Groups are smaller communities within the larger ActiveRain. Join groups created by others. or start your own and
get others to join
FIND GROUPS TO JOIN
This is the place to view the past and present contests put on by ActiveRain and its members. Everyone can join the
group and help encourage each other. Current contest will be highlighted posts so it's easy for you all to see. Let it
Curious as to what others in your profession think about a certain product or tool?
AR's community takes the time to leave honest and transparent reviews of their experiences
so you can be a bit wiser about your purchase.
Broken down by categories and subcategories for easy finds
Get an unfiltered look at what real users are saying
Leave a review yourself for others to benefit from
Add new products as you use them and gain points for doing so
ActiveRain University (ARU) provides free on-line training. We coach, consult and support real estate professionals about real estate trends, technology and social media.
ARU Calendar provides class types and registration links
Watch short tutorials on updating your photo, inserting a hyperlink and much more
Sign up for the Daily Drop so you don't miss out on AR's daily happenings
Find answers to most FAQ's
Whatever it is you're into and wherever you are, AR surely has a group for you to join.
Brand, off the wall, specific subject matters…whatever it is you're looking for.
Each time you write a post you can syndicate your post to 5 groups.
And if by chance you don't find what you're looking for, start a new group today!
Get your content in front of more eyes
Search by location or type
Feel free to start your own group
Find some that are close to home and close to heart
Each month AR runs numerous contests as a way for our members to engage in activities
that will boost their business and increase their visibility in the community and beyond.
Earn points by partaking in these contest and climb the leaderboard
Do what's good for you and your business by participating
If you have an idea for a contest, just let us know
Stay motivated and on track with new contests popping up each month
Ask a Real Estate Question
Here's another avenue for you to build relationships with others. Share your expertise with someone searching for answers.
Play the teacher role and help someone out today
Your Homepage will alert you of new questions in your state
A wonderful way to open a door to a possible new client
Ask a question yourself to get help
Find informative stats, trends and insider tips on your state, county, city or neighborhood of choice. The insightful experts of ActiveRain share with you in a way only a local resident can.
OK, there’s no denying it - Summers can be a little tough on the landscaping for Houston homes. Most days June through mid-September are at least in the 90’s, and our proximity to the coast ensures warm, humid breezes. Houstonians have perfected the art of beating the heat, of course, and we have a myriad of ways - the backyard pool, Schlitterbahn water park, our good friend air conditioning - to keep us cool.
Our plants, on the other hand, don’t have it so easy. There’s nothing sadder than watching our flowers and shrubs, planted so lovingly in the spring, wilt and wither under the Texas sun. If you’re new to the Houston area - or just need a landscaping primer - here are a few tips to help summer-proof your yard.
Start with the right plants. According to Neil Sperry’s Complete Guide to Texas Gardening, few plants have a maximum temperature above which they can’t survive, but some plants are better suited to the length and intensity of Texas summers. Tropical plants such as bouganvillas and hibiscus are popular in Houston, as they prefer temperatures 60-90 degrees. Other plants native to Texas, such as southern wax myrtle, lantana and sage, are well-suited to hot days and are drought-tolerant. Crape myrtles are also a fantastic choice - and are ubiquitous in Houston neighborhood yards. They’re hardy, relatively easy to maintain and are full of bright, colorful blossoms - even on the hottest of days.
Plant at the right time. Houston’s moderate temperatures might lead some to think the area essentially has a 10-month growing season. While Neil Sperry says plants can grow in Houston from early February to mid-December, in reality “the summer separates the two real…growing seasons with 8 or 10 weeks of [intense] heat.” July is not the time to transplant your shrubs or start cultivating roses. If your landscaping does need some filling out, focus again on those native plants mentioned above, or filling in any bald spots in your lawn with St. Augustine sod, which is generally available from spring through September.
Protect your plants from the heat. Neil Sperry recommends acclimatizing plants gradually, exposing them to heat and bright light a little at a time if possible. Other tips he recommends are: shielding new plants from reflected summer heat (i.e. from windows); using plant food with potassium to promote heat hardiness; and mulch, mulch, mulch. A layer of mulch under trees and on plant beds helps keep temperatures steady (and generally cooler in summertime), conserves water and helps prevent erosion.
Water wisely. It’s advice you’ll hear often in Texas summers: water deeply and less frequently rather than doing a quick watering job every day. To quote Neil Sperry: “Deep watering encourages deep rooting,” and deep-rooted plants are better able to withstand weather and moisture variations. Avoiding the heat of the day, of course, is also wise. Morning and evening work better, although watering too late in the day can promote fungus or other plant diseases.
Sure, summers are hot but they’re also fun, so no point spending your weekends trying to salvage landscaping that wasn’t adequately prepared for the heat. Make a moderate investment getting your Houston home and yard in shape now, and leave July to fireworks and barbecue.