How A Fountain Can Increase Your Home’s Curb Appeal

Guest Author: Samantha Leon from housetipster.com

After a lengthy commercial break, Alex Trebek slowly strides over to the podium to reveal the Final Jeopardy answer. With a little pomp, he reveals the Final Jeopardy answer to be “The most important thing homeowners have to do.” You immediately scribble down your question and confidently set the marker down.

The question is “What is increasing the value of their homes.”

You did not wager it all, but you got it right. No other obligation a homeowner has to fulfill is more important than increasing the value of his or her home. Now that we know what should matter most for homeowners, how do we go about increasing the value of our homes?

It starts with enhancing the curb appeal of your home.

What is Curb Appeal?

You probably understand the importance of curb appeal as it refers to increasing the value of your home. However, what exactly is curb appeal? It certainly is not a tangible asset that you add or install, such as a pergola or a swimming pool. Yes, you can add or install a tangible asset to improve the curb appeal of your home, but that does not answer the question “What is curb appeal.” Curb appeal represents the first impression someone has as he or she passes by your home. It boils down to how your home appears to someone else who is standing by the curb. Enhancing the curb appeal of your home ensures your home stands out from the rest of the homes in the neighborhood.

Here are a few examples of how to increase your home’s curb appeal:

  • Create a garden
  • Finely manicure the hedges
  • Paint the shutters
  • Add stained glass windows
  • Install a fountain

Why a Fountain Can Enhance the Curb Appeal of Your Home

Whether you add a fountain as a single accessory or place an outdoor water fountain next to a small pond, you can expect to enjoy several benefits that lead to an enhanced curb appeal for your home.

Subtle Elegance

Curb appeal is mostly associated with aesthetic appeal. After all, first impressions make a huge difference for establishing curb appeal. With an outdoor fountain, you create a subtle type of elegance that lets everyone passing by your home that you have refined taste and a sense of how a little bit of elegance can go a long way.

It’s More than a Structure

Why do Buddhist monks mediate around water fountains located next to lush gardens? The answer is the sight and sound of flowing water soothes the soul. When someone passes by your home, the sight and sound of flowing water will produce a meditative like state that alleviates stress. In fact, the sight and sound of water will be a good reason for people to stop in front of your home. This will help you get people to notice other aesthetically appealing features of your house.

Bird Magnet

Another soothing feature of an outdoor water fountain is how the home accessory attracts birds. When someone passes by your home and notices a horde of birds flapping their wings during a bath, you have made your home stand out from the rest of the homes in the neighborhood. Although a bird feeder can have the same effect at a fraction of the cost of installing a water fountain, some species of birds like robins, thrushes, and orioles do not like to congregate around a bird feeder.

Is a Bubbling Rock Fountain Right for Your Home?

With adding a fountain, a slam dunk for increasing your home’s curb appeal, what type of water fountain is the right addition? If your front yard is smaller than the average size of the front yard in your neighborhood, you should consider installing a bubbling rock fountain. With customization of both size and shape an option, you can find the right bubbling rock fountain that gives the look of natural granite to increase your home’s curb appeal. You can add a bubbling rock fountain in a space as small as two feet by two feet.

Maintenance for a bubbling rock fountain involves keeping the water level topped off, a simple step to routinely check. Replenishing the water supply is important, as you can expect to lose a considerable amount of water to evaporation. If you live a region that experiences freezing temperatures at some point during the year, all you have to do is remove the basin pump and store it the garage until the thaw arrives. Bubbling rock fountains cost between $1,000 and $2,000, with size and the type of rock representing the two most influential cost factors.

Healthy Home Accessory

Water fountains increase the humidity level outside of your home to rid the air of dust and other types of allergens. Flowing water produces negative ions, which scientific studies have shown to have a positive effect on mood and overall health. The health benefits of installing an outdoor water fountain are an important part of why a fountain can enhance the curb appeal of your home.

2019 Atlantic-OASE Professional Conference

The Third Annual Atlantic-OASE Professional Conference held last week in Cleveland Ohio was an event not to be missed.

Thorsten Muck, CEO of OASE Living Water and Jeff Weemhoff, President of Atlantic-OASE

New this year, early arrivers attended 3 hands-on business workshops focusing on Business Strategy, Social Media and Water Feature Maintenance, hosted by experts Yolanda Ortiz of Corazon Business Coaching, Melanie Downes of The Grapevine Pro and our own Sean Bell.

