Rick Herrick & Paula A Farnsworth | Franklin Real Estate, Wrentham Real Estate, Medway Real Estate


Image by Nancy Buron from Pixabay

If you're like many homeowners who prefer a natural landscape plan, your outdoor living space undoubtedly features lush vegetation and bright, blooming flowers. However, you might also have the sense that something is missing but can't quite put your finger on what it might be. If this describes you, the missing element is probably hardscaping. Hardscaping refers to elements of landscaping that aren't plants, such as water features, statuary, gazebos and garden paths.

At its best, hardscaping brings functionality to the table as well as enhances aesthetics. Few things do this better than a rustic stone walkway meandering over the property. Here's how to make it happen yourself over the course of an average weekend. 

Select Your Stones

Stones used for walkways should be flat, wide and thick enough to withstand foot traffic. Choosing stone that is found naturally in your area cuts down on retail and delivery costs. Avoid using polished stones because these present potential slip-and-fall issues due to their slick surfaces. Stones that are between two and three inches thick offer better stability than their thinner counterparts and often come with a more attractive price tag as well. 

Lay Out Your Walkway

The first step is to determine your walkway. Avoid straight lines -- stone walkaways are meant to meander. Garden hoses are ideal for marking garden paths that curve. Use a sod cutter and a flat spade to cut and remove the grass, and dig out the soil where you want to place the stones to about a depth of five inches and make sure it's firmly tamped down before placing landscape fabric and adding a two-inch layer of sand over it. 

After smoothing down the sand so it provides a flat surface, it's time to lay down the stones. This part is a little like putting together a jigsaw puzzle, so take your time to figure out the placement. Be sure to use a carpenter's level to make certain that the stones are at the same height, and add or remove sand as needed. However, if you live in an area that receives significant amounts of precipitation, slightly sloping the larger stones toward the outside of your walkaway helps prevent standing water issues.

Landscape the Walkway

Some people prefer the clean, austere aesthetic of pebble or oyster shell mulch in the gaps between the stones, while others like the rustic, tousled look provided by low-growing herbaceous plants. Corsican mint is an excellent choice because it has a bright green color all year round and releases a divine, minty aroma. Other choices include creeping thyme, rock cress, artemisia and sedum. You can also mix it up with a variety of ground covers for a classic, cottage garden look. 


Let's face it – no condo seller wants to deal with a high-pressure negotiation. Lucky for you, we're here to help you streamline the process of selling your condo so you can avoid stressful negotiations with property buyers.

What does it take to remain calm, cool and collected during a negotiation with a condo buyer? Here are three tips that every condo seller needs to know.

1. Consider the Condo Buyer's Perspective

As an informed condo seller, it is important to consider both sides of a negotiation. By doing so, you can evaluate a condo buyer's perspective and plan your next move accordingly.

For condo sellers, the goal is to get the best price for a property. As such, a condo seller who performs extensive housing market research probably understands the true value of his or her residence.

On the other hand, a condo buyer is likely to conduct real estate market research on his or her own. This property buyer also will assess the current condition of a condo in relation to his or her budget and submit an offer that accounts for these factors.

Ultimately, a condo seller and buyer should try to find common ground. That way, both parties can work together to get the best results out of a negotiation.

2. Review All of Your Options

After a condo seller accepts a buyer's proposal, the next step likely involves a property inspection. At this point, a condo acquisition may move forward, or a condo seller might need to rethink his or her plan.

If a condo inspector discovers myriad problems with a property, a condo buyer may ask the seller to complete repairs or lower the price of the property. Meanwhile, a condo seller will need to review all of his or her options quickly.

Following a condo inspection, it is important to consider the results of the evaluation.

If a condo seller discovers major repairs are required, he or she should consider completing the repairs or lowering the price on a property.

Or, if a condo buyer asks for a major price reduction even though only minimal repairs are needed, a seller should be unafraid to say "No" to the buyer's requests.

It is important for a condo seller to feel comfortable with any decision that is made throughout the property selling cycle. Thus, if a condo seller is uncomfortable with completing property repairs or reducing the price of a residence after a property inspection, he or she should be ready to decline a buyer's demands.

3. Consult with a Real Estate Agent

A real estate agent will handle negotiations between a condo seller and buyer. Therefore, this housing market professional can play a pivotal role in a seller's ability to get the best price for a condo.

Consulting with a real estate agent who possesses condo experience is key. This real estate agent can keep you up to date during negotiations with condo buyers and ensure you are fully satisfied with the final results.

Take advantage of the aforementioned tips, and you can move one step closer to maximizing the value of your condo.


To maximize the value of your house, you may need to perform a wide range of home improvements. Fortunately, there are many quick, easy ways to ensure you won't have to break your budget to upgrade your residence before you add it to the real estate market.

Now, let's take a look at three tips to help you save money on home improvements.

1. Receive Multiple Quotes from Professionals

When it comes to performing comprehensive home repairs, it generally is a good idea to err on the side of caution by hiring professional contractors. However, hiring professionals to complete home improvement projects may put a major dent in your day-to-day finances.

If you request multiple quotes for home improvement projects, you can shop around for the best price. Plus, you may be able to negotiate the price from a professional if you have various competitor quotes at your disposal.

2. Consider Do-It-Yourself Projects

In many instances, a home may not require a full overhaul. Conversely, you may only need to perform a series of minor upgrades to ensure your residence is show-ready.

