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Ideas for fun and functional outdoor rooms

As gardening stores overflow with colorful flowers and reservations for patio seating heat up at local restaurants, it’s clear that summer is coming, and people are ready to get outside. You can bring that excitement home with clever decorating and design for everything from home gyms to game rooms to back-to-nature Zen zones outside.

Here in the Arlington, Virginia area, fun and functional outdoor spaces have been popping up all over town as I’ve seen clients and friends find new ways to connect and spend time in the great outdoors (or rather, their great backyards).

Family-friendly Fun

Outdoor spaces that encourage children to get outside and connect with the environment are popular for both entertainment and home-schooling purposes. Well-designed areas like this often include tree houses, gardens, mazes, and educational ways to interact with nature.

Alfresco Entertaining

Post-quarantine and post-winter, people are craving more socializing and entertainment. Designing alfresco areas fits the bill as people are turning their balconies, patios, and gardens into “rooms” that provide the ambiance they need to entertain with style. Incorporating water, fire, and light are a few key elements, along with seating and protection from the elements if needed.

Outdoor Health and Wellness

The ability to support physical and mental health is always important, and as the seasons have changed homeowners are finding that incorporating nature into their workouts or meditation sessions add something special. Outdoor rooms for these purposes range from simple spaces where one can stream a workout, to freestanding exercise equipment, to a Zen zone that provides scents, sounds, and sights that allow them to breathe easy.

Creating outdoor rooms in Arlington, VA

As sunny days and warmer nights become the norm here in Virginia, now is the perfect time to turn your thoughts toward creating outdoor spaces that allow you to expand your options while staying close to home. That backyard or patio you’ve been ignoring the past year just might become your new favorite place.

How to Move House Plants to a New Home

Moving requires paying attention to lots of different areas: kids, pets, home offices, and more. But one thing people often forget to plan for until the very last minute are their houseplants. As a Realtor in the Arlington, Virginia area, I’ve helped clients with ideas for protecting and moving their beloved houseplants whether it’s across town or across the country. After all, there’s nothing that makes a new house feel like home than having a plant or succulent that you’ve nurtured and enjoyed for years.

Indoor plants, always popular in the past, have experienced an explosion in popularity the last few years with the pandemic inspiring many to find ways to improve their surroundings at home. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, Americans spent 18.7 percent more on gardening-related items in 2020 than they did in 2019 — an increase of $8.5 billion.

You can also see this rise in houseplant enthusiasm throughout social media, for example:

  • Facebook: One group (House Plant Hobbyist) has more than 500,000 members
  • Reddit: The r/houseplants subreddit has over 950,000 members
  • TikTok: The #plantsoftiktok hashtag has reached over 5 billion views

In fact, house plants have gotten so big that in 2021 “how to move with plants” was Googled more than “how to move with kids” or “how to move with pets.

As you’re getting ready to move to a new home, here are a few tips for preparing, packing, and transporting your favorite house plants to their new location. Keep in mind that many moving companies do not transport plants, so it’s best to plan to move them in your own vehicle.

Long distance moves: If you’re traveling overnight, bring plants inside with you if temperatures dip too low. During the day make sure they are shaded and get plenty of air if it’s very hot. If you’re traveling for more than a day, be sure to check their soil to see if they need water.

Transporting small house plants: These are easiest to move, as you can simply place multiple smaller plants in their containers inside a larger open box for transportation. Fill gaps between pots with bunches of paper to prevent them from moving or falling over.

Large house plants: First, you’ll want to pack material such as paper or sphagnum moss around the base of the plant to keep the soil from coming out. Wrap pots with padded packing paper to protect them and secure with twine. That way if you have to move the plant on its side or at an angle, the soil won’t fall out.

Moving during cold temperatures: If it’s cold on moving day, wrap your plants in newspaper or very light blankets or coverings for protection and warmth. Many house plants are sensitive to temperature changes, so you want to keep them as stable as possible. Try to load them into your car into the garage if you can, to also minimize exposure to freezing temperatures.

