Tag Archives: Tips and advice

Landscaping Tips for Homeowners

Having a landscaped garden is a great way of improving the overall value of your home, as well as its reputation around town. The costs you will need to pay to get things done will be there, but you can rest assured this will be money well-spent, making your home a much more welcoming place for all involved, guests and potential buyers as well. If you need the help, you can hire gardening and landscaping professionals to get things done for you, assisting you with the jobs you’re not sure you can do yourself. The time you spend on this will be up to you, but the main thing you need to remember is that landscaping gardeners will have the skills you need, but they may also know the type of garden that would work best for your chosen area. You can do some research on the web by yourself or through books if you need more information on the subject.

A gardening expert who works on designing such places will have a significant amount of information you can make use of, as well as ideas and the experience you need to get things organized. Nowadays people either don’t have the time to deal with such tasks or they simply don’t possess the skills in many cases. Having the area under the care of a professional will make sure you have less to worry about in the long run. You can have a great, low-maintenance approach to your new landscaping solution, which will make it much easier to take care of. A good example of that would be paving it with flagstone slabs that are easier to clean. Wood decking is also a good way of approaching things, though it will need some occasional cleanup and staining to make it look good. Although the initial costs of string trimmers, lawnmowers and other gardening tools will set you back, you will have great need of them as time goes by so you can keep your garden clean, weed-free and looking good.

You can also have a much more interesting and complex design for your landscaping needs, though this means you will need to deal with more maintenance too. Landscaped gardens can really stun with their amazing looks, especially if you have a strategically placed gazebo or something along those lines.

You will also have to deal with the right amounts of light levels for the plants in your landscaped area. This is especially important if you have trees or the home you live in or plan on selling creates a shade over some areas of the landscape. Certain flowers and other plants love the shade above all, so before you make your move you should ensure you understand what goes where as well as their specific needs. Another great addition to a landscaped area, ponds can be absolutely wonderful to have around, especially when combined with some ornamental statues, seating space and more. Whatever your choice may be, your vision is what defines the looks of your new landscape.

There are a great many flowers that may be grown in the Minnesota area, such as the following:

  • Cornflowers (Echinacea purpurea)

Lovely pink to purple and white colors, but also available in other colors such as yellow, red and more. Do keep in mind that some people are allergic to echinacea though, so you may want to make sure you’re not one of them.

  • Lenten Roses (Helleboros orientalis)

Often found blooming in the shade, they are red, purple or almost black, whith pink, greens and white petals. You can place them near your walkways to enjoy their lovely colors.

  • Virginia Bluebells (Mertensia virginica)

A wonderful spring flower, which has purple to pink blooms, equally capable of surviving in the sun or in the shade. They can reseed themselves, so you don’t really need to worry about them too much.

  • Black-Eyed Susans (Redbeckia fulgida)

Gorgeous golden flowers wht a dark center, blooming for more than a month and even during August. You can grow them in the sun with no maintenance and no worries at all.

  • Butterfly Weed (Asclepias tuberosa)

These lovely flowers, also called milkweed that are very easy to grown, also being a real magnet for monarch butterflies. They have gorgeous clusters of yellow, pink or orange flowers with thin and delicate seedpods.

Landscape Design And Garden Services Kensington can help you with more ideas.

About the Author: Cora Carter is a professional writer. She lives in England with her husband and children. She wants to share her experience with her audience. She has many published articles on various topics such as home and garden, real estate, cleaning etc.

Pet Traveling Tips

The full original post can be found here: Pet Traveling Tips.

Looks like this doggy duo is ready to hit the road! But are they "up to speed" on their vaccinations?

Looks like this adorable doggy duo is ready to hit the road! But are they “up to speed” on their vaccinations? Photo by Cindy Kowalski © 2013 (CC BY 2.0)

Summer is a prime travel time, whether you’re going on a quick weekend getaway or a long road trip. If you’re planning on bringing your furbabies along for the ride, though, you’ll need to take extra precautions to make sure they’re comfortable, content, and in good health so they don’t end up putting a damper on your vacation. Remember to get them up-to-date on all their necessary vaccinations before you set out, and plan ahead to make stops at hotels that are for sure pet-friendly. And don’t forget to pack their favorite toys as well as the food/water dishes they’re accustomed to, so they’ll feel somewhat at home. Keep in mind: the easier you make the trip for Spot and Kitty, the easier they’ll make the trip for you. Happy tails – oops, we mean trails – to you!

