10 Tips for Beginning Gardeners

With a simple sketch, basic tools and the right plants, you’ll be on your way to growing your first flowers or edibles

The rewards of gardening are great — fresh air, exercise, beauty and relaxation, to name a few. But starting your very first garden can feel like an overwhelming task. Luckily, gardens are surprisingly forgiving creations, and the best way to learn is by simply diving in. Here are 10 tips to help get a new garden off on the right foot.

1. Get to Know Your Site

Take your time to get familiar with your property before beginning a new garden. Here are a few things you may like to try while you’re getting to know your landscape:

  • Take a leisurely stroll around your property with a notebook and make a rough sketch of the existing planting areas.
  • Add notes to your garden “map” about which areas get the most sun and which are shaded.
  • A simple soil test from your local garden center will tell you whether your soil is well-balanced in nutrients and pH.
  • If you’re thinking of growing edibles (vegetables, fruit or herbs), it’s a good idea to have your soil tested for lead. Most at-home kits aren’t reliable indicators of lead in the soil, but you can send your soil samples to the Lead Safe America Foundation for a free lead test. If you find that your soil has an unsafe level of lead, you can still grow edibles in raised beds or pots with new soil.
  • List which existing plants and features (such as fences or paths) you’d like to keep and which need to be replaced or removed.
  • Spend time just hanging out in your garden. Let yourself daydream and see if any creative ideas present themselves.

2. Determine Your Style and Goals

Gather a few images on Houzz that inspire you and look for a theme. Are you drawn to lush flower-filled gardens or more crisply defined modern outdoor spaces? It helps to pair a few words with the pictures you’ve chosen, so try to come up with something that evokes the sort of garden you want, even if it’s not an “official” style term.

For instance, maybe you’ll decide your style is Industrial Zen or Playful Modern or Simplified Cottage. While you’re figuring this out, it helps to keep a photo of the exterior of your home at hand — whatever style you choose should be able to work well with the architectural style of your home as well as your personal preferences.

Once you’ve named your style, take a moment to jot down the activities and features you imagine enjoying in your landscape. If you have children, you may need a lot of open space for running around. Or perhaps you dream of relaxing in the middle of a big wildflower meadow — whatever it is, write it down.

 3. Start Small

Dreaming is wonderful, but when it comes time to begin digging in the earth, it’s equally important to stay grounded in reality. The bigger the garden, the more time and energy it will require to maintain. Examine what you want (say, a vegetable garden) and then scale it down (for example, plant one raised bed rather than six). You can always expand next year!

This holds true for purchasing plants too: It’s easy to get seduced by the bountiful plants at the nursery and come home with far too many. Remember, planting takes time, so buy only what you can comfortably get into the ground within the next day or two.

4. Make a Plan

Even if you’re planting only a single raised vegetable bed or cluster of potted flowers on the patio, having a plan is key. If you’re not sure which plants to buy, take a “research” trip to a local nursery (without buying anything!) and snap photos of plants you’d like to consider adding to your garden. Look at the tags and note down when they bloom, as well as sun and water requirements.

Pulling this information together into a sketched-out plan (no artistic skills required) takes extra time initially but will make for a more successful garden in the end. Choose plants that bloom in different seasons for year-round color, and be sure to pick plants with similar sun and water requirements to plant together.

5. Pick the Right Tools for the Job (Without Going Overboard)

Having the proper tools makes garden chores more pleasant — but don’t think you need to buy out the store on day one. Just a few tools and supplies should keep your garden running smoothly. The basics include:

  • Gardening gloves. Choose a pair that feels comfortable and protects against thorns.
  • Shovel. This is essential for preparing sizable garden beds and for digging holes for trees, shrubs and large plants. A shovel with a pointed tip is more versatile than a flat spade.
  • Trowel and weeding tool (or a Japanese gardener’s knife). Use these tools to dig holes for planting and pull weeds out at the root.
  • Long garden hose and spray nozzle. Select a hose long enough to comfortably reach each of the main areas of your garden.
  • Hand pruner. Sharp clippers can trim branches and cut back woody plants like rosemary.
  • Metal rake. Use this to spread mulch and prepare beds for planting.
  • Leaf rake. Use a flexible plastic or bamboo rake to gather leaves.

