HT Home & Garden

Tour The Rosenthal Estate – listed by the Sunset Marquis owner for $38 million

BY MEGAN SLACK | HomesAndGardens.Com

Troy Warren #homegarden-all

The majestic Malibu kingdom is filled with Mexican chandeliers and surrounded by vineyards and avocado trees

Renowned entrepreneur George Rosenthal has just listed The Rosenthal Estate – an extraordinary compound amongst the Malibu hills – for $38 million. The West Coastal kingdom stands above 180 acres of sprawling vineyards and mountains, kissed with an abundance of avocado trees. 

This serene Cali-cool landscape was the utopian setting for architect Louis Angelikis to build the hacienda-style home and design a ‘resort style’ base for all who indulge in its splendor. 


The home was listed by George Rosenthal, who is best known as the owner of Sunset Marquis, the iconic hotel which was a famed hangout for rock ’n’ roll legends. George serves as the chairman of Raleigh Enterprises, which includes Raleigh Studios, Hollywood Rentals, and Rosenthal – The Malibu Estate Vineyard.  


The property, located at 29000 Newton Canyon Road, is less than an hour from Beverly Hills, where Sunset Marquis is located just off Sunset Strip. However, its remote position amid the Malibu mountains means the property feels a million miles away from the hustle of West Hollywood. 


The eight-bedroom, nine-bathroom compound combines traditional Californian ambiance with authentic hacienda features, including artisan wood sculpted double doors and trumpet vine-covered porticos. These doors lead to the entrance hall, which exhibits wide stone surround doorways, wooden columns, beamed ceilings, and alluring arches that bless the home with a certain continental charisma.  


The entrance hall leads to a large wooden and granite-glazed kitchen and an outdoor dining patio that is accessed via elegant French doors. Immediately adjacent to the kitchen is the equally enticing dining room that is warmed with an ornate fireplace and crowned with a Taxco Mexico hand-crafted silver chandelier. 


Meanwhile, upstairs, the master suite boasts another original fireplace, a walk-in closet, and unrivaled views of the landscaped garden and mountainous kingdom beyond the estate’s gates. This exterior space is complemented with a swimming pool, patio, pond, and private access to a path that leads through the wooded estate. 


The compound also includes a two-bedroom guest house and further one-bedded guest quarters before leading onto the private vineyard and refrigerated wine storage room – that will certainly be put to good use.


The Rosenthal Estate is currently listed with Sandro Dazzan of The Agency and Jade Mills and Joyce Rey of Coldwell Banker Realty, Beverly Hills.


HT Home & Garden

Sumner Redstone’s $27M Beverly Park Estate Sells to Local Billionaire’s Son


Troy Warren #homegarden-all

Rufus Hankey, chairman of software developer Nowcom, is the new owner of the 15,355-square-foot mansion, which is set on nearly two acres.

That was quick! Barely a month after the snazzily contemporary structure first popped up for sale, the longtime 90210 home of media mogul Sumner Redstone has sold in a cash deal — and for $27 million, just $900,000 under the asking price. Located in the exclusive guard-gated community of North Beverly Park, where other homeowners include Denzel Washington, Sofia Vergara, Mark Wahlberg and Eddie Murphy, the unique property offers sprawling park-like grounds, a full-sized tennis court and one-of-a-kind infinity pool.

Records reveal the spendy buyer is Rufus Hankey, chairman of software developer Nowcom and an officer at the Hankey Group, the massive insurance/software/real estate/hard money lending conglomerate founded by his billionaire father Don Hankey. It’s perhaps not entirely surprising that the younger Hankey would be in the market for a lavish new home; the 47-year-old is recently divorced from former wife Amber, who herself recently dropped $10.3 million on a 90210 mansion.

Redstone, who died in 2020 at age 97, was majority owner and chairman of National Amusements, a private theater chain company, founded the second iteration of Viacom, and had holdings that included CBS; the Paramount film and television studio; the publisher Simon & Schuster; the video retail giant Blockbuster; and several cable channels, including MTV, Comedy Central and Nickelodeon — that were worth more than $80 billion at their peak, according to The New York Times.

