Larry Costa REALTOR®'s Blog
Living walls have become increasingly popular in buildings in cities and urban areas. Also called vertical gardens or green walls, these installations can provide several benefits to the area besides just aesthetic appeal. While you’ll most often encounter living walls outdoors, they’re also common inside commercial spaces and homes. Here we’ll go over what exactly goes in to a living wall and the many benefits of having one in your own home.
How Do Living Walls Work?
Living walls are made with a frame up against an existing wall. The frames are usually metal or plastic and have a layer of “growth medium” for the plants to grow in. For some living wall designs growth medium can simply mean soil. For others, they use a compact growth medium in block or mat form. The plants can attached directly to the medium to get nutrients through their roots and remain supported by the structure of the wall.
Most living walls have a built-in irrigation system on the back which allows the plants access to water without waste or risk of moisture damage. Depending on the complexity of the wall and the plants included there may even be automatic misting functions to keep the leaves of moisture-loving plants healthy.
For plant choice, indoor living walls offer a lot of options because of the likelihood of a temperature controlled environment. Evergreens are usually the best choice regardless of your living wall’s location because they will not leave “dead” spots on the wall when dormant. Other popular plant choices include philodendrons, ferns and even succulents.
Can You Make Your Own?
There are many companies that provide living wall supply and installation both for the home and larger outdoor spaces. However, living walls are possible to DIY as long as you use the right tools. The simplest way to build your own living wall is to attach planters to a frame or directly into the wall. You can repurpose an unused book shelf or even use a wooden palette as the primary structure.
Building a living wall in this style will not achieve the same look as the ones with plants attached horizontally. However, you can still cover the entire wall with greenery as long as you choose the right plants. This also helps you avoid the need for an attached irrigation system since you can water the plants normally. That said, be mindful of logistics and maintenance: don’t forget you need to reach them in order to care for them.
What Are the Benefits?
There are plenty of benefits to living walls no matter the location. Some key advantages include:
Breathe Easy - Adding a dense collection of plantlife will help purify your air and provide extra oxygen.
Insulation - Living walls can be excellent sound dampeners and help control the temperature in your living space.
Save Energy - Because of their insulating effects, living walls can make your home more energy efficient by helping regulate and maintain ideal temperatures.
Lift Your Mood - Having a living wall can make you feel more energized and productive and can also promote a sense of calm.
Increase Property Value - Any energy efficient or sustainable feature is attractive to homebuyers. A living wall can boost the resale value of your home.
Visual Appeal - Living walls are eye-catching and beautiful additions to any space and have the benefits of a garden and a piece of art all at once.
No matter if you hire a professional or DIY, adding a living wall is an excellent way to improve your quality of life, help the environment and boost your home value at the same time.
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The vast majority of homeowners have put some time and effort into setting up their entertainment centers. Whether it's movies, TV or video games, we all have our priorities. No matter what enjoy, automation can be a great way to get more from every experience at home. Of course, this means that you'll need to tackle the technical setup of all your devices, as well as figure out which ones you actually need. We'll look at some ideas to get you where you want to be.
Lights, Camera, Action
Automation makes it possible for you to dim the lights, draw the shades or start/pause the movie. Maybe you hit a single button that can do all three, or maybe you program voice commands through virtual assistants like Siri or Alexa. If the doorbell happens to ring during a pivotal scene, an automated entertainment center can immediately pause until you come back.
How you design your home theater will depend on where it is and how you consume content. For instance, a basement converted into a home theater won't necessarily need to account for outside sunlight. A home encased in concrete walls might present challenges for reconfiguring cables. You also need to take into account how large your screen size is, whether you'll be using (or eventually using) a projector and what kind of sound system you want.
We're used to thinking about equipment in terms of the manufacturer. For instance, an Apple device isn't immediately compatible with your PC (and vice versa). New developments such as Z-wave technology make it possible to connect a variety of devices no matter where they originated.
Linking everything together on one network serves several purposes. Not only do you get the benefits of having each component communicate with the other, but you can also mix and match different home theater equipment. This can save you money, depending on sales from different companies, and also help optimize everything from your picture to sound.
Here are a few suggestions to take your viewing to the next level:
- Turn up the lights whenever you pause a movie, TV show or video game
- Allow access to all media so people in the house can watch what they want, when they want
- Program victory music or colored lights for dramatic moments (e.g., sports games, video games, etc.)
- Play a custom introduction before a movie or TV show
Having more than one remote has become more the norm than the exception, but automation provides a way for you to consolidate. So instead of trying three remotes before you remember that the sound system came with its own separate remote, use a single remote to control everything from the lights to the playback. Customized remotes are more available than ever, and this can be a great way to cut back on the clutter and confusion in an entertainment system.
An automated wonderland is one that's built around your needs. Some people might be interested in nothing more than dimming the lights, while others will want everything. Whatever it is you're looking for in automation, you can bet there is technology to help.
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Packing up your home for a move might seem simple but there are ways to make it even simpler. With some extra planning, organization and creativity you can make your packing process easier and more efficient. Here are some essential packing tips to remember when it’s time to move.
Gather Supplies First
Before you pack, make sure you have all the supplies you need (and maybe extra). Stock up on tape, packing paper, bubble wrap and any essential tools like scissors in easily accessible places. If possible, get more than you think you need. This makes you less likely to run out in the middle of packing and will also set you up with supplies for your next move.
Use the Best Bags & Boxes
You can use the same cardboard boxes for moving as you would for shipping. However, there are some advantages to boxes made specifically for moving. The greatest one is the inclusion of handles. Boxes with well-made handle cutouts can make packing, unpacking and organization much simpler. Sometimes you can find moving boxes made of heavier-duty cardboard that can handle more weight, as well.
For bags, avoid using regular garbage bags and opt for the extra thick variety that won’t rip in the middle of your move.
Keep Cords & Components Labeled
When packing electronic components, computer parts or anything that has cords or wires, save time by labeling everything. Packing small cords or cables in clear plastic bags will help you see exactly what’s inside and give you the option to organize by room, family member or otherwise. You can use the same strategy for furniture items that have small removable parts like screws. Label the bag and and you’ll be able to find them much quicker when it’s time to rebuild.
Pack an Essentials Box
There are few things more frustrating than forgetting where you packed your toothbrush. Almost as vexing is knowing where essential items are but have no way to get to them when needed. To avoid this issue and to make yourself as comfortable as possible during your move, pack a special essentials box for yourself. Include important toiletries, medications, a change of clothes and whatever you will want to have your first night in the new home. Pack this box last and you’ll be able to unpack it first, saving you time and frustration later.
Packing best practices are different for everyone and every move. However, using these tips you should be able to save time and effort in your process and make your move as smooth as possible.