Hands-on business workshops hosted by Yolanda Ortiz, Melanie Downes and Sean Bell

Yolanda Ortiz returned for her second conference, presenting her new workshop Culture, Hiring and Your Bottom Line to an appreciative audience. Melanie brought her 25+ years of experience as an entrepreneur in the family landscape and water feature business to fire up attendees with exciting new takes on Marketing and Social Media. Sean Bell educated attendees on Adding Maintenance Plans to your Business, offering lucrative insights into that bread-and-butter aspect of water gardening.

Welcome dinner at Pine Lake Trout Club
Welcome dinner at Pine Lake Trout Club

Wednesday evening, after rallying at the Hilton Garden Inn Twinsburg, our base of operations this year, we set off for the always beloved Pine Lake Trout Club. Jeff Weemhoff warmly welcomed attendees of the ever growing Conference, sharing his plans for the continued and accelerating expansion of Atlantic and OASE and insights into the coming year. Then we partied into the night at the beautiful timbered fishing lodge surrounded by the many streams and waterfalls, good food and drink enhancing the great networking and camaraderie.

Jeff Weemhoff and Thorsten Muck present the future of Atlantic-OASE

Thursday began early with a message from Jeff and Thorsten Muck, CEO of OASE Living Water, on the bright future of Atlantic and OASE. Presentations on social media, advanced bog construction, product development, water feature estimating and distributor meeting preceded lunch, then we boarded buses and headed over to AWG headquarters.

Demi Fortuna and Brandon Dwyer at the Fountain Nozzles 101 Station

There we split into rotating groups visiting seven Demonstration Stations, showcasing the power of PondoVacs; the new Atlantic InfiColor Lighting System; automatic ScreenMatic2 filtration; tips on multiple Fountain Nozzle installation; the ease of adding FiltoClear Pressure Filters to existing ponds; programming the Easy Garden Control Cloud-based control system and a workshop on Photographing Water Features by last year’s APC of the Year Shane Hemphill.

Frayne McAtee at the Connecting to Your Water Feature Station

With heads still buzzing with all they had seen and heard, attendees were treated to a surprise stop on the ride back to the hotel. The buses pulled up and then into the huge new 170,000 sq. ft. facility, where a champagne toast accompanied the reveal of the new building. What better place to announce the 2019 Atlantic Professional Contractors of the Year?

Jeff Weemhoff welcomes conference attendees to the NEW Atlantic-OASE headquarters

Congratulations to TRAVIS WHITAKER – APC OF THE YEAR! With strong business growth over the past 15 years combined with excellence and creativity in water feature construction and design, Travis and Shannon Whitaker and their team are at the top of their game. A key contractor in his market, Travis has landed multiple large, high profile projects, but has continued to be a team player, helping fellow contractors when called upon in the best spirit of caring and generosity.

Whitaker Waterscapes, 2019 Atlantic-OASE Professional Contractor of the Year recipients Travis & Shannon Whitaker

Atlantic created a whole new award for another standout member of the Community, Matt Boring! Matt earned the Presidential Award in recognition of his constructive and helpful attitude to all in the industry, as well as the excellence of his work. His positive outlook and advice on the APC Facebook page have greatly increased the value of the group for all, while his sharing of his body of work and innovative construction projects has inspired and promoted both the industry and Atlantic. Congratulations Matt!

Texas Ponds and Water Features, 2019 Atlantic-OASE Presidential Award recipients
Matt Boring and Carlos Ordaz

Finally, in recognition of his long-standing dedication to the Water Gardening Industry and his unique standing amongst (and usually a head above) his peers, Atlantic was proud to present the Monster Award to our beloved Lloyd Lightsey. Always there to lend a helping hand, always smiling, Lloyd has always loved to make all around him smile, but he and Karrie have also dedicated their time and energy (even his beard) to the very serious challenge of raising money for cancer research. Lloyd, our Pond Monster, we salute you and Karrie for your good works and your unique standing in the industry! The award, named The Monster Award, will be given out annually moving forward.     

The Pond Monster, 2019 Atlantic-OASE Monster Award recipients Lloyd & Karrie Lightsey

After the surprise visit to the new building concluded, we spent the final evening of our wonderful time together playing and partying at Punch Bowl Social in downtown Cleveland. We thank all our attendees for another rewarding and informative Atlantic-OASE Professional Conference, and look forward to seeing you next year!

