SpringcolorpaletteSpring is finally here and as I joyfully emerge from what feels like a winter hibernation, I am so happy to see color peeking out everywhere; in the sky, the ground and in the natural light of the longer days. This is the season where I love to wear dresses and colorful jewelry and shoes. Do you notice that you shift to certain colors this time of year?

Here are some ideas for freshening a space in your home for Spring! I love using grays as a neutral. Try Tabby Cat Grey by Valspar VR095B. When it comes to trim, we so often gravitate towards white. Step out of your comfort zone and try black! Valspar Tomcat VR114A is lovely. Black really contrasts nicely when you add a fresh pop of color such as Vive l’amour VRO33B from Valspar. This accent color could easily be swapped out with your personal color preference! Beginning with neutrals of gray and black sets a great foundation. What color will you choose to bring the brightness of Spring into your home?



By Marlie Bilbruck-Boerger

Mary, Mary, quite contrary, How does your garden grow? With silver bells, and cockle shells, And pretty maids all in a row.

We all remember this rhyme from our childhood.  It was usually chanted while holding hands with our little friends and dancing around in a circle under the warm spring smile of the sun with a light breeze blowing through our hair and visions running through our young minds of Mary tending her garden of beautiful effortless flowers.

We all now know what a load of malarkey that vision was!

Gardens are hard work and when they are not looking great they make everything around them not look great and, as far as those effortless flowers go, there’s no such thing!

When we moved into our home on almost a quarter of an acre, I remember saying to my husband how excited I was that we could finally have gardens (having moved from a condominium this was a big deal).  Well, nine years later, I am here to tell you, yes, the dream of a garden was all that it cracked up to be, but the reality of a garden is far more work than initially thought.

Between the raking of leaves, pruning of shrubs, weeding, replanting, and overall tending, one finds oneself more exhausted by the garden than they do with time to enjoy it.

It’s amazing to me how much time and effort the upkeep of a few garden beds take.  By the end of May my back hurts, my hips feel like they may give out and my knees are shaky—I’m falling apart!  My gardens look AWESOME, but I will never know that, as I will be convalescing for the next couple of months and then it will be time to do it all over again.

Well enough of my whining about the work gardens take and onto my singing the praises that a well-kept garden deserves when it comes to lending great curb appeal to a home.

Yes, gardens take work, but the reality is that everything does.  Just as the inside of our homes need maintenance and care, so do the outside spaces of our properties.

A beautifully tended and cared for garden and lawn can make a home standout and seem welcoming just as a poorly maintained yard can turn people’s initial opinion of the property sour.  When the beds are cared for and the flowers are blooming and the yard is lush and green it speaks volumes about how the homes occupants feel about and care for the property.  When the flower beds are not well tended then the perception of the general populace is that the inside of the home is probably not well taken care of either.

You may consider taking a little time to look over your yard and flower beds and asking yourself if they are adding to your properties perceived value or detracting from it.

Recently, I spent a little time examining my own flower beds with a discerning eye and found my old strawberry bed to be less than appealing.  So over the Easter weekend my family and I made a spur of the moment decision to fix it up.  We started by weeding the bed, leveling the soil, and laying new bark in the space.  One of the main problems with strawberries, as many of you probably can profess to, is their appeal to slugs and snails.  We decided instead of planting the plants back in the ground we would buy some large containers and use them as raised strawberry beds.  I love the splash of color the planters add to the space and how clean and tidy it now appears.

The fact is that homeownership is a never ending cycle of replacing, maintaining, cleaning, and upkeep.  As our friends at Nike would remind us, “Just Do It” and then make sure you take time to enjoy your investment.

Happy gardening and have a great spring!