The Best Drought Tolerant Trees for Your Backyard

Do you live in a dry climate? Planting trees that don’t need a lot of water is a great idea for your landscaping!

If you are living in an area that is very dry and doesn’t receive a lot of rainfall, it is only natural to look for plants that can survive this type of climate. Areas that have long, dry, and hot summers also need to have gardens suited to withstand these type of conditions. It is always exciting to see trees online that look beautiful but we have to be realistic. Can these types of trees survive in the conditions we live in? After asking for help from a lawn care specialist, I’ve put together a list of some drought tolerant trees that not only look great but don’t need a lot of water!

Evergreen Trees

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Cedar, oak, and pine all fall into the evergreen tree category. These trees are all deep-rooted and can handle long summers with little or no water. If you live in a climate that has little precipitation, evergreen trees are a good choice to plant around your home. They are fast growers, and can quickly become shade trees in just a few years of being planted. One of my favorite things about evergreen trees is that they remain green and functional through more than one growing season. This means that even in the winter time they will remain green without loosing their leaves. Most trees with completely lose their foliage during the winter and dry season, which is something you also want to keep in mind when choosing trees for your yard.


If you are looking for a tree that needs little maintenance, the hackberry is a tree known to landscape professionals as “one tough tree”. The hackberry can tolerate all kinds of conditions and can be seen planted all the way from Canada to Florida. It can survive a wide variety of temperatures and can tolerate little to no rainfall, strong wind, and lots of air pollution. If you are looking for a hardy tree, the hackberry is a good landscape choice that doesn’t need watering.

Southwest Shade Trees

These leafy desert shade trees work very well in hot climates with little precipitation. Most southwest shade trees are easy maintenance trees that have few pest or tree disease issues. Some of these species are actually native to places like Arizona and Southern California. They have evolved to survive and thrive in drought conditions, so if you live in an area like this a southwest shade tree may be a great choice for you! Some southwest trees include acacia trees, mesquites, and palo verde trees. They can all survive with little moisture and in the driest conditions!

Kentucky Coffeetree

The Kentucky Coffeetree is a very drought-resistant tree that works in a wide variety of dry climates. It can easily adapt to a variety of soils, that is why it is a very popular option for homeowners across the United States. An interesting thing about the Kentucky Coffeetree is that is is very tolerant of pollution, and is a tough species that thrives in tough climates. It can be used as an ornamental or shade tree to plant on your front lawn or backyard.

Fruitless Olive Trees

Olive trees are one of my favorite trees, but unfortunately they are banned in many US states because of their fruits clogging up road drains and attracting wildlife. Fruitless olive trees on the other hand are exactly what they sound like, olive trees that bear no fruit! These trees need well-draining soil and most fruitless olive trees are drought tolerant but need regular water until a good root system has developed. So if you have the time to water these trees in your garden until they can live on their own, they make wonderful trees that not only look beautiful but also retain their foliage even in the winter time!

Live Oak

The live oak is one of my favorite trees and you may recognize it as being an iconic tree of the south. The live oak can be seen today in the south lining many driveways and roads, and it is a very impressive tree that can live to be hundreds of years old. The live oak is tolerant to drought and can adapt to various soil types, can tolerate soil compaction and also salt spray.

Northern Catalpa

Most of the trees that we have listed above are typical shade trees. The northerm catalpa is something quite different and makes a beautiful decorative tree. The catalpa blooms with white flowers and has giant heart-shaped leaves that hang like bean seed pods. The trunk and branches twist which give it a unique and exotic look, perfect for your backyard. This tree is a fast grower and is very drought tolerant. If you are looking for a tree that doesn’t need much watering but also blooms with beautiful flowers, the northern catalpa may be a good choice for you.

There are so many beautiful drought tolerant trees on the market today, so do your research before planting a tree in your yard. A few things you want to look for are low maintenance and drought tolerance. If you can find this combination you will have one a beautiful tree that you and your family will enjoy for many years to come!

Kaley Tyne Johnson: Interior Design Trends for the Home for 2022

Keep your home on top of the latest trends with these decor must-haves designers are loving for 2022!

