How To Keep Your Sprinkler Heads From Getting Destroyed

Once you have made the investment to have a sprinkler system in your yard, you will need to take some precautions regarding the sprinkler heads. They can break easily, either from too much pressure upon them, or from brute force when they are up and sprinkling water. While a sprinkler head will break every once in awhile, you can take some steps to avoid needing this repair on your system on a regular basis. 

Look Carefully at the Map Provided by Your Sprinkler Company

When your sprinklers are installed, the company will provide you with a map to indicate where all of your sprinkler heads are. You should look carefully at this map, especially for sprinkler heads near your driveway. If you have the need to turn around on your lawn from your driveway, you should know where any sprinkler heads are located to avoid driving over them.

Don’t Allow People to Drive on Your Lawn

While you may need to turn around once in awhile, remind guests that you have a sprinkler system and to avoid driving on the lawn at all times. This may seem basic, but you would be surprised how many sprinkler heads get destroyed from guests driving across the lawn.

Mow Your Lawn with Caution

If you use a riding lawn mower, once again you need to look at the map of sprinkler heads while mowing your lawn. Better yet, mow your lawn a few times with the sprinkler heads up so you know exactly where they are. Once you put the sprinkler heads back down, there will be areas of your lawn that are higher where you avoided the heads. Use a weed whacker on these areas until you learn where your sprinkler heads are.

Don’t Allow Children to Play in Your Engaged Sprinklers

While it might be fun to allow your children to run through your sprinklers on a hot day, you have to remember that children can easily break a sprinkler head. If it’s really hot out, you might want to take your chances but remind the children that they shouldn’t go anywhere near the sprinklers or they will break. A solid hit in the right place, and a sprinkler head can easily snap right off.

When you have invested in a quality sprinkler system for your yard, you want to make sure that you don’t have to deal with unnecessary repairs. Know where the sprinkler heads are and try to avoid running over them while mowing the lawn or turning around. Contact a business, such as USA Hoich Irrigation, for more information.   

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3 Solutions For Better Landscape Water Management That You Can Do At Your Home

Landscape water management is a problem in many communities, but there are solutions. Some of these solutions can begin right on your own property. Here is a brief explanation of the problem and three solutions that you can use to set an example for sound water management in your neighborhood.

The Problem

Besides the visual insult of gallons of water pouring down a storm drain, there are immediately damaging effects to natural water systems in your area. The quality of water in local lakes, streams, rivers and creeks is compromised by the level of contamination from rain runoff that is allowed to flow freely into these water supplies.

Trash, pesticides, fertilizers, oil, grease and unhealthy bacteria flow freely from rooftops, across parking lots, and down streets, where they are flushed down a storm drain. While it might be next to impossible to divert 100% of this runoff into useable retention systems, individual properties are the best place to start.

Solutions

In an ideal situation, every home could be responsible, to some degree, for handling at least a portion of their property’s rainwater runoff. Waiting until a neighbor decides to do the right thing will make it difficult for positive results to be realized.

Even a simple rain garden in your own yard could be the impetus that triggers a more environmentally conscious water management model in your community. Rain chains, rain gardens and green roofs are three simple bio-retention systems that you can start with at your home.

  • Rain Chains

A simple starter project that handles water runoff from your house roof through your gutters and downspouts are rain chains. Rain chains are a decorative alternative to downspouts, with a portion of this water easily transferred along basic drip irrigation lines.

Rain chains are also decorative and slow the pouring of rainwater through your downspouts that can be responsible for soil erosion. Rain chains will deflect water from your gutters and allow it to trickle into planting areas, or be gently absorbed by your lawn.

  • Rain Gardens

A small rain garden can reclaim over a half a gallon of water per square foot. The design is relatively simple, with a flat bottom pond surrounded by native species of plant material that can handle consistently damp conditions. As you move farther away from the rain garden center, there can be a more diverse array of plants.

You have various choices for how the water is filtered back into the ground around the garden. Places along the sides can be designed to be porous, allowing the water, once it reaches a certain height, to bleed slowly into the surrounding soil, hydrating the plant material just outside the rain garden. You can also install a very basic filtration system with a small pump attached that feeds irrigation lines to other planted areas in your landscape.

  • Green Roofs

Green roofs are a little more involved than the two previous types of water retention systems, but are certainly a viable consideration for the future of water management. There are some structural considerations that need to be carefully inspected before you consider if any portion of your roof might make for a viable spot for a green roof.

