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Create A Cozy Outdoor Living Space This Fall!

by Rose Price

Champaign-Urbana is truly spectacular in the FALL! As the days get cooler, the landscape is filled with stunning shades of orange, red, and yellow. Take advantage of the beauty of the season and remaining warmer days of the year by sprucing up your outdoor space. Create an autumnal oasis for you and your family to enjoy by following these top suggestions for transitioning your home’s exterior for fall.

 

  1. Add natural, seasonal color to the space with groupings of your favorite fall plants. The perfect flowers to use are chrysanthemums, mums, and sunflowers. Arrange these flowers into a collage of floral pots. You can also add wood or seasonal (pumpkins of course!) elements for added interest.

  2. Hang lighting that creates new areas for you to entertain and gather. Light strands, pendant lights, and lanterns can all instantly make the space seem brand new and create incredible atmosphere.

  3. Focus on natural and metallic elements that fit within the fall season but can also easily transition throughout the year.

  4. Update with simple accents, such as throw pillows, blankets, and outdoor area rug. Buy these and other accessories in autumnal colors.

  5. Create the perfect cozy spot for you to stay warm by adding a modern outdoor fireplace.

 

 

For additional homeowner tips, visit my website http://www.champaignrose.com/.

 

Wishing everyone a colorful and happy Fall in Champaign-Urbana!

 

 

Resource: HouseBeautiful

 

Ways to Take Care of Your Champaign Home this Winter

by Rose Price

Although winter is slowly winding down, there is still a chance for more snowfall in the Champaign-Urbana area before the season is through. It is important to protect your home during these cold winter months to make sure that you do not have any lasting problems into the future. Before and after the next snowfall, examine these areas where damage can occur and take measures to prevent and correct any potential issues. Doing so will keep your Champaign-Urbana home looking and working its very best!

 

Driveway and sidewalks. Ice and snow on concrete can lead to cracks. On top of that, it makes for hazardous walking conditions for your family and your guests. Be sure to remove all ice and snow immediately. Use eco-friendly gravel or salt to melt ice and remove those slippery areas.

Dead, large branches. Large branches that hang over your home, garage, or yard can cause serious damage. When the branch is dead, it can easily break away under heavy snow. On nicer days, go outside and cut away these branches to avoid any potential problems.

 

Roof. Large accumulations of snow on your roof can lead to cracking. This can turn into water leaking into your home and causing damage. After the snowfall, make sure to remove any areas with heavy accumulation. Also, check inside your home for water spots or bends that could indicate that the roof has already been damaged this season. If you find any problems, hire a professional to fix it as soon as possible.

 

Foundation. Moisture can enter into your foundation if there is too much ice and snow up against your home. After the snowfall, be sure to shovel around the base of your home. Also, check inside your home to make sure that there aren’t any new cracks.


Pipes. Pipes will burst if they become too cold. This can lead to a huge expense if they do due to flooding. Always keep your home’s temperature at least at 55 degrees. Add insulation to the pipes if they feel cold to the touch.

Curb Appeal for Fall Home Selling In Champaign/Urbana!

by Rose Price

15 Native Plants for Gorgeous Champaign/Urbana Gardens!

by Rose Price

Spruce up the landscaping of your CHAMPAIGN/URBANA HOMES with a garden! After those long winter months, gardens are a great way to add a bit of color and cheer to your yard. You can ensure gardening success during the warmer seasons by turning to plant varieties that naturally grow throughout the Midwest. As an added bonus, native plants require less maintenance. Here are the 15 top native plants for Midwestern gardens!

 

SPIDERWORT (Tradescantia sp) – These perennials will blossom with three-petaled flowers in the spring. They can be placed anywhere throughout your garden, whether in the sun or the shade.

 

SWAMP MILKWEED (Asclepias incarnata) – Attract monarch butterflies to your garden in the summer with these pink beauties. As an added bonus, this resilient plant can thrive in average growing soil.

 

COMPASS PLANT (Silphium laciniatum) – Growing up to 9 feet tall, this stunning plant blooms yellow, sunflower-like petals. Interestingly, the Compass Plant naturally aligns itself north to south allowing it to conserve water throughout the summer.

 

WILD ANEMONE (Anemone canadensis) – Add a lovely border to your garden in the spring with Wild Anemone. This plant grows easily in moist soil and will blossom with lovely, large white flowers.

 

PALE PURPLE CONEFLOWER (Echinacea pallida) – With pale pink petals and dark red cones this beauty adds color to your garden in the summer. It will naturally spread across areas of your garden due to the fact that it will self-seed.