I hope these tips help you feel confident that you’re taking care of your plants and make this part of your moving journey less stressful. If you’re buying or selling in the Arlington, Virginia area and would like more insight into our market or moving advice, feel free to reach out to me at 703-593-6320, I’m here to help.

Top 3 features home buyers are looking for in 2022

The Covid-19 pandemic was an eye opener for homeowners as more time at home meant reevaluating how to use their space. Here in Arlington, Virginia, I’ve noticed that home buyers are focusing on three features as their top priorities – home offices, kitchens and clean air. If you are planning on selling in 2022, here are a few tips to make sure your property meets all the demands of post-pandemic living.

How to Improve Your Kitchen

The kitchen still reigns as the most important part of the home, but it’s gained even more of the spotlight as families spend more time inside than ever. Since dining out is much less frequent (in some cities it’s still not an option), homeowners want kitchens that offer space, flexibility and features that make cooking, eating and gathering more enjoyable.

Ways to boost the appeal of your kitchen include expanding the size, upgrading appliances, creating spaces for people to just hang out with areas for laptops, charging of electronics, or space to lay out puzzles, books and games.

Even if you’re not ready to sell immediately, starting right away on improving the functionality of your kitchen will benefit you right now and increase the homes appeal to future home buyers. If you need ideas, I’m happy to help, just call me at 703-593-6320.

Creating a Fully Functional Home Office

The second feature that will definitely attract home buyers in 2022 is a robust home office. People are looking for dedicated home offices with all the features they need, plus extra to help with today’s issues such as good lighting for video conferences, stylish backgrounds, ergonomic setups, and the ability to have total quiet and privacy.

Home offices used to be just a desk, computer and printer. But with families who are also dealing with remote schooling, a separate space is essential. If it’s possible to convert a structure on your property into a home office, that will really catch people’s attention. But even a dedicated room that can be closed off, and includes selfie-style lighting, modern technology, and all the office tools and storage space you need will do the trick.

Clean air for healthy living

Post-pandemic, health and safety is still of primary concern, which makes clean air a very important issue among home buyers. Updated HVAC systems are a must, even better when they include air purification systems.

Beyond clean air issues, also focusing on hygiene throughout the home will make it even more attractive. Features like touchless faucets or sanitation stations at doors and in the garage are also popular. Another idea is creating spaces at your front entry or in the mudroom for things like contactless delivery of packages, groceries, and meals are also good ideas.

Even though Covid-19 cases are falling in many parts of the world, the ways in which the pandemic has changed how we live will most likely linger. Companies and government are still supporting work-from-home for many employees, and it could be quite a while before people are comfortable returning to crowded malls, movie theaters and more. Making sure your home reflects today’s needs is a great way to stand out in the market. If you are thinking of selling a home or condo in Arlington, Virginia or the surrounding area, I can help. Reach out to me via email at mike@mikesellsvirginia.com, or call 703-593-6320.

Easy ways to add heat for outdoor entertaining

Cooler temperatures are coming, but that doesn’t mean you still can’t enjoy spending time relaxing or entertaining outdoors. Here in Arlington, Virginia, the nights are starting to get cooler as leaves change colors and fall sets in. If you’re like me, though, you love to be outside and aren’t ready to take the party inside just yet. That’s where creative heating ideas come into play. I’ve rounded up a list of ideas that are easy to add to your home, backyard, patio or balcony that will help you and your guests stay warm and cozy as the seasons change.

Fire Pits

One of the most popular ways to add some heat outside is a fire pit. Fire pits are versatile and practical for heating outdoor spaces. From toasting marshmallows with the kids, to sharing your favorite bottle of wine with friends, a fire pit is a great space to gather around. Fire pits offer much more variety and options that you would think, and there’s something for every design style and taste.

