Category: Uncategorized

July 16th, 2014

Building a Brick Patio

Categories: Uncategorized | This post was written by: Ashley Tucker

Creating a DIY outdoor oasis is the perfect opportunity for you to really put your artistic vision to work. It may be tempting to hand the job to someone else, but just imagine how proud you’re going to feel when you get to enjoy your hard work firsthand. Grand View Builders wants you to know that we are here to help bring your dreams to life. Follow along this step-by-step how-to guide for DIY tips on building your dream outdoor space.

build a brick patio

Step One: Prep the Area
Before purchasing any materials, you need to measure the width and length of the area where you want to build your patio. Once you have the dimensions, you’ll need to call your local utility company so they can mark any water and electrical lines before you start digging. After this is completed, it’s time for you to paint and stake the perimeter.

Place stakes in the four corners of the area you’ve designated and connect strings between each stake. After this is completed, use spray paint the to outline the perimeter on the ground.

Step Two: Buy Material
Once your area is prepped, it’s time to purchase your materials. Before you can do this, do some math to make sure you purchase enough of each item.

Gravel
The first layer for your brick patio is gravel. We recommend layering at least four inches of gravel down to secure your base. Calculate the patio volume to determine how much cubic feet of gravel you will need. Volume = Length x Width x Height.

Sand
Next, you need to lay one inch of sand above the gravel base. Again, determine the amount of sand you’ll need by calculating the volume of the area. Be sure to purchase enough for the sand to filter into the gravel base and leave space between the bricks.

Bricks
Standard brick pavers measure four by eight inches. Calculate how many bricks you’ll need to fill your area. We recommend purchasing a handful of extra bricks so you have extra if you need to replace loose or broken bricks in the future. Bricks come in a variety of colors and textures, so be sure to go with something that compliments the exterior of your home.

Step Three: Dig
Once all these steps are completed, you are ready to start digging. Dig the patio seven inches deep with a slight slope (in the direction you want the water to drain). One-quarter inch of drop per every foot is standard. Use a measuring tape and a level to check the depth and slope of the patio throughout the process. Once this is finished, line the patio with landscape fabric to keep the area flat.

Step Four: Pour Gravel, Sand then Bricks
Next, cover the area with four inches of gravel. Periodically rake through the gravel to make sure the surface is level. After this, add the one inch of sand to the gravel base. Make sure the sand is completely level before adding the bricks. Next, lay the bricks on top of the sand in the pattern you’ve chosen with a one-fourth inch space between each brick. Periodically place a level across the bricks to make sure everything is even. After this is completed, tap the bricks with a mallet to set and level them. To really get the sand between the bricks, sweep some sand over the surface of the bricks so you can get in the narrow spaces. Lastly, mist the patio with a little water.

Final Step: Add Your Personal Touch
After your patio is completed, it’s time for you to add your own personal touch! Purchasing outdoor furniture, fire pits and landscaping flower beds will make this space feel extra elegant.

Building your outdoor retreat is just as easy and fun as designing any other room. Have fun with it! Invite some friends over to help and play some music outside to make this job a lot more enjoyable. Best of luck building you DIY patio!

Building a patio

June 11th, 2014

Family-Friendly Activities Just Outside Your Door

Categories: Family Activities, Uncategorized | Tags: , , ,
This post was written by: Ashley Tucker

School’s out for summer and your kids are probably getting restless without constant activities planned. Sometimes parents think spending a lot of money is the only solution for kids to get over the summer blues, but really it doesn’t require you to spend a dime!

You’d be surprised how many family-friendly activities are out right outside your doorstep that are not only fun, but also free! If you find yourself and your family looking something to do, here are a couple ideas that don’t require you to go too far from home!

Picnic at the Park
A picnic in the park is always a great option for the family. Community parks typically do not have an admission fee and they are the perfect place to throw down a blanket and play games with the family. Be sure to bring snacks, footballs, soccer balls or books with you for a fun filled day at the park!

Here are some parks located near our communities:

Helen’s Garden is perfect for residents of The Township in League City.

George Bush Park is around the corner from Lakes of Bella Terra in Richmond.

If you live in or around Tomball in Inverness Estates, Wimbledon Falls or our newest community, Raleigh Creek, take a visit to Spring Creek Park.

Near Conroe the W G Jones State Park and Carl Barton Jr. Park are both great for our Foster Glen and Stewarts Forest residents.

Goodson Park is around the corner from our Amburn Oaks community and Pundt Park is close to Lockeridge Farms.

