16 Landscape and Gardening Tips for Your New Home

The sweet seabreeze, the blooming azaleas,  and the warmer weather is bound to bring you out of the house this summer. If you’ve recently moved into a new home, now is the time to plan a summer lawn or garden project. And we have some great ideas to start brainstorming!

Once you move into a new home, you’ll want to start planning for a unique outdoor space for both family and friendship. Maybe you finally get to have the big backyard of your dreams, or are downsizing from a larger house to an apartment. Either way, we have some simple DIY landscape project you can start today.

Our green thumb gardeners on staff at TWO MEN AND A TRUCK® Panama City created this list of landscaping tips for Florida lawns and gardens:

  1. Plan for the summer climate – Most plants don’t last in the Florida heat. If you’re going to grow outside, buy hardy tropical plants. Otherwise stick with indoor pots. Aloe and succulents are a great first-time plant to add to patios as well.
  2. Revamp borders – Walkways, driveways, and house edges are a prime place to start a landscape design. Add new element such as stone or seaglass for decorative appeal. Or add bright summer flowers for a pop of color along your edges.
  3. Make time for furniture restoration – Is your lawnchair paint chipped? Do you need new upholstery? You’ll never fully enjoy your new backyard if your seating and furniture is dirty, uncomfortable, or out of date. Take the opportunity to shop for unique outdoor furnishings.
  4. Alternative Patio Seating – You don’t have to limit your furniture to lawnchairs for backyard design. Try adding a hammock or large plush pillows (only for dog-free homes) that are comfortable and rain-resistant. You’ll be surprised how often you’ll be drawn outside to enjoy your yard space.
  5. Add biodiversity – Lawns and gardens always look better with variety. Plus, domains with more diversity often stay healthier and pollinate more frequently. Rather than sticking to your traditional perennials, have some fun at the garden store buying unique annual plants, dispersing them among your other plants.
  6. Companion planting – Some plants actually thrive better when you place them with different species. Plants absorb different nutrients from the soil, which is why a monoculture design often requires more work. Let your garden work for you with a companion planting or permaculture design for more elaborate gardening.
  7. Create the perfect firepit – Summertime is the ideal time for backyard firepit parties and mini-camping nights with family. Shop for an iron firepit, then add some permanent lawnchairs. Place your pit next to a grill for better backyard parties.
  8. DIY Solar Powered Night Lights – For a fun decoration craft, make your own night lamps from mason jars. Place a solar powered lid on top, and decorative pebbles inside. You can find tutorials on Pinterest for inspiration.
  9. Seed Bombs – For those not-so-master gardeners, you can create a fun outdoor craft for the kids by making seed bombs. This is a great way to teach children about planting, and who knows, maybe you’ll find something new to grow!
  10. Maximize the edge – When planning your landscape design, add curve and edge appeal wherever possible. Straight lines leave little to the imagination, and the greatest possibility for growth occurs where two different terrains (say, grass and gravel) meet. So spice up your design with some intricate edges and curves.
  11. Add square foot box gardens – Many people believe you have to have a lot of space in order to have a garden. But, square foot gardening has become the new trend in urban landscaping. In one square foot, you can grow a mix of salad, herbs and spices.
  12. Save your scraps – Rather than throwing away carrot tops and onion peels, put them in a compost pile for natural fertilizer. Not only is this option cheaper than store-bought fertilizer, you’ll help soil regain a rich organic mineral content.
  13. Plant a fruit tree – When designing a home lawn, most people opt for evergreen trees that provide shade and aesthetics year-round. However, adding a fruit tree will add a unique beauty during spring and early summer, when the tree flowers. Plus, you’ll have the experience of eating fruit fresh off the branch, something most people think you only get on the countryside.
  14. Add windowsill plants – Many herbs will grow great indoors. If you’ve recently moved into an apartment or small town home, you may not have the option for a fully grown garden. But anyone can grow basil, thyme, chives, oregano, or parsley in an indoor planter box.
  15. An alternative to grass – You move into a new home,  and though the neighborhood is great and the house itself is beautiful, the grass is suffering from summer heat. It just doesn’t go with your landscaping plans, but rather than planting more grass, try clover to cover your lawn. Clover doesn’t grow as tall, therefore requiring less maintenance. Plus it will attract bees to pollinate your flowers.
  16. Go outside! – Too many people spend time and money investing in their new lawn, then never use it. Don’t forget about the outdoor paradise you created once you’ve settled in. Seize the opportunity to spend as much time as possible in your new backyard.

If you have any tips for new homeowners, feel free to comment and share! We’d love to add to this list for future gardens and landscapers alike. Share on social media if you know someone looking to redesign their lawn or has a new home and garden to create.

Mom’s Guide to Moving With Kids

You must be excited, it’s finally time to move! You finally found the perfect community to raise your family, and now its time to prepare them for the moving process.

