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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.



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.



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.



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.



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.



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.


How to Find the Best Vacation Spots on the Water

When looking to purchase a second home, families often look for vacation spots on the water. Lakes, beaches and rivers all offer features not found elsewhere in a vacation home including recreational sports and activities, camping, boating and more. With different choices and amenities on offer, it helps to look at each style of living to determine which will be the best choice.



Lakefront living offers ambiance and seclusion not found in other types of neighborhoods. Many families choose this option as a quiet respite away from a hectic, busy lifestyle but still desire opportunities to connect with neighbors, participate in watersports and activities or simply enjoy the view of a serene, peaceful lake. Vacation spots on the water, including lakes, come with perks such as bringing people closer together for events such as picnics, barbeques and gatherings in a relaxed atmosphere. A lake is a natural place to connect with family, neighbors and the community in a less rushed environment.



Many people enjoy the lifestyle of living near a body of water with beaches. Most think of oceans when considering vacation spots on the water with beaches, but many lakes have smaller, less crowded areas to enjoy the sand while simultaneously soaking up the sun and fun.  Owning vacation property on a private beach is tempting for many searching for that perfect second home. With more cities becoming crowded, space is at a premium. Waterfront property with beaches, whether private or more public, offers proximity for easy access to water sports and activities.



Often when people search for vacations on the water, rivers tend to get overlooked in favor of lakes or oceans. Many rivers are within short distance to a beach. Riverfront living offers affordable opportunities to enjoy being near the water at a cost which can be lower than ocean or lakefront property. It all depends on the perspective, as some families enjoy being close to water and beaches while others prefer a home directly on the sand. Oftentimes, nature is a big draw for people searching for vacations on the water. Deer, birds and other wildlife may be more likely to make an appearance in a quieter area than one with more people.


Whether it is a lake, river or beach, finding vacation spots on the water are affordable and accessible at Indian Lake. Choice Properties has agents ready to assist you in the search for that perfect vacation home at Indian Lake.                                                            Call us today at 937-842-2244 to schedule your appointment!


Get more advice on the best spots for your summer vacation home.

Contact one of our agents today.


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.



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)



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.



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.


All good things must come to an end—at least for a short time. The summer holidays have been just what Indian Lake area residents needed to recharge their batteries, but now it's time to pack up summer and look toward the oncoming Fall. School and work routines await, but they don't have to be stressful. With a few end-of-summer DOs, you won't have to deal with beginning-of-fall DON'Ts.


August is a popular time for getting in those last minute travel opportunities, and burglars know this. If you're going to take advantage of a week away, be sure to take extra security measures so that you don't return home to the logistics nightmare of dealing with a break-in. (SEE our earlier post: Keeping Your Home Safe While You're Away on Vacation)


Organize the Closets. Before you start any back to school shopping, sort through your closets. Put together a donation bag of any items that are too small or you no longer wear. This will allow you to take stock of what you need and what you have room for. Now is a great time to also begin pulling out the winter wardrobe for assessment.


Time to Test Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Detectors. These detectors should be located outside the kitchen along with outside each bedroom of the house (multi-story houses should have detectors on EVERY floor). Make it a habit to annually test them, and replace batteries as needed throughout the year.


Clean the Bathroom Fan. Nobody wants mold or mildew in their bathroom. Unfortunately the extra humidity which summer brings means bathroom fans have to work even harder than usual to clear the air. It's recommended that you leave them on for a full 30 minutes after each shower to prevent mildew from forming. Cleaning is simple: remove the cover and use a vacuum attachment to suck up dust and dirt.


Prep Meals NOW for Rushed Nights LATER. Fall is busy with back to school, fiscal year ends, meetings, and the Holidays. Prepare for those nights that you'll be doing three things at once by making up meals ahead and freezing them. This is also a good time to go ahead and clean out your cupboards and pantry, eliminating old spices and stale cereals and crackers.