A picnic in the backyard is also a great option if you want to avoid the hassle of packing up and driving to the nearest park.

Family Picnic

Nature Walk
Take the family out for a walk around the neighborhood! Our communities are very safe and are the perfect place to take an afternoon stroll. This is a great way for you and your family to get some exercise and the perfect opportunity for your little ones to get out some extra energy. Challenge yourself to take a different path each time you go out for a walk to really explore your neighborhood. See if you can walk down every street in your community before the end of the summer.

Nature Walk

Go to your community Pool
If you’re a resident of our Lakes of Bella Terra, Stewarts Forest or Inverness communities, take advantage of the community amenities and visit the pool! The pool is always a great family-friendly summer activity. Plus you get to enjoy the luxury of a pool without having to maintain it.

Lakes of Bella Terra Pool

Create an Outdoor Game Space
Grand View Builders homes have plenty of lawn space, so take advantage of the green space and set up a game center in your front or back yard. Whether you want to play splash games or you prefer corn hole, croquet or kickball, turn your backyard into your very own game center for the afternoon.

Outdoor Games

These are just a few ideas to have fun without going too far away from home. Tell us what you do in and around your home to keep busy during the summer months on our Facebook page!

April 9th, 2014

Buying While Selling

Categories: Home Tips, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , ,
This post was written by: Ashley Tucker

Simultaneously buying and selling a home can be a daunting task.  Closing for both houses on the same day would be ideal, for it provides a seamless transition, but more often than not, the timing of buying and selling homes tend to not work out so perfectly.  Grand View Builders understands that successful house hunting that requires buying and selling properties simultaneously is an extremely busy time.  Our years of experience working with buyers and sellers have lent us useful insight into this situation so many homebuyers and sellers find themselves in.

buy/sell

 

 

Families who are buying and selling a homes simultaneously often find themselves in one of these situations:  temporarily not owning a home if you sell your current house before you are able to purchase another or owning two houses at the same time if you purchase a new home before you have sold your current house.

If selling a home before you’ve bought a home is the scenario you find yourself in, you have a couple of options.

  - In short-term situations, it’s popular for the new homeowners to rent back their home to you. A contract will need to be drawn up stating the length of the rental period (normally 30 days) and the renter is responsible for covering certain fees.  In most cases, renters will be asked to pay the price of the mortgage, homeowners insurance, property taxes and utilities.

- If you’ve sold your home and suspect it’ll be more than a month before moving into a new house, you should consider moving in with loved ones.  If that isn’t an option, a short leased apartment or extended-stay hotel are both popular options for temporary housing.

If you buy your new home without selling your old one first, you’ll find yourself doubling up on many costs, including a mortgage, if your old house isn’t paid off, as well as insurance and utility bills.  Below are some loan options available to help deal with the extra financial duties, if cash is not readily available.

  - Tapping into your home equity is the best way to get a down payment for the new house if you do not have the cash flow available. The interest rate for a home equity line of credit is based on your credit score and the interest is tax deductible up to $100,000.

  - A bridge loan is a viable option if tapping into the equity of your home is not possible.  This loan allows you to borrow money for a down payment on the new home.  The loan amount will be dependent upon the amount of equity you have in your first house.

The Grand View team wishes you the best of luck during the purchase and selling of your homes! For those still on the lookout for the perfect house be sure to take a look at our communities today!

April 2nd, 2014

This vs. That: Kitchen Countertops

Categories: Home Tips, Kitchen, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , ,
This post was written by: Ashley Tucker

When it comes to buying a home there are numerous decisions that come into play in order to help make your home special and fit your personality and needs.  Throughout the years, Grand View Builders has built hundreds of homes with a variety of different finishings. Below are some pros and cons to different materials available for kitchen countertops.

Granite

Granite is a beautiful countertop choice and has become increasingly popular over the years.  Granite countertops are available in a variety of colors and patterns, which suit a range of personal styles. In addition to its beauty, granite also stands up well to heat and does not scratch easily, making it one of the more durable countertop options. Unfortunately, because granite is a heavier and more luxurious option compared to other countertop surface materials, it is also more costly. More money is spent on building sturdy cabinet boxes to support the weight of the granite countertops and the actual stone is more expensive since it is a natural material.  Additionally, it’s necessary to have granite resealed every two to three years to protect the surface from stains.