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An alumna of the New York School of Interior Design, Kaley Tyne Johnson is a freelance interior designer who travels the world working with clients, operating predominantly in the United Kingdom, Canada and the United States.

Few environments are as important as the home, providing a backdrop for joyful holiday celebrations, unforgettable family occasions and some of life’s most memorable moments. From vibrant color schemes and a resurgence of classic styles to technological innovations, this article explores interior design predictions for 2022.

Traditional Meets Contemporary

Classic designs never go out of style. Speaking with Cision, designers from Taylor Morrison Home Corp predicted that homeowners would continue to mix traditional design elements, such as rich wood tones and colorful patterned wallpaper, with contemporary pieces.

As Las Vegas-based designer Laurie Jiu suggests, since people are staying in their home longer, they are opting for a look that will not go out of style quickly. Taylor Morrison’s professionals advocate investing in classic and timeless staple pieces, using trendy accent pieces to refresh the look, in order to combat an everchanging trend cycle.

Traditional details are one of 2022 interior design trends and are likely to enjoy a continued resurgence over the coming months. After all, with so much change and disruption since the start of the pandemic, it is no surprise that increasing numbers of people crave a sense of timelessness, comfort and nostalgia in their homes.

Changing Priorities

With families all over the world spending more time at home throughout the pandemic, homebuyers have increasingly prioritized comfort and functionality in home design. Brian Juedes is Vice President of Product Design at Taylor Morrison. He explains that, in a post-pandemic world, more customers want homes with increased outdoor spaces, bigger kitchens, more bulk storage, expanded everyday entry zones, and more areas dedicated to working and studying from home.

Elements Inspired by Nature

Also triggered by COVID-19, many people have developed a new-found appreciation of nature, seeking to reconnect with the natural world and recreate its calming influence in their homes.

Natural surfaces like marble, terracotta, stoneware and travertine are currently one of the hottest interior design trends across the board, from furniture and bathtubs to decorative ornaments. The rugged, imperfect nature of organic materials such as these adds interest, soul and depth, recreating the calming, restorative ambiance of the natural world.

Designer Nicole McCall explains that buyers have been bringing in crystals and pinecones as inspiration, asking them to design their homes around these items. A desire to reconnect with nature has also sparked a surge in interest in large trees for the home, from magnolias to the black olive.

Vibrant Colors

Working in collaboration with Sherwin-Williams, Taylor Morrison compiled its 2022 Color Collection. Sherwin-Williams’ Color of the Year is Evergreen Fog.

Green has become an increasingly popular addition to color schemes as homeowners seek to immerse themselves in the tranquility of nature, recreating the soothing influences of the great outdoors in their own homes.

Lee Crowder, National Director of Design and Model Experience for Taylor Morrison, pointed out that Evergreen Fog could exist harmoniously with others colors such as Snowbound, Warm Wicker and Dark Night, or stand strong on its own, meaning it could be woven into the color scheme of any home.

Tactile Textures

Founder of The Expert, Jake Arnold explains that his clients are exploring different types of patterned jute, abaca and rush this year as a way to expand the neutral foundation that a rug provides, playing around with patterns to add more depth and texture to spaces.

3D Art

Lauren Behfarin of Lauren Behfarin Design predicts a push towards 3D art in the months ahead, explaining that with people continuing to spend more time in their homes, they will seek to add life, whimsey and intrigue to flat wall space. As Behfarin points out, art that pops right off the wall – which can be configured in different ways – is likely to become increasingly popular in 2022.

Technological Transformation

Technology has had a revolutionary impact on the construction, design and operation of modern homes. Thanks to the company’s partnership with GE Appliances, Taylor Morrison’s customers can now set the dishwasher from the squash court, or start the laundry without leaving the workplace. Enabling homeowners to control appliances via their mobile phones is a game-changer, freeing up the valuable time of homeowners and making their lives easier.

Getting Ready to Downsize? Here’s What You Need to Know

Downsizing happens for a variety of reasons: maybe you’re an empty nester and planning to move to a smaller home, or maybe you just want a simpler lifestyle with less stuff lying around!