  1. Traditional wood-burning fire pits can be custom-built in the ground using everything from rough rock to smooth stonework or fanciful ironwork. You can also buy above ground ones that are easy to move around or store when not using.
  2. Propane fire pits offer the same warmth and ambiance as their wood-burning counterparts, yet they burn cleaner, don’t put out smoke or sparks, and are much easier to light.
  3. Lastly, for something a little different, check out the Cowboy Cauldron. It’s a functional firepit and grill that can be moved and set up anywhere and looks like it came straight off the set of Yellowstone.

Outdoor Fireplaces

Outdoor fireplaces are a much more permanent version of fire pits and offer the benefit of serving as architectural focal points in your outdoor decor. There are a lot of ways to incorporate a fireplace to fit your design style, with a range of materials (such as brick or stone), as well as choices between wood or propane for fuel.

Flush-mount Infrared Heaters

If you have a porch or patio with a flat ceiling, another option that looks and works great is built-in infrared heaters, like these from Infratech or Solaira. Designers love the sleek and subtle looks of these flush-mount options that look great and function to help you move from indoors to outside while still being comfortable.

Gas Fire Tables

Just like gas fire pits, these propane-fueled tables are a popular and easy choice for adding some heat to your outdoor setting. They typically resemble the size and look of a coffee table or small bar top with flames come up from a gas unit in the middle of the design.

Portable Heaters

These are a classic for a reason. They are easy to set up, affordable, can be moved around to where they are needed, and stored when they are not. You can choose propane or electricity to power them, and they come in a variety of sizes from table-top models to very large.

Low-Tech Cozy Solutions

If you’re in a rush and need a quick solution, you can always go low-tech by adding stacks of warm blankets, throws, and colorful pillows for cozy warmth. Blankets and throws can be used on laps for extra warmth and pillows will separate your body from cold structures. Other benefits are you can choose colors and styles to match your décor, they are affordable, and very easy to store when not in use.

If you love to spend time outside here in Arlington, or have big plans for entertaining this fall season, I hope you’ve found some fun ideas you’re excited to use. Setting the stage with some cozy, warm options will ensure that you, your family, and your guests will enjoy the autumn weather in style.

If you’re thinking about moving to the greater Arlington, Virginia area, or selling your home and want to make sure you’re ready both inside and out, I can help. If you have any questions, need a free home value assessment, or just would like to know my thoughts for the best outdoor heating or entertaining strategies, I’m here to help at 703-593-6320.

The benefits of having a generator for your home

Power outages always seem to happen at the worst possible time, like in the middle of a storm or when you have a house full of people. That’s why home generators sales are up throughout the country, including here in Arlington, Virginia. We live in interesting times, and with many people still working or schooling from home, investing in a generator that will keep you connected and comfortable is something that appeals to many. If you’re interested in purchasing a home generator, here is some information to help you choose the right one.

How to Choose a Home Generator

Choosing the right generator for your needs starts with considering the size of your home and how much of it you want to power. It’s best to consult with your electrician, but in general an average size home needs between 5,000 to 7,500 watts to run just the essentials like heat, water and refrigerator. If you want to fully power your home – lights, charging electronics, streaming, etc. – then you probably would want to invest in a 20,000-watt generator. This also goes for exceptionally large homes, or if you foresee that you will be hosting a large amount of people in an extended power outage situation.

How to connect a home generator

Home generators run on a standby basis, meaning that they moment you lose power the generator will snap into motion and start powering your home, often within mere seconds. These types of generators have their own power source, most usually natural gas that is piped in from the street. When it comes to installation, it’s best to hire a licensed electrical contractor or specialist that has experience with installing and connecting whole-home generators. In addition to ensuring your generator is installed safely and effectively, they will also be familiar with any permits, codes or regulations you may need to adhere to in your city, neighborhood or HOA.

Is a whole home generator a good investment?

It’s also important to consider that while generators can cost several thousand dollars plus installation costs, they are for the most part considered a very good investment that stands the test of time.

