PONTOTOC HOMES Real Estate Guide to Pontotoc County & the surrounding area A Supplement of the Pontotoc Progress
Dennis Cox, Tommy Morgan, Inc., Realtors PAGE 21
Distinctive Design page 10
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TABLE OF CONTENTS 3 5 5 5 6 7 8 10 16
Patty Turk Properties, LLC First Choice Insurance Pickens Pest Control Distinctive Design Southern Hills Realty & Appraisal, Inc. A guide to safely removing fallen leaves Crye-Leike Realtors, Beth Walker Distinctive Design Feature Mossy Oak Properties
How to prepare your lawn and garden for winter
Factors to consider when choosing a neighborhood
Cherie Matthews Real Estate
Water feature design
What is the tiny house movement? Crye-Leike Realtors, Mone Weeden & Jodi Forsyth First Choice Bank
For Advertising Information:
Contact Angie Quarles at 662-489-3511 Published by Pontotoc Progress 13 Jefferson Street â€˘ P.O. Box 210 â€˘ Pontotoc, MS 38863
Designed by Chelsea Williams of the Pontotoc Progress
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A guide to safely removing fallen leaves Raking leaves is a chore many people immediately associate with autumn. Even though raking seems like a simple activity, it’s still possible to be injured while removing leaves from the yard. The University of Pittsburgh Medical Center advises that pain from outdoor leaf chores can range from strained back muscles to twisted knees. Blisters on the hands and sunburn are other potential side effects. Many people do not realize that raking is a thorough cardiovascular workout. Individuals at risk for cardiovascular disease or those who have recovered from surgery may not be well enough to rake leaves. Here’s how to make autumn leaf removal more of a breeze when the job is done safely. • Pay attention when using a leaf blower. Be cautious not to point an operational blower in the direction of people or pets, as debris can be blown about and cause injury. • Stretch out before raking leaves. Warm up muscles beforehand so they are less likely to cramp. UPMC experts suggest taking a short walk prior to raking to stimulate circulation. • Use proper raking form. Much like snow shoveling, one should emphasize proper posture when raking, with legs slightly bent and weight distributed evenly. Hold the rake handle close to the body and keep one hand near the top of the rake for better leverage. • Use the proper gear. A leaf rake fans out like a triangle and comes in various widths. Choose a lightweight material that can be easily maneuvered. A metal rake is for stones and dirt and shouldn’t be used for leaves. To get between bushes, a smaller version of a leaf rake, called a shrub rake, should be used. • Wear protective gear. When raking or leaf blowing, protect your eyes against debris. You also may want to use a mask to prevent inhalation of leaf mold and other particulates. Gloves can protect hands from blisters. • Follow manufacturers’ directions. Read the instructions for powered leaf blowers, and never modify the device in an unauthorized way. • Use a tarp and lift wisely. Rake leaves onto a tarp that can be dragged to a garbage pail or to the curb for municipal pick up. For those who must lift bags of leaves, do so by bending at the knees, not from the waist. • Wear sunscreen. Protect skin from the sun. Even though temperatures are cooler in the fall, this does not mean the sun’s rays are any less harmful. Also, take breaks to rehydrate frequently. • Use a secure ladder. When removing leaves from gutters, be sure the ladder is sturdy and secure. Consider having a friend serve as a spotter, holding on to the ladder to offer greater security. Do not overextend to stretch for leaves. If at any time during leaf clean-up you feel sharp or dull, incessant pains, stop working. Listen to your body’s signals and start the task anew the next day or when you feel better.
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Did you know? The arrival of cooler weather marks a prime time to plant bulbs that will bloom come spring and summer. Bulbs should be planted as soon as the ground is cool, ideally when temperatures average between 40 and 50 F. Just be sure to plant bulbs at least six weeks before the ground freezes for optimal success. Always follow the bulb distributorâ€™s guidelines for planting, including suggestions regarding spacing and soil depth. Remove any weeds and loosen the soil to get started. In addition, think about mixing in compost or other organic matter to enrich the soil if it lacks nutrients.
