Archive | July, 2012

Volunteers Offer a Helping Hand at 15th Annual Lake Sweep at Arcadia Lake

31 Jul

For 15 years, resident volunteers in Edmond have woken up early and offered their time and service to do collective cleanups around Arcadia Lake.  Located on the Deep Fork River, Arcadia Lake was constructed by the City of Edmond and the US Army Corps of Engineers in 1987 to provide the city with recreational opportunities like picnicking, swimming, fishing, and boating.  In addition, Arcadia Lake also supplies water to the entire city.

In order to preserve its beauty and function, a Lake Sweep event is held every year to provide a massive cleanup around the lake. Volunteers are usually a part of church youth groups, Boy Scouts, Girl Scouts, and school groups. They help sweep the grounds around the lake and clean up litter and debris.

The 15th Annual Lake Sweep at Arcadia Lake will be held on August 4, 2012 from 7:00 a.m. to 10:00 a.m.  Volunteers are asked to report by 7:00 a.m., and late registrants can meet at Spring Creek Park no later than 8:00 a.m.  Volunteers must register in order to get their trash bags and  assignments.  In addition, they will also receive a t-shirt, brunch, and free access to the lake all day.

Jennifer Fields
Oklahoma City & Edmond Real Estate Agent

 

 

 

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Growing a Low Maintenance Garden

30 Jul

Having a garden at home adds instant beauty and color to your property. However, maintaining such loveliness can quickly become overwhelming, especially if you are not a gifted gardener or have no one to help you. Sure, planting flowers can be a one-weekend job, but making sure they stay alive and thrive without overtaking everything requires some work.

In order to maintain a beautiful garden without putting in a lot of time and effort, you need to stick to low-maintenance plants and techniques. Below are some helpful ideas:

  • Downsize your garden. If you have a large lawn, only use a small portion of it for your garden. The smaller your garden, the less watering and pest control maintenance you have to do.  You can determine the size of your garden based on what you can actually foresee yourself having the time to tend.
  • Design pathways in your garden for faster and easier watering. Usually, one of the reasons you spend so much time in our garden is because you have to maneuver through the plants carefully in order to get to reach those in the back. If you design a pathway from the start, you can work much faster.
  • Use containers for your plants. Potted plants require less frequent watering because pots hold more water than open soil, which provides no barrier to prevent the water from slipping away. In addition, you can control the weeds better because there is less space for them to grow.
  • Choose more sustainable plants. Plants that are self-sustaining are ideal because they require much less time and care on your part. Before you buy plants, educate yourself on how much sun and water they need and how well they can tolerate pests. Moreover, ask local gardeners for recommendations since they already know which plants can easily survive your soil and atmosphere and which needs more maintenance.
  • Select low-maintenance materials for your garden structures. Sometimes, what robs us of our time is the need to repaint our garden fences or repair water features. If you want to keep your garden maintenance to a minimum, choose low-maintenance materials, like stone pavers instead of wood rails for garden barriers.
  • Install reliable pest control from the start. Gardens naturally attract  pests and predators, so in order to preserve a fresh and healthy looking garden, take measures to deter them. Install mesh fencing around your garden so larger animals cannot enter. For smaller pests, use natural pesticides that will kill harmful bugs without damaging your plants.

 

Jennifer Fields
Oklahoma City & Edmond Real Estate Agent

Which Builder Upgrades to Choose

26 Jul

When buying a new home, our minds become active as we imagine ways to enhance the space and personalize it to our liking.  Even if you’ve purchased your dream home, there are always going to be little details, like adjusting the size of the interior trim, that can be tweaked to make things look even better.

If you’re purchasing a new home, builders usually offer upgrades that allow homeowners to address some of those details at an additional price.  Even though you incur an extra expense up front when you choose an upgrade,  you can actually save more money (and a huge amount of time) in the long run.  Upgrading a house while it is built versus making changes later on allows you to get exactly what you want without dealing with the hassles of remodeling or the structural limitations of the existing framework.

