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April 14, 2014 / patrickbelhon

Reduced Water Garden Tips for California Residents

With the Right Landscaping Design, California Residents can Grow Lush Gardens that Need Less Water

 

The state of California offers its residents numerous benefits including warm temperatures year-round, plenty of recreational areas and picturesque scenery. The state also features unique gardening opportunities since it frequently suffers from drought conditions. A few tips and tricks can help California property owners create a garden that requires low water consumption.

Folsom Lake Calif 2014

With the edge of Folsom Lake, Calif., more than 100 yards away, Gina, 8, left, and Sydney, 9, Gerety walk on rocks that are usually at the waters edge, Thursday Jan. 9, 2014. Photo: Rich Pedroncelli, Associated Press

Design Tips

California property owners should avoid planting large sections of grass because the vegetation type requires an excessive amount of water to grow. In fact, gardeners should consider eliminating grass entirely from their property. If grass is a requirement, then decrease it to a small space. When creating a low water consumption garden, property owners should form large paths in their green areas. In addition, gravel can be used in place of groundcover to support seating areas while decomposed granite is ideal for open spaces.

Soil Tricks

To decrease the amount of water that their garden drinks, California property owners can improve the soil in their growing areas. Soil can be enhanced by incorporating organic material into it on a regular basis. With enriched soil, gardens can better preserve moisture. Enhanced soil also helps plants establish themselves more quickly.

Advanced Watering Systems for Drought Areas

An upgraded irrigation system will help California property owners use water in their gardens more efficiently. Upgrade options include installing smart controllers that link to weather stations to provide the proper amount of water in a garden year-round. Water efficient sprinklers and drip lines are another upgrade option that will decrease the amount of water that property owners use to maintain their garden’s vegetation.

Plant Options for California the Lewisia cotyledonPlant Options for California

Gardeners can plant native vegetation to reduce a garden’s water consumption. Plants that thrive in California include:

  • Lewisia cotyledon
  • Lavandula multifida
  • Angelina
  • Salvia clevelandii
  • Agastache rugosa

By planting lewisia cotyledon, California property owners will gain a blooming plant that provides brilliant color. When gardeners add lavandula multifida to their home’s exterior spaces, they’ll receive a plant that features silvery vegetation and slender stems. From spring to fall, the plant displays violet flowers. For green vegetation, California residents can plant Angelina. The plant is ideal for filling in areas between other types of foliage. It also spreads easily. Salvia clevelandii has purple and blue colored blossoms that grow in spiky formations. Agastache rugosa is another drought resistant plant that California residents may consider planting. The flower features green stems and purple blossoms that emit a licorice scent. The plant type attracts hummingbirds, and its leaves grow about 5 feet tall.

General Tips

To prevent water waste, California gardeners should plant vegetation types together. For instance, locate annuals together as well as perennials, shrubs and trees. Desert plants should also be located with other desert plants as should redwood and riparian plants. Also, avoid incorporating ground cover with annuals because the area may become weedy.

Final Considerations

Since drought conditions are a part of California’s regular weather cycle, the state’s property owners must make gardening decisions based upon decreased water use. By embracing design elements that include fewer grass areas, technologically advanced watering systems and native vegetation, California residents can grow a lush and colorful garden that will enhance their home.

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Article Copyright ©2014 – All Rights Reserved Patrick Belhon (patricksellshomes@gmail.com)

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April 14, 2014 / patrickbelhon

Give Your Old Patio New Life

Five Decorating Tips for Patios by Patrick Belhon

When it comes to remodeling, most people think of kitchens or bathrooms. Some may give the living room a nice revamp. However, sometimes the space that needs the biggest pick-me-up is not inside at all.
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Five Decorating Tips for Patios by Patrick Belhon - All rights reserved 2014