The billionaire entrepreneur lived out the last decades of his life in this mansion, which was custom-built in the 1980s by fashion designer Dorothy Schoelen and later owned by Sylvester Stallone, who sold it to Redstone in 2002 for $14.5 million.

Resting behind gates at the end of a quiet cul-de-sac, atop a coveted mountain rim, the house is one of only a handful of Beverly Park properties with truly sweeping city, canyon and mountain vistas; and the secluded abode holds five en-suite bedrooms and nine bathrooms across 15,000-plus square feet of living space rife with floor-to-ceiling walls of glass and soaring ceilings.

The listing was held by Laurie Hudson of Berskshire Hathaway HomeServices California Properties; Skye Lamb of Premier Realty Services repped Hankey.

A towering entryway topped with a massive skylight greets with a curved, wrought-iron staircase, and opens to gracious environs ideal for relaxing and entertaining alike.

Among the highlights: a formal dining room that opens via French doors to an al fresco dining space, along with a gourmet kitchen sporting custom cabinetry, a center island with sink, high-end appliances and an elevated dining area.


A lengthy corridor with a groin-vaulted ceiling leads to a spa and fitness wing replete with an indoor plunge pool and mirror-lined gym; and a small subterranean area holds a climate-controlled wine cellar and tasting area. There’s also a library/office and movie theater.

Upstairs, each of the spacious guest bedrooms hosts a balcony with open cross-canyon, mountain and city views. But the master retreat easily stands out with a sitting area, wraparound terrace (with a private staircase) and oval-shaped bath adorned with a centerpiece pedestal sink.

As for the resort-like grounds, they’re simply spectacular. Think a wide swath of grassy lawn that stretches to a zero-edge pool connected to a spa nestled among mature trees and lush gardens, plus a trellis-covered dining pavilion with a large double-sided fireplace, and a sunken and lighted tennis court.



HT Home & Garden

The best place to buy a vacation home in Florida – it’s not where you think it is

BY ANNA COTTRELL | HomesAndGardens.Com

Troy Warren #homegarden-all

These are the best places to buy a vacation home in Florida, and they’re not all in Miami

If you’re looking for the best place to buy a vacation home in Florida, you’re spoilt for choice. Florida is an old-time favorite with vacationing families and wealthy retirees, and it has some of the most beautiful beaches and scenery anywhere in the United States. And Disneyworld, of course. And awesome food. We could keep going.

Ultimately, however, as every other state, Florida is experiencing changes in where the best places to buy a vacation home are, partly to do with the pandemic, and partly with how far people want to travel to get some sun. 

We’ve asked local real estate experts to name the spots that will deliver on rental income – and be worth staying at yourself. 



And the best place to buy a vacation home in Florida is… nowhere near a beach. However, the beautiful historic city of Kissimmee is next to plenty of other attractions. UpNest’s CEO, Simon Ru, who has over 8 years of experience in the real estate industry, including helping sell thousands of homes, including in vacation spots in Florida, said: ‘Kissimmee is always #1 on my list, due to its affordable homes and proximity to Disney World and Universal Studios.’

Kissimmee is also right next to Lake Tohopekaliga and has its own waterfront park. Trey Van Tuyl, a Miami-based realtor, seconds Simon’s view: ‘With a median listing price of around $250,000, Kissimmee is another destination that’s great for a vacation or second home. There’s a charming old town, pleasant atmosphere, and plenty of nearby attractions.’



Simon also recommends Panama City Beach as an ‘affordable beach location with high rental income possibilities. You’re aiming for a high return on investment, where hopefully your mortgage is covered (or almost covered) by your rental income.’

‘Affordable’ isn’t the first thing we associate with Florida homes, so looking for the less obvious, but equally beautiful locations pays off: ‘Ultimately, in Florida, you want to look for locations where you can earn a great cap rate – in many beachfront properties, this can be over 4%. You can have fun at the beach and make money, too.’

Trey also recommends Panama City Beach as a great value-for-money option: ‘For a destination with a much more reasonable median listing price, Panama City Beach is a fantastic option. It’s relaxed, family-friendly, and continues to draw visitors. A spacious condo here will be easy to rent out to vacationers.’