So, if you plan to purchase builder upgrades, here are a few suggestions:

  • Additional Structures – If you want to add an extra bathroom or garage to your new home, it’s best to make that decision before your house is built. Adding things later will only cost you more in materials, labor, and time.
  • Extra Kitchen Cabinets – Your kitchen cabinets should be installed and completed before the rest of your kitchen is finished. Backsplashes and plumbing are difficult to remove and reposition, and it is usually quite expensive to do so.  So, you want to avoid installing utility-related hardware and finishes until you know exactly where they need to be located in relation to the cabinets.
  • New Floors – Upgrades to your floors may still be available in the future, but in consider the hassle and inconvenience of ripping up your old floors to install new ones. It requires removing everything from the rooms where the floors will be changed, and in a way, you almost end up moving out and then back in. Builder upgrades to floors can sometimes be cheaper if done while the house the house is still under construction or if bundled with additional upgrades.
  • Electrical and Plumbing upgrades – If you anticipate you will be adding additional electrical outlets in your house or adding another sink to one of the bathrooms, it’s best to upgrade your electrical and plumbing hook ups now. Doing so later will require breaking into walls, repairing them, matching materials, and doing segmented work that can sometimes produce more complications than a job that was completed all at once. The costs add up very quickly.

Jennifer Fields
Oklahoma City & Edmond Real Estate Agent

Unemployment Rate Dropped in Oklahoma City

24 Jul

The Department of Labor released a report last Friday indicating that unemployment in Oklahoma dropped to a seasonally adjusted rate of 4.7 percent in June. Compared to the rate of 4.8 percent in May, it was only a slight decrease of 0.1%, but it qualified Oklahoma as one of 11 states plus the District of Columbia that experienced a decrease in unemployment in June.

Oklahoma had the eleventh lowest unemployment rate in the country, and Washington D.C. had the highest. Twelve states showed no sign of change in their unemployment rates, while twenty seven states saw an increase. Overall, the US unemployment rate for the month of June was 8.2 percent.

The Oklahoma Employment Security Commission reported that about 3,200 jobs were added in the state in June. About 1,400 jobs were in the leisure and hospitality industries, and 900 were within the finance services industry. The construction industry saw 800 new jobs.

Jennifer Fields
Oklahoma City & Edmond Real Estate Agent
405.330.0031

 

 

 

Adding More Storage Space to Your Closet

23 Jul

The lack of space in our closets sometimes keeps us from organizing our things. When there’s not very much space to store your clothes, it’s easy to just toss things anywhere. This leads to even more cluttered closet space and less room for your things.

Organizing your closet will enable you to make more space for your new things. In addition, it will also help you identify ways to create extra space and make everything easy to find. Below are some clever ideas on how you can add more space to your closet:

  • Make it seasonal.  Whether it’s a winter coat or a summer hat, we usually want all of our clothes within reach in our closets and cabinets. However, when you’re dealing with limited space, everything tends to fall out of place. Make your closet more seasonal by only putting things in it that are appropriate for the season and storing clothing for other seasons away. In addition, make permanent storage solutions that can be useful for all seasons, like hooks for winter coats, which can also be used to hang umbrellas.
  • Hang your clothes. Clothes take up more space if they are folded and stacked. To create more space for your other things, try to hang your clothes instead.  Hang clothes together by length, so you have sections of space below that can be utilized for storing boxes or shoes.
  • Use the door. Don’t ignore the extra thin space between your things and the door. That space can be used to store smaller things like extra towels, and accessories. You can also hang a shoe rack on the back of the door to maximize that space and store multiple pairs of shoes.
  • Make sure of shoe boxes. Oftentimes, we leave our shoes around the floor when we take them off, and we end up with only a few of them actually remaining in the closet.  Placing them in shoe boxes will not only protect them from dust, but it will also enable you to stack them neatly inside the closet make more room for new shoes.
  • Use bins with smaller compartments. If you have a number of small items stored in your closet, organize them by separating them into their own compartments. Throwing everything into a big box will cause it to become disorganized and tangled, making it hard to find something when you need it.