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Patios can be viable living spaces, perfect for entertaining and everyday life. From cooking to eating, chatting to resting, outdoor spaces are versatile, fun and functional. However, more than indoor rooms, patios endure substantial wear and tear, which can leave them shabby and uninviting. Therefore, take some time to decorate the patio with these five useful tips.
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1. Plant new greenery. Plants are a great addition to any room, and they thrive on a patio better than in most other spaces. After all, one of the best things about a patio is that it is outside. While there are many ways to landscape a yard, a patio can be specifically decorated with potted plants. Consider the type of plant based on how much sun and rain the patio gets. Also consider how much maintenance work the plant requires. An herb garden will look very lush but need very little work. Succulent plants like cactus do very well in warmer, sunny climates. Another great decorating choice is the pot itself. Pots come in all sizes, shapes and styles, making it easy to find one to accent the overall theme. Reusing items like wooden crates, wheelbarrows, cement blocks and metal washtubs as pots can definitely make a unique statement on the patio.
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2. Update furniture. To make a patio look its best, invest in the right furniture for the space. First, consider what function the patio will serve. If it is going to be a secondary eating space, an outdoor table and chairs are essential. If the area is intended more as a living room, couches, end tables or chaise lounges may be in order. Whatever is chosen, be sure that the scale is appropriate for the space. The patio should not be too crowded, but it also should not be too sparse. The patio is no place to mix and match styles. Be sure to pick an overall theme, and select furniture that adheres to that style. For existing furniture, consider adding a fresh coat of paint or reupholster the cushions. Even a simple power wash can add fresh life to old furniture.
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3. Cosmetic changes. Sometimes a patio can benefit from a bit of work. One of the most basic ways to revitalize the space is to refinish the flooring. Add a fresh coat of stain and sealant to a deck. Put down new tile or stone. Paint outdoor features such as doors and sheds. Walkways, built-in flower beds and more can all be redone to create a new ambiance. Outdoor spaces will often require updating more often since they are exposed to the sun and wind on a more consistent basis. It is also helpful to wash surfaces, pull weeds and trim hedges as part of a cosmetic overhaul.
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4. Light it up. Lighting is a big deal inside, but it cannot be neglected outside either. To enjoy the patio in the evening, adding extra lighting is essential. To save money and the environment, solar lights are a great choice. These lights store energy from the sun throughout the day, which lets them stay lit throughout the night. Solar lights can be ground level or higher, and they come in all types of styles. Be sure to see how well the lights work before buying, however. Some low end solar lights do not emit as much light as may be desired for an outdoor space. During the daytime, lighting can also be an issue on the other end of the spectrum. Patios with too much direct sunlight may be too hot to enjoy. Therefore, look into shading options such as retractable awnings, sail shades, umbrellas and pergolas.
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5. Establish a cooking space. For a patio that gets a lot of use, an outdoor cooking space can be a great enhancement. Grilling can be a delectable way to prepare food, and patios that have cooking spaces often see more consistent use. A cooking space may seem ambitious, but these spaces can be completed on a range of budgets. To start, a good grill is essential. Make sure it is large enough to cook a good amount of food. Next, look into counter space. Counter space makes cooking much easier. Some grills come with attached space, but it is also possible to create workspaces out of cement, wood or stone. From here, other perks like a sink, refrigerator, bar and more can be added if there is room on the patio and in the budget.
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An outdoor living space can be a great asset to any home. With these tips, any patio can get the makeover it deserves.

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Article Copyright ©2014 – All Rights Reserved Patrick Belhon (patricksellshomes@gmail.com)

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April 13, 2014 / patrickbelhon

La Jolla Real Estate Update April and May 2014

April May 2014 Real Estate news

The San Diego Market Starts to Bloom

As the 2014 real estate season comes into full swing, the news is definitely optimistic. According to recent data released by the San Diego Association of Realtors, the local market is continuing on its upward trajectory with strong sales numbers and rising home prices.
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Based on the data collected in March, the price of homes rose by 4.3 percent from the prior month. This increase is even more noticeable when measured against data from last year. In March 2014, the median price of a home in San Diego was $490,000. This was an increase of 13.4 percent from the same period in 2013.
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These figures are indicative of a much healthier market. There are fewer homes forced onto the market from short sales or foreclosures, which means that the market has a more balanced range of homes available. This works in the favor of sellers, who have more even competition, which improves their odds of making a full priced sale. For those who are thinking about putting a home on the market, this news should be an encouraging sign. Now, more than ever in the last several years, sellers are likely to get better value for their home, which improves their economic position substantially.
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The overall number of houses sold was also up from the previous month, showing an increase of 32.5 percent. This means that close to 1,800 homes were sold in the San Diego area in March. While these numbers are optimistic, the number of homes sold is actually down from March 2013 by a margin of 15.4 percent. However, it is worth noting that the rise in home prices could also explain the drop in overall sales from 2013. As the market continues to clear out the poorest range of its inventory, home prices will naturally rise, which makes conditions favorable for sellers. Mostly, it is a continued sign that the real estate market is rebounding from its bottom several years ago.
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These numbers reflect the sales of single family homes. The association also released data for condominiums and townhouses, which showed similar trends in terms of price and overall sales. To read more about these numbers and a more detailed analysis, be sure to check out the full report on the KPBS website. Mostly, this news should be exciting for sellers and buyers as real estate season comes into its own.