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Deciding to work remotely for a while is another valid and common reason for downsizing. Whatever the reason, the process of downsizing can be overwhelming – it involves a lot of digging through your possessions, sorting stuff out, deciding what stays and what goes, then dealing with the items you’re no longer keeping. In other words, downsizing is a lot of work. But, with a little bit of planning, you can streamline it and make it easier. Here’s what you need to know about downsizing and how to come up with the right strategy:

Start the process early on

One common trap is underestimating how much time you actually need to downsize. It’s not something that can be done properly in one weekend, particularly if we’re talking about large family homes. Ideally, you should start sorting your belongings a few weeks prior to moving to the smaller home or apartment.

Have your measurements ready

Most people who downsize are planning to move some of their old furniture into the smaller home. In such situations, it’s very important to take detailed measurements of the furniture, the space where you want to place it, and of the door frames as well. Door frames can be smaller, especially if you’re moving from a single-family home into an apartment, and you don’t want to find that out when your sofa was already delivered at the new address – and you can’t get it inside. Also, if the rooms in your new home are smaller, it’s important to visualize how your old furniture fills the space – a simple way to do that is by using tape on the floor to draw the contours of the furniture you’re planning to bring.

Consider turning to self storage

According to recent research from self storage website, more than a third of Americans are using self storage, and the most common reason for renting a unit is downsizing. In fact, renting self storage is a huge help if you’re downsizing. It can benefit you throughout the actual process of packing up the belongings and preparing them to be moved as well as after the move. Rent a self storage unit located close to your new home and use it to safely store items you decide to keep, as you pack them, until moving day comes along – this takes a lot of the pressure off and allows you to use your time and effort more efficiently.

Self storage also helps if you’re downsizing your belongings because you are temporarily relocating to a new city or new country, combining remote work with traveling. It’s a safe – and affordable – way to store the stuff you’ll be needing when you get back home. The cost of renting self storage varies depending on where you live. For example, renting a 10’x10’ self storage unit in Austin costs around $170 per month. A unit in Oklahoma City, on the other hand, hovers around $100 per month.

In both instances, however (or in any other location in the country), using self storage is more convenient than paying months of rent on an apartment, just to house your stuff, or dumping your possessions on reluctant family or friends.

If you’re a homeowner and plan to relocate for several months or longer, it’s still a good idea to downsize your belongings and place the expensive and important ones in storage. Then, you can put your home up for rent without worrying about potential damage to your furniture and other items. This way, you’ll be cashing in a monthly income instead of paying mortgage and maintenance on an empty home.

How to decide what stays and what goes

This might just be the hardest thing about downsizing. We all get attached to our stuff, and it’s hard to let go. Try to apply some of the following principles in order to move things along and speed up the process:

  • Sentimental items (old photos, journals, postcards, your kids’ artwork since they were in kindergarten) are probably the most difficult to deal with. But you have a simple solution to that: scan and take digital pictures of everything. You’ll hold on to the memories, which will be at your fingertips all the time, on your phone or on your tablet, without cluttering your space with a lot of boxes filled with old papers. Other ideas to keep your sentimental items without causing clutter include creating scrapbooks or framing and displaying the most significant ones.
  • Limit yourself to just one of everything – if, for example, you own two vacuum cleaners, keep only one, the one you prefer. The same goes for everything, from tools to kitchen utensils and so on.
  • Use the stuff you were saving for the future – the future is now. Maybe you have a set of fancy China, or luxurious bedding, that you saved up until now. Well, downsizing is the perfect opportunity to get rid of your old stuff and put the new and nice items hiding in your closets and cabinets at good use.
  • When it comes to clothing and shoes, a good rule of thumb is to get rid of everything you haven’t used in the past 12 months.

What to do with your stuff?

Once you decide what items you want to keep, you’re left to deal with the rest. Some of them will probably go to recycling or straight to the trash bin. As for the stuff that’s in good shape, you can find various uses. Ask your family and friends if they need anything and gift it to them. Or you could sell them online, or even organize a garage sale. Find local organizations that accept charitable donations and contact them to pick up your belongings.

However, all these actions take a little bit of time – which is another reason why it’s important to start the downsizing process early on.

Ultimate Guide to Home Electrical Safety

Make sure you stay safe at home with these simple electrical safety tips!