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Create your own atmosphere with stone and vinyl Regina Butler
Some time ago if you had told Todd Nowlin that he could fill the old Browinng Hardware building in Ecru with counter top, flooring and laminate samples, he would have probably laughed at you. But today the proof is on the floor, tucked into every nook and cranny of the old brick building that makes you think you are stepping back 50 or so years when you open the door. Distinctive Design opened its doors two years ago this week, and Todd hasn’t looked back. Nowlin may be new at minding a store, but he is no novice to the carpenter trade. “I have been installing granite countertops for 13 years,” he said with an easy smile as he semi-relaxed behind a granite table top that he installed in his business. And he was semi-relaxed because at the same moment he was checking on where he had to go over the next few hours. “Meeting deadlines is my greatest challenge,” he said. “There is so much construction going on from Oxford to Tupelo to Alabama.” Nowliln covers a 70 to 75 mile radius in his business. Now he didn’t always build houses and sell cabinets. “I coached high school basketball at West Union years ago and I dabbled in the installing of counter tops while I was coaching. I saw so much construction in the area that I decided to make the change.” He only did the installation
Photos by Regina Butler
Todd Nowlin, owner of Distinctive Design, shows a stone flooring that looks like wood.
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up until he decided to put in the store. “It is working out well that we offer this because that way someone from out of town can walk in and choose the kind of counter top they want and the floor covering all at one place. It makes it simpler for the customer and for us.” Nowlin said he chose to land his business on Main Street in Ecru because, “I was born and raised in Ecru. This is where I live.” Granite is a counter top that is relatively new to the market, but it has taken off like wildfire. “There are hundreds of colors of granite and the majority of it comes from Brazil and India. They are finding new colors of it every day.” He went on to explain the difference between true granite and man made stone like quartz. “Granite is a true stone, while there is a man made stone called quartz. One of the trends today is to have the marble look in the cabinet. True marble is a soft stone,” he explained. “It stains and scratches easily. While quartz doesn’t. With quartz we can achieve the marble look with a stronger counter top. And you can easily tell the difference, because quartz will have a set pattern about it, while marble won’t.” Nowlin said he has seen other trends change in the household. “Ten to 15 years ago we did a lot of details to the cabinet doors, now they are doing simple doors and a nice counter top to set it off.” And Nowlin said he believes people are choosing granite because of the durability. “You don’t have to replace it unless you get tired of the color. And I believe the reason the sales and the desire for them has kicked up is because of Home and Garden network and social media. That’s the only kind of counter top they are using when they do those house make overs. And when someone re-does their kitchen and posts it out on social media, that also helps.” One drawback of the granite or quartz countertops is they aren’t glass friendly. “You have to set your glasses down gently on them. They don’t give. And you also shouldn’t put anything hot on them, yes it is stone, but over time you can scrape and scratch it especially if you
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Starting a job requires paper and pen to sketch it out.
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use iron ware. So you should also use the hot pads for these to keep them looking nice.” Nowlin said he stays extremely busy and there is plenty of room for more people. “There are not enough contractors in the field,” he said. “We need more people building houses.” When you step into Distinctive Design the first pretty face you see is that of Lana Wise. She is there to help keep people going in the directions they need to go, “and keep me straight as much as she can.” He grinned. “I never would have thought we would have filled up this building with products,” Wise said. “We stay busy all the time, so much so that Todd hasn’t had time to build the mock up kitchen he started at the back.” Nowlin finds great satisfaction in seeing a project complete. It starts with a sketch on a piece of paper, “and then when you see the end of the job it is very rewarding to see it put in a house.” He explained how the process from start to finish works. “The customer orders the counter top, I take it to a shop and cut it, then put it into the home.” Now not only does he do that infamous stone, he also deals in all kinds of wood flooring, everything from the real wood to stone or vinyl that looks like wood. “We do have a stone and vinyl plank that you can lay on top of the existing floor; and if you want to do it yourself, you can buy it.” So if you want to make your house look like it has pebbled floors, old plank floors, whatever kind of atmosphere you are trying to create in the different rooms, make sure you stop in on Main Street Ecru and talk to the folks at Distinctive Design.
Lana Wise is that pretty face and kind voice that you see and hear when you come to Distinctive Design.
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How to prepare your lawn and garden for winter
Winter weather can be harsh. Homeowners who spend much of the year tending to their lawns and gardens may worry that winter will undo all of their hard work. Though homeowners cannot do anything to prevent snow, wind and ice from affecting their properties, they can take various steps to prepare their lawns and gardens for whatever winter has in store.
