Putting a Garden to Bed for the Winter Requires Special Tools

Fall_gardening(MCT)—Even if you’re tending to the same garden, you’ll need different tools in the fall. “In the fall, you’re putting the garden to bed, so it’s important to have large multipurpose tools to work the soil,” says Maree Gaetani, director of gardening relations at Vermont-based Gardener’s Suppply Co. “In the growing season, you’re using smaller hand tools around the growing plants.”

Gardex Leaf Scoops
When you have leaves piling up in the yard, this is the tool you’ll want to grab. It was designed to fit inside yard bags or receptacles, and each scoop fits into your right or left hand. You can also use it to spread mulch and peat moss in your garden, so it’s a good all-around fall tool. The rake teeth will also help with total yard cleanup of residue. $7.99 at amazon.com

Scotts Snap Spreader
Fall is the best time to fertilize your plants and roots so they’ll have a base on which to thrive in the spring, and this is an easy way to do it. You simply push this through your lawn, and it evenly and directly spreads the bag of Snap Pac Fertilizer (fertilizer bags are sold separately and snap into the spreader). When you’re done, it folds for easy storage. $49.98 at homedepot.com

Leonard All Poly Scoop Fork
This fork is 40 percent lighter than traditional steel forks—your back will feel the difference. Its deep scoop shape handles large loads, and the all-poly construction won’t bend under pressure when mulching, collecting leaves and doing other fall cleanup activities. The American-made product has a lifetime warranty. $69.99 at gardenersedge.com

Gardener’s Supply Lifetime Half-Moon Hoe
Handmade in Holland from sustainably grown European ash hardwood, this lets you stand up straight while you work so you minimize back strain as you cut the weeds just below the soil surface. The blade is curved so you can work in the tight spaces between plants. $79.95 at gardeners.com

Fiberglass D-Handle Garden Spade
It has a steel-reinforced fiberglass handle and a heavy-duty steel blade, so this is not going to bend easily when piercing the dirt, though it’s lightweight. It’s good for working around tree roots, digging holes and doing general landscaping. $29.99 at sears.com

Fiskars Shear Ease Grass Shears
These have a patented mechanism that prevents the blades from jamming or sticking, so it saves time when you’re gardening. They rotate 360 degrees so you can cut anything, even at strange angles. $17.99 at target.com

©2014 Chicago Tribune
Distributed by MCT Information Services

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Jake Gyllenhaal Lists Hollywood Hills View Home

Source: IMDb

Source: IMDb

Actor Jake Gyllenhaal has listed his Los Angeles mid-century modern, asking $3.5 million for the 3-bedroom, 3-bath home in Cahuenga Pass.

Gyllenhaal, known for “Jarhead,” “Donnie Darko,” and “Brokeback Mountain,” among other films, bought the gated compound in 2005 for $2.5 million.

The home’s great room offers views of the city — “sensational panoramic views,” according to the listing — and the outdoor space includes a patio, private yard and pool.

The home, which is perfect for entertaining, sits on nearly two acres near the Hollywood Hills and is protected by a security system.

Denny Kagasoff of Prudential California Realty holds the listing.

Related: 

Emily Heffter, a reporter and writer for Zillow Blog, covers celebrity real estate, unusual properties, and other real estate topics. Read more of her work here.

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Latest Mode of Transportation in Los Angeles? Your Own Two Feet

The hottest commodity in Los Angeles real estate isn’t an outdoor kitchen or a motor court that accommodates a dozen cars. It’s walkability. And all the high-end agents are talking about it.

“Walking here is cool now,” said Paul Lester, a partner at The Agency in Beverly Hills.

It’s a new phenomenon in such a spread-out city of boulevards, where valet parking is ubiquitous and traffic jams are a way of life. The trend is creating a new batch of hip LA neighborhoods where people want to live a New York City lifestyle.

“Pocket neighborhoods are becoming the places to live because you’ve got the opportunity to fall out your door and go to these really great restaurants,” Lester said.

Lester recently sold a home near The Grove, for $4.3 million. Five years ago, he said, nobody wanted to live there, but his buyer wanted a home within walking distance of trendy Melrose Avenue shops and restaurants.

Consider North Hollywood, once considered a less-than-desirable part of town. Now it’s the site of all the hottest Oscar after-parties.

James Franco purchased a duplex in walkable Silver Lake two years ago, and Fred Armisen of “Portlandia” bought there earlier this year, cementing the micro-hood’s hipster credibility.

Younger stars like Glee’s Naya Rivera are ditching traditional celebrity hot spots like Beverly Hills and the Hollywood Hills for Los Feliz and downtown.

“More and more, I’m finding people are OK with living closer and closer to commercial districts,” said Jimmy Martinez, an agent with Partners Trust. “You’re paying to live in a neighborhood where you don’t have to get in the car on the weekends to go to breakfast or go to the dry cleaners, or take your kids to the park or get a bottle of wine. … It’s the ultimate urban experience.”

