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April
5

Going Green: 6 Tips for Planting Your Spring Garden

Spring fever has come with the arrival of some warmer days and longer hours of daylight. This is the time people start to dream about rejuvenating the outdoor garden and picturing beautiful landscapes. Mulch, weeds and other things can get in the way of the dream garden. Learn more about how to choose the right plants to boost the appeal of a home garden that everyone can enjoy.

Plant a Spring Garden in Indian Lake

Dirt Matters

A soil test is the best way to see what is going on underneath the dirt in the yard. The local agricultural extension office can provide helpful information such as what will grow and how to improve the soil quality. Some of the follow are tips to help get started:

  • Add organic matter to the soil
  • Start a compost pile or add bags of composted manure
  • If soil is drained, plants that tolerate wetness are recommended or a dry creek bed can be installed to prevent standing water

 

Tree Challenges

The trees planted in a person's yard can make a huge difference to the health of a garden. Some trees drop seeds all over and others can dwarf a person's house over time. It is important to select a shrub or tree for the garden with the following considerations in mind:

  • Size
  • Form
  • Habit
  • Avoid planting trees with weak limbs or susceptible to pests

 

Know the Garden

There is more to a garden than 'full sun' and 'partial shade.' Too much sunlight can burn foliage and compromise plant health. Too little sun can make plants weak. Selecting plants that thrive for a person's specific conditions is key to making the whole thing work properly.

  • Eight or more hours of direct sun is a perfect spot for vegetables, fruit trees and most flowers
  • Partial to full shade is most ideal for growing perennials, ferns and small trees typically found in the understory of a forest

 

Have Confidence

Look for healthy plants. Inspect foliage at the place of purchase and check the plant for firmness along with healthy roots. The best place to buy is a local garden center or online from reputable nurseries.

 

Four Seasons

Choose a variety of plants to start that offer interest at different times of the year. Summer-blooming plants like canna, coneflowers and guara keep showing until fall while others can take over as fall foliage. Winter plants like trees can add architectural beauty through the colder months.

 

Divide and Conquer

Some of the best plants are perennials or ornamental grasses that can be divided up to grow across a garden over the years. Digging up and dividing plants help keep them actively growing. A healthy amount of water helps keep the plants establish in the ground and grow healthy. This is best done every two years to support a cohesive look to a person's garden.

 

Spring gardening has endless possibilities. Be sure to try the above tips to find the best ways to help grow a sustainable, interesting garden for years to come.


July
13

Taking an outdoor space from drab to fab does not have to cost a fortune. Any space can be made over with some simple tips for creating the look and feel of a brand new space which is easy on the wallet and freshens things up a bit.

 

Shape Matters

Tables and chairs can make a space wonderful for hosting friends and family outside. Consider a circular or oval-shaped table rather than square or rectilinear. Rounded tables make for easy access around the space and accommodate additional guests without a fuss without putting anyone into a corner.

 

Garden Walls

Most people focus energy on improving the ground space in a garden. Fences and walls can offer a wonderful design opportunity for the right space. Repurposing what already exists into planters, for example, can spruce up a patio and add a different look and feel. Small patios especially benefit from creating the perception of more space.

 

Top to Bottom

The top of a garden wall can be just as important as the ground space or erected walls. Planters can create a new look while providing a screen for any less-than-desirable views or privacy curtain from neighbors. The idea also works for someone who wants to plant more than available ground space provides. Utilizing more space can create flow and balance in the garden while putting some carpentry skills to use in the process.

 

Noise

Depending on where a person lives, the sounds in one's backyard may incorporate elements of nature such as chirping birds and buzzing bees. If this is not the case, including sounds from nature can help nurture the mind and soul. Including a fountain with running water which provides relaxation, masks traffic and other unwanted noise from the outside world. A free-standing fountain can provide just the right atmosphere with do-it-yourself kits available at many nurseries.

 

Draperies

Curtains or draperies can add softness and sun protection while also providing privacy. Cozy up a space with outdoor fabric for areas exposed to the elements. Panels with weighted bottoms don't blow around in a breeze and sheers provide nice protection from sun and rain while keeping bugs at bay.

 

Lights

A string of lights is an inexpensive way to transform an outdoor space. Design options are many from small to large, round to decorative. Paper lanterns are also an option in a covered area with less exposure to the elements for a fun, decorative patio.

