Articles Tagged "Gardening in The Bahamas"

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August
31

Staging Mistakes to Avoid - Sell in The Bahamas - Morley

Real estate transactions are almost always about the bottom line.

Think of staging as an investment of time that helps maximize the return on the sale of the property. Staging enables you to showcase your home's best assets and impress buyers so you can get the best possible deal on the sale. No matter why you're selling, whether you're looking to downsize or retire to one of our Nassau homes for sale, staging is one of the most lucrative undertakings you can take on.

Still, many sellers make the mistake of believing that staging is actually redecorating and in many other instances, sellers forgo the process altogether. It's really a form of visual merchandising that uses the principles of interior design to make your home look significantly better in photos and evoke a mood that appeals to buyers.

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June
27

Retaining Wall - Landscaping Tips - Morley

Retaining walls are an integral part of your landscape that enhance the aesthetic and protect your home. Installing a retaining wall is a cost-effective investment that our agents strongly recommend. Once installed, you'll enjoy many benefits, including, but not limited to, the following five things our clients frequently mention.

  1. Increased Property Value
    Retaining walls don't sell the property, but they are definitely something prospective buyers notice. A properly built retaining wall that's well-maintained enhances the property's curb appeal and preserves the property's value by protecting the landscape and the structure from erosion and flooding. Further, because you can design the retaining wall as desired, you can create a retaining wall that creates an aesthetic that enhances the home's appearance. Whether you choose a straight, tiered, or curved wall made from concrete, stone, or brick, you can design and build a customized wall that fits seamlessly into the property. In fact, the wall will become the anchor that will frame the landscape around your home.

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June
20

Eco-Friendly Features - Buying in The Bahamas - Morley

Living in an island paradise gives you an even clearer view of all the ways we humans can influence our environment. The Bahamas is highly active in environmental conservation so that everyone can enjoy the islands' beauty for years to come—and so are our agents.

Nassau and Paradise Island homes for sale often incorporate environmentally friendly features, most noticeable in newer construction. The Bahamas government encourages builders to consider environmental impact and will often provide incentives to homeowners for doing the same.

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May
23

Open-Air Markets - Nassau, The Bahamas - Morley

Nassau, The Bahamas has plenty of open-air markets that are not only fun to visit but also sell a variety of interesting goods. From hand-woven items to fish that's offered for sale straight off the boat that's been used to catch it, you'll find plenty of tempting purchases at these markets.

Our agents suggest making a stop at the following open-air markets in Nassau.

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April
18

Gardening in The Bahamas - Homeowners - Morley

Many Nassau and Paradise Island homes for sale have lovely backyard gardens. If you purchase one of these homes, of course, you'll want to keep the garden looking fresh and healthy. You may even want to improve the landscaping and add more plants and features to the design. Gardening in The Bahamas does come with a few intricacies, but if you follow the tips below, you'll be off to a good start.

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March
28

Remodeling Tips - The Bahamas - Morley

When it comes to natural beauty, Nassau and Paradise Island homes for sale are ahead of the rest. But our agents know a property needs more than charm to meet your expectations: Every now and then, you may want to renovate your home. And that can be more complex than in the United States.

The rules around who is allowed to perform contracting work are different than you might be used to. Bahamas contractors must be licensed in an area of specialization, such as residential or commercial construction, electrical work, or plumbing. Still, it is possible to be targeted by scams.

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June
23

Achieving a lush, healthy lawn in our tropical climate, almost seems a no-brainer. Warmer climates however, place unique demands on yards and gardens. Sunnier, high-humidity environments like ours result in faster plant growth than in relatively cooler parts of the world; but watching your grass grow and grow and grow can be just as problematic and watching it dry off and die. Extreme humidity, intense heat, and heavy rains are other issues that frequently plague tropical climate lawns and other plants. To ensure your lawn does not resemble a jungle, it is important for maintain regular pruning and other upkeep, throughout the year.

 

During the hot humid months, from April through to October, lawns are in their element as regular summer storms bring torrential rain. This usually means lush green leaf growth that, at times, appears to be out of control. Good lawn maintenance can keep this rapid growth period at bay as well as maintain a green, healthy lawn during the cooler months.

An important part of lawn maintenance is checking the pH of your lawn during the wet season. Fertilizing is not recommended at that time, as it will promote vigorous leaf growth, which, for now, is not necessary. More than likely, you will already be watching your lawn grow before your eyes yet be unable to mow due to the rain. Instead, you can apply lime and gypsum to the soil as these acts as a soil conditioner and keeps the pH up. Due to the region's high rainfall, soils can become very acidic which can affect the health of the plant growth. The addition of lime to your yard care routine, maintains a good pH balance and promotes the uptake of soil nutrients. Gypsum is a clay breaker. One of the reasons soils is compacted and like concrete in most backyards is due to initial building activity. Usually, much of the topsoil is taken away during home construction and the ground is compacted making it difficult for water to penetrate the soil. Gypsum is good for breaking down clay soils enabling the water to penetrate. 

