The Holm Group Real Estate Blog

Below you will find a number of articles that we have written over the past few years for your review. In addition to these articles please feel free to go to our blog page as you will find additional articles and up to date community information there as well.



Creative Ways to Enhance Your Phoenix Landscape

Creative Ways to Enhance Your Phoenix Landscape

Creative Ways to Enhance Your Phoenix Landscape


Creative Ways to Enhance Your Phoenix Landscape

By John Williams


Here in the Valley of the Sun, homeowners face a dilemma. We have a climate that allows for year-round outdoor leisure but is challenging for many landscapes. The high heat and low levels of rain can contribute to shaggy, unkempt-looking yards. But with a little vision and foresight, your yard can look its best all the time. Follow these creative ways to enhance your landscape in Phoenix, and you can’t go wrong.

Decrease Turf Areas

The section of the landscape that suffers the most in the arid desert environment is your lawn. The easiest way to combat this is to reduce turf areas by adding walkways, hardscapes, and increasing planting beds in place of turf. You can also replace turf areas with drought-hardy grass varieties such as midiron or Bermudagrass.

Go Native

White desert plumbago. Credit: Andreanna Moya, Flickr

In flower beds and planting areas, work with our region instead of against it. Planting native and adapted species minimizes the need for irrigation. It also gives you a lower-maintenance landscape that looks great. Consider agaves, white desert plumbago, yuccas, desert fairy duster, and the many species of cacti that thrive here.

Lighten Up

During winter, the sun goes down early, but the temperatures are comfortable enough that you’ll want to linger outside. Add lighting to your landscape so you can enjoy nights on the patio, deck, and poolside. A bonus? Well-lit landscapes are safer, and good lighting design lends your landscape an entirely new dimension.

Embrace Modern Design

One of the hottest trends in Phoenix landscapes is a move toward modernism. Swap out a kidney-shaped pool for a geometric pool with right angles. Same goes for planting beds: Arrange plants and trees in masses, and use intense color in your landscape elements.


Sometimes mistakenly referred to “zero-scaping,” this is the practice of using plants and elements that reduce the need for water. Skillfully designed xeriscapes incorporate drought-tolerant plants into gravel or granite-filled beds and planters. Use these to create geometric designs and interesting patterns and textures to complement your home.

Go Pale in the Sun

The heat in Phoenix presents a problem for even the best gardener. The rays of the sun beat down and absorb into darker materials, which then reflect and amplify that heat. From paving to mulch, use lighter-tones, and you’ll be rewarded with less reflected heat. This is especially true poolside, where dark paving can make a short walk to the pool painful.

Create Cover

Pergolas, gazebos, umbrellas, and shade sails all enhance areas where you may want to sit outside. The more shade you create, the more likely you and your guests will want to spend long hours basking outdoors. No matter how much you enjoy the sunshine, you’ll like it more when you’re not baking in it.

The best thing about some of these simple enhancements is that they can only add to the value of your home. Even more important in the short term? They’ll increase your level of enjoyment of your home, which is priceless.


John Williams is an outdoor living expert and explorer. When he’s not traveling to nature’s most well-known beauty spots, he tends to the greenery surrounding his home.

More Great Press From AZ Big Media

More Great Press From AZ Big Media

Platinum Living Realty adds 3

Platinum Living Realty, an independent luxury real estate brokerage with four offices across Arizona, announced that Carrie Maxwell-Ellison has joined their brokerage. Carrie is a veteran retailer with 16 years of real estate experience to assist those looking to buy or sell a home.

“We are thrilled to have Carrie join Platinum Living Realty,” said Michelle Macklin, co-owner of Platinum Living Realty. “Carrie is passionate about helping others make the most of their opportunities in this market and is always in touch with what’s happening in the Anthem community.”

Carrie spent much of her childhood moving across the country for her father’s employment, and when the time came to set down roots to raise her family, she chose Arizona. She says she loves living in the North Valley because of the breathtaking scenery and the friendly spirit of the community.

“I love where I live in Anthem, and nothing is more rewarding than helping others make the most of this incredible lifestyle,” said Maxwell-Ellison. “By joining Platinum Living Realty, I’ll be better equipped to help my clients achieve their goals and love where they live, too.”

• Platinum Living Realty also announced that The Holm Group has joined their brokerage. Based out of Platinum Living Realty’s DC Ranch office in Scottsdale, Andrew Holm of The Holm Group brings twenty years of real estate experience to assist those looking to buy or sell a home. With deep roots in Scottsdale, the Holm Group is a nationally recognized team of real estate specialists who share the mission of providing the most professional, informative, reliable, and dedicated service in the industry.

“We are pleased to have Andrew and The Holm Group join Platinum Living Realty,” said Michelle Macklin, co-owner of Platinum Living Realty. “Andrew has countless testimonials from clients about his ability to make the home-buying or -selling process a breeze, and we are proud to partner with him.”

“After eighteen years of working with the same brokerage, I’m excited to be joining Platinum Living Realty,” said Andrew Holm, owner of The Holm Group. “What convinced me to make the change was the coaching and expertise that owners Jay and Michelle offer. Real estate is a constantly changing industry, so it is important to be able to learn new strategies to best serve your clients.”

• Platinum Living Realty also announced that Shaun Kelly has joined their brokerage. Based out of Platinum Living Realty’s DC Ranch office in Scottsdale, Shaun will have access to the brokerage’s tools and coaching to further assist his clients in achieving their real estate goals.