Dinner and games at Punch Bowl Social in downtown Cleveland
Dinner and games at Punch Bowl Social in downtown Cleveland

Tools That Don’t Suck – The Wobble Wedge

June 7, 2019

TOOLS THAT DON’T SUCK

As water feature installers, my sons and I are used to hard, dirty, sometimes dangerous work. We enjoy what we do, whether it’s digging ponds, plumbing pumps, rolling boulders or tweaking waterfalls. We also value anything that helps make the work easier or more fun. We’re always looking for tools, apps or gadgets that save time & effort, eliminate stress, add to our comfort on the job or are just fun to use. Often a buddy will turn us on to one. I’d like to return the favor by passing our favorite Tools That Don’t Suck along to you.

The Wobble Wedge

Sometimes the best stuff comes in the smallest packages. That’s the way I think of this next doohickey. This deceptively simple device that’s so well engineered that I now take them for granted. But that’s only because I keep a jar full of them in every truck. I’m talking about the modest, overachieving Wobble Wedge.

Photo from WobbleWedges.com

The manufacturer calls them “a modular system of securely-stackable interlocking plastic shims”. Like any good system, there are a number of models to choose from. There are flexible and rigid wedges, white, black or clear in color. Three different sizes, all interlocking and cross-nesting, accommodate all sorts of leveling, shimming, tightening and locking tasks in and out of doors. All feature tiny ribs that lock wedge-to-wedge, regardless of the size of the wedge.

Wobble Wedge, Basalt Column
Can be adjusted in tiny increments and lock where you leave them.

For our purposes, we like the rigid standard black wedges for shimming columns and overflowing vases that need small adjustments, while the Big Gap wedges handle really uneven situations. Regardless of the size, all Wobble Wedges can be adjusted in tiny increments and lock where you leave them, no slipping or shifting.

Are they worthy of the status “Tools That Don’t Suck?”

Heck yes! These guys thought of everything that I could want on the job, and they have a couple of patents to prove it. The standard black Wobble Wedges are small and easily concealed. The hard plastic is pretty much indestructible. I say that after shimming over a thousand pounds with them, driving them home with a mallet to get a granite sphere dead level. They’re even forgiving! If you push them too far under a really big fountain or stone column, they have an inset Grab Bar at the back of the wedge that lets you pull them back out with a needlenose plier.

Wobble Wedge, Basalt Column
Grab Bar at the back of the wedge that lets you pull them back out.

Did I mention that they are 100% Made in the USA? And they’re inexpensive to boot, around $20 for a bucket of 75! When I showed one to my friends at a distributorship I was visiting, they brought them in the next day, no further convincing necessary. Love at first sight. 

If you haven’t already, try Wobble Wedges. I think you’ll like them.

Also check out or blog on the Atlantic Eco-Rise System to create reservoirs of practically any size, shape and volume supporting any number of decorative items with complete adjustability.

Social Media Tips & Tricks

Social Media these days is rapidly changing, and sometimes let’s be honest, it’s really hard to keep up! There are so many channels and there is always an update to be downloaded, or learned and let’s face it, it’s a lot easier to share this information with each other than it is for each of us to research it on our own.

So here are a few things that I’ve recently found to be helpful in my daily social media activities.

Facebook – Creating a Pixel:

facebookNow, I haven’t yet used this little gem, but my expectations of it are quite high. From what I’ve read, once you install the pixel code in the header of your website, you can track multiple things when a user clicks on your ad like what device they are using, where they are from, the average age of the user clicking on your ad, etc.

Here is a link to a page all about the Facebook pixel if you’d like to learn more.

Twitter – Tweeting Full Videos:

Now from what I’ve heard, not very many people know about tweeting full videos, only 30 second clips. Through one of the many Twitter webinars I’ve listened to or one of the many articles I’ve read, I came across a hack on how to tweet FULL videos. Hopefully if your company uses Twitter, you can use this to your advantage.

So here are the steps:

First visit your Twitter page and click on your profile icon in the top righthand corner and select “Twitter Ads”.Select Media

Next select “Creatives” and in the dropdown menu select “Media”.

On the left side of the page under “Library”, select “Videos”.

Select VideosSelect “Upload Media” and locate the video file you want to upload.

Unfortunately there is no capability as of now to schedule full video tweets in advance . You will have to follow these same steps to tweet full videos as needed.

Upload VideoInstagram – Use the Business Page to your advantage:

Instagram recently came out with Business pages, which is helpful if you use Instagram to push your brand recognition and get your name out in the open. It provides companies with the ability to add their contact information in their profile without being very limited to the content. Of course there still is some character limitations for this Information section, but at least now you don’t have to stuff that section with your contact information, website and about info.