The walkable location was a major selling point for this home in the Melrose Village area of Los Angeles, said agent Jimmy Martinez.

The walkable location was a major selling point for this home in Mid City West, said agent Jimmy Martinez.

When he’s selling homes in Los Angeles — small ones, like a 1,500-square-foot Spanish he recently sold in Melrose Village for more than $1 million, Martinez markets the location.

“Moments from West Hollywood, Poinsettia Park, Starbucks, Whole Foods, The Grove …” the listing description states.

It’s even better if a home is near a farmers market. People like a house, he said, but they love a location because it means they can buy quality of life.

The Agency’s Jeeb O’Reilly said a property’s walkability is a major selling point — replacing parking as the city’s hot amenity.

This home sold for $4.3 million, in part because of its walkable location, said agent Paul Lester.

This home sold for $4.3 million, in part because of its West Hollywood location, said agent Paul Lester.

People used to feel sort of sorry for you if you had to walk somewhere in LA, Lester said. Now? People are paying a premium for the chance.

“An urban environment is a new concept in LA,” he said.

Related:

Emily Heffter, a reporter and writer for Zillow Blog, covers celebrity real estate, unusual properties, and other real estate topics. Read more of her work here.

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Fall Housing Market Cools, Revealing New Top Metros for Buyers and Sellers

U.S. home values rose more slowly in August than they have in a year, and the cooling market offered a clear view of local markets that favor either buyers or sellers.

The nation’s hottest markets on the West Coast continued to favor sellers with quick sales and high asking prices. But some still-recovering markets remained a bargain for buyers as more homes went up for sale.

According to the latest Zillow analysis of buyers’ and sellers’ markets, sellers in the Bay Area, Seattle and Dallas have the most negotiating power, with final sale prices largely at or above asking. For those looking to buy a home, the Northeast and Midwest offer the most favorable conditions, as buyers are less likely to be faced with the fierce bidding wars seen across the West Coast and in larger cities across the country.

In this analysis, a sellers’ market is not necessarily one where home values are rising, but rather one in which homes are on the market for a shorter time, price cuts occur less frequently and homes are sold at prices very close to (or greater than) their last listing price. In buyers’ markets, homes for sale stay on the market longer, price cuts occur more frequently and homes are sold for less relative to their listing price.

“We now have several different types of markets emerging, including markets that are still muddling along the bottom; markets that shot up immediately after the recession ended and are now cooling quickly; and markets that are still very hot. Each of these environments presents unique challenges and opportunities for buyers and sellers, and what works in one area won’t necessarily work in another,” said Zillow Chief Economist Dr. Stan Humphries.

To dive into our recently released August Real Estate Market Reports, visit Zillow Research.

To see Zillow’s top 10 metros for home buyers and sellers, check out the graphic below.

Top 10 Buyers  Sellers Markets

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House of the Week: ‘Wow’ and ‘Ahh’ in an Oceanfront Penthouse

1755 Ocean Ave, Santa Monica, CA #PH 901
For sale: $11,499,500

When designing a luxury condo building in oceanfront Santa Monica, it’s important to be sure the pet spa incorporates all the elements of feng shui.

Nothing was overlooked in The Seychelle, the high-end building in a hotly anticipated new development in Santa Monica. The interior designer personally buried crystals under the landscaping to balance the energy.

Now the building’s penthouse is about to go on the market. At 3,028 square feet, it’s the biggest and most expensive home in the super-amenitized building, and it has almost as much outdoor space as indoor.

The 1,876-square-foot rooftop terrace offers views of downtown Santa Monica, the pier and waves crashing in the Pacific all the way down in Malibu. Local designer David Phoenix, who has worked for Rob Lowe, Arnold Schwarzenegger and the Kennedy family, took on the apartment’s design, working with neutral, nubby fabrics to make a place posh enough to be a penthouse but comfortable enough to be at the beach.

The unit has 3 bedrooms, 3 bathrooms and a powder room.

The Seychelle is part of a master-planned redevelopment of the former Rand Corporation campus along Ocean Avenue. In creating essentially a new neighborhood in Santa Monica, developer Related California included a public park, parking and affordable apartments. But The Seychelle is unapologetically luxurious.

Sought-after, holistic designer Clodagh created a high-end space using the best of everything. She also designed for the invisible, using feng shui and balance to create surprise elements intended to give the building a harmonious, joyous feeling. A wall of succulents leads from outside into the lobby; the elevators are lined in reclaimed wood; and yes, even the dog spa has a chandelier.

Clodagh herself took photos of the waves from under the Santa Monica pier and had them cut into layers of steel and mirrors for the reception area.

“It’s fair to say everybody was very impressed just by the silky harmony within the building,” she said. And she got the two reactions she was going for: “‘Wow’ in the lobby, ‘ahh’ in the apartment.”

 Related: 

Emily Heffter, a reporter and writer for Zillow Blog, covers celebrity real estate, unusual properties, and other real estate topics. Read more of her work here.

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