RMM - JULY 23 - Aura I Elton


Dreamy Outdoor Spaces Summer’s Porch & Patio Living page 10 RESILIENT LANDSCAPES USING NATIVE PLANTS PAGE 04

AC Maintenance Tips page 18 Solve Drainage Dilemmas page 20

Plus Easy Al Fresco Recipes page 16

aura.elton@gmail.com (407) 748-8300 aura-elton.homesweethome.digital

courtesy of: Aura I Elton

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Dear Homeowners, Summer is heating up and we're excited to present this issue of Home Sweet Home , filled with inspiring ideas to help you craft a comfortable and inviting sanctuary indoors and out. We begin by delving into the remarkable benefits of incorporating native plants into your backyard landscape, creating a thriving and eco-friendly garden that conserves water and attracts pollinators. Get ready to transform your porch or patio into a dreamy outdoor haven with our expert tips on enhancing your exterior living spaces. From selecting the perfect furniture and lighting to exploring DIY projects, we'll guide you in creating the ultimate outdoor oasis for relaxation and entertainment. Also check out our easy al fresco recipes for dining outdoors. Summer’s a good time to get ahead on home maintenance projects. Stay cool and comfortable in your home with our invaluable advice on optimizing your home's air conditioning system to keep energy and repair bills to a minimum. We also tackle the common drainage dilemmas homeowners face and provide practical tips and solutions for effective water management. From sump pumps to French drains, our comprehensive guide will help you maintain a dry, well- managed property, safeguarding your home's integrity and value. As always, I'm here to support you in creating the home of your dreams. Please don't hesitate to reach out if you have any questions or if you or someone you know is looking to buy or sell.

Warm regards,

Aura I Elton GLOBAL REALTY CAROLINA LLC (407) 748-8300 aura.elton@gmail.com aura-elton.homesweethome.digital



Table of Contents


Recipes for Outdoor Dining

Caprese Salad Skewers Grilled Vegetable Panini

Landscape 04

Cultivating a Resilient

The Power of Native Plants in Your Backyard

Discover the incredible benefits of incorporating native plants into your backyard landscape for a thriving, low-maintenance garden. Learn how these region-specific plants can conserve water, attract pollinators, and create a beautiful, eco-friendly space for you to enjoy.


Optimize Your Home’s Air Conditioning

Create a Dreamy

Outdoor Space 10

How to Stay Cool & Lower Costs This Summer Lauren Acosta Huckleberry of Acosta Heating, Cooling & Electrical shares her expert advice to help homeowners keep their homes cool and comfortable during the hot summer months while keeping energy and repair bills to a minimum. Drainage Dilemmas: Practical Tips for Homeowners Learn the secrets to resolving common drainage issues that plague homeowners, and investigate solutions that will work for your home, from sump pumps to French drains. Learn how to keep your property dry and well-maintained with our comprehensive guide to effective water management solutions.

Expert Tips for Enhancing Porch and Patio Living Transform your porch or patio into a dreamy outdoor oasis this summer with advice on everything from furniture to lighting. Learn how to make the most of your space by incorporating a balanced mix of color, comfort, shade, and convenience. Dive into DIY projects or explore new options to create the ultimate outdoor living experience, perfect for entertaining or relaxing in the comfort of your own backyard.



July 2023

The ideal backyard landscape is a subjective idea. To some, it’s vast, open fields. To others it’s a lush lawn or a forested hillside. Something these all seem to have in common, however, is living foliage. With all the planning, work, and cost involved in developing your property, it’s important to pair your efforts with the perfect plants for long-lasting results. Choosing plants that are native to the region provides a plethora of advantages for the environment, aesthetics, and your budget. Native plants are those plants indigenous to a region. They are the species that have long inhabited the area, adapting to the climate, soil, water availability, and other conditions specific to that ecosystem. Think of wildflowers in mountain meadows and sagebrush or cactus in dry regions as examples. What Are Native Plants? THE POWER OF NATIVE PLANTS IN YOUR BACKYARD Cultivating a Resilient Landscape



Wildfire Resistance

Fire has been a part of nature’s cycle since the beginning of time. It’s nature’s way of removing excess underbrush and debris. In return, the forest is rewarded with increased access to sunlight and nutrient-enhanced soil. But in our modern world, wildfire has ravaged landscapes, endangering wildlife and structures in its path. As we watch the recovery from these devastating fires, the first thing we see emerge is the native plants. In fact, oftentimes, they suffer minimal damage, thriving in the face of adversity. The same is true in your yard. Native plants are fire resistant, therefore they are less likely to burn and more likely to return quickly if they do suffer damage.