Jonathan Sanchez, a real estate investor and co-founder of Parent Portfolio, adds that there’s another reason locations like Panama City Beach are becoming more popular: ‘These spots are great for people trying to get away from the cold seasons in the Midwest wanting to save some travel time compared to driving an additional four for five hours to Orlando.’



This option will surprise no one, but Miami Beach remains one of the best places to buy a vacation home, because you just can’t beat the miles of white sand. The typical value of a median-priced home in Miami Beach is $384,688, and you will never be out of rental income there. 

Trey sums up: ‘In my opinion, Miami Beach will always be a solid investment. Visitors continue to flock here, and there will always be plenty of opportunity to create rental income. I see North Beach, in particular, becoming more and more desirable.’




HT Home & Garden

This Farrow & Ball paint color is set to be this season’s most on-trend shade

BY MEGAN SLACK | HomesAndGardens.Com

Troy Warren #homegarden-all

This summer, we’re set to drench our walls in a color that pays homage to the southern English coastline.

The kaleidoscopic days of summer are tantalizingly close, but amongst all its magnificent hues, one particular color will set the tone for the season. 

According to recent research*, the soothing shades of Farrow & Ball’s Purbeck Stone will be the most desired color of the summer – and this hue will continue to celebrate the most popular paint color of the year: gray. 

Plus, as Purbeck Stone grows in increasing popularity, studies have pointed towards four more shades that are set to enrich our interiors over the coming months. We’re holding back from the paintbrush until we decide on our favorite of the five – which is easier said than done. 



The aptly-named Purbeck Stone draws inspiration from the rocky Isle of Purbeck just off Dorset – but these organic hues are about to bless walls far beyond the English coastline. Recently, search demands for this specific shade have jumped by 1,292% – but with its relationship to the most sought-after color of the year – it is easy to see why. 

Reminiscent of the rustic landscape surrounding Farrow & Ball’s headquarters, Purbeck Stone infuses our walls with an unrivaled natural gray that is best paired with neutral soft furnishings that come alive in the summer light. 



The Farrow & Ball family are certainly looking stylish this season, as following hot on the heels of its ultra-fashionable cousin is Jitney, the second most popular hue emerging from the research. While Purbeck Stone celebrates the shores of England’s Jurassic Coast, Jitney pays homage to the most prestigious shore on the US East Coast – The Hamptons. 

Farrow & Ball designed Jitney as a celebration of the sun-glazed playground for Manhattan’s elite through an esteemed shade that mirrors Atlantic sand. It also not-so-coincidentally shares a name with the bus that transports New Yorkers to the ocean, because, why not? 



They say all good things come in threes, and this is certainly the case with Farrow & Ball’s hat trick. The third most popular shade of the summer is Green Smoke – whose rich tones have roots in the 19th century. 

This enduring shade draws from two of the most alluring shades of the year, if not the decade, green and grey. It is, therefore, unsurprising that this color takes bronze in the top three paints of the summer. 



The subtle glory of Dulux’s Pressed Putty places this soft brown shade rightfully in the top five colors of the study, following a 161% increase in search demand over the past year. But what are the reasons for its success? 

We suspect it’s entirely down to its soft aesthetic tone of brown that allows color fans to kiss their interiors with a glamorous twist on a natural shade. It also works exceptionally with monochromatic colors that stand out against its glowing backdrop. 



We conclude the most popular colors of the season with Farrow & Ball’s Skimming Stone – and like Green Smoke – it is gracing the list with fragments of color dating back to the 19th century. In the Victorian era, this color was readily used as a plaster color, but these warming shades remain fashionable throughout even the trendiest of interiors. Will we continue to see this shade through the latter half of the year? We certainly suspect so.



HT Home & Garden

This metro Atlanta city may become unaffordable by 2026

By Kiersten Willis, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

Troy Warren #homegarden-all

It’s no secret that house prices in and around Atlanta are climbing.

But in some areas, the costs may grow so high that they’ll become unaffordable.

GoBankingRates has conducted a study on the major U.S. cities that are affordable now but won’t have that title in the future.