“We are pleased to welcome Shaun to Platinum Living Realty,” said Jay Macklin, co-owner of Platinum Living Realty. “Shaun straight-forward and no-nonsense attitude will be a huge asset as he helps people navigate Arizona’s real estate market.”

“Being a realtor is not just about the sale or purchase of the house, as my goal is always ensuring that my clients are happy about the entire process and the end result,” said Shaun Kelly. “Joining Platinum Living Realty will only accentuate my ability to solidify my client relationships and help them achieve their goals.”

For the full article:


Six Plants Perfect for Freshening Up Your Bathrooms

Six Plants Perfect for Freshening Up Your Bathrooms

Six Plants Perfect for Freshening Up Your Bathrooms

Six Plants Perfect for Freshening Up Your Bathrooms


It’s easy to find space in your house to grow small plants. But as easy as it is, most people are unaware of the benefits to be had by getting a few and adding them to your home’s ecosystem.

Plants are silent friends that provide aesthetic value as well as certain health benefits to our lives. While landscaping is a great way of increasing the value and appearance of properties, the advantages of indoor plants include health benefits like reducing stress and helping the body release oxytocin (known as a happiness hormone). They absorb carbon dioxide from our surroundings and release the oxygen.

An excess of carbon dioxide in the air can contribute to anxiety, depression and other health related issues, leaving a stress-inducing environment in your house and bathrooms. Studies have shown that plants improve concentration and enhance the attention and creativity. Similarly, a plant with broad leaves on your table or work place could help your productivity by contributing to improved mood. Last but not the least, plants also works as little humidity regulators.

There are many plants which can easily be maintained as indoor plants. The best part is that they don’t require much extra effort and can be easily placed around the house with just a little bit of strategic and occasional care. All you need is to buy already-grown plants and bring your new little friends home.

Some of the best indoor plants to consider for your bathroom are the following:

  • Aloe Vera
  • Lavender
  • Mother-in-law’s tongue (also known as Snake Plant)
  • Spider plant
  • Cactus
  • Pothos

Aloe Vera

Aloe Vera is a green plant with no stem. It has thick greenish leaves which emerge from the center of the plant. The edges of the leaf have small tooth-like serrations.

To care for your Aloe plant, place it in a location that offers indirect or artificial sunlight. Avoid direct sunlight as it will dry out the plant. Aloe doesn’t require very much watering.

Aloe works as an air purifier by removing formaldehyde and benzene from the air.



Lavender is a plant with purple or deep blue flowers and silvery-green leaves. Lavender has a pleasant aroma that can help reduce the impact of bathroom odor. Place the lavender in a place with plenty of sunlight. It can also live with artificial light but it better be close – to the tune of 6-12 inches away that is.

With lavender, the container you use is important. Look for one that will be one or two inches larger than the root ball of the plant.

For the first three months lavender needs regular watering until it adapts to its new location. But don’t water it every day. Check it after a couple of days and decide if it needs water by feeling the soil. Flooding the plant will kill it.

Lavender is a great choice for homes with smokers as it efficiently eliminates benzene from the air found in cigarette smoke.

Mother-in-Law’s Tongue (Snake Plant)

Mother-in-Law’s Tongue (also known as Snake Plant) should be located in a place that offers medium to high light. Beyond that, the plant doesn’t require too much attention.

Snake Plant has rhizomes that store a significant amount of water, so frequent watering is not needed. Just periodically check the soil to know when it needs to be watered. If the soil at the bottom of the pot is dry, the plant needs to be watered.

Snake plant’s leaves purify the air by absorbing toxins providing a continuous supply of fresh oxygen twenty-four hours a day.


Spider plant

The spider plant exists in three types: Variegated, Green and Curly. The most common in these three is the variegated kind. All varieties of the spider plant produce long leaves that rise up and over the pot. The long and thin stems are called off-shoots and grow from the plant, hanging below or near the pot. The plants are often grown in hanging pots so that just the offshoots are visible.

When selecting a pot for your Spider Plant, size it according to its current growth. The soil should be light and drain well. Spider plant does well in relatively cool environments as it can tolerate a temperature as low as 35 Fahrenheit, although it will be happiest living in 70-90 F.

Water your Spider plant only when the top soil becomes dry. Avoid the use of fluoridated and chlorinated water as it is more sensitive to these chemicals than other plants. But when it comes to the air, Spider plant is a tough cookie that efficiently removes formaldehyde – a virtually omnipresent chemical that is a byproduct of the offgassing of synthetic materials.



Cactus is already well known for being uniquely capable of living in hot and dry conditions. But did you know they can live in your house as well? When it comes to indoor plants, the less maintenance the better. And cacti fit the bill.

Keep your cacti in direct sunlight for at least a few hours each day. Water them weekly when they are still in their growing stage. Avoid watering if the soil is already moist.

Cactus is a very good air purifier. It purifies the air by removing ammonia, benzene, formaldehyde and xylene from the air.


The pothos is the easiest indoor plant among all others. Pothos is a perfect indoor plant for the people who are too busy in their lives. The pothos can grow up to six or twelve feet over time. Place the pot on the table or hang it somewhere in the kitchen.

Keep the plant in bright light but not in the direct sunlight and ensure that it’s pot provides sufficient drainage.

Pothos helps purify the air by eliminating the air toxins like formaldehyde and benzene fumes which are commonly found in newly painted or furnished rooms. It also removes carbon monoxide from the air.

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