The Problems With Non-Native Plants

Lower Chemical Usage

Trying to grow a lemon tree in the arctic is a futile effort. It seems rather obvious the time and effort wouldn’t be worth it. However, in a less overt way, we do the same thing in yards around the country by selecting non-native plants for our flowerbeds. In short, non-native plants are more difficult to successfully grow and keep healthy. They struggle to thrive and consume excessive resources in the effort. So while they may suit the look you’re trying to achieve, planting non- native equates to heightened investments for care and maintenance. On the other side of the equation, native plants enhance your landscape in a variety of ways.

Once you understand the relationship between native plants and their natural environment, it’s easy to see why fertilizers and insecticides aren’t necessary. Native plants enhance the soil through decomposition rather than relying on fertilizer enhancements. Pesticides are rarely necessary because native plants maintain balance with pests like rodents, bugs, weeds, and diseases. Eliminating chemicals from your garden should be a top priority given the overwhelming evidence of the ways they contribute to environmental, animal, and human ailments. Native plants are the answer.

Water Conservation

Native plants offer the highest level of water conservation. Since they establish easily and thrive in the existing soil, native plants require little, if any, supplemental watering. That saves you both time and money.


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Disease Resistance

Healthier Soil

Similarly, because native plants are accustomed to the ecology of the surrounding soil and plants, they have a significantly lower incidence of disease. That means you can skip the extra care and additives you may be doling out to non-native plants. We’re all familiar with the reasons we need pollinators. Without them, we’d be missing a third of our food supply! They also enhance the health of plants across the landscape. The more ways we can attract pollinators the better. You can support pollinators with bat, butterfly, and bird houses, bee hives, and naturally-occurring plants to entice pollination. As part of an interwoven ecosystem, native plants support essential pollinators by naturally attracting birds, bats, butterflies, and pollinating bees. Attracting Pollinators

Without the need for harsh chemicals, native plants automatically result in a healthier soil system. Plus, these plants are part of a life cycle. Through organic growth, shared resources with other plants, and nutrient release during decomposition, they are supported by, and similarly offer support to, surrounding plants and animals through healthy soil.

Less Mowing and Weed Control

A well-manicured lawn is not native.That’s why maintaining that lawn requires additives such as fertilizer. It also necessitates mowing and edging. Although native plants are clearly better for the environment, planting them means there’s no need to spend the weekend mowing for you, too.

Wildlife Protection

Native plants give as much as they take. Since they thrive in abundance, they make a great source of food for wildlife, without the chemicals that can endanger them. Animals all the way up the food chain benefit from strong native plants. In addition, native plants provide shelter for animals, just the way nature intended.



Start by identifying plants that will grow well in your area. You can run an internet search for plants native to your area. In the United States, the Department of Agriculture has created a map to help with this process. Search online for “USDA Plant Hardiness Zone Map” to identify your zone and the plants that thrive there. How to Find Which Plants Are Native to Your Area


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Canada also offers a plant hardiness zone map and the Canadian Wildlife Federation has an online Native Plant Encyclopedia that can be searched by province. In addition, all major plant and seed sellers will be able to supply a similar hardiness classification. For example, if you are in the US zone 7, you would not want to purchase plants best suited for zone 4 or it will be too hot for them and they may not thrive. Only select plants rated for your area and your growing conditions.

Another way to find out what’s native is simply to take a walk with a plant identification app. Many plants you see are actually invasive so you’ll want to double check with the app instead of assuming that because it’s readily available, it’s native. Although invasive plants thrive, they strip resources from native species and should be avoided in most situations.