Gathering 300 of the countries largest cities, the analysis used Zillow’s one-year forecast to predict each city’s home value increases in the next 10 years. Afterward, the personal finance resource pinpointed where the change would grow beyond the national median home value. Currently, the national median is $259,906 and is anticipated to increase 7.0% in 2022. It will grow over the median within the next decade.

“Granted, this approach comes with some caveats. Projecting into the future based on a single year’s growth rate could ultimately paint an unfair picture in markets where the current rate is an anomaly. Additionally, Zillow’s estimated home values don’t necessarily reflect the list prices or sale prices in each market,” GoBankingRates said. “Still, identifying the areas that are outpacing the national average for growth can help shed light on the cities where you should buy a home sooner rather than later.”

Of the 22 cities on the list one Georgia town was included.

Lilburn’s population is over 12,700. Last year, the home value was $255,833. It’s projected to grow 7.3% in one year. Unlike other cities on the list, there’s some time before the Gwinnett County city is projected to become too expensive. That won’t happen until 2026 when the projected home value is $390,441. By then, the projected median U.S. home value will be $390,049. So Lilburn’s home value will be $392 greater than the national average.

As of now, Lilburn’s average home price is $221,600 according to Best Places. It also has a 2.6% lower cost of living than the federal average. The city has had 7.1% population growth since 2010.



HT Home & Garden

These 5 things can give you a high-end shower design

By Kiersten Willis, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

Troy Warren #homegarden-all

You don’t have to book a hotel stay to have a luxury shower experience. A few upgrades to your bathroom can give you the same experience at home.

Houzz recently published 10 tips for building a spa-like shower at home. Here are five of them.

Make shower doors a showcase

Glass shower doors can make tiles the focal point. According to Bob Villa, “frameless shower doors have played a key role in the transition from the bathroom as functional to home retreat. The best frameless shower doors bring a minimalist elegance, with either sliding or hinged configurations.”

Enhance your shower fixtures

Ceiling mounted or wall-mounted showerheads offer varying benefits. With ceiling-mounted ones, the pressure may not be as high but there’s the soothing sound of water droplets hitting your skin and the ground. Hand-held sprayers can also add to the experience, according to Houzz.

Add recessed lighting

For a modern appearance, install recessed lighting. “Look for special ‘shower trim’ with a built-in lens for use in these areas. You can use regular trims everywhere else in the bathroom,” lighting retailer Lamps Plus said on its blog.

Boost accessories

Enhance the flow of your shower by strategically placing hooks and bars for your towels and robes. According to The Spruce, towel fixtures should be placed close to each sink and bath fixture for convenience.

Make it a shower-tub combination

Increase your home’s resale value by combining your shower and tub. “Before you rip out your tub give some serious thought to the types of buyers who might be interested in buying your property down the line,” investor and TV host Scott McGillivray said on his website. “If it’s empty nesters or the elderly you’re probably ok, but if it’s more likely to be a family you need to have a tub. My advice is that you should always have at least one tub in the house.”



HT Home & Garden

Fuzzy orange fruit is not a big concern

By Walter Reeves, For the AJC

Troy Warren #homegarden-all

Q: My serviceberry tree has cedar-quince rust on the fruit. What can I do? Dianne Short, email

A: The small fruit covered in fuzzy orange rods may be ugly, but the disease won’t kill the tree. As you probably know, this disease travels to a nearby cedar tree for a year and then back to your tree during its life cycle. If you want to feel useful, pluck all of the infested fruit off the tree and dispose of it. Rusts are very dependent on weather conditions, so next year there may be none. Then you can congratulate yourself on your work this year!

Q: Are there any environmentally safe mosquito controls?Laura G., email

A: “Safe” is a fraught word. I feel safe lighting my water heater pilot light, but I have a friend who refuses to go near her heater when the pilot goes out.

I do not like systems that mist insecticide automatically during the day. With no human oversight, the mister can operate during rainstorms, on a windy day, while kids are playing nearby, etc. Insecticide fog/mist applied by humans is marginally better, but I have major reservations. No matter how much the company claims the insecticide is “natural,” it is still something that kills insects. The mist will kill mosquitoes, butterflies, honeybees, and any other insect in its way. On a breezy day, the spray can drift onto neighboring properties.

