Patio Perfection

Turn your plain patio into a space you look forward to using. These trends help you create patio perfection.

Choose Square, Modular Furniture

Select the right style of furniture to create an oasis in your patio space. Choosing a square, modular look provides that feeling of a contemporary hotel that you don’t have to leave home to enjoy. You can pick from a variety of styles, like those with a rattan or wicker base and comfy cushions. When adding cushions, try the popular navy blue, burnt orange and red colors, and purchase cushions that are moisture-proof. Place the furniture in pods best suited for conversation.

Cover It Up

Have a pergola and ceiling fan installed over your lounge area to add shade and air circulation for a more comfortable entertaining environment. Or maybe you need full cover with a tented section for extra hot days and inclement weather. Think about which direction your patio faces and what kind of weather would affect your enjoyment of the space.

Be Selective With Potted Plants

Keep your potted plant selection limited so the space feels open and welcoming. Create a theme and then select pots with character that tie into that theme. Have fun with it and use pops of coordinating colors for dynamic impact. Consider using tall grasses in corner pots. Small herb pots like lavender or lemon balm add a natural, pleasant scent to your space and can help keep the bugs away.

Light With Edison Bulbs

Edison bulbs are hip and look great for patios. These bulbs provide more diffused light than the older, fairy lights version, and the soothing light helps create a relaxed environment. Most Edison bulbs are usable outdoors, but check before purchasing. Go the safe route and have an electrician properly wire your new space so everything is up to code for years of worry-free enjoyment.

Gas Fire Pits Are In

If you want to stick with trends, think gas fire pit over the wood-burning option. Gas fire pits are cleaner, easier to use and appeal to buyers if you decide to sell your home. Adding a built-in model is great for maximizing space and offers a sleek, modern look to your space. Don’t worry, you can still roast marshmallows over the gas fire pit for the perfect s’mores snack.

Find more easy tips to enjoy your home this summer.


Best-Looking Yard In The Neighborhood

Timing is everything. Having the best-looking yard in the neighborhood can be accomplished by performing proper yard and lawn care projects at the right time. Fall is the perfect chance to get started.

Aerate and Fertilize

Aerating is so beneficial to your yard. Removing the dirt plugs allows oxygen and fertilizer to more easily reach the grass roots over the cold winter months so your grass is refreshed when spring arrives. If you only fertilize once a year, fall is the ideal time to do it. Give your lawn the nutrients it needs to support root growth even when the blades of grass above ground grow more slowly as the fall temps drop. Aerate first and fertilize next.

Plant Grass Seed

The best time to seed a lawn in Iowa and Illinois is between mid-August into late September. Cool season grasses are best for our Quad City climate, as they do well in the spring and fall when temperatures are moderate. The more southernly your home is located, the later into September grass seed can be successfully planted. Kentucky bluegrass, perennial ryegrass, fine fescue and tall fescue are the four cool season grasses recommended for our area.

Clean Up Debris and Mulch

Fall debris clean up can take a while, so don’t stress about getting it done in one day. Clean out your gutters. Rake up leaves and debris in your garden and flower beds so plants can absorb water more easily. Apply a layer of mulch 2-3 inches thick to serve as a warm blanket for shrub and perennial roots as well as to help prevent soil erosion when snow and ice melt in the spring.

Plant Spring-Blooming Bulbs

Vibrant colors breathe life into our yards after a long winter. Spring-blooming bulbs such as tulips, daffodils, crocus and hyacinths should be planted in September or October when the soil temperatures have cooled. Bigger really is better when selecting bulbs to plant, so choose bulbs wisely. Pick a good location for planting, as most bulbs do best in full sun and well-drained soil. Bulbs should be planted pointy side facing up and into the ground 2-3 times deeper than the bulb is tall.

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Create a Color Splash In Your Yard

Create a color splash in your yard by following a few easy steps that add curb appeal to your home. As summer winds down, reintroducing rich hues to your yard design will draw attention to your home and make it a stand-out candidate for a fast sale.

Replace your tired annuals with a pop of fall color. The most popular autumn flowers are chrysanthemums (mums) or marigolds. Both of these are available in yellow, which is the number one home selling color, or burgundy and will add interest to the entrance of your home. Plant them in pots and place the pots on steps and along the sidewalk leading up to your front door.

Can’t maintain plant watering? That’s okay! You can brighten your porch by accenting with several types of squash and gourds or make a grouping of three large pumpkins. Want this fall look to last even longer? Don’t carve your pumpkins for Halloween. You can keep an uncarved pumpkin on your porch through Thanksgiving and get two holidays out of one purchase!

Accessorize your porch chair or swing with bright red, orange or golden yellow pillows. Place a new rug filled with color at the entrance to introduce a fresh look. Add a vibrant pumpkin lawn ornament or flag to your tidy landscape for a whimsical feel.

Find more tips on how to make your home stand out.

Winter Safety Tips

Extra care is needed to stay safe in the winter months when weather can be unpredictable or dangerous. Whether you are out and about or at home under a blanket, take some simple steps that will provide security for you and your loved ones.

Street Smart

Be aware of posted snow routes when parking your car. You don’t want to become a hazard to other drivers or risk getting towed for being parked illegally. Avoid being plowed in and help snow removal crews clear roads faster by parking your car in your driveway or moving it from the street when possible. Increase your following distance when driving since it can take up to three times longer to stop on snow and ice. Make sure your car has an emergency kit inside including jumper cables, flashlight and hazard lights in the event of an accident or car breakdown.