How to Shift toward to Native Plants

The conversion to native plants probably won’t happen overnight, unless you’re planting a new yard. Create a plan to swap out non-natives as the seasons change or when plants naturally die off. Start by checking your soil health. Even within the same general area, soils can contain significantly different amounts of lime or clay, for example. Your local university extension office or garden club can help you find a lab to test your soil for pertinent components such as phosphorus, nitrogen, and potassium. You can also pick up a do-it-yourself kit at the local home improvement store or garden center to test your own soil. Knowing the PH and texture of your soil will direct you toward plants that will succeed. Plant placement is also important. Even native plants have different requirements. Where one might thrive in the shade, it may be miserable and temperamental in the direct sun. Others will fail to thrive if planted on the dark north side of the house. Select plants carefully based on whether they are recommended for partial sun, full sun, or full shade. Also consider the elevation of your home. Even a difference of 1000 feet in elevation can make a significant impact.

Where to Find Native Plants

Again look to your local extension office, botanical garden, or conservation district for native plants. Many have annual sales where you can purchase anything from trees to seeds. The Audubon Society also provides a nice database to get you started. Although their focus is on plants that attract birds, these plants are chosen specifically for your area and should be found at the local nursery. The nurseries and even the garden section at your local home improvement store can provide a wealth of information, too. Be sure to be specific about the look you want and the growing conditions where you intend to plant. For example, you might ask for recommendations for a native tree that loves to drink water for your soggy backyard, or one that can tolerate direct sunlight and clay soil. Also ask about toxicity where dogs and kids are involved. Pay attention to the plant’s maximum size in order to avoid crowding in your flower beds and the need to transplant later as they grow. With a plan and knowledge you can create a backyard space that will provide endless pleasure for many seasons into the future. The key is to source native plants that can live a long and healthy existence while attracting the appropriate wildlife and minimizing required resources.


July 2023

Create a Dreamy OUTDOOR SPACE

Humans are wired to spend time outside. It’s in our DNA. Whether you enjoy hosting every backyard event or simply like to enjoy a spritzer on the patio on a hot summer eve, your outdoor space is an extension of your home and an opportunity to take in the sights and smells of nature from the comfort of your property.

Make the most of any space with some fundamental elements that work for every situation, from a two-person balcony to a massive deck. With a blueprint to work from, you can enhance the space with the right balance of color, comfort, shade, and convenience in just about any season.



Your outdoor living space needs a foundation to build upon. If you’re starting from scratch, the first step will be to design your poured concrete patio or wood deck. You can also create a base of crushed gravel or paver stones. However you go about it, calculate the size you’ll need and consider access to the kitchen when situating the space. START WITH THE PATIO OR DECK Consider how you will provide cover for shade when it’s hot, and protection from rain or snow when it’s not. There are a variety of ways to go about this, from temporary to permanent, so weigh your options. Built-in elements like a pergola may be assembled in conjunction with the deck or added later. You could place a gazebo on a large deck, or off the deck for an additional sitting space or grilling area. Another option is to build a permanent roof over the area or even enclose the deck for maximum protection from the elements. A retractable awning also makes a great on again, off again cover for your outdoor living room. For a smaller space or for regions that rarely get uncomfortably hot, one or more patio umbrellas will do the trick. PROVIDE COVER


The central element of your outdoor living space will be the furniture. If you’re planning to buy a new set, take your time and do some research. Find materials in both the frame and the fabric that match the challenges of your climate. You may be looking for waterproof, fade-resistant, or rust proof, for example.


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DIY FURNITURE OPTIONS If you’re more of a DIY person, you can build your own furniture, or at least some of it. There are free plans all over the internet for everything from pallet furniture to side tables, couches, and built-in benches. Put your woodworking skills to work and build a functional conversation piece at the same time.

PALLET SOFA For example, there are countless ways to build a sofa for the patio, limited only by your imagination. A pallet sofa is a popular choice, because the wood pallets are often available for free from local businesses. Use pallets for the bottom sitting area of the loveseat, supported by concrete blocks for height. Attach additional pallets vertically to create the back to the sitting area. You can make your pallet couch small or large depending on how many pallets you connect together. Then top with comfortable outdoor chair cushions that match your theme and design. This is just one example. COFFEE AND SIDE TABLES Outdoor coffee tables serve the same purpose as those inside the house, giving you a place to rest books, drinks or food platters. The most basic coffee table requires four legs of equal lengths connected by cross supports. You can buy or build one that matches or complements a set of side tables. DINING TABLE If you’re confident in your woodshop skills, go for the DIY patio furniture Olympic gold with a dining table. While it might seem intimidating, a dining table is simply a bigger version of the same techniques used in smaller tables. Rely on woods that perform well in outdoor elements such as teak, cedar, or redwood. If you choose to buy a dining table, carefully consider the size and material choice based on your situation. You may want a bar-height cafe table for the corner of a small plot or a large teak table for family gatherings.