So what do I recommend? For small outdoor spaces, a reciprocating fan works perfectly. Mosquitoes are weak flyers and the fan pushes them away while cooling you. For a hike in the woods, there are several repellents that work well but that do not contain DEET. I like products that contain picaridin. The feel of picaridin spray on my skin is much less oily than DEET. For a picnic out of the reach of electricity, self-heating mosquito repellent devices work nicely if there is not a breeze. These do emit a tiny amount of insecticide, but they are MUCH more effective than essential oils, citronella candles, mosquito coils, or mosquito repellent plants. You can read my resources at

Q: I had an old farmer tell me that evergreens, such as Leyland cypress, produce small cones which open and let spores into the air which would hurt hard fruits. Have you heard of this?Calvin Cain, email

A: I have never heard this, but I love hearing gardening folk tales. Many evergreen trees have cones that emit dustlike pollen, but the pollen does not cause disease.



HT Home & Garden

8 Common Garden Pests to Watch for and How to Get Rid of Them

By Kelly Roberson | BHG.Com

Troy Warren #homegarden-all


When something starts eating your plants, use these tips to figure out which pesky critter is causing the problem and the best control methods to use.

Your garden is home to creatures that provide benefits and some that are not so helpful, just like any environment in nature. Most of the time, the beneficial ones, such as pollinators and predatory insects, keep the destructive pests in check. But sometimes the balance shifts and a plant can sustain enough damage that you’ll want to take action. Fortunately, most garden pests can be dealt with using non-toxic methods such as handpicking larger insects or blasting them off with a strong spray of water. How you deal with the problem depends on what insect is causing damage. Here’s how you can identify and control some of the most common garden pests.

1. Aphids 

What they look like: Tiny, pear-shape, and soft-bodied, aphids can be yellow, white, red, or black, and either be winged or wingless. A white cottony form of aphid prefers fruit trees.

Plant damage: Aphids are typically found clustering on the tender new growth of plants, where they suck sap, causing distorted leaves and flowers. Although it can be startling to find hundreds of them clustered on a plant stem, they rarely do enough damage to kill a plant. Unless they are affecting a large agricultural crop, they aren’t usually a cause for great concern.

Pest control method: A strong spray of water from a hose knocks them off plants or cut off the affected stem and crush it on the ground. A spray of insecticidal soap works, too, but the area of the plant where they have been feeding will still show some distortion as it grows. Ladybug larvae and lacewings (both beneficial insects) can help bring aphids under control. Keep in mind that any method used to control or destroy the aphids will affect the beneficial insects that feed on them as well.


2. Caterpillars & Worms 

What they look like: Caterpillars (sometimes called worms) are the larval stage of moths and butterflies, which makes them trickier to deal with because many will turn into the pollinators that your garden and landscape needs. And who doesn’t love butterflies?

Plant damage: Caterpillars and worms feed on plants, consuming leaves and stems.

Pest control method: Unless they are devastating the plants they are feeding on larvae can be left alone; handpick them if necessary. Natural predators such as birds can help; refresh the water in your birdbath daily to draw winged visitors to the garden. Naturally occurring parasites such as some tiny wasps attack caterpillars; look for small white eggs on the backs of caterpillars as evidence they are present. Discourage moths from laying eggs by using floating row covers ($13, The Home Depot) over young plants, but make sure to remove row covers when vegetable plants begin to flower so they may be pollinated. Drenching with a biological insecticide Bt (Bacillus thuringiensis)  is harmless to people, animals, and adult insects, but very successful for protecting crops such as broccoli and cabbage from caterpillars.


3. Flea Beetles

What they look like: Tiny black or gray beetles are less than 1/8-inch long and will hop away like a flea or cricket when disturbed.

Plant damage: Many scattered pits or small, ragged holes in leaves, typically appearing in spring and early summer.

Pest control method: Protect young seedlings with floating row cover until the plants begin to flower. Older plants growing rapidly in hot weather often suffer little from flea beetle feedings. Yellow sticky traps ($6, Walmart) will attract flea beetles. Unless the infestation is severe, healthy plants can survive some flea beetle damage. Their natural predators, particularly parasitic wasps, often keep the population down. To attract the tiny, stingless parasitic wasps, grow their favorite nectar plants such as sweet alyssum, dill, fennel, and catnip. If infestations of flea beetles become severe, spraying with neem oil ($10, The Home Depot) or a spray containing spinosad ($30, The Home Depot) can help control them. Other chemical pesticides are labeled for flea beetle control but read labels carefully to determine what plants or vegetable crops they can be safely used on.


