Protect Your Home When You’re on Vacation with These Five Simple TipsWhen making plans for a fun-filled vacation, you shouldn’t forget implementing certain home security measures to ward off thieves. Nobody wants to return home only to find that intruders had ransacked the residence from top to bottom.

If you’re going away on vacation, make sure you protect your home against break-and-enters with these five tips.

Alarm Intruders With Audible Deterrence Measures

Installing a professional home security alarm is one of the most cost-effective ways for people to protect their homes when they are away.

Buying and setting up the right system will ensure that the proper authorities will be notified if thieves break in or attempt to force their way in.

While determined crooks will be hard to discourage, most would-be intruders will look for easier targets if they inadvertently trigger a loud, piercing alarm that attracts too much attention from anyone who could call the police.

Make Forced Entry Difficult With Solid Doors

Some thieves will take a very direct approach to break-ins by simply trying to force their way through a locked door. If the exterior doors are hollow, thieves will have a pretty easy time getting through. This is why it is important to install solid doors rather than hollow ones; solid doors are much harder to break through. 

If you’re concerned about intruders forcing their way through your hollow doors, your best recourse is to upgrade to solid doors. Upgrading will cost a pretty penny, but the added protection they will provide will be well worth the investment.

While getting solid doors installed, you can go one step further by investing in good locks, deadbolts and reinforced strike plates.

Do Not Advertise Your Departures

A pile of newspapers at the front door or a mailbox full of mail and flyers will be proof positive to crooks that no one’s home. Homeowners who are going to be away on vacation should ask neighbors or other people they trust to collect their mail while they are away. 

If having a neighbor collect your mail isn’t an option, go to the post office and request that mail service to your home be suspended until you get back. It is also best to suspend newspaper deliveries for the vacation period as well.

Neighborhood Watch To The Rescue

One great home security solution that won’t cost a penny is having neighbors who look out for you. Homeowners would do well to ask trusted neighbors to keep an eye on their property while they are away on vacation. Tell those trusted neighbors to be on the lookout for any suspicious activity and to call the authorities if necessary.

Protect Sliding Doors With This Simple Trick

Before heading off on vacation, you should safeguard the sliding glass doors in your home by putting something like a metal rod in the track. This way, thieves will not be able to force the door open.

Vacations are a time to unwind and to have some fun. However, responsible homeowners will do what it takes to make their residence less attractive to would-be thieves while they are away.

For more information on how to safeguard your home, or to get answers to your pressing real estate questions, contact your trusted real estate professional for prompt and practical advice.

Vegetable Garden 101: Get the Kids Started on a Veggie Patch Project TodayThinking about ways to engage your children in gardening and educational opportunities outside of the classroom? Creating your very own veggie patch with them is a great way to help them develop interest in the wonderful hobby of gardening!

Growing a vegetable garden links together many concepts your children are learning about in school while teaching them the art of discipline, responsibility and delayed gratification. Here are some great tips on how to nurture this project with your children.

Choose Pick-And Eat-Vegetables

The joy of being able to eat the fruits of their labors straight out of the garden will be an amazing reward for children. Vegetables like snap peas and cherry tomatoes are great for this. A bonus is that pea seeds are big and easy for those tiny hands to plant if you are going to have your children involved in the garden from the very beginning.

Pick Fun Vegetables The Kids Can Use Later

Another great route when choosing what to plant is picking vegetables that children have a strong connection to. Pumpkins are a great example of this. Children will love to grow pumpkins because of the promise of carving a jack-o-lantern later in the year.

Ensure Your Garden Is Conveniently Placed

One thing you don’t think about until you have kids is how to streamline your garden activities in a way that accommodates them. Convenience is critical when trying to manage children and do gardening at the same time. Go easy on yourself by placing your garden as close to a water source as possible.

Plant A Few Seeds That Will Grow Quickly

It is always nice to give children a bit of excitement right off the start. Lettuce is always good for this. It grows fairly quickly and will grab the interest of your children while they wait for the other plants to sprout.

Make Your Children Planting Assistants

Involving your kids in the planting is definitely a lot of work, but it really helps build their interest and education later on. Get them to hoe rows, dig holes, or water as you plant. This will help them connect all the processes together in their minds, and will keep the engaged later on.

Keep The Garden Front Of Mind

Make the garden an ongoing, continuous project that the children are involved in. Don’t let weeks go by before you bring the kids out to it again – they might get bored or develop other interests. Always look for opportunities to involve them in the work.

Plant A Colorful Garden

One of the easiest ways to get children excited about what is growing in the garden is to make it come alive with color. There are many different ways you can bring a splash of color to the garden. Choose a variety of lettuce, radishes, or squash to bring interesting and unique shapes, sizes and color to the garden!

Building a garden is a fun way to teach your children the value of hard work and perseverance, and to help them learn science! A garden can engage children and draw you all closer together as you work toward a common goal. If you have questions as to whether a garden will increase the value of your property, call your trusted real estate professional today for more information.

Maximize Your Backyard’s Privacy with These Unique IdeasIf you’re a homeowner, your backyard is probably a space where you look forward to spending private, quality time watching your children play or entertaining dinner guests.

The privacy you and your family treasure could suddenly be put at risk if your neighbors finish renovations allowing them to see into your backyard, or if a tree that once hid your backyard from view needs to be removed. If you’re looking to reclaim the privacy you’ve lost in your yard, here are some options you will want to consider.

Your Property Line Is A Natural Barrier That You Can Use To Reclaim Your Family’s Privacy

The first option you might consider if you’re looking to reclaim your yard’s privacy is probably building a fence – but depending on your budget, your relationship with your neighbors, and the look you want in your yard, a fence might not be the best option.

Consider planting a fast-growing hedge or other greenery along your property line instead. Italian cypress, for instance, will look great, grow very quickly, and will eventually give you all the privacy you need. 

Break Up Your Nosey Neighbors’ Line Of Sight By Installing Raised Beds Or Berms

If you already have a green thumb and love nothing more than working on your backyard garden, you can have your cake and eat it too by replanting your current backyard plants in raised beds or berms.

Raised beds will add up to two or three feet of height to your plants without taking away the area or square footage in the rest of your backyard, making it an ideal option for homeowners will smaller backyard spaces. Installing raised beds or berms could also be a great solution for your garden if you have trouble planting due to the presence of clay or simply poor soil.

Lumber Isn’t Your Only Fencing Option

Though fencing seems like an obvious and possibly boring option to liven up your backyard and improve the aesthetic of your space at the same time, there are ways you can get creative with fencing that you might not have considered. Putting in latticework can alleviate the claustrophobic feeling that might come with enclosing your space fully with a solid fence, giving you some visibility through the lattice.

You can spice up the look of your enclosure by weaving plants through your lattice, or if you have the patience, get some ivy growing through your enclosure.

Maximizing the privacy of your outdoor space is easy if you’re creative and you enjoy working outdoors. If you love nothing more than pruning and shearing, then try to reclaim your space through planting rather than installing a fence or another permanent structure that you can’t change and therefore might regret later.

If you’re worried about how your backyard transformation could affect the value of your home, or if you’re looking for more privacy options, contact a real estate professional that you trust for the backyard design help you need.