Stay Informed

Choose a reliable news source to keep you informed of weather warnings as they happen. Get online and register for email or text updates from local sources you trust like your TV or radio stations. Be sure your family has open lines of communication and a system in place so you’re able to share warnings or schedule changes quickly and easily.

Things Are Heating Up

Extra sources of heat will be used on frigid days. Fire departments suggest to keep anything that can burn or catch fire at least three feet from warm vents on a space heater. Don’t leave space heaters on overnight or while you’re gone from the home. Keep a screen in front of your wood-burning fireplace to prevent embers or sparks from escaping. Ensure that your furnace filters are clean for best and safest output.

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Biggest Outdoor Trends in 2018

What are some of the biggest outdoor trends in 2018?  Think outside is the new inside. This year it’s really about making your outdoor space function like an interior space for all things fun, relaxing, and entertaining. What does that mean for you? Browse these outdoor trends that may just provide the inspiration needed to spice up your patio this fall.

  1. Outdoor Rooms

Now more than ever homeowners want their indoor spaces to blend seamlessly with the great outdoors. The goal is to find ways to bring the inside out. Try framing sitting areas with water and mildew-resistant curtains. Anchor furniture with outdoor rugs. Fill tall planters with low-maintenance ornamental grasses to create the illusion of walled space. If you have a covered deck or patio, consider covering the ceiling in raw, untreated wood planks to warm things up.

Continue reading “Biggest Outdoor Trends in 2018”

Public Swimming Pools Offer Hours of Family Fun.

Jumping into swimming poolAs summer winds down, cool off with a trip to your local pool. Here’s some public swimming pool locations near you for hours of family fun.  Canonball!

Splash Landing Aquatic Center in Bettendorf

2220 23rd Street

Hours of operation


Annie Wittenmeyer Aquatic Center in Davenport

2816 Eastern Avenue

Hours of operation


Dohse Pool in Davenport

622 S. Concord Street

Hours of operation

Continue reading “Public Swimming Pools Offer Hours of Family Fun.”

Natural Ways to Keep Bugs Away

Mel Foster Co. blogDon’t let pesky bugs invade your outdoor living space and put a damper on your gathering at home.  Try starting with a few natural methods to keep the bugs at bay.

  1. Natural mint mouthwash spray

Insects do not like the smell of mint in any form. Transfer your favorite natural mint mouthwash into a spray container and spray it on yourself and the area around you while outdoors.

  1. Fill your garden with garlic, mint, and rosemary

Naturally ward away bugs by planting these three herbs on your windowsill or in your outdoor garden. They’ll keep the bugs away, plus you can use the spices in your cooking.

  1. Use a ceiling or oscillating fan

Install a ceiling fan on your patio or covered outdoor area and turn it on during the evening when bugs are most likely to strike. The wind from the fan will make it difficult for bugs to fly in and pester you and your guests. Plug-in an oscillating fan near non-covered outdoor areas for the same effect.

  1. Don’t wear heavy perfumes or scents

Stay away from wearing heavily-scented shampoos, body sprays, perfumes, or deodorants while outdoors. The fragrances can attract bugs and the stings and bites that follow.

  1. Stay hydrated

Bugs are attracted to sweaty, hot skin. Stay cool and hydrated by drinking plenty of water and fluids. Be sure to keep water handy and take sips as you start to perspire to keep the bugs away.

Does your home lack the outdoor space you’ve always wanted? Contact a Mel Foster Co. agent today to begin your search.


The Do’s and Don’ts of Deck Maintenance

Tips for a Well Maintained Deck.
Tips for a well maintained deck

Keeping your deck in top condition can be difficult, especially if you’re inexperienced with outdoor maintenance. Follow this list to figure out what will help, or hurt, your deck.

Do Annual Maintenance

Once the weather reaches about 70 degrees, it’s time to prepare your deck. Use a utility brush to scrub where the deck is dirty, especially where mold or mildew is growing. The deck needs to be clean and free of debris so protective sealers can soak into the wood.

Don’t go Overboard with the Pressure Washer

Using a pressure washer is the fastest way to clean a deck, but it can sometimes gouge the wood if you’re not careful. Be sure to keep the pressure washer on low initially and keep the nozzle at least eight inches from the surface. If you’re concerned about using a pressure washer, you can always hire a professional.

Do Cover Furniture and Plants before Cleaning

This is a pretty obvious tip, but new deck owners often forget it. Be sure to remove or cover anything on the deck while cleaning. You don’t want anything to be splashed on your furniture or plants, especially stain or sealer.

Don’t Assume Pressure-Treated Wood is Maintenance Free

Pressure-treated wood may resist rot and insect infestation, but it still needs to be sealed to resist water and sun damage. Use products specifically made for pressure-treated wood.

Do Be Vigilant about Damage

Throughout the year do several checks on the status of your deck. It’s important to catch any damage early. You’ll thank yourself by stopping problems before they spread and become more difficult and expensive to fix.

Don’t Leave Your Deck Uncovered

Large umbrellas and awnings can dramatically extend the life of your deck by reducing the amount of sun that beats down on the wood. Shade structures protect your deck, and as a bonus, provide shade during the summer.


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