Another wet-weather-must is to keep lawn mowing equipment in good working order. There is nothing worse when there is a break in the weather, and you are unable to mow because of failing lawn equipment due to poor maintenance. Be prepared by having mowers and other equipment fueled and ready to go. Sharp mower blades are essential to ensure the lawn has a clean, even cut. Unbalanced, blunt blades often leave a yard looking hacked and untidy. The success to an even, tidy lawn is weekly trims in the summer months, whenever possible. This will keep lawn clipping to a minimum. During the cooler and less wet months, mow every two to three weeks to keep the lawns immaculate.

After the wet season around October-November, is the perfect time to apply good a quality slow-release fertilizer to keep the lush growth achieved during the wet season. Once you have applied fertilizer, water in well as this will help keep thick leaf cover, reduce moisture loss, and keep your lawn actively growing. Pull the mower deck up one notch to leave more leaf on the grass, as this will also help reduce moisture loss within the soil.

In November, reapply the slow-release fertilizer before generally cooler temps set in. This is a must-do job as it will keep lawns green and healthy throughout the tropic's mild winter.  Depending on your variety of turf, follow a recommended water schedule; whether weekly or fortnightly. This watering method is better than small top ups every night as it promotes the deep root system growth needed for a healthy lawn.

April is another good time to apply slow-release fertilizer as it will help the recovery from the winter months. Again, a good, deep watering is required. Now is the time to lower the mower deck back to the summer mowing height.

May brings spring and a burst of activity, completing the annual cycle. Birds are building nests; flowers are blooming, and worms are getting ready to launch their attack on lush green lawns. Healthy green lawns are perfect sites for pest eggs. An environmentally safe pesticide should be on hand during springtime to counterattack and ensure a healthy lawn, year-round.

June
16

Summer's finally here! Time for cookouts, backyard parties, outdoor sports, and time by the water. All this time outside can lead to potential dangers, if we aren't prepared. With proper preparation and a safety plan in place, you'll be set for, what could be, your best summer ever.

To avoid accidents and pricey repairs, prepping your home for the summer months is a must. From steamy temps and unexpected storms to the general wear and tear on the inside and outside of your home, there are quite a few things to get ready for. First, we must take inventory of what home maintenance is overdue. From repairing broken appliances to cleaning out your air conditioning filters and ducts, summer upkeep projects can save you money in the long run and keep everything running smoothly. Conduct a home energy audit once every year, to determine where upgrades can make a difference in lowering your carbon footprint and utility bill.

To help keep the outside of your home looking great while keeping your family safe, be sure to add these to your to-do list:

 - Install sunshades or tinting to your windows to deflect heat.

 - Reseal any cracked caulking or weather strips on external windows and doors to prevent leaks.

 - Inspect outside your home for cracks and any overhanging tree limbs that could fall during a storm.

 - Double-check that flood insurance is included in your home insurance policy.

 - Spray your yard and home to protect it from pests and other creatures. Set traps and other deterrents, where necessary.

 - Schedule a yearly inspection to help catch termites before they cause major damage to your home's structure.

 

 

Keeping bugs at bay often entails the use of chemicals or pesticides, so safe usage should be top-of-mind. If you choose to use pesticides in and around your home, ensure children know to avoid any treated areas after application, for as long as manufacturer's instructions dictate. Always explain the dangers of all potentially harmful products to your children. This can help prevent injury from accidental exposure. Placement of a first-aid kit, with poison control information, and fire extinguisher on every level of your home is a smart idea - having them nearby helps you respond as quickly as possible in the event of an emergency.

 

    

 

Security and Monitoring

As temps rise in the summer months, unfortunately so do the rates of home break-ins and theft. On average, there is an 11% increase in home-based crimes during the summer months. And though we are now staying home more than ever before, this increase is enough to make one nervous during a weekend getaway. Thankfully, smart home technology has vastly advanced, giving homeowners control over their home protection and monitoring capabilities. Recent additions to the smart home market include indoor and outdoor cameras, motion detection lighting, and automatic locks that can alert you on your phone any time someone locks or unlocks a door. These devices are not only helpful for identifying and stopping burglaries, but they're also great for monitoring your children's activity throughout the home. Some devices even allow you to speak to your children or play music directly through speaker systems. Ultimately, the purpose of smart devices is to help streamline your life, making everyday tasks easier.