 

Personalize

Take creative license to express personal taste with vintage finds or spruce it up with some artwork such as a mural. Friends and family will cherish the personal touch and style.

 

Reuse

The attic, basement and garage may hold underused pieces to make the outdoor patio shine. Hanging baskets can be made from old colanders or old crates can be made into a planter. The sky really is the limit on making a patio shine with just a few personal touches.

 

Get more advice on simple and inexpensive ways to give life to your patio!

Contact one of our agents today.

May
31

Indian Lake Properties For Sale

A veggie box on stilts can make it easier to plant and harvest crops and is portable to move as needed around the yard for prime growing conditions. Learn how to start a veggie box in the garden with seeds and a small container to grow the plants.

 

Getting Started

The first step to getting started with a veggie box is the seed tray. Tomatoes, peppers and greens are best planted in seed trays or small plastic pots. Fill each pot or tray with soil, tamp down and lightly water. Make an indentation to put seedlings in. Cover up the hole with a little bit of soil and pat gently into place. Label each tray with the plant name and date. Label by row if planting many kinds of plants. Use a tray to place the seedling containers into for a better way of keeping soil moist.

 

Transplanting

When leaves first emerge are actually cotyledons, which provide food for seedlings. True leaves have a different appearance than cotyledons. Once the actual leaves come in, it is fine to transfer plants to temporary 4-inch pots, directly to a planting box or container.

 

Making the Box

Lettuces, greens, radishes, beets, strawberries and herbs are best suited to a 16-by-24 inch planting box. Beginners should work with an experienced woodworker the first few times to ensure safety while using equipment such as saws and drills. The following will be needed to get started:

  • 1-by-4-inch redwood, cedar or other untreated wood planks cut into various sizes

  • Six planks 16 inches long (to make short sides of the box)

  • Six planks 24 inches long (to make long sides of the box)

  • Five planks 23 inches long (to make base of the box)

  • 2-by-2-inch redwood, cedar, other untreated wood cut into various sizes

  • Four pieces 24 inches long (for the legs)

  • Two pieces 12 inches long (to reinforce base of the box)

 

Tools

Having some tools of the trade will help in construction of the boxes. It may be helpful to work with a friend who already has the tools to save money and have fun making the boxes together.

  • Tape measure

  • Carpenter's Square

  • Pencil

  • Saw

  • Power drill

  • ⅛ inch drill bit

  • Screwdriver

  • 1 ⅝ inch outdoor deck screws (24-30)

  • Work gloves and eye safety goggles

  • Clamps, power screwdriver, jigsaw and chop saw are optional

 

Constructing the box can take some skill and practice but once it is done, the box will be a great way to get the veggie garden started.

 

Planting

Buy six-packs of seedlings or grow at home. Either way, the best way to begin is filling the box with potting soil. Water until damp, then lift baby plant from seed tray using a fork or spoon. Hold the plant carefully by the root ball and avoid mishandling the leaves or stem. Place plants in a new container, press soil firmly around. Watch the veggies grow before harvesting!

 

Get more advice on veggie planting this summer!

Contact one of our agents today.

November
10

Want to give your home a face lift but don't have a magically refilling wallet? With a budget of about $5,000 and a solid game plan, you can get a fresh new feel for your home this winter!

Home Improvements on a Budget

When working with limited funds, it's best to focus on the kitchen and bathrooms. These are the areas which are used the most, and if there's a chance you'll be selling your home anytime in the future, these are also the areas that buyers will show the most scrutiny over. With some finesse, you can even look at adding living space by enhancing your available outdoor areas.

Kitchens

A functional kitchen is a beautiful kitchen so start by assessing your cabinet situation. How practical are they? Could you use deeper cupboards? Taller? Wine-racks and spice storage might be beneficial, as well as a walk-in pantry to not only make better use of the space, but give you better control over your food supplies. Knowing what you have on hand will ultimately help out your grocery bill!

If you're happy with the cabinetry, other areas you can consider upgrading/updating are lighting and plumbing fixtures. Again, look for replacements that are not only 'pretty' but have 'green' benefits. These will eventually pay you back in utility bill savings, not to mention you can claim eco upgrades on your taxes. Win-win: help the environment AND put money in your pocket.

