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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
19

Indian Lake Properties

Indian Lake in Ohio features a 5,800 acre lake, optimal for boating, inland sailing, skiing and other water activities. There is lots to experience at this hidden gem of the Midwest. Here are some of the 10 best reasons to visit Indian Lake in Ohio.

 

  1. Indian Lake - water skiing is popular as is fishing, hiking, camping and visiting the beaches. Several islands dot the lake for nature enthusiasts and those seeking a more quiet experience. Resort homes, vacation rentals and permanent residences surround the lake which provides entertainment for the whole family.

  2. Waterfront dining - several restaurants offer boat docking for easy access to food such as burgers, fries, sandwiches, pizza and fine dining for a beautiful evening on the water. Live entertainment is a staple at several places in Russells Point and surrounding areas. Locals and visitors love to spend time enjoying all these restaurants, big and small, have to offer.

  3. Indian Lake islands - includes the "Indian Isles" chain which arcs through the center of the lake. Wildlife areas are accessible through various channels, inlets and bays with approximately 30 miles of shoreline. Oldfield Beach adjoins the lake which is the end point of a several mile lakefront biking and walking trail.

  4. Festivals - Every year, the Jimmy Buffett weekend kicks off the first week of February along with the annual Boat Show first weekend in March. A fireworks display for Fourth of July celebration observances brings in the crowds to enjoy good food, neighbors and fun. Hundreds of boats line the water and crowds gather on the shores. The "Ring of Fire" on the Sunday evening of Labor Day weekend, extends an Indian tradition in celebration of harvest.

  5. Indian Lake State Park - naturalist programs, playgrounds, basketball, volleyball, bicycle and boat rentals are just some activities available for campers. Some sites include electrical hookups. Hiking, bike trails and winter activities including snowmobiling and ice fishing make this a perfect spot to enjoy year round.

  6. Beaches - some of the public beaches for visitors include Old Field Beach with 1,200 feet of beautiful sand and shelter houses with water fountains and toilets. Fox Island Beach is near Russells Point and three areas on Indian Lake exist for boats to anchor and enjoy swimming.

  7. Bellefontaine - Home to Mad River Mountain Ski Resort, Marmom Valley Farm and Cherokee Hills Golf Course, shopping and entertainment, there is something for everyone here.

  8. Ohio Caverns - enjoy 35 acres of natural caves formed thousands of years ago. Perfect for families to explore together.

  9. Serenity and peace - the beauty of Indian Lake in Ohio is the ability to enjoy crowds, fun and excitement but also find quiet places to get away from it all.

Midwestern charm - friendly locals make this an oasis from city life and everyone is having a good time, young and old, so it is the perfect place to go for an enjoyable time and to meet friendly people. Add Indian Lake as a reason to visit Ohio!

 

Get more advice about these 10 reasons you need to visit Indian Lake!

Contact one of our agents today.

February
9

So You're Looking for Cheap Waterfront Property

Waterfront investment properties require special consideration to ensure the property will suit the lifestyle and provide activities everyone can enjoy. Start with these tips when looking to purchase cheap waterfront property.

 

Determine Your Needs

When potential homeowners research waterfront investment properties, the first step is to discern how the property will be used. From this point, a realtor can help figure out which area best suits these needs and desires to focus in on specific properties. Some strategies to get started include:

 

  • Learn about real estate. Get books, take a class or two and do research. Ask lots of questions, talk to friends, family and other relatives to learn as much as possible about investing in waterfront property.

  • Commit to the process. It takes time to research, find and purchase that perfect property. Some will fall through or not be a good match but know what to look for and what needs exist to know the right property when it comes available.

  • Have a strategy. Focus on achievable goals and know what the property is intended for. If it will be a rental for part of the year and vacation home for the rest, this may determine which property is ultimately selected.

 

Frequency of Use

When searching for cheap waterfront property, it is important to look at the activities available, nearby hospitals for any medical needs which should arise, proximity to an airport if frequent travel is important and finding the best property to suit the family's needs and budget. Knowing how often the property will be used can determine suitable options.

 

The Search

Location is key when searching for waterfront investment properties. After determining best fit for needs in a waterfront home, visiting the area to find a good fit is important. The surrounding community is an important factor when making a decision. Look over the property as well as the house as the real value of the home will be the property in a waterfront location. Look for five key points when searching for that perfect property:

  • Sandy beach. Proximity and quality is important for both younger and older family members.

  • View. As people age and do less on the water activities, the view becomes more important.

  • Level lot. The flatter the lot, the better for easier water access

  • Proximity to water. Homes closer to the water allow a closeness to nature and keeping an eye on any young kids by the water.

  • Privacy. Some lakefront properties have as little as 50 feet of frontage, which offer very little privacy. Ideally, a property will offer 150-200 feet to give privacy from neighbors.