 

BLOODROOT (Sanguinaria canadensis) – For shady areas of your garden, plant the Bloodroot. In early spring, there will be beautiful white flowers arranged in the shape of a pawprint. By summer, however, the plant's cycle has ended.

 

JACK-IN-THE-PULPIT (Arisaema triphyllum) – Since the Bloodroot goes dormant in the summer, plant Jack-in-the-Pulpit in the same area to maintain interest throughout your garden despite the season. Also thriving in shaded areas, this unique green flower is hooded and reveals little red markings inside. In the fall, red berries also appear for continued color.

 

BUTTERFLY WEED (Asclepias tuberosa) – This resilient plant resists droughts, disease, and pests! Its beautifully bright orange flowers attract butterflies in the summer months.

 

LITTLE BLUESTEM (Schizachyrium scoparium) – This native grass will add beauty to your garden all year round! In the spring and summer, the foliage is blue-green. Starting in the fall and lasting throughout the winter, this plant turns a stunning purple-bronze.

 

POPPY MALLOW (Callirhoe involucrata) – A perfect addition to the front of your garden, this low growing plant blossoms with wine colored flowers. It can grow in dry soil, lasts several seasons, and resists pests!


PENSTEMON (Penstemon digitalis) – Returning every year to your garden in the summer, the Penstemon grows up to 2 feet tall and blossoms white flowers among its burgundy colored leaves.

 

COLUMBINE (Aquilegia canadensis) – Hummingbirds and butterflies will flit among your garden when you add this plant. These delicate yellow and red flowers will flourish in the shade or sun.

 

CULVER'S ROOT (Veronicastrum virginicum) – Make sure to always water the Culver's Root. These white flowers will grow in light shade and attract butterflies.

 

GOLDENROD (Solidago sp) – Keep your garden looking lovely throughout the fall with this plant. The golden-yellow clusters of flowers need full sun and well-drained soil.

 

BLUE SAGE (Salvia pitcheri) – Add this perennial to your garden for a splash of lovely sky blue in the early fall. Blue Sage thrives in growing conditions similar to the Goldenrod.

 

Adding these beautiful blooms to your landscape and gardens, along with stones, ponds and other accents add value to your homes and instant curb appeal! If you're thinking of selling your Champaign/Urbana home, this is one of the areas to plan on spending a little money before putting your home on the market!

 

For more Home Selling Tips  visit my website at http://www.champaignrose.com or call my office to speak with me personally about your home!

Resource: Better Homes & Garden July 2016

Spring Yard & Gardening Tips for Champaign IL!

by Rose Price

Ok, it’s been a weird spring; sunny and beautiful one day and the next snow, but here in Champaign/Urbana IL, we’re used to it and Summer is right around the corner, we promise. 

Your plants are no doubt confused; do they wake from winter slumber or wait? If they wake up, they’re usually damaged with a late freeze.   So, wait just a little longer before planting those seedlings.  There is plenty to do in the meantime.  

Check Your Tools

Chances are your tools were packed away hastily in the fall, so take this opportunity and use it for a little maintenance.

  •  Get your gas-powered equipment a tune-up: Sharpen the mower blades, change the spark plugs, replace the fuel, get some new oil, and double check to make sure everything is still working properly. 
  •  Sharpen and oil hand equipment: Sand any rust with a bit of steel wool, use a sharpening stone to sharpen the edge of the blades, and then coat the blades and moving parts with a light penetrating oil. (Local hardware stores usually offer these services as well). 
  •  Repair Digging tools: Did you break the handle on a shovel last year?  If it’s a quality tool, it’s worth replacing the handle, rather than throwing it out and buying a new one. Again, scrub off the rust and dirt and then spray with a penetrating oil to fight rust this season. 
EXTRA:
Soak your rusted tools in a bucket of white vinegar for fifteen minutes.  Remove and wipe dry.  Soak for an additional 15-30 minutes, remove and then brush with your steel wool.  Repeat until all rust is removed.  After rust is removed, dry completely and rub with linseed or mineral oil.  After this dries, put a little penetrating and your tools will be primed and ready for work.  

Prepare The Yard

Winter has a special way of making your yard look like a dirty post apocalyptic movie set, sticks and debris scattered, dead leaves and grass everywhere, maybe some land mines from the neighbors dog.  So before you get to planting, you’ll need to do some clean-up and a bit of TLC.  Spring flowers won’t hide everything.