  • Most standby generators can run from 10,000 to 30,000 hours. If you use it for 100 hours per year, that translates to 10 to 30 years.
  • If you sell your home, having a home generator will raise the value of your home and may impress potential home buyers.
  • If you work from home and rely on having access to technology and internet for your work, a generator can save you many precious work hours.
  • Home schooling for children is also usually dependent on having an internet connection as well.

I personally have a whole-house generator and am very happy with the results. It’s taken all the anxiety out of worrying about losing power during winter snowstorms or summer thunderstorms. And I can keep working, keep my phone charged, and stay connected with friends and family at all times too. If you’re interested in home generators, or have any questions about buying or selling homes in the Arlington, Virginia area, I am here to help at 703-593-6320 or by email at mike@mikesellsvirginia.com.

Best upgrade ideas for raising the value of your home

When it comes to improvement projects for your home, there are good ones, and there are not-so-good ones. Difficulty, cost, and the ability to add to the value of your home are all important considerations. As an experienced Realtor in Arlington, Virginia, I’ve helped a lot of clients decide on the best upgrades for improving the value of their homes. If you’re about to sell your home, or just thinking about doing something to improve it, here is a short list of ideas that work, and others you should take a pass on.

Best upgrades to help sell your house

LAUNDRY ROOM: Laundry rooms can be blah, so having that that’s nicely outfitted combining function with some nice décor and good use of space is a low-budget way to please potential home buyers. A dedicated laundry room with a door to close out the noise from running machines is nice because you can hide dirty clothes and stack clean ones until they are ready to put away. If you have space and the laundry room is directly adjacent to the garage or entry doors, adding more function with space for benches, hooks and cubbies to store everything from backpacks to sporting goods to shopping bags is a bonus.

OUTDOOR LANDSCAPE LIGHTING: You know that curb appeal is a must. One thing that adds to curb appeal is proper illumination of your hard work after the sun sets. Savvy home buyers will often check out your home at all hours, day and evening, before they make up their mind. In fact, exterior lighting is the most-wanted outdoor feature (patio was second), according to a recent report from the National Association of Home Builders. (If you’re actively selling your home, don’t forget that staging your outdoor space is important too.)

ENERGY EFFICIENT WINDOWS: If you have an older home, installing new windows will improve much more than just the curb appeal of your house. As energy efficient windows help to decrease utility bills while increasing comfort in the home, it’s a win whether you’re staying in your home for now, or listing for sale soon. In a place like Arlington, Virginia, where we have four distinct seasons and temperatures that go up and down throughout the year, energy efficient windows are a very good idea.

GARAGE ORGANIZATION AND STORAGE: Buyers with growing families or active lifestyles need lots of storage space. Adding organization and space-saving features to your garage is another improvement project that doesn’t take much money or time but can really help your bottom line when selling your home. Hooks, benches, high storage shelves, clever craft or tool benches, and more are always attractive to potential buyers.

Home upgrades that just aren’t worth it

OVERLY FINISHED BASEMENT: While extra living space can add value to your home, a finished basement that’s a little too personalized might not help in the sale. If you decide to finish the basement before listing the property, do it simply. You want the home buyer to be able to see the potential of the space and imagine how they would tailor it for their needs.

SWIMMING POOL: Adding a swimming pool should only be done if you want to use it as the homeowner, not as a way to help boost your home’s potential sales value. It might make it looks splashy in the listings, but the return on investment is usually quite low as pools are expensive to install and many home buyers aren’t interested in the added care, utilities and responsibility that come with swimming pools.

SINGLE-PURPOSE ROOM: Just like we discussed with overly customized basements, a room that’s been customized to fit only one single purpose can also be a turn off. To get the best return on your investment, you should focus on rooms and upgrades that have broad appeal, like the living room, master bath, or kitchen.

