Native plants like Salvia Amistad and Prairie Dawn Penstemon reduce the need for supplemental water. All photos courtesy of Laura Stone.

Attention green thumbs! The City of Dallas Water Conservation office announced its call for entries for its 2017 Water Wise Landscape Tour. Gardens will be selected for the October 14th tour based on beauty, maintenance, and water conservation efforts. If you’re ready to throw your hat in the ring, you can enter until August 18.

For those who may need some help understanding and improving your yard’s water usage, we’ve got your back. We asked Master Gardener Laura Stone for some guidance on making our gardens more water wise. So whether you want to improve water consumption in your existing yard, or to strategically plan a new landscape project, Stone has a blueprint for sustainable success.

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The Palmer Garden 8422 Forest Hills Boulevard

If you love gardens, gardening, or art then the annual White Rock East Garden Tour is the place to be on Sunday, May 15. East Dallas gardeners and artists come together each spring to showcase their beautiful gardens and creations for a single perfect day. Nine gardens in Forest Hills, Little Forest Hills, and Casa Linda Estates will be open to the public on Sunday from 10 a.m to 5 p.m. Each garden will host several artists displaying a wide variety of artwork available for purchase. (more…)

Much is said about creating curb appeal when you put your home up for sale. But is it really that important in our sizzling real estate market? And what projects will get the biggest bang for the buck and attract the right buyer?

Why not ask Realtors? They’re on the front lines with buyers, hearing comments and seeing what works and what doesn’t.

“Curb appeal is one of the most important factors when it comes to the marketing of your home,” said Brandon Travelstead, a Realtor with Dallas City Center Realtors. “It’s all about what the potential buyer sees when they pull up out front, get out of the car, and walk to the front door—you really have 30 to 45 seconds to capture that buyer’s attention before they form their first impression.”

Dennis Hammett, Ebby Halliday’s 2015 “Rookie of the Year,” considers curb appeal one of his areas of expertise and offers specific recommendations for clients.

“I work with a wide range of buyers, sellers, and investors in the readiness and prep to get the most of the home’s appearance,” Hammett said. “Whether listing a $200,000 or a $2-million property, you only have one chance to make that first impression—I’m always looking for that ‘wow’ factor that will attract potential buyers.”

We asked top Dallas Realtors to weigh in on curb appeal improvements sellers can make to their properties. We’ve divided their answers into budget-friendly, mid-range, and high-end so you can easily see where to best spend your money. Let’s hear what they have to say!

 

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Little Forest Hills artist Janet Reynolds lets her flock of Barred Rocks and Rhode Island Reds frolic in her backyard under supervision.

Little Forest Hills artist Janet Reynolds lets her flock of Barred Rocks and Red Stars frolic in her backyard under supervision. (Photo: Jo England)

I can say, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that this home tour is the smallest and most unique in Dallas. It’s one of those events that has people saying “Only in East Dallas!” That’s what I love about it, too. If you haven’t already heard, A Peep at The Coops is an annual chicken coop tour that will lead you through nine lovely coops and gardens throughout East Dallas’ most fun and funky neighborhoods.

The Sunday, May 3, coop tour is a fundraiser for Stonewall Jackson Elementary’s garden program. It’s the perfect event for the chicken-curious folks considering their own birds but aren’t quite sold on it yet. And it’s a budget-friendly family outing, too, as you can purchase a map to the coops on tour for just $10. There’s a companion bike-led tour from the kind folks at Transit Bikes where you can pedal to the close-by coops on an easy-to-ride route, plus a raffle for a gorgeous modern coop designed by Mark Domiteaux, AIA.

This modern, mobile chicken coop will be raffled off to benefit Stonewall Gardens.

This modern, mobile chicken coop will be raffled off to benefit Stonewall Gardens.

We got a sneak peep at two coops yesterday. Jump for more!