While you may feel the enthusiasm, your children (especially the little ones), probably have a lot of anxiety. They may be angry with you for deciding to move, pretend as if nothing has changed, beg you to stay. These reactions are all part of the grieving process.

Your kids look to you for guidance, on how to behave and how to feel. Make sure prepare them emotionally before making the big transition. You can help your kids get excited about the new home with these activities:

Map out the community. You’ll want to know where your kids will go to school, where they will have their sports practices or after-school classes, and where they will meet new neighborhood friends. Build a community map in your mind and draw it out, so your children can have certain expectations and make an easier transition. That way they can know where everything is, and start to envision new friends and fun where you’re going.

Declutter the toy box. Letting go is especially hard for children. You can’t expect that they will pack as efficient as you do, but you should  ask to go through your childrens’ toys to see what they are willing to donate. Remind them that they will have new toys and new memories in the new house. Its all part of the process.

Plan a Going-Away Playdate. The day of the move will be stressful. The last thing you want is for your child’s final memory in the home rooted in screaming, crying, or scolding. It’s easier for both of you if they are out of the house. Ask another mom if your kids can hang out at her house, or a neutral location for some play time before you leave.

Kids and toy truck_jpgKids will need ample time to say goodbye. Don’t be surprised if they want to send letters to their friends, see them before you leave, or go past their school one last time before you head out of town. They have sentimental memories associated with your home that you never realized. Always be in-tune with the situation.

 

Pack plenty of entertainment in the car. To distract your kids from their emotional reactions to the move, or from their boredom in the car, pack a bag of goodies and games. Make sure you have favorite snacks, a good book or movie, and some hands-on activities to keep them occupied. Even if the drive isn’t far, you don’t want your kids to be constantly thinking about how much they miss the house already.

Plan a fun first night in. On your first day in the new town (or new neighborhood in the same town), plan a fun activity. Make the first new memory in the house exciting and happy. You could make your kids’ favorite meal, then enjoy ice cream and a movie. Let them have a little alone time in their new room too. This will also help distract them from any negative emotions associated with leaving the past behind.

Unpack as a family. Bring old memories into the new house, as you unpack and combine sentiments from your previous home. Hang favorite family photos. Let them curl up under a snug blanket that reminds them of home, while you begin to nest. This begins the process of settling in, and starting a new life.

You can check out our Moving Checklist for tips on preparing the entire family for your upcoming move. TWO MEN AND A TRUCK® Panama City offers all the resources you need when it comes time to schedule your move. If you’re looking for a moving company with high rating in customer service, and would like to request a quote, click here.

 

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Best Gifts for Mother’s Day

Our TWO MEN AND A TRUCK Panama City “Movers for Moms” campaign is almost halfway through the season! For over a month, we’ve been collecting gifts and donations to deliver to Bethel Village Womens’ Shelter, for their Mother’s Day celebration.

Each year 1.3 million women suffer from domestic violence and are forced to leave their homes for the safety of their children. They often must live at homeless shelters for months at a time. Currently, 25% of women in shelters are displaced from their homes because of partnership abuse. 
We believe in treating women and mothers with dignity and respect, as part of our core company values. This Mother’s Day, we want to give back to moms in our community, especially those who don’t have a place to call home right now.

You can help us by donating to our Movers for Moms campaign. Some of the items we encourage people to donate make great gifts for any mother in your life. Here are some of our best ideas:

  1. Bath and Body Products –  Tell the women in your life that they deserve to be pampered, by giving soap, shampoo, bath salts, and lotions. Donating these items will allow a homeless child to give their mother a gift of love, and will brighten the day of a mother in need. Simple, but greatly appreciated.
  2. Charms and Jewelry  – Little mementos, especially those with messages of love, will stay in her memory forever. She can wear jewelry everyday, and will be able to carry the love with her through all walks of life. A used, or inexpensive jewelry donation can help a mom in a shelter feel appreciated and needed.
  3. Coffee Mugs – Anyone can use a coffee mug, which makes it a great donation for Movers for Moms. Make it extra special for your mother by filling it with coffee beans, tea bags, or little goodies that will brighten her Mother’s Day.
  4. Accessories – Buying clothing for a woman can be difficult. Instead give her a scarf, headband, or neutral size cardigan to make her feel special. She can pair with her favorite outfits any way she wants. And a woman in a shelter could use it to feel beautiful and valued on her Mother’s Day celebration, and in the future when she’s ready to start a new life.
  5. Makeup Or Nail Kits – Women like to experiment with their fashion and style. A small makeup kit (eye-shadow palate, lip balm, and a skin serum), gives her the opportunity to try new looks, and feel great in her skin. You can alternate with nail polish or a nail buffer, if she doesn’t wear makeup. This makes a perfect gift for a shelter mom too.

Check out our Facebook for a  list of donation locations. Any donations are welcome, and we wish to thank you for your contributions.