Here’s the best advice for home improvement upgrades to improve home value and future home-selling potential: Consult with a local experience Realtor in your area. Consumer tastes vary by region, and your local real estate agent can give you the best advice for projects that will give you the most bang for your buck. Here in the greater Arlington, Virginia area, residents have specific tastes and as an agent who has worked with thousands of clients over 30+ years here locally, I can help you focus on the right project to get you the results you want. Give me a call at 703.593.6320 or email mike@mikesellsvirginia.com. I’m here to help!

Home Gardening: Nature’s Secret Weapon Against Stress

posted by: Mike in Home Trends

Home gardens are great for a lot of things. They increase the value of your home, they are perfect for entertaining, relaxing outdoors, for kids to play, and green-thumbs to indulge. Here’s something you may not have realized, though. All that digging in the dirt is also good for your health, with studies showing that time outdoors helps people manage their fears, anxiety, and stress.

Burpee agrees with this trend, calling 2021 the Year of the Quiet Garden, declaring it the perfect spot for finding inner peace. As many people are working from home full time now, they are struggling with the juggle of work and home life. With all the hustle and bustle indoors, some R&R outside is an attractive idea, and provides benefits beyond peace and quiet.

Sunshine, for example, boosts vitamin D production which is essential for healthy function of immune cells in the body and supports brain health and mental function. It’s also known that the simple act of spending time outdoors increases serotonin levels, promoting calm and reducing stress. Gardening is also good for physical health, as it improves physical conditioning, helping keep your heart healthy and your joints and muscles active. Finally, it’s a great workout for the brain, too, stimulating creativity as you plan what to plant, where to plant it, and elements such as color, texture, sun, shade, and functionality.

If you could use a little more de-stressing in your life, and the idea of getting out into your garden appeals to you, here are a few tips for creating a soothing outdoor space that you, your family and friends can enjoy together.

Soothing Colors

Bright colors might get noticed, but they don’t cultivate serenity. For a peaceful vibe, go for soothing colors such as blue, green, white and cream.

Texture and Sound

Close your eyes, take a sip of your favorite drink, and think about what you’d like to hear in your peaceful garden. Things like the splashing of a water fountain, crunch of gravel underfoot, whispering of tall, waving grasses or quiet music of a wind chime can easily be added. Texture is a factor, too, so consider adding plants like velvety roses, or bushes that you can run your hand through like Lavender or Breath of Heaven.

Speaking of Fountains…

Nothing creates a greater sense of peace than the sound of water. There are so many different styles of fountains that it’s easy to find some to fit your personal style. From dramatic stone fountains that look like they just arrived from Venice to small table-top modern designs that can easily be turned on and off, there’s something for everyone, and the benefits can be enjoyed by all.

As Thomas Jefferson is credited with saying, “don’t let perfect get in the way of good.” Working in your garden is a forgiving activity. No matter how much time and effort you want to devote to creating your own “peace garden,” know that it’s worth it. Plus think of the additional benefit of increasing the beauty – and value – of your home as well!

If you’re ready to find some peace in other places too, like buying or selling a home in the Arlington, Virginia area, we can help. Licensed Realtor Mike Pugh has been helping clients successfully buy and sell homes and condos in the Arlington and Northern Virginia area for more than 30 years, and his clients credit him for making the process fun, stress-free and rewarding.

If you’re ready to buy, sell or learn more about the real estate market in the Arlington and surrounding Northern Virginia communities, Mike can help at 703-593-6320, or email mike@mikesellsvirginia.com.

Is Bigger Better? How to Decide if Upsizing is Right for You

Upsizing isn’t just for growing families anymore. In fact, moving up to bigger and better homes is a decision that can be done at any time of life. Here in the Arlington, Virginia area I’ve helped people ready to upsize who are in all stages of life – retiring, new jobs, expanding family, working from home, or simply in need of more room to fit changing life situations.

In general, the most common benefits of upsizing include:

  • More living space
  • More storage space
  • More yard/garden space
  • More room for entertaining/hosting friends and family

If all of this appeals to you and you are considering upsizing to a new home, here are a few questions and considerations that will help you make the right decision.