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Article Copyright ©2014 – All Rights Reserved Patrick Belhon (patricksellshomes@gmail.com)

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April 13, 2014 / patrickbelhon

Landscaping your Backyard – Ideas for Creating your Own Private Oasis

It may be a slight exaggeration when they say that it never rains in Southern California, but it is true that the area is blessed with great year-round weather. Life is pretty great if you live in a home near the beach in San Diego. Is there anything better than taking off your shoes, getting sand between your toes, and then rinsing them off in the surf?
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Private Oasis in Southern California Photo taken by Patrick Belhon in San Diego - 2014 all rights reserved-
When you are not at the beach, you can soak in the sun, sip an ice tea, and relax in your own backyard. Landscape your backyard so it becomes an inviting place to be. You can create a private oasis by carefully designing features and selecting the right mix of plants that create the desired effect.
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Going beyond level one

Want to transform a boring backyard into one that you will be proud to show-off to your guests? Step up the look of your backyard by creating several tiers or terraces. If you have a natural slope to your property, it is very easy to create a visually appealing step-effect in your garden. Use various building materials such as bricks, natural stones, or even big rocks to create each tier. Once you build those retaining walls, you can choose ground cover, shrubs, flowering plants or other materials of your preference to create your personal oasis.

Use native plants By Patrick Belhon All Rights Reserved 2014Use native plants

Southern California has gone through periods of drought in the past, is experiencing water issues today, and will likely have to worry about water in the future. Plants that are not native to the region may not do well. Ornamental grasses can provide ground cover and blend in well with other plants. In this area, flowering stalks of California fescue, blue-gray blue oat grass, and fragrant purple lavender plants, are good choices.

The marigold bush grows to about six feet and produces colorful yellow flowers when it blooms in the winter and spring. Plant a Christmas berry bush and the delicate white flowers and clusters of bright red berries will attract birds looking for a meal.

Environmental issues and sustainability are taken seriously in California. By using plants that do not require much water, you can do your part to reduce the impact your landscaping has on the environment.

Paths By Patrick Belhon All Rights Reserved 2014Paths

A long and winding road is a great way to break up the monotony of your outdoor space. Pavers that are available in a variety of colors and styles at any home and garden center are inexpensive. You can also use walking stones or gravel to create pathways. Pay attention to both color and patterns when laying out a path.

Water featuresWater features

All of the stress in your life will magically disappear when you lie back in your lounge chair and let the calming sounds of gently flowing water lull you to sleep. While a store-bought fountain is okay, it is much nicer to have a water feature that runs over rocks and is part of the natural landscape.

Fire pit By Patrick Belhon All Rights Reserved 2014Fire pit

It is something of a California thing to have fire pits incorporated into a patio area in your back yard. Not only do they keep you warm on a chilly winter night, but they are also great when you have guests over to the house. Be sure to set up some cozy seating around the fire pit.

Fences

If you live close to your neighbor and would like some privacy, a fence is a must. Fences are also good if you have a dog or you want to be able to keep an eye on your young children. Think about adding some foliage against the fence to soften the appearance and also add a level of privacy.

Arbors & trellises 2014Arbors & trellises

Install an arbor or trellis and then buy some vines or ivy that will quickly twist around them. Arbors can lead you into a garden and trellises add interest to otherwise boring spaces.

