The Benefits of Landscaping

Landscaping does more than just create beautiful curb appeal. Taking care of your property, whether a single-family residence, a condominium community, or a commercial development, has environmental, economic, and health benefits.

Environmental Benefits

Maintaining your lawn or property helps to protect you and the environment. Here are some of the ways landscaping helps the environment:

  • A lawn helps to control temperature extremes. In summer months, grass is cooler than pavement or cement, and trees that provide shade help cool down the property and home even more.
  • Grass helps to capture dust and pollutants and produces oxygen, keeping the air we breathe cleaner.
  • Pollutants and storm runoff are reduced when healthy lawns absorb water, which reduces local flooding and keeps polluted water out of larger bodies of water.

Economic Benefits

Along with helping the environment, a well-cared for property has economic benefits for homeowners and business owners alike:

  • Curb appeal is the first thing people notice when looking to buy a home. A beautiful property can increase the value of your home and reduce the time your property is on the market.
  • Residents of apartment complexes or condominiums are likely to pay more to live in a complex with grounds that are well cared for. HOA fees generally take care of landscaping, which means residents can enjoy the benefits of the property without having to care for it themselves.
  • In commercial spaces, green space encourages shoppers to spend more time at the development and increases property values.

Health Benefits

Landscaping also positively impacts health, both at home and work environments.

  • By filtering pollutants, landscaping helps to clean to the air.
  • In workplaces, landscaped areas help to decrease stress and increase positive mood, even if just looking out a window.
  • A well-planned property can provide privacy and a beautiful environment where you can spend time with loved ones.

With warmer weather approaching, now is the time to get started on your landscaping, so that you can enjoy the benefits of the outdoors for the next several months.

Office Space: Collaborative Conference Rooms

What do you envision when you think of conference rooms? Many people still picture a large room with empty walls and a large table with chairs. In today’s collaborative workplaces, meeting areas and conference rooms are taking on many different designs.

Determine Size Needs

If you are designing your office space, first determine the need you have for meetings. Smaller rooms can be utilized for more intimate meetings with two to six people. These spaces can also be used for brainstorming sessions, focus work, one-on-one sessions and phone or video conferencing.

Large conference rooms may still be needed for management sessions or company-wide meetings, but the layout doesn’t have to be traditional. Consider comfortable seating surrounding a central area. Being in a relaxed space can make people feel more at ease, and therefore more willing to share thoughts and ideas.

Of course, the traditional conference room still holds its purpose for larger and more formal corporations.

Purpose of Meeting Rooms

There’s a variety of reasons companies need meeting areas. Are you bringing outside clients into your office? Are you holding management sessions to make decisions for the company? Do employees need space to collaborate on projects?

The purpose of your meeting areas will help you determine the style layout of each space. Many offices that rely heavily on collaboration opt for meeting areas with glass walls. Collaborative areas may also need items such as a large whiteboard for brainstorming.

For larger, company-wide meetings, consider using the traditional table and chairs with a focal point for presentations. A horseshoe or teardrop shaped table allows everyone at the table to see more easily.

Smart Conference Rooms

Technology is essential in any meeting space. To make your meetings as functional and efficient as possible, investing in the technology your team needs can save everybody time.

A wireless presentation system, such as an Apple TV, allows you to display presentations, share a computer screen, and do video conferences easily, making it the most common piece of technology for meeting rooms. For a large company, utilizing meeting room scheduling software eliminates double booking. Companies that want to take the whiteboard to the next level, interactive boards, such as Google Jamboard, allows for multiple users and transferring the project to a computer or mobile device.

350 Goose Lane Office Park allows tenants to design their office layout. The Horton Group works to provide what your company or office needs to

 

What is the best location for HVAC condensing units?

With the official start of spring, temperatures will soon be rising again. If you are installing HVAC, efficiency should come before the appearance of the unit. With advanced technology and a multitude of options, it’s becoming easier to find an HVAC system that keeps your home a comfortable temperature, doesn’t make your electric bill skyrocket, and is not an eyesore.

When choosing a location for the condensing unit of an HVAC system, people often try to “hide” it from view. But the location of the unit, when placed correctly, can actually help it run more efficiently.

Condensing units, like air conditioners, help cool down your home. The condensing unit is the part of the HVAC system that goes outside your home. To make sure it is not working too hard in the summer months, consider where it will be placed. Here are a couple of tips when choosing a location:

 

  • Stay out direct sunlight. The cooler the air around the unit is, the less it has to work, lowering both energy use and costs. Opt for a shady, cool area whenever possible.
  • Keep the area clear of debris. Hiding the unit by planting shrubs or bushes could cause filters to get clogged. Keep the area directly surrounding the unit clear of leaves, long grass, and other debris to avoid this.

 

This doesn’t mean you can’t get creative when placing your condensing unit. Many people place their condensing unit under a deck to hide it from view. Another option is putting up a wide-slotted fence around the unit, which allows for airflow and muffles noise.

Work with your heating and cooling contractor to choose a place that ensures efficiency and doesn’t block any views of your yard.

What are building allowances for new construction?

For new developments, builders may choose to include allowances in construction contracts. Allowances help to establish clear expectations about costs, as they allocate funds to particular areas throughout the construction process.

If your builder offers allowances, it enables you the right to provide a product or service. This cost is deducted from the total amount you owe the contractor. For example, if the price of the home is $400,000, and the builder gives you a $20,000 allowance for flooring, the amount paid to the builder is lowered to $380,000.

