Spring is here! How can I use plants to boost my curb appeal?
Spring is the time when we can really get back to the earth. It’s fun to plant some flowers and get your hands dirty whether you have a garden, a flower bed, or some pots on your deck or balcony. If you’re a relatively new gardener, you may need a bit of help getting started. Here are some tips for selecting and planting your bedding plants:
- Choose fresh, healthy plants, avoiding any with yellowed leaves. Yellowing could indicate permanent damage due to under watering.
- Select plants in trays with deep compartments spaced as far apart as possible. These deep compartments help the plants retain moisture and grow larger root systems.
- If you’re impatient and want beautiful, showy flowers right away, select plants grown in larger pots. Larger plants with more established roots adapt faster to transplanting.
- Plant them early or late in the day when it’s not too hot.
- Water all plants thoroughly in their pots before planting.
- Make a hole a little larger than the base of the plant and add water.
- Gently tap the plant out of its pot, push it into the prepared hole, and tamp the surrounding soil.
- Sprinkle fertilizer around the plants, then water.
- Water the flowers whenever the ground appears dry during the first few weeks.
- Plant a bit of garlic, lemon balm, chives and marigolds around your other flowers and veggies. Insects don’t like them!
- Do a little research before you buy your plants. Find varieties that are suited to the growing conditions in your garden or on your deck. Your plants will fare better if you put the right ones in the sunny or full shade areas.
- Encourage those earthworms! Earthworms are very valuable in your soil, so always use natural fertilizers.
- Stop dumping your cooking water down the drain! After you boil your pasta or steam your veggies, use this nutrient rich water on your plants, rather than dumping it down the drain. Of course, let it cool first.
- Keep your plants portable. If you want to move your potted plants around to make different areas of your yard or deck look particularly inviting, keep your pots light-weight by putting some foam peanuts in the bottom of the pot, before putting in your soil.
- Mix some compost into the soil to add lots of great nutrients. You can create your own compost, or you can buy it from various garden centres. There are different kinds for different uses, so be sure to talk to the experts to get the right type for your specific needs. The City of Vancouver sells compost produced from the yard and garden waste they collect from Vancouver homes. Check in your own municipality!
Now you can sit back and enjoy the results of all your hard work! And as a full-fledged gardener, you might want to check with your home insurance agent to make sure you have coverage for:
- Landscaping equipment such as a rototiller or garden tractor.
- Trees, shrubs, and other plants. These can be expensive to replace, if damaged. Often home insurance will provide coverage for damage caused by specified perils.
- Shed or gazebo. These items are considered “detached structures”. Be sure you have sufficient coverage for the total amount of all detached structures.
How do I get all that winter grime off of my windows?
Now that you’ve boosted your curb appeal, it’s time to improve what a lot of people first notice about a home, your windows. During the winter time, your home’s windows often get quite dirty. Spring and summer are the most common times to clean them; after all, how else can you enjoy your new garden with dirty windows? Here are a few tips to help you get this chore done:
- Wash one side of a window with horizontal strokes and the other side with vertical strokes. That way, if there are any streaks, you can see which side of the window they’re on. What a great idea!
- Start at the top of the window and work down, to prevent drips.
- Prevent streaks by using a squeegee. You can get a sponge/squeegee combo attached to a telescoping handle to really make quick work of cleaning.
- Dry your squeegee with a rag after each swipe. Otherwise, you will leave visible lines on the glass.
- Use a toothbrush or cotton swab to get into those tight corners.
- Wash windows on a cloudy day. Sunlight dries the windows too quickly, before you have a chance to polish them.
- Polish the glass with newspaper or a clean blackboard eraser for extra shine.
Does my home insurance cover the windows in my home?
Exterior glass is vulnerable to a wide range of possible damage; confused birds, golf balls, vandalism and even hailstorms can make short work of expensive windows. The good news is insurance is available for this kind of damage.
- If you own a house, your house insurance policy probably already covers glass, but it may be subject to your policy’s deductible. Most home insurance policies today have a standard deductible of $500 or $1,000. Some policies will let you reduce or eliminate the deductible on glass for an extra charge.
- If you own a condo unit, it’s important to determine who is responsible for the glass. Is it you or the condo corporation? Check with your condo corporation to find out; if you have a copy of your condo bylaws, you may also be able to find this information under the “Responsibilities of Unit Owners” section. If you’re responsible for your unit’s glass, talk to your condo insurance provider to see if coverage is provided. Some policies include glass, while others allow you to add glass by way of a special cover.
- If you own a rental property, your rental property insurance may not include glass at all. This is usually available as an optional extra coverage, so talk to your rental property insurance provider.
- If you own a vacation property, glass may not be covered under your vacation property insurance. So, be sure to review your policy and to talk with your provider.
- If you own a vacant property, it’s very unlikely you’ll be able to obtain insurance for your windows. Glass is almost always excluded when a property is vacant.
At Square One, we include glass coverage on all of our home insurance policies, subject to the policy deductibles. Most customers also have the option of reducing this deductible to $0, in exchange for a small additional premium. For more information on landscaping and glass coverage, or to get a quote on your home insurance, contact Square One at 1.855.331.6933.