Home for Sale

If the housing crash of 2008 taught us anything, it taught us that when the market is hot you need to sell, because the market is fickle. It can turn on a dime, causing your $300,000 home to depreciate by $50,000 literally overnight. Still, even when you know the importance of selling, it’s not always a smooth process: people either bite or they don’t, you can’t exactly force them to sign on the dotted line. Thus, it pays to increase your odds of making a sale any way you can. The best way to influence potential buyers? Staging your home for sale.

The Market Recovery

Home prices have been on the rise since the market’s recovery began. This year they continue to rise at a slow and a steady pace. This recovery has been felt far and wide, and houses all across the nation have increased in price. Even after the nadir of the crash saw median home values fall to $215,000, the recovery has seen them climb back up to around $300,000—good news for anyone getting ready to sell their home.

Making Your Home Say “Buy Me”

There are several things you can do to stage your home like a professional would. It all begins with removing clutter. The appearance of clutter will destroy a sale faster than the resident ghost making an appearance. This step not only involves cleaning your home—really cleaning it—but also removing anything that isn’t absolutely essential. Things like kids’ toys, storage boxes, and old computers should all be put in storage (or your parents’ garage) during the selling process.

What you should definitely avoid doing with your clutter is storing it in one room of the house. A room filled with junk makes the home seem less appealing by visually removing one useable room from the mix. So instead of turning your den into a jumbo junk drawer, empty it out and turn it into something attractive, such as an art studio or reading room.

Figure Out the Furniture

Another element that can make or break your home in terms of staging has to do with your furniture. Furniture that is arranged poorly isn’t going to benefit you; furniture that is pulled away from the wall and arranged into smaller conversational units will. If you reposition couches, chairs, and love seats into conversational groups, the traffic flow in the room will become more obvious. This helps give off the appearance that the space is more user-friendly and larger.

Use Light to Your Advantage

Another element of a home that can make or break a sale is the lighting. Most homes are lit improperly, resulting in an uninviting or dim aesthetic. To fix this problem, be sure you up the wattage in your lamps and overhead fixtures. A good rule of thumb is to aim for 100 watts for each 50 square feet of your home. It’s best to go all the way with lighting, rather than depending on one or two bulbs to do all the work. Be sure to focus on all elements: ambient lighting (general lighting and overhead lights), task lighting (reading lights and underneath cabinets), and accent lighting (table and wall lights).

Color Your Home Awesome

The final step in staging your home involves the painting: colors have the power to actually dictate how a person feels about your house. One way they do this is by making your home look and seem larger than it actually is. Painting adjacent rooms the same color or painting the walls the same color as the drapes will give an illusion of space, making the rooms look much more expansive than they are.

You should also stay away from very bright or daring colors; you may like them, but they’ll scare many home owners off. So, as you try to sell your home, let your colors be Switzerland, and let them revel in subtle neutrality.