When you buy a new house, first of all, congrats to all of you doing that this year, you want to enjoy it and that means not being a slave to maintenance by always staying a step ahead of it. We have identified some home features that are great investments because they are low maintenance.
We looked at the kind of things that add value and are easy care and the first one, for example, is the front yard patio, which, maybe, a little antithetical to some people to think that is the back yard, but so many of us love our front lawns, but they are huge maintenance time sucks.
Yes. And, of course, not to mention the water suck, which out in places like California right now is a big problem.
Definitely. There are a huge drain water supply at a time to a point when conservation is so important. And so, with the front yard patio, you eliminate or limit the amount you need to water, mow, or fertilize.
Yes, it makes terrific curb appeal too if it’s done right.
Yes, we have some pictures of front yard patios and there are so many ways to do them, they are quite gorgeous. It could be as simple as installing brick or flagstone, which runs, maybe, fifteen to eighteen dollars per square foot and then setting up seeding or doing something more elaborate. And, by the way, it seems to be an emerging trend, so you’d be a trend-setter by using one.
I always wanted to be a trend-setter.
You are. By the way, my next two ideas are along the same lines.
If you can’t part with your lawn, because people do love their lawns, but you do hit the upkeep, you could go alternative. So, you could swap the traditional grass for turf grasses. There are typically lush green and they are formulated so that they grow well in various climates, even colder damper climates.
Examples are buffalo grass and sage and, basically, once they are established, many of them need very little watering or mowing and no fertilizers or pesticides.
Great. Another low effort choice for your yard, of course, are drought resistant plants.
Yes, definitely. That’s something that’s really great for areas like California and Texas and places like that, many places around the country because they put our water issues in perspective. Over the next couple of decades, more than four hundred counties in the US might go through an extreme dry spell and that’s according to the National Resources Defense Council.
What is a great example of a drought resistant plant?
Azaleas are one good example. They are lovely, they are tough, they are hardy and once they are rooted into well-drained soil, they make for easy upkeep, they don’t need a lot of water. Same with the agave plant.
All right. Let’s go inside the house now. What’s another easy care feature?
Well, between the inside and the outside many people have the garage, and a new garage door can make a big impression with very little in the way of inconvenience. Because it’s such a large and prominent surface, it can add a lot to the curb appeal too. That can make a big difference for those who are thinking about renting or selling their home.
The thing that a lot of homeowners don’t really realize though is that a garage door can weigh upwards of 400 pounds and have over 300 moving parts on it. What that means is that it’s not really recommended as a “DIY” project. In general, you’re probably better off getting a professional garage door repair service to help you out.
A lot of new homeowners like to do a kitchen remodeling project and we believe a quartz counter top is a great investment. It’s a super hard material, it’s no match for stains and scratches, and it’s also antimicrobial, so it’s great for kitchens and bathrooms. It costs about the same as granite, but it’s non-porous and doesn’t need to be resealed, so that’s a reason it made our easy care list.
All right. Let’s do a couple more.
How about a fiber glass entry door? It looks and feels like wood, it stains like wood, it never chips or cracks.
I like all that, that’s our prize indeed.
Yes. It doesn’t expand or contract very much with weather changes, so they can go for years without needing a paint or a stain touch up, they can last for fifteen or twenty years and they also, typically, have a foam core inside, so that’s good for insulation. They fall between steal and wood in price, so the average install cost for this would be about three thousand dollars.
Lastly, if I may, I just want to recommend vinyl shake siding. They look almost as good as real wood, just like the fiber glass doors, but they won’t crack, or rot, or fade, or need a lot of staining and sealing; bugs don’t like them and even better, they are about two dollars to seven dollars per square foot installed, so they are half the price of real wood shakes and again, low maintenance.
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