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Think You’re Ready to Compost? Let’s Talk Dirty

by Heidi Winston, RE/MAX Lifetime Achievement Recipie


As fall harvesting ramps up, it’s the perfect time to reflect on our gardening successes and failures as we look forward to boosting the backyard garden’s performance level next season. We have a gardening-pro secret, a magic soil solution to solve those production problems: composting-it’s ridiculously easy and equally rewarding. We have a list of everything you need to know to master the art of the compost pile.

The Perfect Compost Recipe
You may have heard compost buzzwords like “activator,” “aeration” or “carbon and nitrogen”-it can begin to sound like a complicated science project. Start your pile with three essential components: carbon-heavy elements, nitrogen-heavy elements and moisture.

  1. Carbon-heavy elements include wood, shredded cardboard and newspaper, sawdust, woodchips, straw, pine needles and shredded leaves.
  2. Nitrogen-heavy elements like coffee grounds and filters, food scraps, manure and grass clippings, ideally outweigh the carbon-heavy elements.
  3. The brown to green ratio should favor the brown or carbon components. Moisture is key; don’t forget to water the pile if the food scraps don’t provide enough moisture or rain to naturally keep it damp.

Subdue the Stink and Critters
Some homeowners never consider starting a compost pile for worry of the stink and the pests that it can attract. Fear not-if you avoid spoiling the pile with certain elements, there’s no reason to worry about the stench. Moisture is key-if it’s too high the pile can begin to stink, so water sparingly and increase aeration by adding more brown components to the mix. Avoid composting meat and bone scraps because dogs, raccoons, rodents and flies will see it as an invitation to dig through the scraps. Exclude diseased plants, both garden plants and weeds, from the mix to avoid poisoning future plants that will grow in the soil.

Turn Baby, Turn
Aeration is so important to the composting process. An occasional turn mixes thing up and keeps the soil decomposing. Turning is a task that can be done easier by investing in a compost bin with a turning handle or on the simpler side, you can hand-turn the pile with a shovel to mix it up while adding more dry or wet, brown or green and carbon or nitrogen components to the pile. Add it to the chore chart and let your kids take a turn-it will be educational and fun for them to watch the scraps that they’ve been adding to the bin break down into something brand new.

Composting is sure to be your easiest, and likely favorite, backyard experiment to date. If you’re looking for a new backyard to experiment in, head to  to get your home search started.

Contact Heidi Winston of Winston Realty Group for all of your real estate needs. For more information or to schedule a showing, visit or email Once you work with us, you'll be glad we're your real estate professionals.

8 Ways to Extend Your Patio Season This Fall

by Heidi Winston, RE/MAX Lifetime Achievement Recipie

By Emily Higgins

Cooling temperatures and the arrival of pumpkin spice everything doesn’t mean that you need to head indoors just yet. Using your outdoor living space is a great way to enjoy the changing of the season and enjoy some outside time. Consider these 8 ways to extend your patio season into the fall.

  1. Add Some Warmth

Making sure that your outdoor living space is still enjoyable and comfortable will encourage you to use the space more often. Consider adding a patio heater that can easily radiate heat in a large of area for you and your guests. Choose from a variety of sizes and styles that fit your budget and the overall look of your outdoor patio area.

  1. Hang Some Lights

You’ll need some extra lighting with the sun setting sooner than it was earlier in the summer. Hang a few strands of lights around the perimeter of your outdoor space in order to add a touch of sparkle to prolong those after-dinner conversations. Choose from different styles that cater to your unique tastes and personality.

  1. Cuddle Up with Throws

As temperatures continue to drop, make sure to always have a stack of fresh, cozy throw blankets ready for friends and family so they aren’t scared back inside by the crisp fall air. Consider storing blankets in a weather-tight box outdoors to keep them dry and ready for use.

  1. Add Some Ambience

To create a truly enjoyable outdoor ambience, consider adding a popular fire pit to your patio to encourage those guests to stay awhile. Not only does a fire pit add an extra layer of warmth but it provides a point of interest to an outdoor living space. Invite friends over to roast some hot dogs over the fire and indulge in gooey s’mores for dessert.

  1. Sip Some Tea

Wrapping up in a cozy blanket to read a book and enjoy a hot cup of tea, or hot chocolate, is the epitome of fall that many homeowners love. Make sure to provide enough side table space next to outdoor chairs for ultimate comfort while diving into a good book. Use a simple outdoor tray to carry sweeteners and sugar cookies to enjoy with your warm beverage.

  1. Leave the Leaves

You may want to immediately rake up fallen leaves on your patio, but consider letting them fall where they may to really set the scene of your outdoor space. The colors of fallen leaves provide those seasonal scents that remind of autumn-and they can be mulched for your fall lawn care needs.