granite counter

Laminate

Although laminate has not always been considered the most stylish option, laminate countertops are now available in a variety of colors and patterns. Come colors and patterns mimic popular materials such as stone and butcher block, which have made it a more popular choice in many homes. Typically ranging from $10 to $30 per square foot, laminate is an affordable option that requires very little maintenance and is easy to clean.

laminate counter

 

 

Tile

Tile countertops come in a variety of shapes, sizes and colors allowing it to pair nicely with the interior décor style of your home.  Much like granite, tiles tend to resist stains and don’t scratch or knick easily. If the tiles on your counter do happen to crack or chip, it is fairly easy and inexpensive to replace those individual tiles, much more economically feasible than having to replace an entire countertop.  Tiled countertops make for an uneven surface, which can be an issue depending on the type of cooking, baking and food preparation you do.  Also, the grout between tiles is more susceptible to staining and bacterial growth.

tile counter

 

 

Butcher Block

Butcher block is fitting for traditionally styled homes and has a classic look that is becoming more and more popular in kitchens. It appeals to many people because of its natural, neutral appearance and the variety of wood tones and patterns it is available in.  Unlike the stronger surfaces of tile, granite and laminate, butcher block is easily knicked; however, the dents and scratches tend to blend into the natural wood pattern.  Because wood swells and contracts with moisture and heat, butcher block countertops are prone to bacteria build up and will need to be cleaned and disinfected frequently.

butcher block

 

Price, maintenance and durability are all factors that should be considered when deciding on the proper countertop surface. Keep this information in mind when house hunting and deciding what countertop surface is best for you and your home.  Be sure to follow us on Facebook and Twitter to share what countertops you have in your home!

 

November 20th, 2013

Thanksgiving Tips

Categories: Uncategorized | This post was written by: Grand View Builders

The holiday season is upon us! The staff at Grand View Builders wants to share some Thanksgiving tips with all of you.  Whether you’re hosting family at your home, traveling for the holidays or searching for the perfect holiday recipes, Grand View Builders has some pointers for you!

Holiday House Guests
If you’re like us, the week before our Thanksgiving guests arrive is spent cleaning and decorating the house.  We add decorations to the exterior of our house to add some extra holiday cheer, but the majority of our preparation goes into cleaning the kitchen (make sure your turkey carving knife is sharp!) and preparing the guest bedroom.

We’ve got some tips to help you make your guest room feel warm and inviting.  Store extra blankets, towels and robes in a basket and place it visibly in the room so guests have everything they need to freshen up on arrival.  You can make the bed look like a five-star hotel bed by using plush bedding, layering pillows and adding pops of color.  Top the bed with an overload of pillows that are different colors and fabrics.  These things are sure to make your guests feel right at home!

bedroom

Hostess Gifts
If you’re traveling to a relative’s home for the holidays, you should give the hostess a gift.  According to the Huffington Post, the price point for the gift should stay around $20 and should reflect the season.

Our favorites hostess gifts include the beaded leaves table runner, pumpkin scented soaps and turkey salt and pepper shakers.  Find more gift ideas here.

scented soap

Kitchen Preparation

There’s always a good chunk of time spent in the kitchen when you’re hosting the Thanksgiving Day meal at your home, which means your dishwasher will be put to good use!  Here are some instructions and tips for keeping your dishwasher clean and odor-free.

dishwasher

We love traditional Thanksgiving food and we’re sure you have your favorite recipes that you always cook, but be sure to properly put away and store your leftovers so they stay fresh.  You can keep the party going by using the leftovers in other recipes.  Try making turkey and mashed potato potpies or turkey chili with cornbread topping.

pumpkin pie

Grand View Home Builders hopes these tips help make your Thanksgiving a bit easier and stress-free!

November 13th, 2013

“You Share, We Give” with USO Fort Hood

Categories: Uncategorized | This post was written by: Grand View Builders

Grand View Builders appreciates all men and women serving in the military and understands it can be a difficult transition for veterans returning home, which is why we are pleased to be contributing to USO Fort Hood for this month’s “You Share, We Give” campaign.

Over the last three months, Grand View Builders has donated to Operation Homefront, Lone Star Veterans Association and Grace After Fire. Our donations would not have been possible without your help, though! We hope that you join us again and help support this month’s military organization by sharing our Facebook post about this campaign. Help us reach 500 shares before November 30 and we will donate $1,000 to USO Fort Hood!

"You Share, We Give" USO Fort Hood

USO Fort Hood’s mission is to lift the morale of military troops and their families. They do so through programs including USO in a box, USO operation phone home and families of the fallen support.  Fort Hood welcomes any and all volunteers for these programs and any of their other programs.  You can volunteer at your local USO center and provide support to military families and returning veterans.