  •  Rake: Rake all of the dead leaves and add them to your compose pile. Collect all the sticks and kick em to the curb for pick up. 
    Rake up all of your old mulch and add it to the leaves in the compost pile.  Spread a ½-inch layer of finished compost over all the bare soil in your beds to replace lost nutrients.
  •  Time To Primp: Pull out your annuals that died over the winter and, guess what?…yup put them in the compost pile! Any perennials and ornamental grasses that weren’t cut back in fall should now be cut to about 4 inches tall to make way for new growth; saw off all broken branches to the larger branch they’re attached to, make sure to leave a smooth cut rather than a little stub; prune all trees, shrubs, and vines to remove dead wood and if you didn’t get to it over the winter, now is your last chance to prune fruit trees, grape vines and other food plants. 
  •  Finishing Touches: Sculpt your flower beds with an edging tool to obtain clean, crisp lines and keep lawn grass from invading your beds.  Cut early spring blooms to make way for better ones.   

Prepare Your Veggie Beds

When the soil in your vegetable garden is finally dry enough to not squish when you step on it, it’s time to start laying the groundwork.

  •  Clean: Remove any dead leftovers that didn’t survive the winter and toss them into your growing compost pile; if you planted cover crops in the fall, mow them and then let the stems dry out for a couple weeks before tilling the debris; if you mulched your beds in the fall, rake off the mulch and add it to the compost pile.
  •  Add More Compost: Spread a new layer of compost on your beds—1 to 2 inches is best, and till; add extra nutrients like lime (for acidic soils), sulfur (for basic soils), bone meal (for phosphorus), green sand (for potassium), and kelp meal (for micronutrients), then till in the compost and  extras but only once the soil is dry enough to crumble when you grab a handful, then rake the beds into smooth, ready-to-plant mounds.
  •  Sort Your Seeds: Pick out your seeds, sort and then get some started indoors!

Thanks Modern Farmer for the great Gardening information!

 

New Year's Resolutions For Your Champaign IL Home

by Rose Price

New Year’s Resolutions for your home!  We all know that sticking to our resolutions is harder than we expect, but don’t let your home suffer.  Here are the most popular Home related resolutions and how to get them done!  Make this year the year you stick to and achieve all of your home resolutions. Best of all, these improvements will add great value to your Home.    

1. Rebuild the Deck

Are your decks looking old and grey?  Even more so than looking bad, old decks can be unsafe.  Even FEMA has warned about these dangers; especially poorly flashed decks, which can fall off of homes and cause bodily injury to you, your family or guests. Make needed repairs now.  

We recommend an annual 6-point deck check to identify problems you should address so that accidents don't occur. 

 

2. Seal Drafts

Homes get cold in the winter, especially if you have an older home, but newer ones have drafty area's as well.  However, there are simple ways to reduce these chilly home temps.  Cold air is very likely leaking in from several recognizable areas around your house (windows, walls, outlets).

Give yourself an energy audit. It’ll cost around $400 to have a professional come in, or you can do it yourself (see the video below).  The pros will provide you with a report detailing your home's draft problems, but will also include a cost-effective solution.

If your windows are in rough shape, but the frames are sound, then you can replace your windows (install high-efficiency replacement windows) for around $500-$600/piece. You’ll most likely want a professional to install these.

 

Lastly, consider Blown-in Insulation for your walls, which fills the stud bays of exterior walls with heat-retaining cellulose material.

3. Update Your Kitchen Cabinets

Tired, outdated kitchen cabinets?  Kitchen renovations are the most expensive home-improvement projects. But you can add value to your home with these simple budget kitchen-cabinet upgrades. Instead of spending a minimal $5,000 on new cabinets, you can save big and reface the ones you have for under $1,000. Other money-saving options include painting your cabinets and, swapping out your cabinet pulls and hinges for new ones.

 

4. Add Curb Appeal

Curb appeal can add 10%-30% more value to your home!! Bet you weren't counting on that!  Here are some of the projects to look at to add curb appeal: 

Install Storm Windows

Paint Your Exterior

Privacy in the yard

Motions Detecting Lighting

Lamp Posts

 

5. Upgrade the Walkway

If you are thinking of re-routing your walkway, there are several options.  Brick & Gravel can be done in a single weekend, whereas concrete is a little more involved but offers a longer lifespan. You can also add special features like a pond at the end of a walk-way or small flower garden. 

6. Go Green On Top

Green Roofs aren't that prevalent here in the Fox Valley, but many area's have gone more to the eco-friendliness of them. Here are the reason some people are trending toward the "Green Roof" Movement:   

They reduce storm runoff

Absorb pollutants, 

give plants more room to grow, 

Best of all… They lower heating and cooling bills by providing insulation. 