When we are around more often, like during the summer or shelter-in-place orders, our homes, appliances, and devices go through something known as home strain. And with a global pandemic keeping us homebound more than ever before, home strain is reaching new heights. As sheltering in place continues and as more people opt to work from home, this issue is likely to persist. The most needed repairs come from issues with power surges, broken appliances, and damaged electronic devices. To help counteract the effects of home strain, it's important to thoroughly clean your home, appliances, and other devices. Electronic devices and other household appliances run faster and last longer with regular cleanings. Regular cleaning also allows you to inspect for damage and fix small issues before they grow.

 

 

Grilling and Fire Protection

Grilling is an especially popular summertime activity. Improperly operated grillware can be extremely dangerous. This is especially true when there are young children in proximity, as they can accidentally injure themselves or others. A few things to consider before grilling this summer to keep your family and home safe:

Never leave a fire unattended. Constant monitoring will help keep the fire under control and prevent any potential injuries from children or pets getting too close to the flame. It is recommended to keep your grill at least 10 feet from your home or any other structures, and away from any overhanging trees.

When returning indoors, it is important to extinguish the fire. Never let it a grill burn out. While it is recommended to keep a fire extinguisher on hand for emergencies, a grill can be put out with water once you are done. It's also a good idea to keep a first-aid kit nearby in case of accidents or burns.

 

 

Pool Safety

Whether you have an in-ground pool, hot tub, above ground, or inflatable pool, children should always be supervised while swimming. If possible, enroll your children in swimming lessons early or teach them yourself. As they are learning, a life jacket or other flotation device should be put on before getting in the water. Become CPR-certified and always keep an extra flotation device and first-aid kit nearby. To ensure you know when your child is near the water, consider adding back door and gate alarms to alert you of any movement near the pool or hot tub.

Setting Safety Rules

The safety of their child is the goal of every parent, but it can be easier said than done. It is important to talk with your kids about summer safety, including the limits you've set for how far they can venture out or what activities they take part in without you nearby. In addition to installing safety measures like gates around the pool and locks on medicine cabinets, it's important to let your children know what type of play is and is not allowed. Playing in a parked car, for example, can easily turn dangerous in the summer heat. Always lock your car when it's not in use, even if it's just in your garage or driveway.

As children get older, they'll likely want to venture out to play with friends away from home. Before going out to play, establish ground rules for how far they can go and for how long. Ensure they are aware of the potential dangers of your area. Mobile numbers should be memorized in case of an emergency.

Whether your yard is relatively empty or full of toys, an inspection should be part of the pre-play routine. This allows you to address any issues you find before letting your children run around.

With summer in full swing and shelter-in-place orders continuing, you'll likely be spending most of your time at or near home. This makes total home safety more important than ever. While you may be able to make most repairs yourself, some things are better left to the professionals. Carve out enough time for cleaning and repairs - plus time for summer fun too!

June
9

When discussing energy efficiency, it is common for experts only to consider improving the savings results for homeowners in colder climates. It is a topic that our neighbors to the north and west must give consideration as most energy needs will increase when temperatures begin to fall. Having an energy efficient home, however, is also incredibly important in warmer climates. With the proper energy-saving strategies and smart design choices, Bahamian homes can become just as energy efficient as those in other regions.

BUILDING DESIGN & LAYOUT CONSIDERATIONS

For the highest energy efficiency, a home should be designed from the ground up with respect to how the light and other natural elements will affect energy needs. For example, West and East facing glass windows and doors can have about five times the heat gain of north-facing glass. For the most favorable outcome, a home should be constructed so that windows are positioned within 20 degrees of North or South, wherever possible. Choosing colors for your home, that are reflective as opposed to absorbent for roofing and siding can also help to control the heat inside the home.

SMART LANDSCAPING

Landscaping should be planned to work with the design elements of the home. Where there are windows or doors installed on the west or east sides of a house, trees and shrubs can be positioned to block the sun at the hottest times of the day.

Shady trees also work well for controlling heat gains in the home. During the warmest months, the trees will have leaves and block out sunlight. During the cooler months, the trees will lose leaves and allow greater heat gains. Shrubs and trees can also shade pavement so that sunlight is not reflected indoors.

CONSTRUCTION ELEMENTS

Materials selected for the walls, floors, and roof, the type of windows and doors, and many other construction elements can all have a major impact on home energy efficiency. Materials with low heat conductivity should always be used and be thick enough to keep out any unwanted heat. Windows should be shaded or tinted to keep out the heat as much as possible, possibly even using a recessed window design for consistency. Ceramic tile floors are best for energy efficiency in hot climates, with carpeting typically raising the average temperature inside the home.