4. Japanese Beetles 

What they look like: Metallic blue or green, Japanese beetles are 1/2-inch long and have coppery wings.

Plant damage: Japanese beetles are voracious eaters: Adult beetles consume leaves and flowers, leaving behind only leaf veins. Common targets include roses and hibiscus, but hundreds of plants are favored by Japanese beetles. The larvae (grubs) of Japanese beetles can also be a problem in lawns; they overwinter in the soil, then eat grass roots in spring before they emerge as adult beetles. Heavy infestations in turf grasses weaken them and allow weeds to take over.

Pest control method: Handpick Japanese beetles daily as soon as they appear and dispose of them in a container of soapy water. Pesticide sprays can kill adult beetles but provide no ongoing protection from further infestations; the beetles can fly from considerable distances to find food. Botanical and chemical treatments for grubs in lawns must be timed carefully, and although they may be effective, controlling the grubs will not prevent adult beetles from feeding on your landscape plants. Beetle traps are ineffective because they tend to attract even more beetles to your yard. The best defense against these pests is to choose plants that they find less desirable.


5. Mealybugs 

What they look like: Mealybugs are small, sap-sucking, cottony insects.

Plant damage: Mealybugs suck sap from plants causing distorted and limited growth and leaf loss. They secrete honeydew as they eat, which can attract ants and lead to the growth of sooty mold.

Pest control method: In the garden, grow small-flower nectar plants, such as sweet alyssum and yarrow; this will attract natural predators including ladybugs, mealybug destroyers, and green lacewing larvae. Remove mealybugs from plants with strong sprays of water or swabbing with alcohol-dipped cotton swabs. If the infestation is heavy spraying with insecticidal soap ($6, The Home Depot), summer oil, neem, or an insecticide with pyrethrins can also help control mealybugs, but follow label directions carefully to avoid damaging plants and beneficial insects.


6. Scale Insects 

What they look like: Although there are several kinds of scale insects, all begin as crawlers, which are mobile until they find a good plant feeding location. Once settled, the 1/16-inch-long scale insects become immobile and develop hard, oval shells that are difficult to distinguish from bark.

Plant damage: Scale insects suck out vital plant fluids, which leads to stunted leaves and needles, yellowing, and twig and branch dieback.

Pest control method: In late winter, spray woody plants with dormant oil to suffocate the pests. In spring and summer, spray plants with neem, or lightweight horticultural oil.


7. Slugs & Snails 

What they look like: Slimy and black or brown, slugs look similar to short worms but have tiny antennae. Snails look like slugs but have hard circular shells on their backs.

Plant damage: Both slugs and snails love moisture and rasp holes into leaves and flowers. They feed at night and cloudy days, leaving shiny slime trails.

Pest control method: Slugs and snails prefer moist, cool areas. You can find slugs and snails hiding under mulch, garden debris, or near rocks; at dusk, handpick and dispose of them. Set several traps of shallow saucers filled with beer at ground level; discard drowned slugs and snails and refill the traps frequently. Various commercial poisonous snail baits are available but be sure to check labels for products that can be harmful to children, pets, and wildlife, or to earthworms and other beneficial insects. Baits with iron phosphate, such as Sluggo Plus ($12, The Home Depot), are considered safe for organic food crops. One-inch high and wide barriers of diatomaceous earth around plants will deter both slugs and snails but only as long as it’s dry—it becomes ineffective when wet. Copper and salt barriers have limited effectiveness.


8. Tent Caterpillars 

What they look like: Tent caterpillars are the larvae of several different species of moths. The adult moth lays eggs on tree branches and the colony of larvae shelter in large silken ‘tents’ or webs they create as they feed on leaves.

Plant damage: Larvae of tent-making caterpillars and fall webworms eat leaves of trees. While often more an unattractive nuisance than a threat, multiple nests of tent-making caterpillars in a tree can defoliate it, and if repeated for several years can cause the tree to die.

