Seaside Homes – Paint, Lawn Care, Pet Gardens & Heat Pumps: What Do They Have in Common?

by Janice Henshaw – 

I am glad you asked! Today’s story title is similar to the NYT’s daily word puzzle – Connections – in which you look for common threads between a group of four words. Careful: it’s addictive! The four items in this title are all part of … Summertime Upgrades! From the experts, we will learn about inexpensive outdoor home improvements such as exterior upgrades and colour enhancements and how to design a pet garden. For the wrap-up, there is some excellent news about heat pump rebates and portable air conditioning units!

Paint: Door & Window Trims
Stacey Kaminski (Interior Stylist and Certified Professional Stager) says we don’t need to paint the entire house to transform the exterior. A fresh coat of paint on the front door has the potential to enhance the personality and curb appeal of your faÇade. This can be a bright and vibrant pop or a soft and inviting shade. There is always the option of replacing the door entirely, perhaps with a beautiful wood door as your exterior centrepiece.

Another great idea from Stacey is to replace worn handles, hinges and locks – these can instantly elevate the appearance (and functionality) of your home’s exterior. “Opt for high-quality materials,” she says,” like brass or stainless steel, for sophisticated looks that withstand the test of time.” She suggests updating other elements, such as house numbers or doorbells. “Choose cohesive materials and designs that complement the style of your home, whether it’s traditional, modern or eclectic.”

Exterior Lighting
“Upgrading your lighting can highlight architectural features, create an inviting atmosphere and breathe new life into your property’s façade,” says Stacey. “Exterior lighting is like accent jewelry, creating that ‘complete’ look that accentuates and complements other elements of your exterior.” She notes that landscape lighting or front-door pendants are not only functional but also add dimension and layers to your property, creating visual interest.

Landscape Design
Garden City Tree and Landscape is an example of a company that can make our summers easier. They are experts in designing gardens and how to beautify our grounds – and making it all as maintenance-free as we like. Because summers are for fun! Their website has a great blog about several topics, such as “The Guardians of the Ecosystem: Native Trees and Their Essential Roles.” Edith Gonzalez has graciously shared some tips from their blog on how to create a pet-friendly space that “welcomes our furry friends with open paws.”

Design Your Garden With Your Pets in Mind
Edith says that creating a garden that’s a haven for your pets means thinking like them. “What do they love? Sniffing along pathways, chasing butterflies, and, yes, occasionally digging.” Here are some of her suggestions on how to cater to those instincts:

  • Pathways! Observe and integrate your pets’ natural movement patterns into your garden design. It minimizes plant casualties and maximizes fun.
  • Water! A shallow water feature isn’t just aesthetically pleasing: it’s a pet hydration station. Plus, it’s a great spot for them to cool their paws.
  • Shade! Ensure there are plenty of shaded areas for those midday siestas. A pet-friendly shelter? Even better.

Lawn Care Essentials for a Pet-Friendly Outdoor Space
“A lush lawn is like a green carpet for your pets, inviting them to roll, play – and do their business.” Edith says it’s important to scoop up after pets as soon as possible to keep your lawn and garden sanitary and odour-free. A good option she suggests is a pet waste composting system. “Maintenance essentials include regular mowing, aerating, and overseeding – no more bald spots!”

“Creating a pet-friendly garden is a journey, not a sprint. It’s about adapting and tweaking until you find that perfect balance between green beauty and pet safety,” concludes Edith. “And believe me, when you see your furry friend frolicking happily among the flowers, it’ll all be worth it.”

Big News About Heat Pump Rebates!
Now that we have done our summer spruce up to our home’s exterior and grounds, it’s time to move inside. Because when it’s too hot outside to enjoy our gardens, we can relax in the cool air provided by a heat pump. In the winter, it switches roles and heats our homes. The provincial and federal governments and B.C. Hydro have expanded their energy efficiency program in a big way to help more people save energy in low to moderate-income households. The new CleanBC Better Homes Energy Savings Program was planned to launch on June 18, 2024. Check out the B.C. Hydro website for more information and pass it along to those in need. Here are some highlights:

  • Provide rebates for 100% of the cost of a new heat pump, up to a cap that varies by the type of heat pump (central, multi-split or mini-split). You may be eligible to receive one for free!
  • Increase the maximum rebate amount for heat pumps from $9,500 to $16,000.
  • Increase the maximum rebate amount for electrical service upgrades needed to install a heat pump from $3,500 to $5,000.
  • The program will continue supporting other home-efficiency upgrades at current rebate levels, including insulation, windows and doors, and ventilation.

Portable Air Conditioners for Free!
Based on your income and the value of your home, you may be eligible for a free portable air conditioner and its installation. You do not have to include proof of income if you have received a recommendation letter from the regional health authority’s Home Care Program. This is great news for renters and homeowners. The good news was announced on May 31 by Minister of Energy, Mines and Low Carbon Innovation Josie Osborne. The provincial government expects this additional funding will help 19,000 more households access a free air conditioning unit. Visit for details.

I hope your Summertime Upgrades help to make your home and garden space for you and your pets – cool, comfortable, attractive and relaxing!

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