Falling leaves are a telltale sign that winter is coming. In lieu of raking leaves as they begin to fall, homeowners can mulch them into their lawns. Scotts®, an industry leader in lawn care, notes that mulching leaves is a great way for homeowners to recycle a natural resource and enrich the soil of their lawns. While it might not be possible to mulch fall-
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en leaves in late autumn when they begin to fall en masse, doing so in the early stages of fall should be possible so long as the lawn is not being suffocated. Scotts® recommends mulching the leaves to dimesize pieces to a point where half an inch of grass can be seen through the mulched leaf layer.
Rake leaves as they start to fall more heavily
Once leaves begin to fall more heavily, rake them up and add them to compost piles. The resource GardeningKnowHow.com notes composting leaves creates a dark, rich and organic matter that can add nutrients to garden soil and loosen compacted earth. Leaving leaves on the lawn once they start to fall in great numbers makes it hard
for grass blades to breathe, and the leaves can block moisture from reaching the soil, which needs water to maintain strong roots. In addition, potentially harmful pathogens can breed on damp leaves left on a lawn, and such bacteria can cause significant damage to the turf over time.
to apply a winterizing fertilizer. Homeowners who don’t know which type of grass they have or are concerned about when to apply a winterizing fertilizer should consult with a lawncare professional before fertilizing.
Apply a winterizing fertilizer
Annuals won’t be coming back in spring, so it’s best to remove ones that are no longer producing from the garden before the arrival of winter. Doing so can prevent the onset of fungal diseases that may adversely affect the garden in spring. Fall is the perfect time for homeowners who spend months making their lawns and gardens as lush as possible to take steps to prepare such areas for potentially harsh winter weather.
Winterizing fertilizers can help lawns store food they need to survive through winter and also can help them bounce back strong in spring. Such fertilizers are typically formulated for cool-season grasses such as fescue and bluegrass and are often best applied after the final cut of fall. Warm-season grasses go dormant in winter, so homeowners whose lawns contain these types of grasses won’t want
Remove annuals from the garden
Factors to consider when choosing a neighborhood
When shopping for a home, it’s easy for buyers to fall in love with a property. A well-maintained home with updated features can be hard to resist, but buyers must consider more than just a home’s appearance before submitting an offer. One variable prospective home buyers tend to value more highly than others is the neighborhood where they will ultimately choose to live. Many buyers even value neighborhoods more than homes, feeling they can always fix a home but cannot necessarily fix an undesirable neighborhood. When considering which neighborhood to begin a home search, buyers should research a host of factors. Crime statistics are public domain, meaning buyers can examine crime figures for any neighborhood where they are
considering buying a home. Some real estate websites list neighborhood crime ratings among the information they offer about a given property. In addition, buyers interested in learning about crime in a given neighborhood can visit a site such as CrimeReports.com to access data on crimes committed near a particular address. Home values are another factor to consider when choosing a neighborhood in which to buy a home. Buyers can work with a local realtor to find a neighborhood or area where real estate prices are trending upwards. While buyers might be able to find a great deal on a home in a neighborhood where home prices are dropping, it’s important to remember those home prices are dropping for a reason. Work with your realtor to find a neighborhood where you can afford a
home and where property values are not in decline. Realtors will have access to recent sales figures so you can get an idea of whether a neighborhood is trending upward or in decline. The proximity of amenities such as shopping, restaurants and parks is attractive to many buyers, and that’s something all buyers should consider before buying a home. Even if you prefer a home in a remote location, that could limit your market of buyers when you want to sell the home down the road. While your own comfort and preferences should ultimately prevail over potential resale value, it’s important that you at least consider access to amenities before making a decision. You might be able to find a compromise in a home that is a short drive away from a town center, but still remote enough that you are
not in the middle of the hustle and bustle. Quality of life is heavily influenced by commute time. Many men and women feel their quality of life improves dramatically the shorter their daily commute is. When considering a particular neighborhood, do a test run before making an offer on a home. Wake up early and drive to the area where you are thinking of buying, and then commute from there during rush hour. Also, do the reverse commute come quitting time. You might be able to get an estimated commute time online, but a test run can give you a more accurate idea of what your daily trips to and from the office will be like. Choosing a neighborhood where you will enjoy living requires some forethought and research.
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What is the tiny house movement?