 

Choice Properties has real estate agents who specialize in waterfront investment properties in the Indian Lakes area to assist with your needs and sort through complex issues to get everyone on the right track to finding that perfect location.

 

Get more advice on finding and owning an affordable waterfont property.

Contact one of our agents today.

April
20

Enjoy Indian Lake Camping with Your Family

Indian Lake State Park has a recreational area with activities for the whole family. Enjoy camping, boating, fishing, swimming and more. Indian Lake camping provides opportunities for fun, rest and relaxation with a little something for everyone.

 

Facilities

Many amazing amenities are available at Indian Lake camping to make the stay enjoyable. On offer are:

  • Over 400 electric sites plus 35 premium sites

  • 12 full hook-up sites

  • Heated shower houses, flush toilets, laundry building and camp commissary

  • Beach access, boat ramp and docks are provided exclusively for camper use

  • Pet friendly camp sites

  • Seasonal facilities for basketball, volleyball, biking and boat rental including a kids playground

  • Group camping area for up to 60 people (with advanced registration)

  • Boat camping spaces (not available for tents)

 

Activities

Camping near a lake is a great way to spend time outdoors. Finding something to do is never a problem at Indian Lakes. In fact, it may be harder to choose which ones to do with so many to choose from.

 

Hiking - Several trails exist for people who enjoy hiking. The Cherokee Trail is a three mile walk with an easy pace. Some of the trail highlights include wildlife spotting of white tail deer, muskrat, fox squirrel, salamanders and numerous wildflowers along the trail for enthusiasts.

 

Sailing - Camping near a lake has many benefits here at Indian Lake including sailing. Launching a sailboat is easy in the large open areas and visitors are welcome to watch the Sunday morning regatta from the shore or boats.

 

Ring of Fire - Participate in a tradition dating back to 1961. Indian Lake camping hosts this event where flares are lit around the lake's perimeter at 9:00 PM on the Sunday before Labor Day. Those who own waterfront property are invited to participate. Park areas are lit by volunteers from Indian Lake High School. A Ring of Fire ceremony marks the end of summer season and start of Autumn.  Indian Lake Amusement Park. The Seneca Indians from New York State lit bonfires around the shore of Indian Lake to celebrate a bountiful harvest.

 

Picknicking - Camping by a lake is not complete without a picnic to share with family and friends. Indian Lake camping includes many shaded areas equipped with tables and grills along with game and sporting equipment available to registered campers at the camp office.

 

Fishing - For the fishing enthusiast, large mouth bass, saugeye, white bass, crappie, bluegill, walleye, yellow perch and catfish are all plentiful with Indian Lake.

 

Rental

Enjoy a lakefront view from a camper cabins. A step above a tent, a camper cabin is a hard-sided structure which sits atop a wooden platform with a locking front door. Each cabin sleeps four adults on two futon beds with one set of twin-size bunk beds. Outlets, air conditioning, a microwave, small refrigerator, table with two chairs and more are available. There are no water facilities in the camper cabins. Restrooms, shower and laundry facilities are located nearby. Pets are not allowed inside camper cabins.

 

Get more advice on some of the best camping spots around Indian Lake.

Contact one of our agents today.

October
7

A flash of yellow darts around the garden, feeding on flowering seed heads or stopping at bird feeders. What could it be? Meet the American Goldfinch (Spinus tristis), one of the only vegetarian songbirds. Because they don't feed their young insects, they're able to hold off their nesting habits until later in the year, June or July, when seeds are abundant.

 

Here are some tips for making your garden inviting to these yellow birds:

Some common plant favorites of the American Goldfinch to feed on are thistle, sunflowers, asters, and milkweed. Looking to the trees will find these birds enjoying alder, birch, and western red cedar. They will work bits and pieces of these plants into their tightly-woven nests for both warmth and as a food source.

Goldfinches want and need an ideal habitat for seed-hunting, like shrubby fields or forest edges.

These birds prefer to build their nests in shrubs or young trees, but several feet off the ground. To maximize your chances of attracting mating pairs, be sure to incorporate larger shrub species.

Keep any feeders you have full, and clean. American goldfinches are at risk of getting mycoplasmal conjunctivitis—house finch eye disease—from birdfeeders. If you do notice that your winged guests have crusty eyes, take down the feeders and disinfect them with a 10 percent bleach solution then leave them down for about a week so the birds can heal rather than continue to spread the disease.

American goldfinches are one of the U.S.'s national treasures. Thanks to their assorted adaptations, they are often the object of fascination and admiration for everyday backyard gardeners and ornithologists alike.  If you attract the American Goldfinch to your backyard, let us know and snap a picture if you can!

 

Plant late summer to be ready for your guests to arrive in the fall!

 

Get more advice on attracting the animals you want visiting your home.

Contact one of our agents today.

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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