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Rain Barrel Watering System (a great addition to your raised garden!)

by Ankeny Real Estate Service

Now that you’ve had a full week to research, design, build, and plant your own raised garden bed, you’re probably ready to install those environmentally friendly rain barrels and watering systems that you see everywhere!  Right??  Ok, ok, maybe you’re not there quite yet, but if and when you are, this is the post for you! 

Here is how one of your own Ankeny Real Estate Service team members added a rain barrel watering system to a raised garden bed.  Plus, keep reading to the end of this post for a couple great resources for those of you thinking of investing rain barrels!

“Through a little research, some trial and error, and a consultation with our local Menards specialist, we came up with a system that has proven to be, not only useful, but downright simple. It’s an arrangement that has encouraged us to spread the word about the ease and benefits of rain barrel watering systems.  Here’s a little bit about what we’ve done, our set-up, and what has worked for us.  Hopefully, you too, can recognize the simplicity and relief a rain barrel system can provide.

First, we purchased our rain barrels from Menards, and then connected them to the downspout using a valve system (also purchased from Menards).  All 3 barrels are joined using PVC piping so that once one fills, it will overflow into the next, and so on. Which brings me to my next point...it is wise to have some sort of overflow system for when your barrel (or barrels!) fills -- and it will (likely much sooner than you anticipate!)!  This means that it is a good idea to have a hose or something similar connected to the last barrel, so that when your barrels are full, then the excess will have a place to run. 

Next, we positioned our barrels at the top of a hill, along the side of our garage, and above garden level so that we could utilize gravity to water our soon-to-be sustenance.

Finally, we connected to the last rain barrel to a soaker hose (3, to be exact) that runs throughout the garden beds. That way, when we are ready to water, all we need to do, is open up the flow system from the barrels and let gravity work its magic!”

So where should YOU start?  Great news! Ankeny now offers a stormwater management (rain barrel) reimbursement program that you might find worth looking into.  In addition, Polk County Conservation offers a rain barrel workshop, which provides all materials and tools necessary for your system.  There are so many resources available to people interested in going green, making a difference, and utilizing the resources readily available to us.  Do us all a favor and take that first step!

Raised Garden Beds

by Ankeny Real Estate Service

Gone are the days of traditional, space-wasting, hard to water gardens.  Raised garden beds are latest trend in horticulture.  And it is one that has homeowners, even those with limited lot sizes, testing out their green thumbs, reaping the benefits (fresh produce -- yum!) and enjoying the results!  The perks of garden boxes are countless, but among the most praiseworthy are:

● Fewer weeds.

● Better water retention in sandy areas and more favorable drainage in areas with clay-based soil.

● Warmer soil earlier in the season that stays warmer longer.

● Less soil erosion.

● Prevention of soil compaction.

● Improved pest control.

● Ease of accessibility to reach each plant.

● Aesthetically pleasing.

Speaking of ease and aesthetics, check out these easy-on-the-eyes raised beds from two of your own Ankeny Real Estate Service team members!

Now you’re probably asking yourself, where I can learn how to make a raised garden bed (or 2, or 3!) of my very own?  And since we’re all about helping you make your house a home, we gathered a few good resources on raised garden box building for your convenience.  Check them out, give it a try, and let us know how it goes! 

 

How to make a raised garden bed: http://www.sunset.com/garden/backyard-projects/ultimate-raised-bed-how-to-00400000011938/

A video tutorial from National Gardening on how to build your own garden box:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GuTYXmy4Yb0

Soil calculator from Gardener’s Supply Company so you know exactly how much soil you need:

http://www.gardeners.com/Soil-Calculator/7558,default,pg.html

And a great resource on when to plant your seeds:

http://sproutrobot.com/

Finally, an all-round great, chock-full of information article:

http://eartheasy.com/grow_raised_beds.htm#c

Movies Under The Stars: Free Family Fun in Ankeny!

by Ankeny Real Estate Service

If you haven’t noticed yet, we’re huge fans of all the free fun that Ankeny has to offer.  And now that our sunshine-y summer weather has finally arrived, the fun is in full force! Topping the list of our favorite free family events in town is Movies Under The Stars presented by Veridian Credit Union.