When possible, it may be beneficial to try to perform home improvement projects on your own. If you complete simple tasks like removing clutter from your home's basement or mowing your front lawn, you can simultaneously enhance your residence and avoid the costs associated with hiring professionals.

If you're unsure about how to perform certain home repairs, there is no need to leave anything to chance. In these scenarios, reach out to professionals for expert support, and you can minimize the risks associated with trying to complete these tasks on your own.

3. Consult with a Real Estate Agent

Finding the best ways to cut costs on home improvements can be tricky. Luckily, real estate agents are available who can help you get your house ready for the real estate market, even if you're dealing with a tight home improvement budget.

Typically, a real estate agent will be able to assess your house and help you establish home improvement priorities. This housing market professional then can put you in touch with the top home improvement professionals in your area, as well as provide tips to ensure you can quickly upgrade your residence on your own.

A real estate agent also will serve as your expert guide throughout the home selling journey. He or she will help you list your residence and promote it to dozens of potential buyers. Plus, a real estate agent will host home showings and open house events that enable buyers to get an up-close look at your residence. And if you receive offers on your house, a real estate agent will help you review these proposals and make an informed decision.

There is no reason to overspend to upgrade your residence. Thanks to the aforementioned tips, you can save money on home repairs and prep your house for the real estate market faster than ever before.


When it comes to selling a house, there is no need to make rash decisions. Instead, you should review your home selling options closely so you can make informed choices time and time again.

There are many factors to consider as you review your home selling plans, and these include:

1. Your Home's Condition

How your home looks to buyers may have far-flung effects on your house selling experience. If you allocate time and resources to upgrade your house's appearance, you could boost the likelihood of enjoying a fast, profitable home selling journey.

First, you may want to upgrade your house's curb appeal. You can mow the lawn, trim the hedges and perform other home exterior upgrades to bolster your house's curb appeal and differentiate your residence from other properties.

You should clean each room of your house, too. That way, homebuyers may be more likely than ever before to fall in love with your residence as soon as they walk through your house's front door.

2. The Current State of the Housing Market

The current state of the housing market may dictate how you price your home. If you analyze the local housing sector, you can set a competitive initial asking price for your residence.

Take a look at available houses in your city or town that are similar to your own. You then can use this information to establish a price range for your residence.

Also, find out how long recently sold houses in your area were available before they were purchased. This housing market data can help you determine if the current housing market favors buyers or sellers.

3. Your Home Selling Goals

Consider what you want to accomplish during the home selling journey. By doing so, you can map out what you will need to do to achieve your home selling goals.

For instance, if you want to sell your residence as quickly as possible, you may want to establish an aggressive initial asking price for your home. On the other hand, if you want to optimize your home sale earnings, you may want to consider myriad possibilities to promote your residence to as many potential buyers as you can.

For those who want to review their home selling options, you may want to collaborate with a real estate agent as well. In fact, with a real estate agent at your side, you can get the help you need to streamline the home selling journey.

A real estate agent offers comprehensive insights that you can use to accomplish your desired home selling results. Plus, he or she is ready to respond to your home selling concerns and questions. And if you are unsure about how to navigate the home selling journey, a real estate agent can provide guidance to help you make informed decisions.

Ready to list your residence? Consider the aforementioned factors, and you can plan ahead for all aspects of the home selling journey.


Image by Tim Cooper from Unsplash

If your lawn and garden area is full of lush, thriving trees, shrubs, herbs, and flowers, you're probably proud of it's appearance and of all the hard work you've put in to get it that way. However, you may also have a nagging feeling that it's missing something, but you can't quite put your finger on what that might be — and that something could very well be hardscaping elements. Hardscaping is anything that provides aesthetic appeal and/or functionality to your outdoor living space that isn't in the form of vegetation. It provides dimension, texture, and boundary definitions. The best hardscaping combines functionality and appearance. Here's how you can make it happen:

Paved Pathways

Paved pathways can be installed using a variety of materials, including brick, cobblestone, and polished concrete. Design possibilities are almost endless. Some homeowners prefer the sophisticated appearance of polished concrete, while others like to create a picturesque ambiance with old-school cobblestone. Paved pathways also protect your shoes from mud and other debris as well as protect your lawn from the damage that heavy foot traffic can cause.

Decorative Arbors

Decorative arbors provide a delightful way to dress up the entrance to your property or introduce a backyard herb or perennial garden. You can grow vining plants up and over them, such as rambling roses, clematis, or even switch it up every year by planting different vining annuals such as morning glory and nasturtium. During winter, you can keep things interesting by stringing holiday lights on it.

Garden Benches

Garden benches give you and other household members a relaxing place to sit, read, dream, or simply get a rest from lawn and garden chores will enjoying the sunlight on your face and listening to the birds sing. If you opt for a wooden bench, choose one made of weather-resistant wood such as teak or cedar. Stone benches are good choices for areas that receive significant amounts of precipitation — you can always add cushions for softness during the warm season.

Water Features

Waterfalls, ponds, fountains, and raised birdbaths are just three appealing ways to turn your backyard into a personal oasis by adding water features. If you're a nature lover, you'll spend hours enjoying the antics of your feathered friends as they splash in the birdbath, and if you could use a serene respite in your life, a flowing fountain or waterfall provides soothing sounds and serendipitous visuals.

Other hardscaping possibilities include garden statuary, trellises, decorative gates and fences, pergolas, and footbridges.




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