Providing allowances gives future residents flexibility to customize their home and contractors clear guidelines from which to move forward. Some of the usual allowances in residential construction include:

  • Appliances
  • Flooring
  • Plumbing fixtures
  • Kitchen countertops
  • Cabinetry
  • Light fixtures
  • Door hardware

In addition to providing customization for new construction, allowances can help you stay on budget. Each allowance is its own budget, helping you pick finishes you want while staying true to your maximum overall cost.

By working with tenants or owners throughout the process of the build, builders provide information about allowance options, as well as the pros and cons of choice for cabinetry, flooring, countertops, or any other selections that may be available. Also, if you go above the mini-budget in one area of the house or condominium, you can get back on track by cutting back somewhere else.  

If you know you want to be involved in choosing finishes for a new home, start working with the builder or general contractor as soon as possible. This will allow you to learn about the options you have, review the allowance for each, and make decisions without feeling rushed. If a build is almost complete, the general contractor will have to begin making choices so the job is not delayed, which would cost time and money.

Benefits of Garbage Chutes

If you live or work in a building with multiple levels, it is neither convenient nor sanitary to go down the stairs or elevator carrying a bag of trash. Garbage chutes in these buildings go far beyond convenience – they are beneficial to all involved.

With garbage chutes, residents only need to walk a few steps to their floor’s chute drop off. Garbage goes down the chute, or large tube, to a central location in a building. Typically, the garbage chute has an entrance and is covered with a door for safety.  Residents do not need to worry about taking out the garbage for a certain day or time, and do not need to lug garbage bags to a dumpster.

Building management also benefits from garbage chutes. The Residences at 66 High Street have garbage chutes in the multi-level buildings The Whitfield, The Leete, and The Chittenden. This means management does not need to go around the entire building collecting garbage – it is all in one centralized location. In addition, the garbage collector only needs to go to one place to collect trash each week.

Garbage chutes may seem like a small convenience that can be overlooked when designing a building, but the benefits make it a must-have in commercial and residential buildings with multiple floors.

General Contractors, Subcontractors, Builders: Who should I hire?

When constructing a new home, deciding who to hire can be a time-consuming process. You want to be sure you hire someone who is trustworthy, does quality work, and sticks to budgets and timelines. But who exactly do you need?

General Contractors

General contractors (GC) can be an individual or an entire company, and oversee the entire construction site. They are hired for both residential and commercial projects. The first responsibility of a GC is to make an estimate of the entire project including the cost of materials, labor, and any subcontractors that will be needed. From there, a project manager will oversee the project, communicate with the homeowner, ensure materials are ordered and delivered on time, and oversee subcontractors. A big benefit to hiring a general contractor is they already have built a pool of subcontractors they trust. In addition, subcontractors will often consider projects for a contractor as a priority over a job for a homeowner. To learn about Horton Group as a general contractor, click here.

Subcontractors

Subcontractors are typically skilled in one specific trade, such as tile, drywall, insulation, or roofing. Subcontractors fill their contract directly with the contractor, so you do not need to worry about hiring each different subcontractor if you have a general contractor. If you are only updating one part of a room, such as installing new tile flooring, you may want to hire a subcontractor to complete the job.

Builders

A builder, like a general contractor, will see the project through from start to finish. The difference is that a builder often has a crew to complete the construction work, from foundation to roof, subcontracting only for specialists like electricians and plumbers. They also manage the project and communicate with the homeowner throughout the process.

No matter who you hire, you are entrusting another person or company to carry out your vision. Be sure to communicate your vision, budget, and timeline clearly so the outcome is what you want.

What is Radiant Heat?

Stepping out of a relaxing hot shower or bath onto a cold tile floor can send chills up anybody’s spine. Imagine, instead, of stepping onto heated tile that keeps your feet and toes warm and comfortable. With radiant heated floors, this is possible.

Radiant heating systems lie under tile or stone, allowing heat to be directly supplied to the floor you walk on. This is the ultimate way to give your bathroom a spa-like feel. In our luxury condo units at 66 High Street, every bathroom has radiant heat under tile from Tile America.

There are three types of radiant heat systems: hydronic-based, forced air, and electric radiant heating. Hydronic based is the most popular and efficient and works by carrying hot water through tubes installed under floors. One nice feature about radiant heat is that it can be installed in a portion of a room, for instance, just in front of the bathroom vanity.

Although radiant heat can be pricey to install, the benefits may outweigh the cost. Benefits include:

Evenly Distributed Heat

With radiant floors, heat is more evenly distributed throughout the room. With typical forced hot air, the heat quickly rises, leaving the bottom of the room and floors cold. With radiant heated floors, the heat begins at the ground and naturally rises to heat the rest of the room, which keeps your feet and toes warm.

No Noise

Radiant heat is completely silent. No sounds are coming from the radiator or forced air vents. You feel the warmth, without hearing the heating system.

You Can Install in a Portion of the Room

You can choose to install radiant heat in an entire room or just a portion with a pre-sized heating mat. If you want heated floors when you step out of the shower, you can opt for a rectangular space of radiant heat right in that spot. You could choose a different tile to highlight this heated area for a visual cue. This will also allow you to repair without ripping up the entire floor, since the heating system is permanently under the flooring.

Radiant heat adds a luxurious feel to any space. With options for installation and pre-selected sizes, it becomes an affordable addition.

What room do you want to install radiant heated floors in? Let us know in the comments!

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