With this heat, are you dreaming of adding a cool oasis in your backyard like we are? If you don’t already have a pool, Texas summers will surely have you wishing that you did, and if you’re wishing for a pool, why not wish for a top-of-the-line design?

That’s what Harold Leidner offers his clients. We asked the founder of his eponymous landscape design and maintenance firm about the latest in pool design and construction. Read on for his answers and you’ll be dreaming of your summer respite in living color!

Come see the latest in pools and landscape over on CandysDirt.com.

8676 Langdale AHidden in East Lake Highlands near Northwest Highway and Plano Road is one of the largest collections of modern houses in Dallas, and some are still affordable, like the listing at 8676 Langdale Circle.

Designed by architect Jack R. Yardley and built in 1976, this looker is listed by Brandon Stewart with David Griffin & Company for $360,000.

Located on a corner lot in the secluded enclave of Mediterranean Gardens, this house is a 2-2 with 1,795 square feet, designed by Yardley for his then mother-in-law while he lived next door. (more…)

WhittierAWe’ve found a great property that just isn’t selling, and we’re not sure why. This prairie-style, two-story house in Colleyville was listed at the end of August, and had a $25,000 price reduction in mid-October to $599,900, but still, no buyer.

Listed by Beverly Spillyards at Ebby Halliday’s Southlake office, this property at 6712 Whittier Lane is a custom-build, one of the first in the Whittier Heights subdivision in 2004. With 4,776 square feet sitting on over a third of an acre of land, this house has a lot of everything. It’s a four bedroom, four-and-a-half bathroom house with a three-car garage and all sorts of luxury details. So what’s the deal?

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Photo: Capital Distributing

Photo: Capital Distributing

When it comes to outside dining, there’s nothing quite as clever as an outdoor kitchen. If you have the space, and you live in the South — where the sun shines most days — an outside kitchen is worth the investment.

“Almost without exception, every custom home or remodel we work on today, the owner or builder either includes or plans for a future outdoor kitchen; at a minimum, [he plans for] a nice outdoor living space,” says Mike Davis, President of Capital Distributing.

In agreement with Davis, here are a few things to consider before building an outdoor living space:

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I make a lot of decisions on homes by how they look just as I drive by. Weeds in the yard? Nope! Awful paint? Eek! Mis-matched garage door? I’m outta here!

I’m not at all unlike most buyers out there, too. Major front yard faux pas can turn off potential buyers faster than bad breath on a first date! So how do you keep your home competitive in a fast-paced market such as Dallas?

Houzz, that gorgeous interior design bookmarking service, has just the thing.

Even if you are not planning to sell your home anytime soon, a fresh and welcoming exterior is a wonderful thing to come home to each day,” says Houzz contributor Laura Gaskill. “From front doors, house numbers and porch furnishings to color schemes, landscaping and basic repairs, this smorgasbord of ideas will hopefully inspire a few changes around your own home.”

Really, a lot of these ideas are no-brainers that we’ve talked about before, such as giving your front door a distinctive coat of fresh paint. Of course, be mindful of what that color says about you.

Cool tips include adding fresh, bold house numbers and clean front-porch furniture to round out a look, and adding more flowers — and perhaps replacing the front lawn with flowers. Of course, check with your HOA or historic district before you rip out your lawn and add native plants.

Check out the whole list and some of the gorgeous photos on Houzz.com.

This adorable house at 5737 Palo Pinto screams "Key West!"

I was looking over this adorable listing, 5737 Palo Pinto in the Belmead area of Lakewood, and it reminded me of something. Still, I couldn’t put my finger on it. The teal paint and umbrella, the landscaping, and the clean accents were calling from somewhere else, somewhere much more tropical. And then it hit me … it’s 100 percent Conch Republic  style!

Four bedrooms, three bathrooms, and my favorite — a claw-foot-tub! — make this home perfect for families or frequent entertainers. You’re close to White Rock Lake and tons of shopping. And don’t forget that Lakewood has some excellent schools, too.

This cute, cute, CUTE 1929 Craftsman has too many great features to list …

But I’ll try anyway! There’s an updated kitchen with stainless steel, a gorgeous masonry fireplace, and huge porches that are sure to make your dinner guests swoon as you sit outside, imagining you’re taking in the Gulf breeze. All you need is a little Jimmy Buffet and some margaritas …

Here’s the kicker: This home, marketed by Julie Boren in the ever-popular Lakewood, is priced at $549,900. Hop on over to DCAD and you’ll see that it’s appraised at $592,490. What does that mean? THIS HOUSE IS A STEAL. If the paradigm that DCAD appraisals are usually under the home’s true value, than this home must be worth around $650,000. But, it could be yours for $549,900!