Landscape designers who specialize in green roof options are skilled in knowing if there is a part of your home that might prove feasible. Even small corner planter boxes, fixed at places on your roof that already sufficiently supported points, can be a nice place to start.

Most often these can be filled with climate and water tolerant types of vines, or ground cover, that as it grows will add a majestic since of foliage to spots on your home. Since the green roof concept is a more involved water management system, a small project incorporated with either of the two previous solutions can boost the percentage of water reclamation you are personally responsible for.

No matter how large or small a piece of property you have, using a bio-retention system can be an excellent way to show your ecological awareness by helping to improve your community’s water management objectives. A landscape professional that specializes in water management services and irrigation can steer you in the right direction so you can be a role model in this environmentally conscious purpose.

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The Advantages of Rubber Pavers

Rubber pavers are an alternative outdoor hardscaping material that can be used in place of more traditional concrete and asphalt in order to create patios, walkways, and even driveways. Because of their unique material qualities, rubber pavers carry a distinctive set of advantages with them. Understanding what rubber pavers have to offer can help you decide if they are the right choice for your outdoor hardscaping needs.

Low Maintenance

Unlike stone and concrete, rubber pavers do not need to be sealed to ensure that they remain in good shape over time. This is because rubber is a non-absorbent material. Water will not seep into it and freeze, cause cracks, or promote mold growth. This also means that rubber pavers are much easier to clean then other types of materials, as they can simply be pressure washed or scrubbed down by hand to remove caked-on dirt and other debris. This ease of cleaning and lack of staining can help reduce your long-term costs and time commitments.

Environmentally Friendly

Rubber pavers can be made out of recycled materials. While not every brand or model of rubber pavers is recycled, you can easily find a variant that is. This helps reduce your environmental impact and make your yard or project greener. Furthermore, when it’s time to replace your pavers, you can simply recycle them instead of throwing them out as you would would with other materials.

Safety

Rubber pavers are an extremely safe building material. Not only is rubber slip resistant, helping to prevent unexpected falls, it is also softer than more traditional types of pavers, such as concrete or natural stone, which means that if you do end up falling on it, you are much less likely to actually injure yourself. This makes rubber pavers ideal for playground installation and other areas where small children engage in a great deal of activity. Additionally, their soft surface means that rubber pavers will not crack or split when heavy objects fall on them, as the shock will simply be absorbed.

Weather Resistance

Rubber pavers are highly resistant to the wear and tear associated with outdoor use. Their nonabsorbent quality means that they can withstand the springtime rains and snowmelts without cracking or eroding due to water exposure. Furthermore, rubber will not soften to the same extent that asphalt will in the summer months, and this reduces the likelihood of an uneven surface developing. 

Contact a hardscape-services company near you for more information. 

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Two Sneaky Reasons Your Home’s Landscaping Is Dehydrating Faster Than It Should

You spend a lot of time and money creating a landscape that is green, pristine, and healthy, but if you don’t have an adequate amount of moisture content in the soil surrounding your home, all your efforts will just be moot. While your first inclination as a homeowner who has dehydrated landscape will be just to contact the nearest residential irrigation expert you can find, it is always a good idea to understand why your landscape is dehydrating at an alarming rate. Here are a few sneaky reasons why the moisture content in your soil could be suffering. 

The makeup of your soil is lacking in absorbent properties. 

Imagine you have a flower pot filled with dirt from your landscape. You pour a glass of water over it and then use that same glass to capture the same amount of water from the drainage hole in the bottom. Your landscape and soil is comparable to a giant planting container with a drainage system in the lower layers. If your soil is not containing absorbent qualities, when it does rain, the biggest part of that moisture will just slip right through and drain away.

Soil conditioning products can help with this issue because they are essentially made up of compounds that retain water, such as ground pine mulch or compost. Soil conditioners are worked into the soil through a plugging process that usually involves drilling a series of holes along the surface of the ground with an aerator. By injecting the soil conditioners into your soil, you are giving it more absorbing power and it will retain moisture for far longer than usual. 

Your soil is receiving too much direct sunlight. 

Sunlight and heat play an important role in the moisture levels of your landscape, which is no big surprise. If you live in an area where temperatures tend to soar and the sun beaming down is hot enough to cause quick evaporation, you could definitely see issues with moisture content in your soil. You may not be able to completely shield your ground from the sun, but what you can do is use dense materials and plant life to keep the ground better shaded. For example, instead of just seeding your property with ordinary grass seed, go for a clover mix which will provide you with dense, shading plant life that grows close to the ground to keep the ground better shaded and protected from the sun. Contact a company like Ronco  Irrigation Inc for more information.