These are only a few suggestions for landscaping your backyard. Patios, wood decks, and outdoor lighting may be something to consider. Don’t forget to spread mulch around your trees and shrubs. You could add some potted plants and a concrete statue of an angel might be a nice added touch. Use your own vision to create your backyard oasis. Do it yourself or hire a professional landscaper.

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Article Copyright ©2014 – All Rights Reserved Patrick Belhon (patricksellshomes@gmail.com)

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April 11, 2014 / patrickbelhon

Steps for Preventing Mold in Your Home by Patrick Belhon

Top Ways to Ward Off Mold in Your Home

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How to prevent mold - Photo taken by Patrick Belhon all rights reserved 2014

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Mold is a fact of life, but that doesn’t mean it should feel welcome in your home. By the time you see mold growing, you’ve got a real problem on your hands. Don’t worry, though. There are ways to drastically reduce the risk of ending up with a serious mold problem. By taking a few preventative steps, you can keep the problem from occurring in the first place, which is vastly preferable to trying to deal with it later.

  • Identify and Correct Mold Breeding Grounds in Your Home – Mold thrives on moisture, so carefully inspect every part of your home for damp, moist conditions. If you find any, correct whatever is causing the problem. Common culprits include leaks in pipes, roofs and foundations.
  • Ventilate Your Home – Use exhaust fans in moisture-prone areas like bathrooms and kitchens. Vent appliances like stoves and dryers to the outdoors.
  • Use a Dehumidifier – If certain areas of your home are particularly prone to humidity, use a dehumidifier. This is often an issue in basements.
  • Handle Wetness Immediately – Never leave damp towels or clothes on floors. When spills occur, clean them up right away. If your bathroom is especially wet after showering, use an old rag to wipe down damp tile and shower curtains. For even better results, use a mold-killing product to clean up those areas too.
  • Monitor Humidity Levels - According to the EPA, the ideal humidity level for a home falls between 30 and 60 percent. Moisture meters are inexpensive and can be picked up at home improvement stores. Invest in a few to ensure that humidity levels stay in check.
  • Use Mold-Resistant Products when Performing Home Improvements – Use home improvement projects as opportunities to further reduce the risk of mold. For instance, use mold-blocking primer when painting. When new sheetrock or drywall is needed, stick with products that are designed to inhibit the growth of mold. Paperless drywall is a prime example.
  • Repair and Clean Gutters – If you have a persistent problem with dampness in attics, chances are that your gutters need some attention.
  • Direct Water Away from the Home – Gutters do a lot of the work of directing water away from the home, but make sure that water isn’t pooling up near the foundation. If it is, take steps to route it away.
  • Promote Airflow in the Home – When air is able to circulate freely through the home, mold is much less likely to take root. Use ceiling fans to keep it moving. Keep interior doors, including closet doors, open as much as possible. Try to keep furniture away from walls as well.

Even after taking all of these steps, you may still find mold in your home. Something is causing it, and it’s well worth it to bring in the professionals to figure out what it is, so make sure to do so.

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Article Copyright ©2014 – All Rights Reserved Patrick Belhon (patricksellshomes@gmail.com)

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March 26, 2014 / patrickbelhon

The Best of Spring: Check Out This La Jolla Property

Now that spring has arrived, we are excited about the height of real estate season

With new life blooming all around, it is thrilling to see so many fresh listings coming onto the San Diego real estate market. While there are plenty of options to consider this spring, we would like to share another special listing with you this month.

Located in La Jolla, 657 Westbourne Street is a new listing with a lot to offer.

This spacious home has 3500 square feet, which is split up in a two story layout. Between the six bedrooms and five bathrooms, there is little left to be wanted in this home. Although the home was built in 1990, it has recently been renovated. Therefore, this classic La Jolla property has all the modern finishes that make buyers swoon.

