Here in the Lowcountry, we’re surrounded by lots of water: the ocean, marshlands, lagoons, ponds, creeks and lakes. The many swimming pools that dot the Lowcountry landscape bring that water even closer — right into our backyards.

But not just any pool will do for Lowcountry residents; gone are the days of the basic white rectangular swimming pool. Today, each soothing hardscape is unique in its design, functionality, maintenance needs and amenities — and each offers year-round outdoor pleasure for homeowners.

LONG COVE CLUB EARNS TOP HONORS FOR SERVICE

Hilton Head Island’s Long Cove Club has been awarded the prestigious Distinguished Club award from BoardRoom magazine, one of the most respected trade publications serving private clubs.

The merit-based award honors clubs that operate at the highest standards, rating them using a club-specific evaluation of the clubs, their managements and their staff. The rating system helps the magazine recognize the top private clubs based on member experience, the most important service they provide.

NEW KITCHEN AND BATH TRENDS TO ENHANCE YOUR HOME

Many homeowners find themselves eyeing their homes, wondering how to make their houses reflect their Lowcountry lifestyles.

One of the easiest ways is to redo a kitchen or bathroom, changing the color scheme, textures, materials, finishes, fixtures and hardware and adding furnishings, architectural details and smart technology. And while some trends come and go, many Lowcountry interior designers have crafted a coastal aesthetic with staying power — one that still embraces some of the design trends popping up around the country.

In the 1980s, Hilton Head Island boasted its own particular brand of architectural and interior design style: Heavy drapes dripping with Florida-inspired palm tree-and-bamboo motifs and a color palette dominated by lime green, lemon yellow, avocado green and harvest gold.

As the island grew and matured in the ’90s, so did its homes’ aesthetics. New homes and home renovations brought their own identities and personalities. Lighter hues and a mix of materials, fabrics and textures were increasingly being found under one metal roof.

THANK YOUR HVAC UNIT

The HVAC system is the most expensive appliance in your home, but it’s hard to imagine living in the Lowcountry without one. The centralized heating, ventilation and air conditioning system helps improve indoor air quality while reducing humidity levels and making your indoor space more comfortable.

This spring we have seen a record number of visitors to the Lowcountry — good news for both our economy and for our real estate market. After all, many current full-time Hilton Head Islanders once were visitors this island paradise. As we head into the summer season, it always warms my heart to see families enjoying our island. I find myself wondering where they are from, what they do for a living, and if this is their first time visiting Hilton Head. 

CORNELLS JOIN CENTURY 21

The husband-and-wife team of Joe and Yvonne Cornell has joined Century 21 A Low Country Realty as real estate agents.

Joe Cornell has been a licensed real estate professional since 1982, beginning his real estate career in Philadelphia where he worked with his father in property management. He has completed curriculum work for an MBA at Eastern University and has earned a graduate certificate in marketing strategies at Cornell University's Johnson School of Business. He holds specialist designations in second home properties, senior real estate and military relocation.

HARDSCAPES ADD VALUE TO HOMES

Lush grass, indigenous plants, saw palmettos, stately live oaks draped in Spanish moss: The Lowcountry is the perfect setting to enjoy the outdoors.

The best way to enjoy all that Mother Nature has to offer? Upscale outdoor living spaces, complete with all the amenities Lowcountry residents could need for optimal comfort. It’s these spaces, area real estate agents say, that become the most important when trying to see a home.

BLUFFTON WELCOMES THE JOHNSONS

Since childhood, U.S. Army Staff Sgt. Clark “Jey” Johnson dreamed of joining the U.S. Army. Before the beginning of his senior year in high school, Johnson drive miles away to find a recruiting station near his home in Independence, Iowa. He headed to boot camp in July 1996, after graduation, and the reported for duty in Schweinfurt, Germany.

INSPIRATION TO HELP YOU SPROUT AN INTEREST IN GARDENING

Ah, spring: The birds are singing, flowers are blooming, and Lowcountry gardeners are getting out their trowels and heading to the yard. Why do we spend countless hours pruning and planting? For some of us, it helps us put down roots in our communities. Others just can’t help themselves. Here, a few famous quotes on gardening to help spark an interest: