By Meg Dickens

With winter fading it is time to spring into action.
It is the ideal time to beautify and improve your surroundings while taking the term ‘spring cleaning’ to a whole new level with lawn and garden renovations.
It is no secret that Tennessee has a rich agricultural history. Johnson County’s economy has been hinged on agriculture for most of its existence.
It was known as the Green Bean Capital of the World, and current school breaks are a byproduct of planting schedules. Present day agricultural staples continue to put Johnson County in the spotlight.
For starters, the Johnson County High School agricultural facilities continue to draw many visitors from around the world.
The region is also boasting of a real estate boom as realtors report record sales for the beginning of 2019. Agencies around the area are low on inventory, which may increase property prices to reflect the shortage prompting this spring to be the ideal time to sell extraneous properties. Agents agree that spring is a fruitful time for real estate because of the blooming flowers so improving property values with home and garden renovations is a must.
“I would have to say that ‘first’ impressions even in real estate are a big deal,” said local real estate agent Mina Norfleet. “Homeowners can do some very simple things to improve the value of their homes.”
Curb appeal is the first impression. Whether this is positive depends on several factors. Landscaping and hardscaping are essential steps toward improving this impression. They also improve home values quite a bit.
“Landscaping does wonders for curb appeal for a home or business. The return on investment is usually 100 to 200 percent,” said local expert Harvey Burniston Jr.
Outdoor lighting is a commonly neglected way to advance curb appeal. This aspect has a plethora of uses. Outdoor lighting increases property values, and it is also an excellent tool for safety and outdoor events. The easiest way to improve curve appeal is by applying new paint.
Local expert Michael “Red” Jordan declares that this is an excellent time of year to paint. The best window to paint is from late April through July because of the lower humidity. Pressure wash and remove flaking paint before adding a new paint job. Flaking paint prevents new paint from bonding effectively. According to Red, contrast is an essential part of painting.
“A new coat of paint will do wonders,” said Red. “It’s like a facelift.”
Accents and contrasting colors can make a home look more extensive and more open. Two such techniques include accent walls and high contrast exterior walls. Red suggests to paint the base of the house in a lighter color and to pain the eaves in dark colors.
Add a different type of color with great landscaping and gardening.
It is the ideal time to plan your garden. The Farmer’s Almanac lists this year’s last spring frost date as May 7. Without the frost, a plant’s worst nightmare is pests. There are simple ways to protect them with items lying around the house.
Deer are one of the most persistent pests. Despite that, they are relatively easy to deter. Scare tactics such as light tricks only require a reflective surface. Stringing fishing line and planting in levels are also effective. According to a study from the University of Vermont Extension Department of Plant and Soil Science, tallow in soap repels deer as well.
Many renovators use DIY (Do it Yourself) projects to cut costs. This method is useful but not recommended for renovators without experience. Small mistakes can skyrocket budget costs.
“You can’t replace experience, and you can’t beat a man at his own trade,” said Red.
The Tomahawk’s service directory is a renovator-friendly source. Locals offer everything from construction and excavations to lawn care and installations. For those who want to try their hand at DIY renovations, there are three simple steps to follow.
Do your homework. Learn as much as possible about the project. It includes online tutorials. Different sources emphasize different aspects. These tutorials also show possible pitfalls to avoid.
Buy the right tools. Saving cash on less practical or improper tools could actually cost more in the end. Be aware of tool pros and cons before making a purchase. It is also wise to practice before taking on the project. Tools differ per project. For example, a professional landscaper would need a larger rototiller than someone using the machine for personal use.
Find a consultant. Whether it is a professional or just someone knowledgeable in the field, find someone with experience. Experienced DIYers can save money by completing some labor independently. Average labor costs fall between 25 percent and 60 percent.
Timing is everything. Plants have their own preferences and grow accordingly. Soil and fertilizer maintenance, weather, and sunlight are important factors in plant growth. Vegetables planted during their proper time of the year taste better than others. Each plant has its own needs.
Home and garden renovations go hand-in-hand. They are not mutually exclusive, but they are mutually beneficial. Whether the renovations are for personal use or to increase property value, they are well worth the effort.