It’s not just happenstance that Bluffton and Hilton Head look the way they do. It takes an army of architects, landscapers and gardeners.

There are certain sounds that are undeniably Hilton Head Island and Bluffton. The call of a pileated woodpecker. The cry of a young hawk. The crash of the waves on the beach or the sound of the wind in the trees.

Helpful advice from the Lowcountry’s preeminent plant nerd

Early March is a pretty time to be in the South Carolina Lowcountry, and after some very cold and damaging weather I am ready to be outside digging in the dirt. Sorry, “soil” is the preferred horticultural term for that brown crumbly stuff we grow our flowers, shrubs and vegetables in.  

It is clear by the year-end real estate numbers that more people are finding the Lowcountry to be the ideal place to live, work and play. Inventory is at a six-month supply, down 23.1 percent from the end of 2014. Closed sales are up 13.2 percent from 2014, and the median price point is up 7.3 percent to $276,900. If the number of pending sales is any indication, 2016 is off to a great start for the housing market.

OKATIE HOME MAKES MOST OF NATURAL SURROUNDINGS

From her screened porch, outdoor patio, manicured backyard, upstairs balcony, kitchen and most rooms at her Mediterranean-style home, Ann Bitner can see the marsh and Okatie River bend here and there.

The view is what she wanted. The view is what she got, thanks to H2 Builders in Bluffton.

EDITOR’S NOTE: As part of Monthly’s yearlong 30th anniversary celebration, we are highlighting 30 years of different industries in each issue. This month, we feature the homebuilding industry and how it helped shape Hilton Head Island, Bluffton and the surrounding Lowcountry.

A LOOK BACK AT WHAT TURNED THE HILTON HEAD ISLAND/ BLUFFTON BUILDING INDUSTRY INTO ONE OF THE FASTEST GROWING MARKETS IN THE SOUTHEAST

There are many things homebuyers and sellers expect from a Realtor, including knowledge of the local market, strong negotiating skills and the ability to confidently guide clients through the buying and selling process. While Realtors are already the most prepared to do all this, they also bring a little something else to the table: past experience in other business sectors.

PORT ROYAL PLANTATION HOME BUILT TO BE JUST AS MAGNIFICIENT AS ITS LOCATION

Port Royal Sound has lost none of its natural lure and deep watery magnetism since it first attracted seafarers into its wide mouth in the early 1500s. Rick and Louise Tranquilli know the seascape magic of that ever-changing tide and alluring salt air breeze quite well. They live oceanfront beside it in Port Royal Plantation.

“Sometimes we walk in and just stand there and go, ‘Do we really live here?’”

If the property, architecture, furnishings and gentle southern vibe of Gerry and Nancy Grossman’s residence could be concocted into a magic potion and squeezed into a bottle, “Lowcountry Comfort” might—and should — be on the label.

It would be a soothing lifestyle elixir day in and day out.

As you prepare to deck your halls for Christmas, we thought you might need some inspiration. So we asked area experts to show us their finest seasonal décor and the results, as you can see, were stunning.

Just comparing Hilton Head to the mainland shows you can’t always trust national housing numbers.

When national housing numbers are released, it may not always line up with the local market.  This is especially true in our own market.  When area statistics are reported, it can encompass the tip of the toe of Hilton Head Island out to the Hardeeville/Jasper County area.