Bathrooms

Carry the green theme into your bathrooms. Update lighting and plumbing. While you're at it, consider giving the outdated tub/shower a facelift. Nothing says luxury like a tiled shower area, complete with a bench and a shelf area to house your assorted soaps and shampoos.

Outdoor Improvements

Create an outdoor living area to give your usable living space a boost. Actually building on new rooms can get quite costly, but a few dollars can go a long way toward turning a bland patio into an oasis. Things you'll want to keep in mind when creating your outdoor escape:

  • granite, pavers, or flagstone for the 'floor'

  • mulch landscape beds for visual appeal (if you don't have landscaping, consider a few potted plants)

  • provide shade by building a pergola or installing a retractable awning

  • if in a hot climate, consider installing outdoor fans and/or a misting system

  • water features will help with temperature as well, and can provide an audible escape


If you're looking to bring some life and energy to your home, a $5,000 budget can add quite a bit of flair and improvement to your house. Homes in Logan County are always beautiful but the upgrades keep them fresh. If you've recently updated your home, let us know!  Send us a picture and we'll feature it on our blog!

 

For more tips on how to upgrade your home with the buyer in mind.

Contact one of our agents for special advice.

 

October
7

Getting back to nature is a wonderful thing. However, looking out your front window to see the local wildlife destroying your landscaping and foraging off your heirloom varietals isn't. 

You can do something extreme—like put up a ten foot fence to keep them out. This might work, maybe . . . but you'd be surprised how resourceful and agile animals can be. You could go to your local outdoor store and procure bottles of assorted wild animal urine to spray around as a deterrent. Again, it works for a short time, but is not a long-term solution (and who really wants to mess around with feral urine?). Another, more viable, option is to revisit your landscaping choices. Use nature to outwit natural animal tendencies.

Ground covers are practical, versatile, and affordable. While there are hundreds of ground cover options, only a handful can stand up to deer. Most deer-resistant covers are highly invasive, so you want to plant responsibly; i.e., if you don't have a lot of deer or other foragers, you may want to forgo these or risk having your property overrun.  These plants can help keep deer out of your garden this season.

 

1. Eastern Teaberry (Gaultheria procumbens)

  • Also known as wintergreen

  • Native to cold-weather climates of the eastern U.S.

  • Has small urn-shaped flowers in the Spring, followed by red berries; in the Fall, its evergreen foliage is bronze-tinged

  • Needs rich, acidic soil and is a good choice for growing around azaleas, hydrangeas and rhododendrons.

 

2. Kinnikinnick (Arctostaphylos uva-ursi)

  • Also known as bearberry

  • Sun-loving option as majority of deer-resistant, non invasive groundcovers prefer shade

  • A type of wild manzanita that grows as a low, spreading mat on the West Coast. East Coasters: look for cultivars taken from the eastern subspecies, such as 'Massachusetts'

  • Has the same evergreen foliage and smooth reddish bark manzanitas are known for

 

3. Dwarf Plumbago (Ceratostigma plumbaginoides)

  • Also known as leadwort

  • Sun tolerant

  • Tough, well-behaved, easy-to-grow ground cover from China

  • Foliage with sky-blue flowers which appear sporadically from midsummer through fall.

  • With the first frost of fall, the foliage becomes tinged with a burgundy color

  • Can aggressively spread with rich soil and lots of moisture

WARNING: Wear gloves when pruning or handling the plant as contact may cause dermatitis.

 

4. Barrenwort (Epimedium spp.)

  • Also known as horny goat weed

  • Tough ground cover which thrives in shady areas under large trees

  • Spreads at a moderate rate but not considered aggressive or invasive

  • Has heart-shaped leaves and hat-like flowers

  • For resisiting deer, look for varieties such as 'Sulphureum' or red barrenwort

 

5. Pachysandra  (Pachysandra spp.)

  • Most common form used is also known as Japanese spurge

  • High degree of shade tolerance

  • One of the cold-hardiest evergreen ground covers

  • Can be aggressive with growth under ideal conditions

WARNING: Pachysandra is poisonous and should not be used where there is a concern that children, pets, or livestock may consume it.

 

6. Sweet Woodruff (Galium odoratum)

  • Also known as wild baby's breath

  • Native to Europe but used in the Northeast US as deer avoid eating it despite the sweet fragrance it emits.  

 

Get more advice on keeping deer and other citters out of your garden.

Contact one of our agents today.

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