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Ideas For Improving The Look Of Your Patio Or Sidewalk Hardscapes

Are you looking for a way to make your paths and patios a more decorative part of your backyard design? These surfaces, collectively known as the hardscapes, are just as important as the plants and water features when it comes to your landscaping. The following are just a few ideas to take them from plain to amazing.

Idea #1: Skip the concrete

Concrete patio pads and sidewalks are the builder’s grade option for more homes. Consider replacing the old paved surfaces, especially if they are old and cracked, with new stone or brick pavers. You can get these in a variety of shapes, textures, and colors. Neat brick or cobblestone works well for a formal or cottage look, while a more rustic stone or flagstone surface gives a more natural flair to the space.

Idea #2: Try a dye job

If the patios and sidewalks are in good condition and you can’t justify a replacement, concrete acid dying can be just the thing. This process uses a special dye to tint the concrete a new color. You can have a mosaic tinted onto the concrete, or you can have it dyed to look like stone tiles. Once dyed, it is sealed and polished so that you can’t even tell that it used to be concrete.

Idea #3: Add some wood

Small foot paths and walkways in most yards are made of concrete or stone pavers. Why not get creative and try wood? You can use thick-cut rounds from a durable hardwood tree much the same way that you would use stepping stones or pavers to create a path. Just make sure the wood you choose is either naturally rot-resistant or treated to resist rot.

Idea #4: Get detailed

Small details can go a long way toward dressing up boring hardscapes. For example, use decorative rock, brick, or stone to create a decorative edge around paved surfaces. Not only will this add a pop of color, it will also give the pavement a more finished appearance. You can also add in some decorative touches, such as tiles or small stone mosaics, by sinking them into the concrete before it cures. There are even nighttime options, such as tiles treated to glow in the dark, or solar tiles that actually store energy and then produce a soft glow once the sun sets. The little splashes of color break up the expanse of concrete and make it more attractive.

Talk to a landscaper or hardscaping specialist for more ideas.

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Picking A Privacy Shrub Based On Your Family’s Needs

If you want to increase the privacy of your home without putting up a fence reminiscent of the Berlin Wall, then planting some dense, fast-growing shrubs and trees is for you. This mode of action gives you all the privacy of a fence, doesn’t alienate your neighbors, and serves to beautify your yard with some fresh new greenery. Here are the five best shrubs and trees to plant if you want some extra beauty and privacy in your yard, each with a distinct characteristic or two to separate it from the pack. 

Forsythia

A forsythia bush is one of the most common choices for a privacy bush since they grow quickly and produce beautiful yellow flowers in the spring. In fact, forsythia can grow up to two feet in a single year, which means you can get some privacy in a hurry if you want quick results. 

Red Twig Dogwood

If there’s a long winter where you live, then the red twig dogwood is for you. Broad, green leaves in the spring and summer give way to bright red branches in the winter for year-round beauty. Also, the red twig dogwood is very low-maintenance, only requiring pruning every three years if you so desire. 

Nellie Stevens Holly

This type of shrub is perhaps the most dense on this list, and is a perfect choice for homeowners that just want some privacy, plain and simple. This type of holly can grow to pretty much any height you want (up to 20 feet high), making it perfect for dialing in your level of privacy and working the shrub into your landscape scheme. 

Boxwood

Chances are, if you ever walk by a dense, low, razor-sharp row of hedges, you’re looking at boxwood. This little shrub takes very well to constant pruning, meaning you can dial in the perfect shape and size for your yard. This also means that you can keep this shrub to tight designs that befit a modern-looking yard. If you want to go to the next level with your landscaping, try taking up topiary to produce shapes like lollipops, spirals, or even chess pieces. 

Honeysuckle

If you’ve got kids, honeysuckle is the way to go for a great privacy shrub. The tiny white flowers produced by honeysuckle contain a tiny bit of honey-like nectar that kids can try a taste of on a hot summer day. This nectar isn’t just for you and your kids though, since honeysuckle also attracts birds, bees, and other bugs to produce a veritable animal sanctuary in your own backyard. 

To find out more about putting up privacy shrubs or other landscaping features on your property, contact Design Scapes of Manasota Inc or other landscapers near you.