For the entire list of tips for traveling with pets, go to blogpaws.com.

Summer Cleaning Tips for Getting Your Home Ready to Sell

SCT2You’re not the only one who needs to get in your best shape for summer – so does your house! Along with the season’s lovely, bright days of sunlight and warmth, comes the prime opportunity to sell your home. But similar to how you exercise, eat more veggies, and slather on some instant bronzer before slipping into your bikinis or board shorts, your house also needs preparation (staging, cleaning, etc.) to be shown in its best light to clients. These simple actions yield major results for the sales potential of a property. The following tips will help have your home swept off the market in no time.

1. De-Cluttering

First, get rid of any unnecessary items around your home, such as paperwork, children’s toys, or any other personal items that could distract buyers from the space itself.  Like the old adage says, “you only get one chance to make a first impression,” and you don’t want that impression to be an eyesore for critical, would-be buyers. Plus, clutter often makes a home feel less spacious, which is almost never a good thing. Begin by focusing on low-traffic areas such as the basement, attic and garage where you have your things in deep storage. Give them away to a charity, a local thrift store, throw them away or put them in self-storage. You can also organize a yard sale; summer’s the perfect time to have one! Whatever you choose, just avoid leaving extra belongings lying around the house, where they will only be in the way.


2. General Cleaning

When it comes to cleaning, your primary focus should be the areas that buyers will frequent, such as the kitchen, living room, bathroom(s) and dining room. Check the areas that immediately catch the eye – countertops/tables, sofas, sinks, bathtubs/showers, etc. – and clean them as thoroughly as you can. Be diligent when you’re cleaning your bathroom and kitchen, since these are generally the rooms that most highly influence a buyer’s decision (because of their high renovation costs, buyers prefer them to already be in move-in condition). Yet these areas are also usually the hardest to clean and tend to collect the most germs. For example, your kitchen sink may have unsightly grease and food bits. The best way to get rid of them would be to use abrasive cleaners as they provide the extra power needed to clean tough spots. Use gel and liquid cleaners on sensitive surfaces and spray cleaners for most other areas. Avoid using powdery cleaners since they often leave a residue behind that requires even more cleaning.

3. Eliminating Mold

Something else that needs your attention is mildew and mold. Use bleach or other specific fungicides to vanquish unpleasant mold as soon as possible, as it is a huge turn-off to potential buyers. Depending on where you live, the differences between summer daylight and nighttime coolness can create condensation, which in time will allow mold to thrive. To lessen the chance of mildew problems, make sure bathrooms and any room where there is moisture are properly ventilated and have good air circulation.

4. Shining Glass

Start by vacuuming rooms before you wash your windows and glass so dust doesn’t end up sticking to them. Next, make sure you use a high-quality product specifically made for cleaning glass so it won’t leave streaks on your windows, mirrors, glass tabletops, etc. Also, be sure to use a good squeegee, which will further help prevent streaking. The shinier and more streak-free your glass is, the brighter a room will feel – perfect for capitalizing on all that summer sunshine!


Hopefully, by following these guidelines your home will be in tip-top shape to be sold in no time!

A guest post by: House Clearance Bayswater

About the Author: Cora Carter is a professional writer. She lives in England with her husband and children. She wants to share her experience with her audience. She has many published articles on various topics such as home and garden, real estate, cleaning etc.

Hopkins, Minnesota

Tucked into the western suburbs of Minneapolis, Hopkins has managed to capture a small town feel, despite being a short 15-minute commute to the metropolis of Minneapolis. This local charm combined with modern design and a youthful, upbeat energy has something to offer everyone. Whether it’s a diverse restaurant selection, activities for children, live music, a vibrant nightlife or boutique shopping, fun for all ages can be found on Main Street, which serves as the center for downtown Hopkins and provides a focal point for residents and visitors.


In the quaint downtown Hopkins, new condominium developments coexist with a vibrant antique culture and rich local art scene. A clutter of five antique shops (Hopkins Antique Mall, Ann & Jacks Vintage Jewelry, Blake Antiques, Antiques on Mainstreet & Auntie M’s Antiques), restaurants ranging from Curry N’ Noodles to Samba Taste of Brazil, as well as art and community centers provide a diverse and enriching place to shop, eat, drink and be entertained. Peppered with provocative pieces of art on wide sidewalks, stroll through downtown Hopkins and you might hear live music being played late into the weekend evenings at Mainstreet Bar & Grill or the Wild Boar. During the day, entertainment can be found at the Mann Hopkin’s Cinema 6, weekly farmer’s markets held on Saturdays on 9th Street, The Depot Coffeehouse that features local music talent and the Stages Theatre, which included two performance spaces, a dance studio, an art gallery, and an art classroom.