Another great thing that they’ve introduced for business pages is the analytics side. You can now see your post impressions, reach and engagement on each photo or video that you post.

Not only do you get to see insights on posts, but your profile also offers insights on the percentage of which gender is following and interacting with you, the age range, locations, and the average time your followers are using Instagram each day. Pretty cool!Instagram for Business

If you haven’t already switched your profile over to a business profile, I highly encourage you to do so and start looking at your insights.

Pinterest – The Pinterest Tag:

pinterestAnother great trick that I have not yet implemented but plan to in 2017 is the Pinterest Tag. Similar to the Facebook Pixel, the Pinterest Tag allows your to track actions that users take even after they’ve clicked on your pin. Track things like actions taken or events that users have encountered like if they’ve added something to their cart, made a purchase, searched for something specific on your website, the list goes on with what this tag can do.

Here is a link if you’d like to learn more about the Pinterest Tag and step by step instructions on how to implement it.

If you know of anymore tips or tricks when it comes to these social media channels, or any others that you’d like to add, please add them in the comment section below. I’d love to hear what you’ve discovered.

 


 About the Author:
Meet Shelby, AWG Graphic Designer and Social Media ExtraordinaireSHELBY SCUDERI

Atlantic Water Gardens Graphic Designer and Social Media Extraordinaire, Shelby has been with Atlantic since 2011. In addition to keeping up with social media trends and ensuring that the website and all social networks are running smoothly, Shelby also manages Atlantic’s advertising and marketing programs.

Feeling lost on Facebook?

Recently, Facebook has updated their layout and basically the functionality of how users manage their business’ Facebook pages. Like a lot of you, I also asked myself the questions; “How do I do this now?” and “Where did that go?”

After spending some time navigating through my Facebook pages, I got a handle on where everything I use as a resource is for managing our Facebook page.

Figuring that it was a little difficult for me to find out where everything was, and learning how to use this new functionality, I’d like to share with you some things that have changed, and how to use them now.

How does my page, “Like” other pages now?

After spending too much time trying to figure this out on my own, I left it to Google. It took some time to find instructions for the most recent update, but I did end up finding what I was looking for. Since you now technically can only use Facebook only as yourself in a sense, you cannot just LIKE a page without “Liking” it as yourself, Facebook added an extra step.

How to "Like" a page

Once you are the on the page that you want to “Like”, you will have to select the button with the three dots, and then select “Like as your page”. A prompt may then appear if you manage multiple pages,  asking you which page you would like to “Like” the current page as. I know, very confusing.

Where did my pages feed go?home_sidebar

Yet another inconvenient process I had to go through just to find my pages newsfeed. Before you would simply select which page you wanted to use Facebook as, and voila! Instant newsfeed. Now, to find your pages’ newsfeed, you will need to begin on your own newsfeed or “home” and select your page from the left hand side.

If you only manage one page, you will be able to just select “Pages Feed” and your pages’ newsfeed should display, but if you manage multiple pages, this may not be specific enough for you. All of the Page’s newsfeed that you manage will show up. You will need to take a couple additional steps to see a single Page’s newsfeed.

Continue to select the page that you would like to see a newsfeed for.

Select "See Pages Feed"

From there you will be brought to your timeline of your business page.  On the left hand side, under your profile picture, you will see things like, how many likes your page has, check-ins, or your post reach. In this section you will also see, “See Pages Feed”. Go ahead and select it and up will come all of that pages that you have liked, posts where you can like, comment and share, which brings me to my next point.

 

Liking and Commenting

Like, Comment, Share as yourself or your page

Yet another time consuming update that you may or may not have noticed, is when you want to post a comment, like or share something, you need to choose which user you want to do so as. You can switch between users or pages by selecting the dropdown arrow in the bottom righthand corner of a post and selecting which account you would like to interact with the post as. Remember, you will have to do this each time you want to like, comment or share a post.

I hope these few tips help with how you manage your business’ Facebook page and don’t leave you even more confused than you were before. If you have any other suggestions on how to better use Facebook after this new update, comment below. Or comment any questions and I will do my best to answer!


 About the Author:
Meet Shelby, AWG Graphic Designer and Social Media ExtraordinaireSHELBY SCUDERI

Atlantic Water Gardens Graphic Designer and Social Media Extraordinaire, Shelby has been with Atlantic since 2011. In addition to keeping up with social media trends and ensuring that the website and all social networks are running smoothly, Shelby also manages Atlantic’s advertising and marketing programs.