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Three Steps To Preparing Your Yard For Hydroseeding

You’re tired of your patchy, weed-filled front lawn and you’re ready to do something about it. But sprinkling on a little grass seed has had spotty results in the past, and rolling on brand-new sod is a little out of your price range. 

You’ve heard about hydroseeding, the process of spraying on grass seed combined with a fertilizer and mulch, and you think it might be a good solution for you. But how do you know if your lawn area is a good location for hydroseeding, and what do you need to do to get the area ready? 

1. Test the soil.

One nice thing about hydroseeding is that it can allow grass seed to sprout in some challenging locations. The blend of nutrients and mulch help protect and grow the grass seed until it is well established in your yard.

But this ease in growing can have its drawbacks, too. If your soil isn’t well-suited to support the lawn, your new grass will start off beautiful and lush, then begin to whither away or get patchy and sparse again. You might even think it is something you or your landscaper did wrong, but the reality is that your soil is just not ideal for a lush lawn. 

Soil testing can give you the answers and let you add nutrients and balance the pH in the soil so it becomes an ideal environment to support a thriving lawn. Or, if you find some serious problems, such as contamination with heavy metals or herbicides, you can make smart decisions about whether to wait, replace the soil or choose a different landscaping look.

It’s relatively inexpensive to do soil testing. Your landscaper or your area university extension office can either perform the tests for you or point you in the right direction for getting the soil analyzed. Follow the lab’s directions for taking samples at the correct locations and depths for best results.

2. Remove existing sod.

Taking off the top layer of turf will remove the existing grass and any weeds and roots that are part of the yard. A small area can be easy to prepare, using a spade or shovel to skin off the top layer, but for a larger yard you or your landscaper may wish to use a sod cutter.

Sod cutters work best under certain conditions and the process can be done more quickly with experience, so this is one area where you likely want your landscaper to take care of the work. 

Don’t make the mistake of using a rototiller to chop up the soil. While this can loosen the dirt nicely, it also ends up chopping up all the weed seeds and roots and distributing them over the entire area. You’ll end up with an ongoing battle with unwanted weeds.

3. Use the right amount of seed.

Bags of grass seed may contain a smaller amount of pure, live seed than you think. The bag of seed will tell you the percentage of germination and the percentage of purity; if your 10-pound bag is only 90 percent pure and will only germinate 90 percent, it will be like applying just a bit more than 8 pounds of seed. 

Make sure you’re applying plenty of seed for the area, and encourage your landscaper to use more rather than try to save a buck by putting on less seed. Your results are likely to be much better than if you scrimped — accidentally or purposefully — on seed.

Talk to a local professional landscaper, such as http://www.hydroseedingandbarkblowersinc.com, about the hydroseeding process and whether it is a good match for your yard.

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Five Quick Tips For Better Lawn Mowing

Is your lawn looking a bit dull and brown, even though you’re sure it is getting enough water? Maybe certain areas are looking a bit shaggy while others are too short. By improving on your lawn mowing strategy with these five quick tips, you can solve these common problems and more.   

Trim to the right length for your type of grass.

If you have cool season grass (which is common in the northern US), you should be trimming your grass to about 2 inches in length. Warn-season grasses (common in the south) do best when trimmed to about an inch. Cutting your grass too long or too short may inhibit its growth. If you’re not sure whether your grass is a warm or cool season variety, a landscaping expert can help you make this determination.

Mow slowly.

When you mow too quickly, the blades may push some blades of grass down rather than cutting them, resulting in that shaggy look you abhor. Take your time when mowing, walking slowly and enjoying the great outdoors — the more attractive end result will be worth it.

Empty your bag often.

If your trimming bag gets full before you finish mowing, your mower may start spewing clippings out onto the lawn, resulting in a messy look. If you go over the area again in hopes of cleaning them up, you might end up with uneven results. It’s best to empty your bag when you know there is still space left in it. Pay attention to when your bag fills up, so next time, you can empty it before you reach that point in your mowing session.

Change your mowing direction each time you mow.

Grass leans in the direction in which you mow it. This means that one side of the blades will get less sunlight than the other, and may develop a more yellow appearance. By switching mowing directions each time you mow, you ensure more even sun exposure — and a more evenly green lawn.

Set the blades higher at first.

If you are not sure what level you need to set the blades on to get the lawn length you desire, always air on the side of caution, starting with higher blades first. You can always lower them for a closer cut if they are too high — but you can’t add length back to grass that you’ve trimmed too short. 