Another fun addition for your outdoor living space is a bar where you can grab a cool drink on a hot summer day. Your design can be as simple as a small wall-mounted shelf with a flip down cover or a more comprehensive freestanding tiki bar. Consider the best way to provide storage for bottles and accessories. This can be in the form of a lower cabinet or additional shelf space. You can also mount a pegboard to the back of your bar where you can hang accessories.

Enjoy your space during the day and night with proper lighting. Not only will it set the mood, but it will increase safety. Incorporate lighting into steps and along any pathways. Use motion-sensored lights near doorways and in dark spots around the outside of the house. Place solar lights on deck posts for automatic illumination after dark. Also decorate with string lights around umbrellas, the roofline, or awnings. Add solar lamps, table and floor lamps, or ceiling fixtures as your space allows. To really enhance the surrounding area, light up trees in the landscape too. Use ground lights aimed upwards or wind LED strands around the branches and use accent lighting to bring a radiant glow to fountains, trellises, gazebos, or other central features of the yard.


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As the natural elements of your outdoor living room come together, remember to include water into the mix. This can be in the form of a tabletop, freestanding, or wall fountain. Make sure you have access to power if your fountain requires it. If you have a water feature in your yard already, draw attention to it with lit walkways and backlighting on the feature itself. If you have a pool, add colored lights to create ambience. You can also invite the sound of cascading water with a rain chain.



While your outdoor space is immersed in nature, ensure you get the full effect with a patio or deck full of foliage. Use a variety of planters to create visual interest. Tier pots from large to small or place some plants on stands to create depth and texture. Plan your greenery so you have a variety of colors throughout the season, timing the demise of spring plants with the bloom of summer flowers. Your outdoor living room should be just as varied and vibrant as your indoor gathering space so have fun with edible vegetables, herbs, and fruit if your climate supports it. PLANTS


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Many choose to use disposable dishes outside. Not only is this much easier, with bugs and the weather, but it also gives you a chance to be creative. For example, if you lay brown craft paper over the table, it creates a casual look and is really easy to clean up. If disposable is not for you, try some of the melamine dishes and glassware offered seasonally at home stores. These come in a variety of colorful and exciting patterns, look very elegant, and are extremely durable, avoiding the risk and hassle of broken glasses outdoors. SAVOR THE OUTDOORS OUTDOOR DISHWARE


Wondering what to serve at your next outdoor party? Try these simple summer favorites!

Caprese Salad Skewers A classic summer finger-food great as a snack or appetizer.


Instructions: 1. Assemble skewers by threading a cherry tomato, a fresh basil leaf, and a mini mozzarella ball onto each skewer. 2. Arrange the assembled skewers on a serving platter. 3. Drizzle balsamic vinegar and a touch of olive oil over the skewers. 4. Season with salt and pepper to taste, and serve.

z Cherry tomatoes z Fresh basil leaves z Mini mozzarella balls z Balsamic vinegar z Olive oil z Salt and pepper, to taste



Grilled Vegetable Panini Grill up this delicious garden-inspired sandwich for lunch or dinner.


Instructions: 1. Preheat a grill or grill pan to medium- high heat. 2. Grill the sliced bell peppers, zucchini, and red onion until tender and slightly charred, turning occasionally. 3. Spread pesto on one side of the ciabatta bread and layer the grilled vegetables on top. 4. Add fresh spinach and a slice of provolone cheese to the sandwich. 5. Top with the other half of the ciabatta bread. 6. Press the sandwich in a preheated panini press or grill until the cheese is melted and the bread is toasted. 7. Remove from heat, slice, and serve.

z Sliced bell peppers z Sliced zucchini z Sliced red onion

z Ciabatta or other rustic, fresh bread z Pesto (make your own ahead or buy in a jar) z Fresh spinach z Provolone cheese


July 2023

Optimize Your Home’s Air Conditioning HOW TO STAY COOL & LOWER COSTS THIS SUMMER

Home Sweet Home spoke with Lauren Acosta Huckleberry of North Carolina-based Acosta Heating, Cooling & Electrical, a second-generation family business that recently celebrated its 50th anniversary, located in Charlotte, North Carolina. Lauren shares her expert advice to help homeowners keep their homes cool and comfortable during the hot summer months while keeping energy and repair bills to a minimum.

