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Ask Eli: Landscaping to Improve At-Home Living

This regularly-scheduled sponsored Q&A column is written by Eli Tucker, Arlington-based Realtor and Arlington resident. Please submit your questions to him via email for response in future columns. Enjoy!

Question: We want to make our time at home more enjoyable by improving our outdoor space. What are some of the most common landscape/hardscape improvements you see in Arlington?

Answer: After six weeks in a row of Coronavirus market analysis/updates, I thought it would be a nice change of pace to talk about some ways you can improve your outdoor space to make staying at home more enjoyable. A nicely landscaped yard can also provide a strong return on resale, especially while stay-at-home orders are fresh in buyers’ minds.

To provide the best perspective on popular landscaping projects around Arlington, I asked Robert Groff of Groff Landscape Design, an Arlington-based landscape and hardscape firm, to share some of the most popular projects they do.

Thank you for sharing your insights Robert, take it away…

Thank you Eli and hello ARLnow. If all of this time at home has inspired you to invest in your outdoor space, I hope some of these projects are an inspiration.

April Showers Bring…Wet Basements and Mosquitos

We’ve all been reminded lately to be prepared for possible threats. Now is the time to make sure rainwater is directed away from your home foundation and mosquito breeding grounds (standing water) are minimized.

Create Family Experiences

Patios — Patios are not only for dining and grilling anymore. Patio activities can include yoga, outdoor office, study space, play space or even an outdoor movie theatre! With infinite amounts of material options here are our top recommendations:

  • Least Expensive: Concrete Slab. In our region, concrete cracks but when necessary it absolutely has its place.
  • Most Dynamic & Most Popular: Concrete Pavers. We highly recommend Techo-bloc manufactured materials because of their lifetime warranty, density rating and wide range of colors, textures and styles.
  • Favorite for Contemporary Style: Porcelain Tile for Exterior Use.
  • Natural Stone: Flagstone is still extremely popular especially for our traditionalists!

Fire Pits — Fire pits can be wonderful, and they come in all shapes and sizes. Consider if you want gas or wood burning.  How many times per year will you use it? Would an outdoor heater be more beneficial to you?

Vegetable Gardens — These can be excellent teaching tools for your children, and they can let you skip a trip to the produce aisle. They don’t have to be A LOT of work!

Playsets — With the public parks closed, maybe it’s time to get that playset for the kids. Conversely, maybe it’s time to finally get rid of your playset to make space for a larger entertainment area or more usable yard space?

Lawn Space You Can Use — Many of us have muddy or sloped back yards. Grading, drainage solutions and tree trimming may all be pre-requisites before you add new grass seed or sod.

Fencing — Struggling to keep your eyes on the kids and work all day? A fence could bring comfort that your kids are safe and sound. Is it time for that puppy you have been considering?

Outdoor Kitchens — Although popular, these can cost a pretty penny and sometimes quite frankly aren’t worth the investment. Specifically, utility needs, countertops and custom appliances elevate costs quickly. Alternatively consider a “grilling nook” to re-locate your grill or smoker. This may increase counter space while creating a more aesthetically pleasing grilling station.

Figure 1: Grilling Nook
Figure 2: Outdoor Kitchen

Health & Wellness Space — If you need a clean and green place to get your yoga time in, consider synthetic turf. Benefits to turf also include no more muddy paw prints. No more watering. Plus, it’s easy to clean and dog friendly.

Relaxation — With everybody home you may want to design a small get-a-way in a corner of the yard to go read a book, sip a glass of wine or simply phone a friend.

Replace Your Vacation With Staycation

If you had to cancel your vacation plans this year, maybe it’s time to create a “staycation” in the back yard with any of the above elements. Consider creating more privacy from neighbors, outdoor lighting for ambiance, an audio system so you can hear the waves crashing on the beach or perhaps a pool! We don’t know when we’ll be able to travel safely again so perhaps vacation just needs to be at home for a while.

With so many options, let us help you pick & choose and make them a reality! For outdoor living ideas you can also follow us on social media.

Arlington/Local Market Update

Thank you very much Robert! Before we wrap up this week’s column, I wanted to include a quick overview of Arlington market activity over the last week.

My colleagues and I are actually seeing more competition over the last couple of weeks both within Arlington and around the D.C. Metro. It seems like the decline in supply is outpacing the decline in demand and that buyers are starting to come back to the market who had taken a pause through the first few weeks of the COVID-19 outbreak.

There was a slight increase in the amount of new inventory coming to market in Arlington over the last seven days, but that was offset by an almost equal increase in properties going under contract.

Past Seven Days (Arlington)

Seven Days Prior (Arlington)

If you’d like to discuss buying or selling strategies in this market, don’t hesitate to reach out to me at [email protected]. Be smart, be careful, be strategic. And stay home!

If you’d like a question answered in my weekly column or to set-up an in-person meeting to discuss local real estate, please send an email to [email protected]. To read any of my older posts, visit the blog section of my website at www.EliResidential.com. Call me directly at (703) 539-2529.

Eli Tucker is a licensed Realtor in Virginia, Washington D.C., and Maryland with RLAH Real Estate, 4040 N. Fairfax Dr. #10C Arlington, VA 22203, (703) 390-9460.

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St. Charles offers a play-based curriculum in a welcoming, Christ-centered environment.

Our program focuses on socio-emotional development and kindergarten readiness through hands-on and engaging activities. Our programs offer different schedules ranging from 7:30 am-5:30 pm for students, ages 2-5. We feature a full-day Jr. kindergarten class for older 4’s/5’s. Our facility includes a full-sized gymnasium, school chapel, and library. All of our students enjoy music and physical education weekly. Children have an opportunity to participate in enrichment classes such as soccer, basketball, ballet, and science.

We offer Summer Camp with weekly themes and twice a week water play, including Fun Friday moon bounce. Please join us for our Open House Feb. 3 at 9:30 am and 11:00 am. Click here to sign-up.

For more information or to schedule a tour, visit us at www.stcharlesarlington.org or call (703) 527-0608.

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