  1. Add Fall Color

Pumpkins are a welcome addition to any outdoor space this time of year. Pick up a few different shapes, colors and varieties of the orange gourds to add a pop of instant seasonal color to your patio. Stack and store pumpkins on your patio before carving them later in the season.

  1. Have A Game Center

Fall is a great time to enjoy lawn games that carried over from the summer. Many homeowners find that fall is the better season to enjoy a quick game of horseshoes or croquet in the comfortable, cooling temperatures. Create a game center on your patio that is easy for guests to access and invite your friends and family to join you outdoors for a friendly competition.

Extending your patio season is easy with these eight tips to help your patio pop well into the fall.

Emily Higgins is a writer and homeowner inspired by retro pinup-she is constantly working on revamping her fixer upper to have a more chic, vintage style. When she’s not working on remodeling, she can be found tending to her organic garden and cooking for family and friends.

True or False: Housing Quiz

by Heidi Winston, RE/MAX Lifetime Achievement Recipie

Every time you turn around, it seems like something else is costing you money and most of the time, it’s true. In most cases in life, you get what you pay for but here are some tips so you don’t waste extra money on things that aren’t worth it.

  • True: Be careful when updating your home not to go too trendy. Styles come and go (ask anyone that bought shag carpeting in the 70’s) and you may be stuck with a trend much longer than you planned because who wants to update their home every few years. Stick with classics for major expenses and try adding statement pieces to your home that are easily (and inexpensively) changed. Updated paint is a great way to make a change and not feel like you have to stick with it too long.
  • False: Lower your mower’s blade to increase the amount of time before you have to cut the grass again. This is definitely a case of less causing problems. Grass has a sweet spot. Too short and it will die from the heat and be more prone weeds so raise the blade if you want your lawn to flourish.
  • False: Turning off your AC when you aren’t home will save you money. The constant demand on your AC when you come home in the summer and it’s 90 degrees in the house can put too much demand on your unit decreasing its life span. Instead, install a programmable thermostat that will adjust the temperature automatically during the times you are most frequently away. Raising the temperature to a slightly higher level than when you are there is a more manageable solution. When trying to determine the temperature that is appropriate, select a temperature no more than 10 degrees from your regular setting.
  • True: Taking the DIY approach to home improvements may cost you money in the long run. If you are doing repairs that require a permit, hire a professional. When you get ready to sell your home, if you didn’t have a permit for some updates, the buyer may choose to walk away or demand repairs be made to bring the items up to code. It’s a lot harder to make changes later than to do it right the first time. 

Don’t let these simple things cost you money they don’t have to. Small investments up front can save you thousands down the road.

Image courtesy of nate_grigg/

Landscaping On Any Budget

by Heidi Winston, RE/MAX Lifetime Achievement Recipie

Where To Start?!?

Probably the best place to start, especially if you're on a budget, is deciding if you're going to work on just your front yard, just the back yard, or both?  It may make sense to consider just one of them this season and the other one next year. This approach might allow you to put more resources into each one resulting in a much more satisfying finished project.

First - Create a Plan!

It may (or may not...) sound like fun, but creating even just a simple drawing or layout of what you want to do, and where, can simplify matters greatly as well as help you outline an overall budget based on each design element.

If you have a sprinkler or rainwater collection system already installed be sure and take them into account as well in your overall layout plan.

Second - How Much to Spend?

"Start with the end in mind" as the saying goes.  Starting off knowing how much you want to spend in total can definitely help with both a written budget as well as your initial design/layout.  Of course this can change as you go forward, but it will definitely help apply some financial discipline to the overall project.

Third - Hiring a Contractor or "DIY"? ("Do It Yourself")

A 'contractor' can be as simple as one of the neighborhood kids coming by every week or so to mow the lawn once all the improvements have been completed all the way to a full blown landscape design/build company handling things from start to finish.

The two biggest issues here, of course, being time and money. With a sketched out design plan, and a written budget, ideas may come to light that you might not have considered before. You might now need to consider using a commercial contractor, or, you might realize that you actually can do more of the work yourself than you had originally thought.

Finally - A Few Resources to Help You Get Started!

Online Planning / Design Tool (Free, but an account creation is required.)

Budgeting for a Landscape Project

Flower Plants for Dry Gardens

Outdoor Lighting Ideas

Displaying blog entries 1-4 of 4

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Contact Information

Photo of RE/MAX Excellence Realty Real Estate
RE/MAX Excellence Realty
Heidi and Michael Winston
4435 South Buffalo
Las Vegas NV 89147
Heidi: 702-277-6599
Michael: 702-219-8692
Fax: 702-974-2288