6. Mix Up Perennials and Annuals

A common newbie mistake is to grab too many plants from the “annuals” section at the nursery, making for a garden that dies back within a single year. For longevity and color, go for a mix of perennials (plants that come back year after year) and annuals (plants that bloom and die within a single season).

7. Repeat, Repeat, Repeat

One great way to give your garden a professionally designed look is to repeat the same plants and hardscaping materials in different places throughout the landscape. Avoid picking one plant of each type, as this tends to appear jumbled — even in a wild English cottage-style garden, plants look best when repeated or planted in clusters. The same goes for other materials: Choose just a few hardscaping materials for paths, pots, planters and outdoor furniture, and repeat, repeat, repeat.

8. Combine Seeds and Starts for an Affordable Mix

Starting an entire garden from seed can save money, but it can also be incredibly frustrating. Purchasing only started plants is not only expensive, but it also may limit your choice of what to grow. The best option is usually a combination of the two: Pick up some started seedlings at your local nursery and start some of your own from seed. Good plants to start from seed yourself include lettuce, radishes, beans, sunflowers, marigolds, cosmos and zinnias.

9. Grow What You Like

This sounds utterly simple, but it’s something even the most experienced gardeners sometimes seem to forget. Why grow squash if it’s not really your favorite? Over the years, we’ve stopped bothering to grow beans and zucchini, instead devoting extra garden space to family favorites like snap peas, radishes, Tuscan kale and mini pumpkins for Halloween.

10. Further Your Garden Education

Seeking out local workshops is a wonderful way to learn more about gardening and connect with other gardeners in your community. Check plant nurseries, community gardens and botanical gardens in your area for free or low-cost workshops on a wide range of topics like container gardening, using native plants, attracting pollinators, creating a water-wise garden and composting.

Gardening is a lifelong learning experience, and even the most seasoned gardeners are learning all the time — so don’t beat yourself up if it seems that there’s too much to know. Just begin somewhere and take it one season at a time. The wonderful thing about gardening is that there’s usually room for do-overs.

Tell us: Are you a newbie gardener? Share your challenges — and triumphs — in the Comments! For questions or any other assistance you may need in your real estate matters, please feel free to contact me anytime. I am here for you always and ready to help.

Sincerely,

Marni Jimenez

Special thanks to Laura Gaskill for contributing this article. Laura is a Houzz.com contributor covering decorating ideas, Houzz tours & monthly home maintenance…

Posted on April 4, 2019 at 10:08 am
Marni Jimenez | Category: Uncategorized

The Enormous Divide Between the Headline and the Truth

“I have observed that not the man who hopes when others despair, but the man who despairs when others hope, is admired by a large class of persons as a sage.” – John Stuart Mill (1840s)

Even back in the mid-1800s, people knew that negative news sells. That is still true today. All forms of media realize that they will get more eyeballs, clicks, likes, and engagement by posting something negative. However, they must realize that negative headlines impact markets. Just last week, the National Association of Home Builders released a survey revealing:

“Negative media reports making buyers cautious was a significant problem for 48% of builders in 2018, but 62% expect it to be a problem in 2019.”

Even today, good news is healined with a news is headlined with a negative spin in order to get attention. Here are “2” recent examples from mainstream media:

Actual Headline #1Cash-out refis are back – will homes become ATMs again?

The Real Story

The headline is accurate – to a point. It is true that the percentage of refinances in which the homeowner received cash at the closing has increased to levels that existed in 2006. However, the actual amount of equity homeowners “cashed-out” compared to a decade ago isn’t close.