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For well over a century, we have enjoyed the modern convenience of electricity to live comfortably. It lights our homes, provides warmth, and powers our ever-growing assortment of electronics. It’s so common that it’s easy to forget its inherent dangers. Over time we’ve added safety features to appliances and outlets and adopted electrical wiring standards that keep us safe.

These measures make our home’s safer. For example, when ground fault circuit interrupters (GCFI outlets) became the standard for outlets placed near water sources like in the bathroom or kitchen, the number of accidental electrocutions dropped by 83%. That’s a shocking change considering that our dependence on electricity has grown during that same time.

Enhanced safety measures and familiarity provide a false sense of security, and many DIY-savvy homeowners take on more than they can handle with home electrical projects.

The Real Deal on Electrical Safety in Your Home

There was a time before the 1970s when electrocutions and house fires were a lot more common. And while we’ve made a lot of progress at improving the safety of electrical use in our homes, there is still a risk. The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) reports that faulty electrical wiring is still responsible for approximately 10% of all house fires. And we still see more than 400 deaths every year attributed to electrocution injuries.

The electricity in your home is a live current, and it is capable of producing significant injury and starting fires in the same way that a bolt of lightning can. Even simple tasks like replacing a bad switch or installing a ceiling fan come with some risk.

Here’s why you’re better off hiring an electrician:

●   Wiring trouble can increase your risk of a house fire, putting the safety of your family at risk.

●   Electrical work can be dangerous.

●   Your DIY electrical project can cause your home to fail an inspection when it comes time to sell.

●   Electricians have training and experience to navigate safety and compliance to get the job done right.

●   You don’t have to worry about building code violations.

●   Electrical work is time-intensive and takes you away from enjoying your personal time.

When it comes to home remodeling projects or fixing a pesky problem, hiring an electrician might feel like an expensive burden. But it’s one of those things that is often a controllable upfront cost to save a lot more money down the road.

Electrical Safety Tips

Electrical safety in the home goes beyond building codes and qualified workmanship. It starts with practical, everyday actions that can protect your home and your family. Here are a few tips to take note of.

Use the Right Light Bulbs

A quick trip down the lighting aisle at your local hardware store can be overwhelming. There’s an assortment of bulbs in different sizes, shapes, and wattages. While some fixtures require special bulbs, most US fixtures take a standard medium bulb or E26. That code identifies the screw type and size, with “E” indicating an Edison bulb and “26” indicating a 26mm width socket.

The problem is that the E26 bulb comes in different wattages, which indicate how bright the bulb is. A 40-watt or 60-watt bulb is common, but they go all the way up to 100 watts. Light fixtures, on the other hand, are designed for a specific wattage. Overlamping, or using a 75-watt bulb in a 40-watt-rated fixture causes excess heat build-up and quickly becomes a fire hazard.

Pay Attention to Cords

Frayed cords and tangled messes shoved behind a piece of furniture are both common electrical hazards in the home. Worn or damaged cords on appliances can lead to exposed wiring that is not properly insulated, increasing the risk of shock when someone uses that appliance. Homeowners should keep their cords tidy so that wear and tear is easy to recognize and promptly replace cords that become dangerous.

Use What You Need, Unplug What You Don’t

You probably don’t realize this, but appliances constantly draw energy when they are plugged into an outlet. Even when a device is powered off, it’s using energy as long as it’s connected to the wall. The US Department of Energy says that gaming systems, phone chargers, and other common electronics are energy vampires that cause millions of Americans to pay higher electric bills.

So, unplugging what you don’t need makes sense from a cost-savings perspective. But it’s also a safety measure. If you’re not regularly using the appliance, you won’t notice when something goes wrong. Leaving them plugged in increases the risk of overheating or damage from a power surge that can pose a bigger threat to your safety.

Remember, Water and Electricity Don’t Mix

The use of GCFI outlets has improved the safety of electrical wiring in areas that also are prone to water exposure, but safety features don’t replace common sense. Allowing moisture to build up anywhere there is an outlet, fixture, or appliance that is connected to your electrical system can spell big trouble. Avoid electrocution injuries by being vigilant about electrical safety in the bathroom, kitchen, laundry room, garage, and outdoor areas.