Lauren Acosta Huckleberry with one of Acosta's Certified HVAC Techs on a service call

UNDERSTAND AIR FILTERS As summer temperatures soar, and we enter what Lauren calls “the cooling season.” During this season she recommends “Cleaning or replacing air filters every month—even more frequently if the filters seem excessively clogged with dust and debris.” Filters that contain a lot of particulate matter are a sign the area near them contains a lot of air contaminants. TIP: Use a permanent marker to record the date you change each filter on the top border. This will help you easily find this information if you can’t remember the last time you replaced them. How quickly the air filters in your home will require cleaning or switching out depends on many factors: Do you dust and clean your home regularly to keep debris and other airborne particles from accumulating in the air? Are you an avid cook? Regular use of your stovetop releases Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs), substances that contain carbon. 1

VOLATILE ORGANIC COMPOUNDS (VOCS) VOCs are substances that contain carbon and are commonly found in a variety of widely used household items ranging from cleansers to aerosol sprays, as well as supplies for DIY projects or simple repairs including certain glues, pastes, paints, and varnishes. If possible, use these types of products outdoors where there is ample ventilation. In addition, if you haven’t kicked the nicotine habit yet and vape or smoke, don’t use any kind of cigarette

indoors as these contain VOCs as well. VOCs are known to irritate the eyes, nose,

throat, and lungs. They are also known to trigger headaches, nausea, and lack of coordination. More serious health conditions linked to VOCs include damage to the liver, kidneys, or central nervous system, and cancer. If you must use these items indoors, check the packaging before purchasing and choose products that are marked as low-VOC. To further reduce exposure, keep your home well- ventilated and make sure your air filters are changed at least once a month.



Air filters also reduce allergens. Common allergies include pollen, dander, and dust mite debris. Air filters reduce the amount of these irritants and bacteria in the air we breathe, providing a healthier environment and assisting in improving our quality of life. Knowing this, you may be tempted to go out and buy the priciest filters marketed for allergy sufferers available. Lauren warns against this, “the problem is that most systems are not designed to have to pull through a filter that’s that thick, and sometimes it can end up causing damage to their system.” Instead, Lauran recommends pleated filters changed regularly. The pleated air filters are important because the grooves in the pleats enable filters to capture more harmful particles, optimizing your air quality. Once again, Lauren provides helpful guidance, cautioning consumers to, “Avoid really tight pleats because then it’s really too hard for your air handler to pull through.” TIP: Check the manual that comes with your air conditioning system for the manufacturer’s recommended filter size and follow those instructions. Price isn’t the best indicator of the best- quality filter; prioritize the correct size, fit, and adequately spaced pleating. What does all this mean for your wallet? Studies have shown that maintaining a clean air filter increases air conditioner efficiency considerably. This translates into reduced energy consumption of five to 15 percent and savings on your power bill while ensuring the air quality in your home is optimized to provide your family with a healthier environment.

AVOID TEMP SWINGS Wondering what temperature is the best setting for your thermostat? There are several opinions out there when it comes to the question. Some subscribe to the ‘set it and forget it’ philosophy, while others advise shutting the air conditioning level way down or even turning it off while you’re not at home. Lauren’s advice is simple, “you just want to make sure you’re not asking the system to do big temperature swings.” Lauren confides, “I always like to tell people there should never be more than a four-degree temperature difference. If you do want it to get a little warmer or cooler, just keep it to four degrees or less. But a lot of experts will tell you to just set it at one temperature and leave it alone. It’s the up and down that uses a lot of energy, so either set it and forget, or keep it at a mild difference” to avoid causing your AC system to work harder than it should. If you have smart home technology installed that gives you the ability to conveniently change the temperature in your home from a cell phone, check on the default settings to be sure you’re not inadvertently creating big tempersture swings. Lauren warns that the typical smart system may default to shutting the system off completely when it senses that you’re not home. When you return, the amount of energy needed to cool your house back down strains your system, forcing it to work much harder and negating any energy savings. TIP: For additional efficiency and cost savings, consider augmenting your air conditioning with ceiling fans. You should also keep vents closed in rooms that are not in use and keep doors shut in unoccupied areas of your home.(VOCs), substances that contain carbon. HIRE A PRO To ensure the best air quality for your home, find a reputable HVAC contractor in your area that provides regularly scheduled maintenance by certified technicians. These trained professionals use a checklist to make sure regular maintenance is done properly and on a timely basis. Certified HVAC technicians have expertise in all major cooling and heating systems giving them the ability to evaluate the condition of your system on a deeper level, identifying possible problems early on, and providing repairs as needed to extend the lifetime of your air conditioning unit. 3 2