The dollar amount cashed-out last year was $63 billion. That seems like a really large number until we compare it to 2006, when homeowners cashed-out $321 billion. That is more than five times the current amount.

In 2006, people did use their homes as ATMs. They purchased new cars, boats, and lavish vacations. Today, the cashed-out equity is being used to consolidate debt, as seed capital for a new business, or to help a child with their college tuition.

Actual Headline #2: Consumer Debt hits $4 Trillion. Americans are diving deeper and deeper into debt.

The Real Story

The important number is how that total debt ranks as a percentage of disposable personal income. That percentage is the lowest ever recorded!! People are not “diving deeper and deeper into debt”. The exact opposite is true. They have less debt now than ever before.

Bottom Line

If you are thinking about buying or selling a home, it is important that you have a true professional handling your real estate needs. Someone who knows the truth about the current economy and its potential impact on the housing market.

For questions you may have or any other assistance you may need in your real estate matters, please feel free to contact me anytime. I am here for you always and ready to help.

Sincerely,

Marni Jimenez

 

Special thanks to Keeping Current Matters for contributing this article.

Posted on April 4, 2019 at 10:07 am
Marni Jimenez | Category: Uncategorized

Local Activity Guide – April

APRIL is a beautiful month in Riverside. Spring is also the season when California is at its most beautiful. Starting in later winter and lasting into early spring, everything turns green. Wildflowers burst into bloom, blossoms turn fruit trees into pink and white clouds, and sometimes even the most barren deserts put out a flowery carpet. Snow can fall in the mountains as late as April and the days will alternate clear to rainy. But on the good days you will find the clearest and bluest skies of the year! Enjoy yourself this month with our top picks for the best local things to do this month!

LOCAL FUN: Hike or bike down the beautiful Victoria Street | Visit Downtown Riverside Farmers Market | Take a Drive and visit apple orchards in Oak Glen  | Take a coffee break at your favorite outdoor Cafe |Take a Stroll through Riverside Plaza | Enjoy great weather and brows around Canyon Crest Shopping Center.

CALENDAR

Posted on April 4, 2019 at 10:06 am
Marni Jimenez | Category: Uncategorized

Win A Weekend at the Mission Inn in our Referral Contest!

EMail or call us us today with your Referrals & Testimonials! Over 50% of our business is thanks to you and your referrals so we thought we would have some fun with it this year. For ideas about how you can spend your gift cards as the winner, visit Mission Inn Website link here!

Posted on April 4, 2019 at 10:04 am
Marni Jimenez | Category: Uncategorized

Market Update – March 2019

SUMMARY – We are in a Netural Market with the Price per SQ Ft Depreciating and Days on Market Rising. There are fantastic opportunities for both Buyers and Sellers.
Posted on April 4, 2019 at 10:02 am
Marni Jimenez | Category: Uncategorized

5 Reasons Homeowners Throw the Best Super Bowl Parties!

 

5 Reasons Homeowners Throw the Best Super Bowl Parties! [INFOGRAPHIC] | MyKCM

Highlights:

  • Watching the big game at home with your friends & family offers many advantages.
  • There’s more room to entertain a large crowd, and you don’t have to worry about complaints to your landlord if you cheer too loudly!
  • The kitchen is big enough to make as many appetizers as you want, and if some of your guests are only there to watch the commercials, they can do so on a different TV in another room!
Posted on February 1, 2019 at 10:13 am
Marni Jimenez | Category: Uncategorized

Homeowners Aged 65+ Have 48x More Net Worth Than Renters

 

Homeowners Aged 65+ Have 48x More Net Worth Than Renters | MyKCM

Every three years, the Federal Reserve conducts their Survey of Consumer Finances in which they collect data across all economic and social groups. Their latest survey data covers responses from 2013-2016.

The study revealed that the median net worth of a homeowner was $231,400 – a 15% increase since 2013. At the same time, the median net worth of renters decreased by 5% ($5,200 today compared to $5,500 in 2013).