Get an Electrical Inspection

It’s always a good idea to be proactive. Most electricians offer routine electrical inspections as a common-sense approach to keeping up on your home maintenance. These inspections can identify problems so that you can address them before they become a serious, life-threatening situation.

In newer homes built after the 1970s, a routine inspection every 10 years or when electrical problems appear will keep things in good shape. If you live in an older home, especially if the wiring hasn’t been updated, you’ll want to keep a closer eye on things. For these homes, aim for a routine inspection of three to five years or when electrical problems appear.

Get a professional electrician on-site immediately if you notice signs of a problem like:

●   Flickering Lights

●   Strange Smells

●   Warm Switchplate Covers or Fixtures

●   Frequent Tripped Beakers

●   Buzzing, Humming, Cracking, or Popping Sounds

●   Any Amount of Spark

What to Remember About Home Electrical Safety

Electricity can always be dangerous. Even though it has become a common part of our lives and both homes and appliances are outfitted with dozens of safety features, the risk of injury or death is still very real. Take the time to address common electrical hazards in your home and talk with your family about the hidden dangers of unmonitored appliances and carelessness when using electricity in the kitchen or bathroom. Invest in the best safety equipment and consider using gloves while working like those from to avoid injury. The best thing you can do to promote electrical safety is to pay attention. If you notice a sign of trouble, remember that it’s always a good idea to leave electrical work to licensed professionals.

Author Bio

Bobby Lynn, the owner of Livewire Electrical, is a fully licensed electrician in Charlotte, NC. Bobby is insured for both residential and commercial electrical projects and has over 20 years of experience in the industry.

4 DIY Tips For Home Sellers in 2022

Thinking of selling your home next year? Here are some tips to sell your home fast!

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With the new year, comes new resolutions for homeowners. If you’re thinking of taking advantage of the advantageous seller’s market by putting your home up for sale, you’ll be glad to know the current housing conditions almost guarantee a favorable closing price — so long as you have a top-notch real estate agent on your side.

Though home prices are extremely high right now, there’s still plenty of tasks you can tackle yourself in order to truly impress your buyers. As any real estate agent will attest, staging a home is key in order to sell quickly and profitably. Here are some helpful tips to get started.

Declutter, deep clean and depersonalize 

When a buyer views your home, they’ll want to picture themselves living in the property. That’s why top real estate agents always recommend decluttering, deep cleaning, and depersonalizing your home prior to the sale.  Limit the number of family photos and mementos, remove the layers of dust and grime from the shelves and windows, and organize the storage spaces in your home.  If it is a big cleanout, you could hire a residential dumpster to make the job easier.

If you’re looking for some housekeeping tips, remember to stay organized and motivated. Come up with a cleaning and decluttering method that works for you. Some people like setting timers for 15 minutes every day to work, while some create a goal to donate or throw away a certain number of items everyday. No matter your method, this is an easy way to impress buyers that won’t cost you a dime!

Stage your home

Staging your home is perhaps the most important step before allowing potential buyers to view your home. In order to pull this off, maximize your space, plant flowers outside, and paint the walls neutral colors.

Decorating your home is another important step. As noted, personal mementoes, family photos, and sentimental keepsakes, while extremely important to you, will actually hurt your selling prospects. Buyers want to picture themselves in your property, so try limiting the personal tokens within your decorating in favor of neutral items like plants and landscape photos. You don’t have to remove all the family photos and having no decor at all will decrease the hominess of the property — just make sure anyone entering your home for a tour will be able to picture themselves living there.

Take your home virtual

Thanks to the COVID-19 pandemic, it’s now more important to ever to make sure your home stands out both physically and virtually. Videos and photos are going to be more important than ever, so you’ll want to make sure you create a top-notch online marketing presence for your property.

While your real estate agent can help with this process, it’s easy to create great home videos and photos with just your Smartphone. Lighting is important, so choose a time of day with plenty of natural light and turn on all overhead lighting. Remember, you’ll want your angles to showcase your home’s spaciousness, so avoid taking close-up photos. If you don’t know where to start, always remember to ask your real estate agent for guidance.