Pest control method: Tent-making caterpillars have many predators (birds, other insects) so they rarely cause enough damage to harm plants. Damage can be reduced by removing tents and caterpillars while they are still small. Cool mornings or late evenings when the caterpillars are in their tent is the best time to remove it with a pole or gloved hands (though the larvae are not harmful to humans.) Destroy the nest by burning or crushing after removal from the tree. Insecticidal control may be warranted after sustained, high levels of damage over several seasons.

Test Garden Tip: Garden pests are less of a problem for healthy plants planted in the right conditions. And, before you use any insecticide, consult label for list of plants, conditions, and safe and correct application methods. We always recommend starting with natural, organic methods before resorting to harsher synthetic chemicals.



HT Home & Garden

How to Plant an Easy Container Garden for Full Sun to Brighten Up Your Porch

By Andrea Beck | BHG.Com

Troy Warren #homegarden-all

Give a sunny spot in front of your house some extra warmth with planter full of thrillers, fillers, and spillers.

Project Joy is a weekly column about the projects we’re doing at home that bring us a little piece of happiness.

Colorful container gardens are one of the easiest ways to brighten up your entryway or front porch. Even if your home is mostly neutral colors, a planter with a few blooms can perk up your porch and make your entire exterior look more cheerful. Plus, you can change a container garden with the seasons, so it’s less permanent than committing to a new coat of paint on your front door. For a porch or patio that gets a lot of sunlight during the day, you want to choose plants that can tolerate the full strength of the rays. Use this full sun container garden recipe as inspiration for your own planter!

Choose the Right Container 

Especially if you’re planting a container garden at the end of spring or beginning of summer, you’ll need to use a planter that has some room for growth. Larger planters can also hold more water, which your plants will need in the heat of summer, especially if they spend most of the day in the sun. Try to choose a container that has plenty of depth (at least 12 inches), so your plants’ roots have room to grow.

Before you start planting, add soil to your container. Using a traditional potting mix is fine for most plants; if you’re filling your planter with desert plants such as cacti, you might want to use a soil mix formulated specifically for succulents and cacti.

Choose Your Plants 

If you’re not sure where to start, follow the thriller, filler, spiller techniquefor planting your container garden. The thriller is the focal point of your container garden, so choose a large, showy plant (such as geraniums) for the center of your planter. Fillers are smaller plants that, well, fill in the gaps around your center thriller (such as double-blooming petunias and dusty miller). Finally, spillers are plants that have trailing stems that will cascade over the sides of your container (such as black sweet potato vine).

How to Plant a Container Garden 

Because your thriller is the focal point of the container, plant it first. If you have trouble getting the plants out of their plastic nursery pots, gently pinch the sides to help slide out the root ball. Then, gently loosen the roots from the soil before planting in your container. Place your first thriller plant in the center of your container. If you have multiple thriller plants, start by placing one in the center, then cluster the rest of your thrillers around the center plant. Remove any dead leaves you see as you’re planting.

Next, add your filler plants to the container. Try to plant them close to the thriller plants in the center, leaving room around the edge of the container for your spiller plants. If you’re not sure how many plants to group together, try planting in threes; odd numbers will look more visually appealing than even numbers of plants.

Finally, plant your spiller near the edge of the container. Because the goal is to have it spill over the edges of the container, you don’t want any plants between your spiller and the edge of the container, or they’ll eventually get taken over. If you have any blank spots in your container after planting your spiller, add extra filler plants as needed to cover the bare patches.

How to Care for a Container Garden 

In order to help your container garden thrive all summer long, make sure your plants are getting enough water. For a container garden with plants that like full sun (six to eight hours of direct sunlight every day), you’ll need to water often to keep your container from drying out. For the first week or two, while the plants are establishing themselves, water every day. Then, you can switch to watering every other day or every couple of days. Pay attention to the soil in your container; when it’s dry, it’s time for a drink. It’s better for the plants if you water before they start wilting.

You can also fertilize your plants throughout the summer if you want; because your container garden is only meant for one season, you don’t necessarily have to fertilize if you don’t want to, but for some annual plants, a few doses of fertilizer helps them produce more blooms.