TIP: When you do your shopping, go ahead and put the extra effort in when putting your groceries away to wash, chop, and package. Finger-friendly fruits and veggies WILL get snacked on by kids, and are great for throwing lunches together. Prepare hamburger patties (season and form them), then freeze. Cube meat and veggies and freeze for an easy crock-pot meal. The options are limited only by your imagination.


Makeover the Mudroom. Get the kids excited about Back to School by freshening up the mudroom. Do a wall with chalk paint for a 'family communication board', add a few baskets or wall hooks for organization and storage. Giving kids their "own" designated spaces for backpacks and coats makes them feel special.


There's Never a Wrong Time to Prepare for an Emergency. Keep emergency kits up to date at all times with food, water, clothes, flashlights, first aid supplies, an emergency radio, prescription medications, and any other necessities you might need to survive.  


Inspect and Clean Gutters. The wet, cold months are coming. Clean and check gutters for any damage, and get them repaired before the weather moves in.


And last, but not least . . .

Give the Summer Toys a Damage Check and Cleaning. You know the saying about putting a horse away wet? You don't want to store your summer gear in less than good condition otherwise you'll have to deal with repairs, or worse, replacement, when you pull it all out next year. Not a fun way to start your summer.

TIP: This is the time of year for end of summer sales. If you've lost anything, like beach gear, keep an eye out for some deals that your wallet will appreciate! Remember, if you have to get these things at the START of next summer, the prices will be exorbitant.



Everybody loves the lazy days of summer in Ohio; sunshine, sleeping in, picnics, adventures. The one thing that makes summer a little unbearable at times is the HEAT. Let's face it, scorching temps lead to sweltering if you don't have access to air conditioning. Here are some budget-friendly tips and tricks for staying cool and keeping the utility bill from skyrocketing August to September.


Regardless of which brand, make, and model HVAC system you have, the ultimate savings on your energy bill will come from how you adjust your thermostat(s). To start, set the thermostat as high as you can while still being comfortable, but where the difference between the indoor and outdoor readings are as small as possible.


If you've been away, don't crank the thermostat down as soon as you get home to try and speed up the process. This will only strain your machine, making it work harder and expend more energy. It will not cool your house down any faster. Even better would be to take advantage of the Energy Saver programmable modemost thermostats come with for multi-room systems.  


How is the ventilation in your Logan County home? Proper ventilation can aid your cool-down efforts by improving indoor air quality, removing moisture and odors, and allowing refreshing outside breezes to transfer with stuffy indoor air. Evenings are a great time to open the doors and windows. Encourage airflow by installing fans throughout the house to help push the stuffy hot air out and pull the cooler evening air in.

  • ceiling fans should be set to run in a counterclockwise direction during summer months (draws cooler air up from the floor)

  • attic exhaust fans will pull hot air into the attic where vents can dissipate the heat

  • position portable fans near windows or basement door at night to pull cooler air from these areas into the home


If you're fortunate enough to be in the roughly 90% of US homeowners who have a/c, then you should cherish this appliance … take care of it, appreciate it, and keep the maintenance current. The last thing you want when it hits triple digits outside is to discover your unit isn't cooling.

  • Ensure you have adequate insulation in the walls and ceilings to keep hot air out and cool air in.

  • Caulk leaking windows and doors, and/or use draft stops (sometimes called 'snakes') to cover the gaps at the bottom of these entry points.

  • Aluminum blinds, insulated curtains, or window tint film can block sunlight from entering your home and heating up the place during the day.

  • CHANGE YOUR FILTERS REGULARLY. Easy and quick, this reduces the workload on your air conditioner and improves indoor air quality. Check filters once a month and clean out any dust particles which may clog.

  • Clean the coils. Outside units should be kept unobstructed and cleaned regularly. Use a soft-bristle nylon brush to gently remove any debris, and hose off any leaves or caked-on dirt. Clean the inside coils using the soft brush attachment on your vacuum cleaner, or wipe down with a soft, damp cloth.

  • Call in a pro. It is still important to call in a reputable HVAC contractor to regularly look at your system. An annual tune-up will help guarantee you have an efficiently working air conditioning system and keep any warranties you have on the system active.