As Mother’s Day approaches, use these creative ideas for your shopping, and remember that every mom deserves a happy holiday this May 6.

9 Ways to Reuse Packing Boxes

Packing for your move can be nostalgic and fun. You often rediscover memories within boxes in the back of that closet, or when going through old photo albums you forgot you had. But, unpacking those boxes allows you to bring those past experiences in your new home.

Now, you’re unpacked and you’ve settled in. But what to do with all those boxes? You could recycle them, or throw them away. But why throw away something you probably had to buy? Rather than letting that money go to waste, try applying that cardboard to a new use:

  1. A Keep-Away Journal – Decorate a cardboard box, and cut a hole in the top. Then, secure the lid to the top, either with glue or a heavy duty tape. You can slip your journal entries into the box, either written on an index card or a folded piece of paper. Open it up in a few years, and discover everything you’ve learned and done in your new home.
  2. Cardboard Animals – Moving can be especially hard for children. Make the transition a little less scary by initiating your first night in the house with a fun arts-and-crafts project. There are hundreds of tutorials on Pinterest for tutorials and other ideas.
  3. Desktop Organizer – Sometimes your desk gets a little out of hand. Make a creative desk organizer by fitting paper-towel rolls (cut in half) into a small box. They make great compartments for pens, white out, and all you other office supplies.
  4. Shoe Tie Practice Board – Using one side of a moving box, draw an outline of a pair of shoes. Then punch three rows of two holes, and “lace”them with old shoe strings. Your kids can practice tying their shoes in their free time, as they adjust to their new room and your new house.
  5. Weed Suppressant – If the house you moved into has a lot of weeds in the backyard, use your moving boxes to cover them. Start by flattening your boxes, then spray them with a water hose. Cover them with a layer of dirt (preferably gardening soil, 1 inch deep). In a few months, once you are ready to take on a new project, you can start planting on weed-free ground.
  6. Cat House – When you move, your pets will likely spend the first few days exploring. You can make a cat house by stacking two cardboard boxes on top of each other, cutting a hole in the center of both. When you stack them, the hole should line up, so the cat can explore both levels. Cut out side holes as windows, and put some old cloth underneath to create a cozy sleeping nook.
  7. Picture Mat – You can reuse cardboard boxes by disassembling them, cutting out center squares, and covering them with crafting fabric. This makes a cute and easy DIY photo frame. It requires no sewing, and can add a creative touch to your new house’s family photo display.
  8. Jewelry Box – Until you have everything unpacked, you may want to keep a small cardboard box for your jewelry. Children can make their own keepsake box as well. Make it a fun project by taking some markers, construction paper, and glue, then make your cardboard box personalized!
  9. Gift Wrapping – You may not need them now, but come holiday season you’ll wish you had extra cardboard boxes around for large gifts. You can use damaged boxes to cut out gift tags as well, for a unique touch.

 

TWO MEN AND A TRUCK offers a variety of box sizes, if you need extra supplies when you pack. We are known in Panama City as the a highly-trusted and affordable moving company, and have all the products and services you need to transition to a new home.

You can check out our moving supply list on our website, or contact us here:

 

TWO MEN AND A TRUCK Kicks Off Movers for Moms 2016

4 TWO MEN AND A TRUCK® proudly starts its 2016 Movers for Moms annual charity event. Every year since we opened our local franchise, we’ve dedicated to month of April to collect donations for mothers in need.

Movers for Moms is a nationwide movement to support women facing hardship. While Mother’s Day is a celebratory time for most families, women without homes often do not receive the same appreciation for their selfless acts of love.

At TWO MEN AND A TRUCK® we wanted to change this, and decided to ask our community to donate items that would benefit a mother living in a shelter or rehabilitation program. Some of the items we receive include:

  • Shampoo and bath products
  • Cleaning products and cookware
  • Clothing, shoes, and beauty products
  • Food donations

All the donations go to Bethel Village, a sector of the Panama City Rescue Mission. Bethel Village offers emergency shelter, a full drug and alcohol rehabilitation program, and workforce development programs to help women transition out of situational and generational poverty.

The ladies at Bethel Village often struggling to overcome abusive pasts or a history of economic insecurity.

Many women at Bethel Village have children staying with them, and we want to give those kids a chance to show how much they love their moms. In 2015, Movers for Moms had a total donation adding up to 230,000 gifts across the U.S.

1This year, our campaign started March 23, and we plan to pick up our donation boxes the Saturday before Mother’s Day. In Panama City, we have seven local partners who receive these boxes, and will return the gifts on May 5th. We will then take the donations to the shelter, and thank the mothers there for setting an example for facing hardships with courage and strength.

If you are interested in learning more about our 2016 Movers for Moms campaign, or would like to become a participating donation site, please contact us. You can also visit our Facebook page to learn more about our community outreach projects, and what’s new at  TWO MEN AND A TRUCK®.