Veterans make up an important segment of our country and are present throughout communities across the nation. Grand View Builders is proud to raise awareness and support our veterans in their civilian lives.

Visit the Grand View Builders Facebook page to share our “You Share, We Give” campaign!

October 9th, 2013

Stress-Free Moving With Pets

Categories: Family Activities, Home Tips, Uncategorized | Tags: , , ,
This post was written by: Grand View Builders

Grand View Builders offers custom homes, move-in ready homes as well as numerous home communities throughout the greater Houston area.  We understand that looking for, or building, the perfect house is only part of the process. Moving into your new, beautiful home can be a busy, stressful event for both you and your furry four-legged friends.

Grand View Builders wants to make your moving process as smooth as possible.  Here are some useful tips that will make moving stress-free for you and your pets!

Before the Move:

- Ensure that your pet feels safe and secure during the move. Use a crate or carrier for the car ride, no matter how long of a drive it may be.

- Ask for veterinary records to receive a current copy of your pet’s vaccinations to have on hand. This will be useful if you will need to switch veterinaries once you move.

- It is important to keep all your pet’s medications, food and water with you during the move so they are easily accessible during the transition.

- If you feel that the excitement of moving will make your pet nervous or uneasy, consider boarding him/her during the transition.

For more tips, check out this article.

Moving with pets

Once you and your family have moved into your new house, your pet will need time to adjust to the new environment.  Here are our recommendations to help with the adjustment.

For Cats:

- It is very important to update your cat’s tags with your new contact information after the move.

- Unplug dangling cords so your cat doesn’t chew on the cords and risk electric shock.

- Be sure to close any holes or crawl spaces and keep doors and windows shut to prevent your cat from escaping or getting lost in your new neighborhood.

- Put comfort items, such as a worn t-shirt with your scent, next to the cat’s food, water and litter box. This will let your cat know you are close by in this new environment.

For Dogs:

- Just like you did for your cat, be sure to update your dog’s tags with your new contact information as soon as possible.

- Even if your dog typically stays outside, it is a good idea to walk your dog through the house so he can get used to the new smells and feel comfortable in the new environment.

- Take your dog for walks in your new neighborhood.

- Once you’ve designated a place to keep food and water, show your pup his/her new dining area and it’ll feel right at home.

Moving with dogs

If you’ve moved a long distance, you should ask neighbors and friends to recommend veterinarians to you.  If you live or are moving to the Greater Houston area, these are a few of the veterinarians close to our communities: West Davis Veterinary Clinic, Greatwood Veterinary Hospital and Northpointe Animal Hospital.

Grand View Builders wants to make every part of your home buying and moving process as easy as possible for you, your family and your furry friends too!

July 17th, 2013

Refreshing Summer Treats That Don’t Require the Oven

Categories: Uncategorized | This post was written by: Grand View Builders

The Texas summer heat continues to rise as temperatures reach well into the 100’s. Keeping your house cool during the summer months is a tough task, so causing your house to heat up even more with the oven is definitely an unwanted chore. Summer is a time of indulgence so we are sharing some of our favorite summer treats that not only taste good, but also keep your ovens off and house cool.

A fruity, cold Popsicle is one of our favorite summer treats. No need to head to the store to buy popsicles when you can make them yourself at home. You can buy a popsicle mold and make homemade treats with a packet of your favorite favor of Kool-Aid or Crystal light mix. Just stir up the drink mix, pour into the form and freeze for a couple of hours for quick and easy refreshing treats. You can also add in some pieces of fresh fruit to make the treat even more refreshing. For more recipes, check out Real Simple’s list here.

Popsicle mold

Another great summer treat that doesn’t require the oven is a “Dirt Cake”. This pudding-based “cake” is a fun and easy recipe the whole family will enjoy. Start by making a couple of batches of your favorite flavor of pudding. (We recommend chocolate to resemble dirt.) In a tall glass bowl, start by scooping a layer of pudding, followed by a layer of crushed Oreo cookies. Add in gummy worms and continue to layer your bowl until you run out of pudding. Top your cake with the rest of your Oreo cookie crumbles and a few exposed gummy worms and enjoy!

Dirt Cake

Staying hydrated during the summer months is a must! Pull out your blender and make a watermelon slushy, a fresh fruit smoothie or an ice cream milk shake to expand your summer drink options. Blend, shake or stir up hundreds of combinations using your favorite ingredients to create your perfect summer snack.