The tiny house movement has transformed the way many people look at housing and how it can help them downsize not only their residences, but also their lives. Living small has been embraced as an eco-friendly way to cut costs and simplify life. According to the tiny house resource The Tiny Life, the typical American home is 2,600 square feet, while the typical tiny house is between 100 and 400 square feet. Many tiny homes are smaller than the average urban apartment. Proponents of the small house movement say that living the tiny life isn’t really a sacrifice, but a way to experience a simpler, fuller life that
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frees them from expensive mortgage payments and unnecessary clutter. One of the advantages of tiny house living is that buyers are often able to buy their homes (whether stationary or mobile) outright, eliminating the need to finance their purchases. Tiny homes also boast much lower utility bills than more traditional homes. Outfitting tiny homes with wood-burning appliances can keep heating costs to a minimum. In some instances, tiny homes are completely off the grid, harvesting electricity through solar panels and employing rain-capturing technology to supply water. According to the resource
Living Big in a Tiny House, the tiny house movement is eco-friendly. Small homes create much smaller carbon footprints than large homes. In addition, the resources needed to build and sustain such homes pales in comparison to those needed to build and maintain more traditional homes. Furthermore, with less interior space, residents of tiny homes are less likely to acquire items they don’t necessarily need, reducing clutter and saving money. The following statistics, courtesy of The Tiny Life, paint a picture of the tiny home lifestyle: • Sixty-eight percent of tiny house people have no
mortgage, and 78 percent own their home. • The average cost to build a tiny house is $23,000 for do-it-yourselfers. • Eighty-nine percent of tiny house dwellers have less credit card debt than the average person. • Tiny house owners earn an average of $42,038 each year. • Many tiny home owners are age 50 or older. Those interested in the tiny house lifestyle can find many companies that now specialize in these dwellings. Empty-nesters looking to downsize may find tiny homes are an affordable way to simplify their lives.
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Water feature design and maintenance Homeowners can employ many different design techniques to create one-of-a-kind properties. Adding a water feature to a landscape is one such technique. Water gardens, koi ponds or fountains have been home landscaping trends for the past several years. Although water features can add an element of relaxation to landscapes, such features require maintenance to keep them attractive and running properly.
The right design
Homeowners should create a water feature design that is fitting with the scale and style of their homes while also keeping their lifestyles in mind. Ponds are popular water features and, like pools, come in both inground and above-ground styles. Above-ground ponds are easier and faster to build than inground ponds and may be safer options for parents of young children. Streams and waterfalls also are popular and can make use of natural variations in property grading. Fountains can be freestanding structures or a component of a pond or another body of water. Recognize that the location of the water feature can impact its maintenance. For example, a fountain or pond located directly under deciduous trees will require more frequent cleaning to remove leaf and tree debris. Ponds that receive direct sunlight may have more pronounced algae growth. Homeowners should work with a skilled water garden expert in planning the featureâ€™s design and location with safety and upkeep in mind.
Water features require the constant flow of water to prevent stagnation and prolifer-
ation of mosquito and other insect larvae. That requires a pump to push the water around. According to Grounds Maintenance, a green industry professionals resource, the pump should be securely situated on level ground so that vibrations will not cause the pump to move around and eventually loosen fittings. Even pumps protected by an intake filter or screen can become clogged with debris. Itâ€™s necessary to routinely inspect the screen and the pump filter and remove any obstructions. Otherwise, the pump motor can overheat and malfunction. Keep in mind that debris also may include animal life, such as frogs, snakes, turtles â€” anything that may be drawn to the water feature.
The wrong balance of conditions in the water can cause problems. According to the experts at This Old House, which offers ideas and advice for old house enthusiasts, algae can be the root of all evil in garden features. Controlling nutrients, which may involve watching the levels of nitrogen compounds and phosphorous, will help control the algae. Avoid locating the water feature where lawn and garden runoff will find its way into the water. Filtration and routine testing of water levels also can help. Water features that are not meant to become wildlife habitats may benefit from a mild sanitizer to keep algae at bay. A thorough cleaning of liners at the end of the
season to eliminate materials that build up on the bottom can help, too.
When colder weather arrives, homeowners must decide if they want to keep the water feature running or shut it down. Many experts say smaller ponds should be drained, cleaned and left empty until spring. This is also a time to cut back the dead plant material and remove any tropicals from the water. Remove pumps and drain water feature lines so they can overwinter without freezing. Water features can make properties inviting. But such features add another level of maintenance to landscaping tasks.
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