Jennifer Fields
Oklahoma City & Edmond Real Estate Agent
405.330.0031

Adding Curb Appeal to Your Home

20 Jul

If you are planning to sell your house or simply want to impress your guests, then it’s time to add some curb appeal to your home. Improving the exterior of your home helps to attract potential buyers and makes your guests excited to come inside and have a look around.

Here are some creative ideas on how you can add curb appeal to your house:

  • Create an attractive mailbox. Don’t just stick to the typical shape and look of a mailbox – dress it up. You can make it look like a small version of your house or simply complement it by using similar materials and colors.  Or, you can take an otherwise ordinary mailbox and turn it into something extraordinary by surrounding it with beautiful flowers.
  • Add a lighted entrance. Install some outdoor lighting along your pathway to create a feeling of grandeur. You can hide small fixtures in between plants or position tall lampposts on each side of the walkway.
  • Create a garden in your front yard. Nothing is more attractive than beautiful, bountiful flowers. For year-round color, add a blooming flower bush.
  • Install a pergola in your front yard. It will add a touch of elegance and offer a welcoming feeling as people enter your yard. Add a table with comfortable chairs and pillows to create a little oasis where you can snack and chat with your guests.
  • Paint your front door and windows an attractive color. You may decide to paint them the same color, or you may decide to make them different colors.  If you opt for more than one color, just be sure they complement each other because you do not want to make the exterior look like a mess. Bright colors make it more attractive and easily stand out from the rest. You can also finish off your front door with a pretty wreath or ornamental hardware.
  • Make your front porch welcoming. Add some lovely seating with decorative cushions and pillows. Decorate with potted plants and hanging flowers to add color to the space. Also, most importantly, make sure to keep it clean at all times.
  • Add tiles to your stoop. Make your home especially inviting by permanently setting welcoming tiles in front of your door. Add brick below the stairs and finish it off with classy tiles or stones just outside your front door.  Once you do that, welcome mats are no longer needed.

 

Jennifer Fields
Oklahoma City & Edmond Real Estate Agent
405.330.0031

 

 

 

Improvement Ideas for Your Outdoor Deck

19 Jul

Outdoor decks are very popular this time of the year, when everyone wants to spend time outside and enjoy the warm weather.  Since decks often serve as additional outdoor rooms during the summer months, you want to be sure you feel comfortable.  There are many ways you can make improvements to your deck to make hosting unforgettable parties and partaking in mid-afternoon rest and relaxation even more enjoyable.

Below are some ideas you can use when making improvements to your outdoor deck:

  • Use decorative railings. Most people have basic, ordinary deck railings whose primary purpose is to serve as a safety measure. But, by enhancing your outdoor railings with something unexpected like glass panels or wooden rails, you would be surprised by how beautifully it transforms your deck.
  • Add a roof on your deck.  It will act as a shield from possible rain and sunlight and make the space more comfortable.
  • Screen your deck. Adding a screen to your deck will enhance its privacy. If you have an unattractive backyard you’d rather not look at or simply want to hide yourself from the view of your neighbors, screening is the perfect solution.
  • Add flowers. By setting something fresh and natural on your deck, it will easily blend in with your surroundings and serve as natural decor.  You can position potted plants near the stairs, hang plants above the railings, or even add a nice bouquet of flowers to serve as your table centerpiece.
  • Add ambient decorative lighting. Your deck can still be used at night if you add lighting, and it will create a relaxing, pleasant tone. Hide small lighting fixtures in each corner of your deck for a dramatic look or install tall lampposts for brighter lighting.
  • Fill your seats with colorful and comfy pillows. Make your deck better suited to lounging with friends and family by adding fun pillows that are comfortable to sit on, hug, and hold.
  • Arrange some rugs. Adding an area rug beneath your outdoor table or seating will make it feel like you’ve brought the indoors outside.
  • Add a hammock. Make your deck a place you would want to enjoy every day by adding a hammock.  It’s the perfect place to read a book on a warm afternoon or watch the kids play outside. You can even sneak in a power nap to reenergize you for the rest of the day.

Jennifer Fields
Oklahoma City & Edmond Real Estate Agent
405.330.0031