A free event open to the public, Movies Under The Stars, gives our community a place to come together on Friday nights, take in a show, and relax under the warm summer sky.  Movie-goers are encouraged to bring chairs, blankets, bug spray, snacks, and lots of excitement for, what is sure to be, an enjoyable evening. Movies Under The Stars takes place at Wagner Park Bandshell, is free to attend (have we mentioned that?!?), and begins at dusk.

So, what fabulous flicks can you expect to see?  Here’s the line-up for the rest of this season.

June 14 - Shark Tale (PG)

June 21 - Cool Runnings (PG)

June 28 - Little Big League (PG)

July 19 - Spy Kids 1 (PG)

July 26 - Beethoven (PG)

August 2 - HOP (PG)

From the Uptown Farmer’s Market and Ankeny Unplugged, to Movies Under The Stars, this city offers fantastic options for free family fun.  Check out Ankeny’s website for more ideas and information on all the fun to be had!  http://www.ankenyiowa.gov/

Keeping Your Home Safe While On Vacation

by Ankeny Real Estate Service

Tis the season for getaways and summer vacations.  What do you have planned?  Maybe it’s a weekend adventure to a neighboring state or a 2-week-long holiday overseas.  No matter the kind of trip that awaits you, we want to help you maintain safety of the home you’re leaving behind!  Here are some tips to keep your home safe while you’re away enjoying a stress-free vacation!

● Lock all doors and windows.  Duh.  But seriously.  It’s worth double checking.

● Enlist the help of trustworthy friends or neighbors to “watch” your house while you’re gone.  Leave them a key, your emergency contact information, and specific instructions on your expectations for them.  Of note, we highly recommend the persuasive technique of bribery with food.  The promise of a free meal or yummy cupcakes is a commonly recognized form of reimbursement!

● If you don’t have them already, it is a wise idea to invest in timers for both interior and exterior lights.  At night, a well lit home can deter would-be thieves, while keeping lights on during the day is unnecessary and wasteful.  Timers are a simple solution for making an unoccupied home look lived in even while you’re away.

● Make arrangements for your yard work to be done if you are planning on vacationing for a long period of time.  If your lawns is always trimmed and perfectly manicured, then long grass can be a sign for potential burglars that you aren’t home. 

● Avoid social media.  Today’s society thrives on the use of social media and, all too often, vast amounts of “over-sharing” are happening on places like Facebook and Twitter -- especially when it comes to posting vacation plans, updates, and pictures.  Thieves are smart and will often rely on social media to tell them when you are away from home.  Be mindful of the information you’re giving and pictures you’re posting.  And, at the very least, change your social media privacy settings so that only your most trusted friends and family can see what you’re up to (at least until you’ve returned from your vacay!).

● Prevent power surges and potential fires by unplugging computers, TVs, stereos, coffee makers, toaster ovens, and other electronics -- or ensure that they are plugged into surge protectors.

● Alert the alarm company.  This may seem like another no-brainer, but it can often be forgotten.  If you have an alarm system in place, take the time to notify the company of your plans AND if you will be having friends or family check on your house.  Likewise, your “house watcher” should also be briefed on the ins-and-outs of your alarm system.

● Nothing says “I’m away on vacation, please burglarize my house” like a pile of newpapers on the front step or an overflowing mailbox.  Place a “stop” order on mail and newspaper deliveries or enlist the help of a trustworthy neighbor to pick them up daily. The USPS will hold your mail for up to 30 days, as a free courtesy.  This can be done in person or online https://holdmail.usps.com/duns/HoldMail.jsp.

● Secure valuables in a safety deposit box.  Say all of your preventative measures fail and an intruder happens to make his or her way into your home?  Well, then, ensure that you’re not leaving them anything of great monetary or personal value!  Take the time before your vacation to deposit jewelry, essential documents, and other important belongings into a safety deposit box.

At Ankeny Real Estate Service, not only are we in the business of buying and selling homes, but it is also our greatest desire to help you enjoy your home and life (vacations, included!) to the fullest.  It’s no secret that eliminating simple worries such as the safety of your home while away can greatly decrease stress AND increase your happiness.  So, what do you say?  Get out there and enjoy your summer!  Hit the road...but not until you secure the safety of the home you’re leaving behind.

 

Displaying blog entries 1-4 of 4