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A Bed Over My Head HH Parade

B.A. Norrgard’s tiny home was towed down Newell in Hollywood Heights during the neighborhood’s annual Easter parade last weekend. (Photo: Jo England)

Perhaps you already saw B.A. Norrgard’s adorable 112-square-foot house on wheels at the Hollywood Heights Newellian Easter Parade this year? Or maybe you saw it in this BuzzFeed video?

Well, if you haven’t yet seen inside the super cute but VERY COZY little home documented on Norrgard’s blog, you’ll have another chance to see it during Earth Day Texas. Norrgard will open the teacup cottage to visitors and talk about what she call’s “lifestyle repackaging” but is also known as “extreme downsizing” during the free April 24-26 event at Dallas’ art deco gem, Fair Park. She’ll also talk about the prospect of tiny house communities in Dallas, which is an idea we’re absolutely smitten with.

Jump for more information on Earth Day Texas!

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pet grass

Pet grass is an often-overlooked option for homeowners with four-legged friends, but it offers low maintenance, lower lifetime cost, a lush look year-round, and low water requirements, which is environmentally friendly. Photo: Synthetic Grass Pros

My eleven-pound Maltipoo has a knack for being naughty in the backyard the moment I’m not looking. Last year, she managed to dig a hole almost a foot deep in 20 minutes and was sitting in it, covered in dirt and ecstatic, when I went to check on her.

This story probably sounds familiar to dog owners everywhere, who regularly deal with muddy paws and destructive digging in their backyards. Add this to the ever-present North Texas issues of water restrictions, high maintenance in warm months, ugly brown grass in cold months, and grass allergies, and the yard becomes a pain-in-the-rear.

Enter pet grass, a synthetic alternative that eliminates all of those issues, and you have a beautiful solution.

“Conservation Grass is a terrific solution for pets in that it solves the problems of wear and muddy paws,” said Bryce Bartlett, Director of Sales for of Dallas-based Conservation Grass. “Our business has been growing consistently over the past couple of years as more and more homeowners are realizing the benefits that synthetic grass can provide.”

Pet grass used to have a host of problems, like poor drainage, rubber ingredients that absorbed odor, unrealistic all-green color, and too-short lifespan. But many modern applications have addressed those concerns.

“As with all synthetic grass applications, the base preparation is critical to ensure proper drainage and performance, but when selecting a synthetic pet grass, it is absolutely essential to be sure that the backing us permeable and that the blades are polypropylene,” Bartlett said. “This will ensure that there is no absorption in the grass that would cause odors from pet use. The permeability of our patented backing material allows water and urine to pass through, unlike other brands on the market, which use a black plastic or perforated backing that may trap and create odors.”

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Trammell S. Crow

Earth Day Texas founder Trammell S. Crow is the keynote speaker for the free, one-day sustainability conference on Friday, March 20, hosted by Cedar Valley College in Lancaster. (Photo: David Woo/DMN)

Ready to make your great business dream a reality? Lancaster’s Cedar Valley College, a Dallas County Community College District campus, is hosting a sustainable communities conference 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Friday, March 20, featuring real estate scion and Earth Day Texas founder Trammell S. Crow as the keynote speaker, as well as soil biologist Dr. Elaine Ingahm. The conference is called H3: A Responsible Pathway. The “H3” stands for “head, heart, and hands” as that’s what attendees will use to focus their commitments to a sustainable community.

There are three tracks available for the free, one-day conference: People, Planet, and Economy. Jump to find out more about how to register.

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Now is the time to start planning your backyard pool, says Harold Leidner. Find out why winter is a great time to get started.

Well, the holidays are over, it’s cold outside, and everyone is back to work and school. Now it’s back to the grind and the long haul till spring break. Maybe you’ve been thinking about putting in a pool, or maybe you’ve been remembering those warm summer days and how nice it would have been to have a pool in the backyard? You are not alone, but is now the time to start thinking about getting that pool project? We asked our friends over at Harold Leidner Landscape Architects to suggest a few reasons why you might want to get that project going.
Jump to see five reasons why you should start building your backyard oasis right now!

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