These numbers reveal that the net worth of a homeowner is over 44 times greater than that of a renter.

There are many who see that statistic and point toward how broad the range of respondents are for the Federal Reserve survey. Their study includes all economic and social groups and also includes all age groups. The argument is that older respondents have a higher likelihood of being homeowners, while the homeownership rate among younger survey takers is much lower.

Recently, the Joint Center for Housing Studies at Harvard University focused on homeowners and renters over the age of 65. Their study revealed that the difference in net worth between homeowners and renters at this age group was actually 47.5 times greater!

Homeowners Aged 65+ Have 48x More Net Worth Than Renters | MyKCM

Homeowners over the age of 65 are much more financially prepared for retirement and often own their homes outright if they were fortunate enough to purchase their homes before the age of 36. Their 30 years of mortgage payments have paid off as they gained equity through their monthly payments and as home values appreciated.

It is no surprise that lifelong-renters have had a hard time accruing net worth as the latest Census report shows that the Median Asking Rent has been climbing consistently over the last 30 years.

Homeowners Aged 65+ Have 48x More Net Worth Than Renters | MyKCM

Bottom Line

As a homeowner you put your monthly mortgage payment to work for you, building your net worth with every payment.

Posted on December 4, 2018 at 2:21 pm
Marni Jimenez | Category: Uncategorized

3 Tips for Making Your Dream Home a Reality

 

3 Tips for Making Your Dream Home a Reality [INFOGRAPHIC] | MyKCM

Some Highlights:

  • Realtor.com shared their “5 Habits to Start Now If You Hope to Buy a Home.”
  • Setting up an automatic savings plan that saves a small amount of every check is one of the best ways to save without thinking a lot about it.
  • Living within a budget will not only help you save money for down payments but will help you pay down other debts that might be holding you back.
Posted on December 8, 2017 at 2:05 pm
Marni Jimenez | Category: Uncategorized

Buying a Home Can Be Scary… Unless You Know the Facts

 

Buying a Home Can Be Scary... Unless You Know the Facts [INFOGRAPHIC] | MyKCM

Some Highlights:

Many potential homebuyers believe that they need a 20% down payment and a 780 FICO® score to qualify to buy a home, which stops many of them from even trying! Here are some facts:

  • 40% of millennials who purchased homes this year have put down less than 10%.
  • 76.4% of loan applications were approved last month.
  • The average credit score of approved loans was 724 in September.
Posted on October 31, 2017 at 10:15 am
Marni Jimenez | Category: Uncategorized

Buying Remains Cheaper Than Renting in 39 States!

 

Buying Remains Cheaper Than Renting in 39 States! | MyKCM

In the latest Rent vs. Buy Report from Trulia, they explained that homeownership remains cheaper than renting with a traditional 30-year fixed rate mortgage in the 100 largest metro areas in the United States.

The updated numbers show that the range is an average of 3.5% less expensive in San Jose (CA), all the way up to 50.1% less expensive in Baton Rouge (LA), and 33.1% nationwide!

A study by GoBankingRates looked at the cost of renting vs. owning a home at the state level and concluded that in 39 states, it is actually ‘a little’ or ‘a lot’ cheaper to own (represented by the two shades of blue in the map below).

Buying Remains Cheaper Than Renting in 39 States! | MyKCM

One of the main reasons owning a home has remained significantly cheaper than renting is the fact that interest rates have remained at or near historic lows. Freddie Mac reports that the current interest rate on a 30-year fixed rate mortgage is 3.91%.

Nationally, rates would have to reach 9.1%, a 128% increase over today’s average of 4.0%, for renting to be cheaper than buying. Rates haven’t been that high since January of 1995, according to Freddie Mac.

Bottom Line

Buying a home makes sense socially and financially. If you are one of the many renters who would like to evaluate your ability to buy this year, let’s get together and find you your dream home.

Posted on October 17, 2017 at 10:12 am
Marni Jimenez | Category: Uncategorized