NOTE: Not sure if the time is right to sell your current home and upsize? Here’s a great resource to help you decide: “6 Signs It’s Time to Sell Your Home and Move to a New One.

#1: Wants vs. Needs

Knowing what you need vs. what you want for an upsized home will make the decision process a lot more efficient and will help your Realtor find the right property for you. The more specific your list, the better, because it help you and your real estate agent identify the right next steps – or next home!

As you figure out what your needs are, don’t just think about today, but also the needs of the future. For example, if you already have a child, and plan on having one more, you probably won’t need more than 3 or 4 bedrooms. If you think you’ll be transitioning to working from home full time, you’ll want to make sure you have dedicated office space.

Then there’s the “wants” to figure out. Wants are important, too, as they are the things that give you enjoyment and make your house into a home. Features such as a playroom for the kids, an entertainers kitchen, extra space for an artist studio or working out are all things that upsizing can provide.

#2: Space Expectations

If you’re planning to upsize because you feel your current home doesn’t have enough space, take a close and honest look at your current situation. Is it that you don’t have any space – or is your space being used inefficiently? If your garage is so full of stuff that you can’t park your cars inside, or one of your guest rooms is filled with boxes, winter clothes and a dusty treadmill, then your problem might not be a lack of space but rather inefficient use of it. Before you start house shopping, declare a decluttering weekend. Sort, donate, or discard all of the stuff that has been piling up and you might be surprised how much bigger your house feels.

On the other hand, you may legitimately need a larger home. If you live in a one-bedroom condo, and you’re planning on starting a family within the next year or two, you’ll need to start thinking about moving to a larger home. If your predict that you’ll be working from home much more in the future, you’ll need dedicated office space where you can be productive and out of the way of daily life.

#3: Budget

Upsizing doesn’t just mean a bigger home, it can also mean bigger expenses. Maintenance, utilities, property taxes, additional furniture to fill the extra space, and more can add to your budget, so it’s important to figure that out ahead of time and make sure you are ready.

You’ll need to spend more time and money maintaining a larger home. You’ll pay more property taxes. Your utility bills will be more expensive. And even if you sell your old home to finance your next home, you could easily end up with a larger monthly mortgage payment as well.

#4: The Basics Still Apply

Timing, location, finding the right agent are just as important when you’re upsizing as when you’re choosing your very first home.

Decide on the area you would like to upsize to. Make a list of neighborhoods or areas in your city with homes that fit your vision. Sometimes upsizing means moving to an area where you can get larger homes for lower prices, making location a very important decision.

Upsizing can be a very exciting process. But it also needs to be approached with caution, and with plenty of knowledge about what to expect. Be sure to consult a trusted real estate agent that can guide you through the entire process as smoothly as possible. If you’re ready to buy, sell or learn more about the real estate market in Arlington and the surrounding Northern Virginia communities, as a highly experienced Arlington Realtor, I’m here to help! Give me a call at 703-593-6320. Email is good, too at mike@mikesellsvirginia.com.

How backyard offices are transforming working from home

As the pandemic has made working from home the new normal, and people are realizing that this situation might continue into the foreseeable future, finding the right space to focus and get your work done has become a priority. That’s where backyard offices come in. While some people call them garden offices, and others call them “sanity sheds,” we think this idea might be something that will really catch on for working professionals here in Arlington, Virginia.

For anyone who has been working from home for a while now, it’s a good bet that setting up shop on the kitchen table just isn’t cutting it anymore. This goes especially for dual-income families, with both adults working from home and kids attending school remotely. Space becomes a very big issue at home for everyone. So, what’s left? How about looking outside?

Repurposing backyard garden sheds offers a solution that appeals to many working professionals struggling to find a location that allows them the space to set up work essentials such as computers, desks, drawing tables, photo studios, etc., as well as some much-needed privacy to support focus and productivity. Backyard office sheds can provide all this – with the bonus of being able to quickly transition between work and home life as needed.