INSULATION FOR SAVINGS

Proper insulation is important for hot climate energy efficiency. About two inches of foam insulation is generally sufficient to help keep heat gains out and keep cool air inside. A carefully sealed building is of utmost importance.

ENERGY STAR APPLIANCES

Investing in Energy Star appliances boosts your home's energy efficiency. There are other ways to reduce energy expenses with your current appliances, as well. The refrigerator is often the leading energy user among a home's appliances, so it must operate efficiently.

ADJUST TEMPERATURE SETTINGS

The smallest temperature changes can greatly impact your home's energy efficiency. Adjust the thermostat to 68 degrees or lower on cooler days, and 78 degrees or higher during the summer so that you use less energy.

ADJUST WATER HEATER SETTINGS

This is typically something homeowners do not consider doing. However, this small change can go a long way in saving you money. A maximum temperature of 120 degrees is adequate for most homes. This prevents accidental scalding and is proven to slow the buildup of minerals in your water heater tank.

ADJUST REFRIGERATOR SETTINGS

The temperature of the refrigerator itself should be set to 35°-38°F, and the freezer to 0° F. The refrigerator is often the leading energy user among a home's appliances, so it must operate efficiently. Keep the door closed as often as possible. Check the door seals to ensure they are tight and secure. If a dollar bill placed between the door gaskets slips out easily, the seal is not as tight as it should be. Consider replacing it.

UNPLUG ELECTRONICS WHEN NOT IN USE

Always remember to unplug rarely used appliances to decrease energy usage around the house. Unplugging electronics like charging devices for phones, tablets, and digital cameras can increase your energy efficiency. Using a power strip with an on/off switch makes it easy to decrease electricity use by powering off multiple electronics at once.

Beyond construction, landscaping choices, and other big-ticket items, there are many ways homeowners can save. Lowering your energy bill can be accomplished by improving the energy efficiency of your home. Simple lifestyle changes go a long way to impact and improve your bottom line. When followed consistently, these practices could lead to substantial energy savings and lower utility bills. Making use of the strategies outlined above will help you and your family to live more energy efficient and boost the savings you see on your monthly energy bill.

 

March
24

This week, the Bahamas National Trust marks the 10-year celebration of the Leon Levy Native Plant Preserve - a world-class Bahamian Botanic Garden in Eleuthera founded by Shelby White in honor of her late husband, Leon Levy. The Preserve is quite appropriately referred to as "a living part of Bahamian history."

 The Leon Levy Native Plant Preserve | Photo: Raymond Jungles

The Leon Levy Native Plant Preserve | Photo: Raymond Jungles

Both Leon Levy and his wife, Shelby White were lovers of the natural environment and way of life in Eleuthera – Leon was particularly interested in native plants used in bush medicine. After his passing in 2003, Shelby wanted to honor Leon, and his devotion to the island, while "contributing to a better future for all Eleuthera." She chose to do so by creating the Leon Levy Native Plant Preserve with the Bahamas National Trust's help.

 

In April 2019, the Leon Levy Native Plant Preserve became the first institution in The Bahamas to be designated as an accredited Botanic Garden by Botanic Gardens Conservation International. This tier of accreditation recognizes institutions for their achievements in plant conservation.

 

Today, the Leon Levy Native Plant Preserve is an internationally recognized botanical garden that spans 30 acres. It is the first and only national park on the island of Eleuthera. Located in Governor's Harbour, it features gardens and wetlands designed by world-renowned landscape architect, Raymond Jungles, and serves as a showcase for traditional bush medicine, a facility for propagating indigenous plants and trees, and an educational center focusing on the importance of native vegetation to the Bahamas' biodiversity. The LNPP "helps to preserve the natural history of Eleuthera and showcases the unique flora and fauna of The Bahamas to the world," states the Bahamas National Trust.

Bahamians and visitors are welcome to walk miles of trails through the native habitat and view the beautiful orchids, birds, insects, medicinal plants, and hardwood trees that you can find here.

While few of us can claim to have achieved such great feats, it can be said that many of us islanders have a deep appreciation for our natural environment and the beauty that can be found in our local tropical landscapes. Whether you're planning a trip to Eleuthera this Easter holiday, or you're looking for a little inspiration for creating your own native plant oasis in your back yard, you'll want to learn more about the Leon Levy Native Plant Preserve.

Find them online in any of these spaces:

The Leon Levy Native Plant Preserve

Bahamas National Trust

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