If your dream green roof is too complex to install, check out development kits.  Green roofing is getting easier every day

7. Basement Makeover

Just do it!  Whatever your dream basement is, do it!  This is the year.  Whether you want to make it into a chic Mom's relaxing area, man cave for Dad & the guys, a game room for the kids, or an Exercise Room to accomplish your New Year's Resolutions....This is the year to Finish your Basement and Add Value to your Home!  

8. Paint Your Interior

This is one of the easiest on the list.  Start with one room and build momentum until every room is freshly painted.  It will do wonders for your home. 

1. First, select the proper hues with the help of a color wheel. 

2. Then, get the right equipment for the job.

3. Brush up on the best painting techniques from the pros…hem hem, YouTube!

4. Finally, paint the rooms!

 

9. Get The Little Things Done

There are always a handful of small repairs and the list grows throughout the year, becoming more and more frustrating.  Just fix this stuff.  Now, do these first.  They are simple things and you will feel a lot better when you check these things off your list.  Then, let this momentum continue through the rest of your changes. 

1. Fixing your outlets, or changing over to new ones.

2. Patching holes in walls where pictures, shelves or other wall hangings used to be.

 3. Recaulking Bathroom & Kitchen Sinks and Showers.

Good luck to you and all of your New Year’s projects.  If you are fixing up your home to put it on the market, give Champaignrose a call!  

Christmas Tree Safety in Champaign IL

by Rose Price

Christmas Tree Safety for Families in Champaign

For many people it just doesn’t feel like Christmas until there is a tree in the house. However, Christmas trees often present a few safety issues, even though they are much fewer than they were years ago. Each year home fires occur from Christmas Trees- Faux or Real for a variety of reasons.  Below are some tips to help ensure your Holidays are burning brightly....but in a good way, not with flames!

Choose your tree wisely: If you decide, like many people do, to go with a lovely fresh pine tree, there are certain things need to look for:

  • The tree should be flexible and fragrant NOT dry and brittle.
  • Shake the tree and make sure it doesn’t lose too many needles, this is a good indicator that the tree is fresh.
  • Examine the bark and make sure there are no insects crawling around.
  • Lastly, and often an after thought, bring a tape measure and make sure this tree will fit in your home.

Set it up right: Sounds simple, but there are things people overlook. Here's what you need to do:

  • Keep your tree at least 3 ft away from any heat source, including fireplaces, vents, radiators, and even light fixtures!
  • To keep your Tree fresh longer, always saw off the bottom 1-inch of the fresh tree- this ensures maximum hydration.
  • Make sure it is secured well; preferably in a tree stand and screwed in tightly!
  • Never put it in the path of traffic in your home. Find a nice, out of the way, focal point in your home.

Fa La La La Light it Up Safely! Faulty wires from Christmas lights is one of the main causes of Christmas tree fires. Although our Christmas lights are much safer now than they have ever been, caution and common sense should still be demonstrated.

  • Make sure your lights are working properly and meant for indoor use.
  • Always check for broken bulbs & exposed filament....replace before putting on the tree.
  • NEVER, EVER USE REAL CANDLES!! If you like the old fashioned look of candles in the tree, use the electronic version!

Your Tree Gets Thirsty....Water Often: Sure the tree is going to come down soon, it may not seem all that important to keep it watered, but having a well hydrated tree makes all the difference in preventing a fire. If you’re planning to keep your tree up for a while, don't forget to water in the New Year - almost as many Christmas tree fires occur in January as in December.

 


Faux vs. Real Christmas Trees:

Most people have already answered this question themselves, but for those of you still on the fence, here are some pros and cons of each to consider.

  • If your priority is minimum cost and maximum convenience, Faux Christmas trees may be the best way to go, especially since faux trees don't look all that "fake" anymore. You just purchase a quality artificial Christmas tree once and you will be set for years.
  • Most environmentally-minded groups advocate real over faux trees because they benefit local farmers (the great majority of trees currently come from farms and not forests), they are also 100 percent recyclable, and don't contain potentially harmful plastics or chemicals…all good things.
  • The whole faux trees are safer, hasn’t been proved, especially since most holiday fires are started by overloaded electrical outlets…in these cases, both types of trees are equally likely to catch fire. Even "flame resistant" artificial trees have been known to ignite if the temperature is high enough, and unlike real trees, they emit harmful toxins while burning.

​​

Our Conclusion: Do what makes you HAPPY!  If you prefer a Fresh Cut Tree...then get a beautiful fresh cut tree!  If you'd rather have a terrific Faux tree, then do a Faux Tree!  As long as you're happy and celebrating the season with love, joy, family & friends that's all that matters! 

If you are interested in looking for a home in the lovely Champaign/Urbana IL area, please give me a call! I'd love to show you around our Charming Community. 217-202-8843.  

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