HT Home & Garden

Can Hiring a Property Manager Save You Money on Your Rental?

By Nafeesah Allen | BHG.Com

Troy Warren #homegarden-all

Whether it comes to rental licenses, leases with loopholes, or costly repairs, having a property manager on your side can prove well worth the investment.

Whether you’re renting out your basement or considering setting up an Airbnb, you might be reluctant to hire a property manager. To avoid fees between 8-15% of monthly earnings, many homeowners initially prefer free tools such Cozy to self-manage their rental properties. However, investing in a professional can prevent unforeseen expenses later. Whether it’s rental license, leases with loopholes, or costly repairs, having a property manager on your side might prove well worth the investment. Here are five reasons why investing in a project manager (PM) could save you major money.

Avoid legal hang-ups 

Rhianna Campbell has spent the past 17 years providing real estate services across the nation. Now, she coaches landlords and real estate entrepreneurs through her company, Proper Planning. She says that while homeowners-turned-landlords know a lot about their property and neighborhood, they can easily be stumped by legal matters. And that is where it’s easier to hire a professional than to train yourself.

“Hiring an expert is usually the best decision to make in so many areas of life, especially areas that have legal obligations,” she explains. “Being a landlord requires you to know the local and federal laws, so having someone who is well-versed and knows how to manage most landlording situations is an invaluable resource.” 

Hiring a property manager who can draw up leases and obtain rental licenses is much cheaper than hiring a lawyer to fix flubs along the way. 

Choose property management carefully 

Mark de Sagun, the real estate investor behind Househack Los Angeles, takes a cautious approach. “Not all property managers are created equal,” he warns. Out-of-town investors and frequent travelers should do their due diligence to find the right one. “In the case of investing in a different location than where you live, having a property manager that you can trust and that knows the area well is a must. Your property manager is such an important part of your team. They will be your eyes and ears on the ground to look after your property and they take care of any issues when they arise.” 

Issues can range from small repairs to major concerns such as weather-related incidents, tenant disputes, and in-person rent collection. These needs can require travel time and hassle by the landlord, but are already covered in most property management contracts. 

Ditch contractor drama 

Property managers can save landlords a lot of money when dealing with contractors. “When managing multiple maintenance and improvement projects, property managers have the upper hand,” Campbell says. “Contractors often offer discounts or reduced pricing to managers because of the amount of work that they pass along. These reduced rates are passed on to their customers—landlords.” 

If you’re new to renting out your place, the first year can be an especially good time to let someone else take the lead. Tenants use properties in ways you might not have considered, and that could cause costly contractor calls that you don’t want to manage alone. 

Vet your tenant 

“Having a good or bad property manager can make or break your investment, just as much as a good or bad tenant,” says de Sagun. Experian Screening Services and My Smart Move by Transunion offer tenant screening through the major credit bureaus. Many landlords use services like the National Tenant Network and App Folio to find the right renter. 

Unless you’re a seasoned pro, most new landlords benefit from the expertise of a property manager who knows their rental market and who can explain the difference between a “good” and “bad” tenant. On paper, it can be hard to tell. From city to city, income levels, credit scores, and work history can vary significantly. To avoid waiting months to find the perfect tenant, a property manager with a long history of tenant screening in your area can help place the right renter much faster than you could on your own. 

Research short-term rentals laws 

Many aspiring real estate investors think they’ll buy a condo or single-family home to share with a short-term renter. And why not? Sites such as VRBO and Airbnb seem to offer a blissful compromise between owning and enjoying your own space and monetizing the time when you’re traveling. But short-term rentals can be fraught with headaches. 

Did you know that in New Orleans, short-term rentals are taxed like hotels? In 2019, the New Orleans City Council even banned some short-term rentals altogether. Campbell says this is more common than landlords might think. 

“Laws are constantly changing regarding short-term rentals,” she explains. “Many homeowner and condo associations are changing their rules in order to better manage and reduce short-term rentals in their communities. Having a manager with a finger on the pulse of local laws will help to ensure that landlords stay in compliance.” A property manager can help avoid many fees and taxes—including those that could come from an honest mistake.