While backyard offices sound great, there is also the issue of making sure they are accessible and comfortable for year-round use. For example, here in the Arlington, Virginia area, we have four seasons to deal with, and a functional backyard office would need to be able to provide heat, cold, and shelter from winds or wet weather. There is also the issue of visual appeal – they should look good and blend seamlessly with your home and property, so as not to detract from your home’s value and appeal.

Luckily, shed manufacturers have thought of this, and there are numerous design options available, ranging from classic cottages to Victorian styles and even mini modernist structures. Companies are also designing the structures to be more functional, adding features like additional operable windows and solar panels for power. Check out these companies for some fun ideas of popular ready-built backyard offices: Little Cottage Co., Sheds Unlimited, and Outdoor Living Today.

If you’re thinking of adding a structure to your property to serve as a home office here in the Arlington, Virginia area, remember that setting one up takes a bit more than just paint, furniture and a Wi-Fi signal. Depending on where you live, there could be issues like building permits, size of structure, plumbing, electrical and other amenities that must be considered. Requirements can vary from neighborhood to neighborhood, so please check with your local city and county offices for current permitting information before beginning any home improvement or remodeling project.

Why Fall is the Perfect Time to Update Your Outdoor Décor

We’ve all been quarantining for months now, and even though some restrictions are lifting we’re still spending much more time at home than usual. As Fall approaches, temperatures cool, and gorgeous colors are coming out here in Arlington, VA, outdoor living is getting more attention. As the new hot spot for gatherings when you want to safely “get away from it all,” now is a good time to think about updating your outdoor décor.

WARM THINGS UP: Fall means warm days and chilly nights, so adding patio heaters is always a good idea for extending the time you can spend outside. If you worry about having too much of an industrial feel, there are a lot of elegant and interesting designs available that can blend with your style. For a low-tech solution to chilly evenings, invest in a stash of stylish and comfy lap blankets.

COMFORT ZONE: For alfresco dining or a fun “happy hour” in the backyard, nothing is more welcoming than a firepit. Warm, relaxing firelight accompanied by friends, favorite cocktails, and single-serve snacks will make your outdoor gathering feel like a night at a trendy outdoor café. Drape chairs with cushions and blankets to increase the luxury factor. Then bring out food that can be prepared and shared while staying safely socially distant.

CREATE PROTECTED SPACE: Adding structures such as pergolas, gazebos, tents, or creatively hung drapes is a great way to increase the comfort level outside while also making for fun, creative spaces to entertain and hang out.

LIGHT IT UP: There are endless varieties of lights to fit every style and situation. This is a great budget-friendly way to update your outdoor space while adding some sparkle to make it feel special. You can drape lights across decks or in trees, but think outside the box and also add them underneath tables and railings or inside translucent vases for a soft glow. If you really want to impress, use LED smart lights you can control with an app to adjust brightness and hue. Candles are always a winner, but if those Fall breezes blow too hard, try LED lanterns for a cozy glow.

DON’T FORGET THE FRONT PORCH: While happy hours and family dinners are usually held in the back yard, front porches are perfect for early morning coffee and casual gatherings with neighbors all day long. If you have gorgeous Fall foliage you can see from your front porch, instead of decorating in oranges and reds, go simple with your color scheme using neutrals, blacks and whites that won’t distract from the view. Cozy cushions, chunky knit lap blankets and throws, and hardy flowers in antique planters are all classics for Fall that will make people want to linger. Add some spiced cider or pumpkin-flavored anything and you’re good to go!

The Fall Season is always beautiful here in Arlington. The cooler temperatures, the way the sun hangs in the sky, how life takes on a different pace, all making it easy to “fall” in love with.

If you’re interested in buying or selling a home in Arlington, Virginia or the surrounding region, I’m here to help. Just give me a call at 703-593-6320. Email is good too, you can reach me at mike@mikesellsvirginia.com.