July 2023

DRAINAGE DILEMMAS: Practical Tips for Homeowners

Dealing with water is a way of life for homeowners in most areas. Sometimes it’s in response to copious and consistent precipitation. Other times it’s due to excessive groundwater. Then there is the plumbing in the home, which will almost certainly fail to drain at some point. Clogged pipes, overflowing gutters, and pools of sludge in the backyard--we’ve got answers for all of your drainage dilemmas.


pump seems to be working, but water is backing up, check for a blockage in the discharge line instead.

Water can accumulate from moisture in the basement or groundwater can seep in from around the home. The primary job of a sump pump is to divert water from the lower level of your home to the outside. If you have a sump pump, you’ll want to keep an eye on how well it’s functioning. It is typically located at the lowest point of your home, often in the basement or even below the house. The pump resides inside a pump pit, which acts as a collection point for water. The sump pump moves that water outside through a series of pipes. If it malfunctions the pump pit overflows and flooding occurs. This is a problem. If your sump pump fails, the first step is to check for a clog. Debris can fall into an uncovered pump. The pump can also suck up debris if the device rests too close to the bottom of the pit. Always ensure the bottom of the pump is elevated to avoid this. If the

In some cases, the water may be flowing out, but a faulty check valve allows it to backflow back into the pit. Replace the check valve if this happens. If the pump isn’t working at all, you may find that it’s not getting adequate power. Check the outlet, plug, and circuit breaker to identify the problem. Note that an electrically-powered sump pump won’t work during a power outage, which is the time you may need it the most. Do yourself a favor and install a battery-powered backup option for your sump pump to keep the area from flooding if the primary pump fails. A water alarm can also help by alerting you when there’s a problem.




Rainwater, hail, and melting snow all collect on the roof before running down and away from the house. One primary mode of transport for your water is your gutter and downspout system. Not all systems are created equal, but they do have one thing in common-- debris build up. Whether it’s residual grit from your asphalt shingles or leaves from nearby trees, all kinds of things gather on your roof and in your gutters. When the rain washes it down, that debris often creates blockages in the downspouts. Send a bucketful of water through the downspout to find out how well the water is flowing. If there are clogs, use a drain snake to open it up. You can also try to blow it out using a hose and an air compressor or a garden hose with a nozzle that intensifies pressure.


A French drain is a pipe that runs underground from one area of your property to another to help minimize excess water that can cause flooding. This commonly takes shape as a pipe where water flows from the backyard to the storm drain on the street out front. French drains may be the last segment of a system that is attached to your gutter system, placed right below your downspout, or laid along the outside of your yard. Regardless of placement, the design allows water into the drain while filtering out dirt and other debris. It typically slopes downhill to allow gravity to transfer the water. Over time, however, materials will find their way into your French drain so you should check them annually, preferably before the rainy season hits. Once the rain arrives, heavy water flow can force more debris into the pipes or create issues with a partially- clogged drain.


Before that happens, give your French drain a little TLC.

The easiest way to locate your French drain is to start at the street. Most suburban houses will have one or two in front of the house. Look for a tube opening in the side of the sidewalk or curb. Since the goal is to flow the water toward the storm drains, the French drain will be close to the ground. Even if leaves and dirt haven’t traveled through the tube, road debris or dropped leaves may have collected in front of the drain. Remove any gunk from the front of the French drain, along with anything you can reach inside the opening. Unless you’re standing in front of the drain during a rainstorm, you may be unsure how effectively it’s working. To test it, go into the back yard and run a hose directly over the area of your French drain. Wait a minute or two and head back to the street to see if the water is running out. If you have good flow and the water looks clean, your drains are probably fine. Most French drains are covered by gravel so make sure the pipe is still protected. If your pipe’s coverage is wearing thin, redistribute or lay down more gravel for protection.