The Hopkins community hosts a wide range of events and festivals throughout the year highlighting the importance of local art and produce. The weekly farmer’s market is held from June to October, where locals gather under the downtown clock tower to buy and sell local produce while promoting a healthy and sustainable community. The Raspberry Festival, an annual event founded during the Great Depression and held in July, has become one of the most highly anticipated gatherings each year in Hopkins. The festival hosts a stunning variety of events including sports tournaments in Central Park, art showcases, the Flat City Bike Race, activities for families, parades down Mainstreet, dances at the Hopkins Community Center, live music at Downtown Park, blood drives, open houses, the Hopkins Lions Club Beer Fest, fireworks at Central Park, and even a pig roast hosted by the Hopkins VFW.


Often serving as a centerpiece for local festivals and events, the solar panel topped Depot Coffeehouse acts as a venue for amateur musicians looking to perform in a safe and welcoming environment. The Depot Coffeehouse is also a central meeting place for cyclists throughout the Twin Cities due to residing where three major bike trails converge, making it the perfect place to regroup and refresh before heading downtown, to the lakes or deeper into the western suburbs.
Residents of Hopkins, in a study published in 2013, boasted about their city, noting that they enjoy living in Hopkins because of the small town feel (39% of residents) and its convenient location (21% of residents) with access to Minneapolis/St. Paul. The small town atmosphere in Hopkins can be attributed to its thriving youth programs, which range from art classes, to drama clubs, to language immersion programs, to math and science camps. Hopkins also has many prosperous little league programs, and the younger residents can be seen playing in football, volleyball, fencing, cross country, soccer, dance and kung-fu league programs in the many parks found in Hopkins, including Maetzold, Burnes, Harley Hopkins, Valley and Buffer Park.


First-rate schools and adult education is also a major source of pride for Hopkins. With access to eight public schools, two charter schools and six private schools, the city serves as an outstanding source of learning and growth. Hopkins also boasts a healthy religious community, with thirteen congregations spread throughout the city, supplying a spiritual outlet and religious teachings for faiths of all kinds.

Hopkins has a lot to be proud of – safe neighborhoods, good schools, a centrally located downtown area, extensive nature trails, parks, and a happening nightlife. It is the ideal place for a young family to raise children in or an elderly couple to retire to. Close enough to downtown for easy access and far enough away to maintain its small town integrity, Hopkins has truly found the sweet spot in the Twin Cities suburbs where residents are hopeful for the future and welcoming to new neighbors.

Neighborhood Resources

Hopkins Schools

Faith Communities

Alice Smith Elementary Church of St. Joseph
Eisenhower Elementary Church of the Cross
Gatewood Elementary Cross of Glory Church
Glen Lake Elementary Emmaus Road
Harley Hopkins Family Center Faith Presbyterian Church of Minnetonka
L. H. Tanglen Elementary Gethsemane Lutheran Church
Meadowbrook Elementary Grace Ministries Fellowship
XinXing Academy Korean Evangelical United Methodist Church
Hopkins North Junior High Lutheran Community of Grace
Hopkins West Junior High Mizpah United Church of Christ
Hopkins High School Shepherd of the Hills Lutheran Church
International Spanish Language Academy (ISLA) St. John the Evangelist Catholic Church
Main Street School for Performing Arts West Oaks Community Church
The Blake School Zion Lutheran Church
Hopkins Montessori School
KinderRead Montessori School
Sleepy Tigers Chinese Immersion Preschool
St. John’s Catholic School

Public Parks

Local Restaurants

Buffer Park Hopkins Tavern
Burnes Park Aji Japanese Restaurant
Central Park Star Wok
Cottageville Park Big 10 Restaurant
Downtown Park Curry N’ Noodles
Elmo Park Samba Taste of Brazil
Harley Hopkins Park Mainstreet Bar & Grill
Hilltop Park Wild Boar
Interlachen Park The Depot Coffeehouse
Maetzold Field
Oakes Park
Oasis Park
Overpass Skate Park
Park Valley Playground
Shady Oak Beach
Valley Park

Neighborhood Statistics

Hopkins Stats2223333