Entrance

On the outside, buyers will be impressed by the wide front door, which is flanked by tall windows to add extra ambiance to the clear contemporary style. The modern design is carefully worked through the structure, and the home has several geometric accents. The exterior is done in bright white, which is aptly contrasted with a dark deck on the second level. All of this is punctuated by a distinctive spiral staircase that gives residents roof access. For the right punch of color, the yard is well maintained with neat, green grass and full trees.

interior 01

If buyers like the outside, we know they will be absolutely floored by what they find inside. The wide front door opens into the living room, which is connected to the dining area in a contemporary open layout. This main living space has been updated with fresh carpet and pristine white walls. The windows are plentiful, giving the home a light and airy feel. In the dining area, there is ample space to entertain since there is easily room to seat 10 people or more. The light fixtures are elegant but understated, providing just the right hint of style in a room full of clean lines and minimalist flair.

Interior 02

The main living space is impressive, but the kitchen is truly spectacular. The recent remodeling efforts are perhaps best showcased here since the space has been transformed into a full gourmet kitchen. The white cabinets have an antiqued look, which complements the stainless steel appliances perfectly. With the white backdrop of the cabinets and backsplash, the rich finish of the Italian Carrera marble countertop is hard to miss. The space also has a distinctive stove hood and a breakfast bar, making this the best place to cook and hang out.

View of the Ocean

Going upstairs, the rest of the house is well designed for family living. Many of the bedrooms are perfect for children, and with so many to choose from, there is also space for an office, craft room or workout space as desired. The master bedroom is well defined by dark wood floors and access to the second floor deck. The attached bathroom has double sinks and a luxurious spa. The walk-in closet is large with a convenient organizational system already in place. From the second floor deck, the spiral staircase provides access to the roof, which is spacious and has spectacular ocean views.

At an asking price of $3,195,876, this spacious home is a good buy. Any family would be right at home, and those who love to entertain will be especially pleased by the finishes. Plus, with its prime location, we know this home will be a smart investment for years to come. Please, call us today, and let us show you this beautiful La Jolla property.

For more photos click here

Article Copyright ©2014 – All Rights Reserved Patrick Belhon (patricksellshomes@gmail.com)

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March 20, 2014 / patrickbelhon

Real Estate Selling Tips: What Buyers Want To Hear About Your Home

The following  tips will help you add the often neglected items that will encourage people to place your home above the competition.

Young Family Looking at a Beautiful New Home - Photo taken in San Diego by Patrick Belhon - 2014 all rights reserved

You are moving to a new home, so you may have forgotten what was so attractive about the one you are selling, but the smaller points are the ones that people wish to hear about the most.

Plenty of Storage Space - Don’t forget to mention that your home has extra closet space or that you added storage space to the property. This point will impress renters because a common complaint amongst this population is that rental properties never have enough storage options.

Location - Don’t take for granted that people know exactly where your home is located and everything that surrounds it. Your listing would be most effective if it were to illuminate the points of interest that are close by. For example, if your home is located near the freeway or public transportation, these are important facts to write into your listing. People also search for homes that are close to their places of employment or their colleges or universities.

Built-In Organizing Systems -Renters are seeking to have a more organized existence, and built-in organizing systems in the kitchen or garage can help them accomplish this goal. The best way to let people know that you have organizers is to show them in your online pictures. Since the ability to organize is one main reason that people decide to purchase a home, the ease with which they can do this in your home isn’t something that you want to keep a secret.

Accommodations for Seniors - Many people are looking for a final home that they will remain in after they retire. These people would appreciate the fact that they would not have to climb any stairs to get inside your one-story house. Showcasing the fact that your yard is easy to take care of would also be an advantage for you. Younger people may have older relatives living with them, and they would be interested to know that you have a second master suite that has its own bathroom.

Energy Efficiency - Energy efficiency is a great selling point because it has benefits for everyone. Whether they are looking for a “green” home or not, people always wish to save money on their energy bills. Therefore, it’s important for you to mention that your home has double-paned windows, new insulation and a tankless water heater.

The Small Things - The fact that you have a recycling center, a backyard compost bin and an organic kitchen garden may impress many people. The next owner of your home will have a lot to do to prepare the home for inhabitancy. If you show that you can take the small tasks off of their hands, they will appreciate this.

No Harsh Chemicals Were Used - You may not have used any chemicals to clean your home, or your air conditioning system might be hypoallergenic. These are important points for people seeking a green home or families that have members with sensitivities to harsh chemicals.

Article Copyright ©2014 – All Rights Reserved Patrick Belhon (patricksellshomes@gmail(dot)com)

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