If your home relies on a septic system, you have some form of drain field. This is the location where the water runs after being filtered through your septic tank. If you have an issue with liquids making their way to the drain field, it causes your septic tank to fill prematurely and can back up all the way to the showers and toilets within the home. If you notice a marshy area over your drain field, smell an unpleasant odor, or have sewage backing up into the home, it’s time to address the situation. This might mean dealing with a broken pipe or clog. On the extreme end, older drain fields may require a complete replacement, which involves digging everything up and re-laying pipes and other components.


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When your French drain becomes bogged down with grime, you’ll want to clean it out completely. The easiest way to do this is to run a snake through the system. There may be times that you will need to call in a professional to complete the job. If you aren’t comfortable running the snake, allow them to handle the task. Another common issue is tree roots that push into the system and block the water from exiting your yard. Although you could tackle it as a DIY project, in this situation it might be best to let the pros remove the roots and repair the French drain. Eventually, portions of your French drain may crack or break and require replacement. This is another time that you will need to decide whether to hire a pro or tackle the project yourself. Your local municipality may offer these services so it’s worth giving them a call. As the landscape changes over time you may find your home’s drainage systems have become overgrown, buried, or broken. If the landscape has dipped or shifted, you may need to change the slope of the area surrounding your home. Watch for pooling water throughout the yard, which can indicate a broken pipe. Areas that look lush and green are another indicator.


If you’re installing a new drainage system or making changes to an old one, it’s a good time to add some innovative and environmentally-friendly components to the process. Water catchment systems take a few forms so you’ll need to decide what works best for your situation. In general terms, though, these systems revolve around rainwater harvesting and greywater reuse. Surprisingly, rainwater harvesting is not legal in some areas. Check your local regulations. If it is allowed, collecting and storing rainwater can save you a significant amount of money and preserve a valuable natural resource. You can use it for watering the garden or tap into it for home consumption. Greywater recycling systems work a little differently. Basically, they divert water away from the washing machine, dishwasher, kitchen sink, and showers so it can be filtered and returned to the home for reuse, most commonly for flushing toilets. Although these systems require upfront costs, the benefits to the environment and your water bill are easy to see.


It’s common for older homes to need some attention in the drainage department. Look at the location where the downspout meets the ground. Make sure water is moving freely and flowing away from the foundation of the house.

Repairing problems with drainage can take many forms.

The movement of water is predictable thanks to the laws of physics. However, when the flow is diverted, blocked, or overwhelmed by extreme weather, disruptions in the water flow can cause chaos. When water pools or reroutes through areas it’s not supposed to be, the damage can be expensive. It’s worth the effort to understand your home’s drainage systems, invest in their maintenance, and keep an eye out for signs of drainage issues to ensure that your home stays safe and dry. DRAINAGE TAKEAWAYS

You may need to start at the top with new gutters or downspouts. At ground level, you may need to reroute buried pipes by digging them up, trenching new routes, and relaying pipes. It may also be necessary to add French drains or a drain field to divert water runoff.



What is Your Home Truly Worth?

To Request a Copy of My Free Home Value Report to Determine What Your Home is Truly Worth, Call (407) 748-8300 or Email aura.elton@gmail.com

This is all 100% free with no obligation. After you submit the online questionnaire, you will receive my free report with information that will help you determine your home’s value.

I recommend printing it out and taking a drive to see the homes I’ve identified as comparable to yours. See how your home measures up. This will help you get an even more accurate idea of what your home is worth.

An appraiser would charge hundreds for this service, but I will provide one at no cost.

If you would like my free, professional opinion on the value of your home, I’d be glad to help. We can talk on the phone, or we can meet in person. I look forward to helping you! Aura I Elton GLOBAL REALTY CAROLINA LLC

(407) 748-8300 aura.elton@gmail.com aura-elton.homesweethome.digital


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