Watermelon Slush

We hope you will enjoy these refreshing summer treats that keep your ovens off and homes cool!

May 8th, 2013

Graduation Party Home Prep

Categories: Uncategorized | This post was written by: Grand View Builders

As graduation time comes upon us again this May and June, your home will be opened to family, friends and classmates to celebrate the your graduate’s achievements. Regardless what milestone you are celebrating – high school, college, grad school, kindergarten – you will want your home and yard ready for your party goers. We’ve gathered some great tips that we found from Pinterest that will help you receive an A+ from your guests!

Grass Twister

This game is sure to be different from the ones played at other graduation parties! Pick up four different colored spray-paints from any local hardware store.  Make six even circles of each color in a line in your yard. You can use the spinning wheel from your old twister, try and make your own or just write the possible movements on slips of paper and pull them out of a hat. This game will excite all party guests, and, don’t worry, the paint will be gone the next time you mow the lawn.

Photo Scrapbook

Display the graduate’s school picture from each year throughout your home and party areas. If you don’t have the official school picture, try finding a different picture for every year. The pictures can be of the graduate alone, with family or friends, sweet pictures or embarrassing ones (if the graduate approves)! The photo display will help guests and your graduate see the transformation over the years.

Words of Wisdom

Set out pens and paper, books, streamers, etc. and encourage each guest that attends to write something inspirational or give advice of when they were in your graduate’s shoes. The tips can be used as decoration for the party and can also be a keepsake for your graduate after the guests leave. Whether they are headed to college or off to the “real world,” these words from friends and family can be pulled out during a tough time in the next chapter of their life.

Treats

Even your treats can be kept in the graduation theme for your party! A great idea for an edible treat is edible graduation caps. Cut squares out of black paper and glue pieces of string, or anything that can resemble a tassel, to one side of the paper squares. Then, glue the other side to the bottom of a (still-wrapped) mini Reese’s peanut butter cup. You can display them in a large, clear bowl, such as below, to add to your décor.

Pick a theme

Make the celebration reflect your graduate by incorporating their interests. You can use their school colors, make cookies in the shape of the sport they played or show off their new profession, such as the doctor’s party pictured below. These little touches will help to make the party more memorable to your guests and your graduate.

Share your fun and different graduation party ideas with us on our Facebook page and remember to share these tips with anyone you know that is hosting a graduation party!

April 3rd, 2013

Gardening as a Family

Categories: Uncategorized | This post was written by: Grand View Builders

Gardening is a great year round activity for your entire family to enjoy together. With this guide from Southern Living, you can try planting something new each month. This April, as National Gardening Month begins, we’ve compiled a few tips to help get the youngest members of your family actively involved in gardening!

Spring Gardening with Grand View Builders-Look in the children’s section of your library or bookstore for both gardening how-to books and storybooks. Ready, Set, Grow! A Guide to Gardening, by Suzanne Frutig Bales, teaches youngsters about specific plants. Kids Garden! by Avery Hart and Paul Mantell includes information on “sowing and growing” as well as activities for kids ages 4 and up. For more child-friendly gardening ideas, use this guide.

-Purchase child-sized tools from a local nursery or garden center. Find tools that look genuine so the kids will feel like real gardeners. Try local retailers like Lowes and Home Depot, who carry tools in a wide variety of sizes and colors.

-Let your children discover gardening through all of their senses. Plant large flowers, like sunflowers, and small flowers, like daisies, so they can see the difference in sizes. Allow them to taste their hard work by planting vegetables such as cherry tomatoes. Plant fragrant flowers or herbs including peonies, lavender, chocolate or pineapple mint. Have your children feel the different textures of leaves, stems and dirt. Once your garden begins to grow, encourage your children to listen as the noises from birds and bugs begin to grow as well!

Gardening as a Family-If you’re not ready to dedicate a space in your backyard to a garden, start small. Window boxes or containers, because of their small size, can actually turn out to be rather luxurious gardens. You can also try recycling clean bleach and milk containers. Cut off their tops and use them as planters.

-For an extended project, teach your kids how to compost. Find a place behind a tree or dig a hole in the ground. Toss in rinds and peels from fruit, coffee grounds, tea bags and eggshells. After several months, when it becomes black and crumbly, you can mix it with soil and use it as fertilizer for your garden.

If you enjoyed these tips, be sure to share them with your friends on Facebook!

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