For further assistance, contact local professionals, such as those from Williams Lawn Care & Landscaping, Inc.

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Design A Garden As An Outdoor Retreat

Your backyard should be more than the backside of your house. Properties typically include more land area behind the house than in front, providing the perfect space for creating an inviting landscape. Your garden retreat should also be pleasing at different times of the day and even year. Design a garden that provides a year-round getaway literally in your own backyard.

Privacy Plants

The first consideration for your backyard retreat is getting some privacy. The Landscaping Network recommends adding a screen of living bamboo. Bamboo grows fast and stays green all year. This material is especially useful for narrow spaces because of its slim profile.

Shrubs are commonly used for privacy. Japanese privet, vibernum and rhododendron give your yard flowers in the spring and summer. Red tip photinia provides red foliage in spring, and juniper offers year-round fragrance. Consider mixing up your selection of shrubs to delineate spaces in your backyard landscape.

Garden Structures

The next step in planning your garden retreat is deciding which garden structures to include. For example, if attracting birds is a desire, give them a homey atmosphere. Include a pretty birdhouse, and make a stone birdbath the center of a mini garden.

The sound of running water adds a soothing element which also helps shield the garden from intrusive street noise. Make a water fountain the centerpiece of your yard, or tuck it into the corner of your patio.

Benches are attractive structures that also provide a space for resting. Other garden options include purely decorative elements, such as antique wheelbarrows or rain barrels used as planters. Let your choice of garden structures drive the unique character of your backyard garden.

Perennial Plantings

The rest of your garden design depends on your preferences. For example, old-fashioned cottage gardens were designed to provide cuttings. If you want your garden to provide fresh flowers for the house, consider a profusion of plants such as roses, teddy bear sunflowers, bachelor buttons and zinnia.

Fresh herbs might be more your speed. A container garden on the patio is always an attractive addition. However, consider a mini garden planted around a large herb bush such as bay laurel or rosemary. Include the herbs that you especially love for cooking.

For a garden that looks beautiful year round, start with an ornamental tree such as crab apple, which provides blossoms, changing foliage colors and winter fruit. Plant a few grasses around for year-round texture, and include hardy perennials such as winter Daphne, brown-eyed Susan and winter heath in the mix.

An evening garden designed around a fire pit is an after-work treat. For this plan, consider white flowers that glow in the moonlight, such as silver mound Artemisia, snowflake catmint, white fan columbine and snow hill salvia. Incorporate flowers that also keep their scent later, such as peach blossom astilbe and Muscadet oriental lily.

Design a garden provides a retreat from your hectic life.

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5 Ways To Increase Your Home’s Value With Landscaping

Landscaping is such an important part of the look of your home because it creates a first impression for visitors. For this reason, good landscaping is never more important than when you’re selling your home. Having attractive landscaping won’t only look good to potential buyers; it can actually add value to your home. If you’re selling your home or are thinking of selling it, you might be wondering what your landscaping should look like to attract buyers. Use this guide to find out 5 ways you can increase your home’s value with landscaping.

1. Start by fixing your hardscapes. Hardscapes refer to the hard materials that are built into your landscape, such as walkways and fences. You’ll want to make sure all hardscapes are level and aren’t being uprooted. Not only are uprooted, uneven sidewalks and walkways unsightly, they pose a potential danger that can turn potential buyers away.

2. Hide anything unsightly with screening plants. The goal of landscaping is to draw people’s attention to your home, which can be difficult to do if there’s anything unsightly in the way. Screening plants, such as bamboo, hedges, and evergreens are great ways to hide anything unsightly while also making your house and landscaping look good.

3. Create a focal point with a lawn area. Creating attractive landscaping doesn’t mean you have to go crazy. Creating a focal point with just a few different plants and some mulch can be enough to catch people’s eye and please it. Having just a few plants is inviting enough to be pleasing, but not too much to intimidate potential buyers.

4. Remove plants where necessary. When you’re designing your landscape, you might think adding plants is always the answer, but sometimes taking plants away can make your landscape more attractive. Dying plants that will require a lot of maintenance should be removed. Shrubs and bushes that encroach on the sidewalk or are too big should also be removed. To keep your home looking up-to-date, remove any flowers and plants that are out of style.

5. Let your backyard landscape have universal appeal. If you’ve lived in your home for a while, chances are you have a lot of personal items in your backyard that don’t necessarily appeal to everyone, like a swing set. The more universal appeal your landscapes have, the more appealing they will be to potential buyers.

Considering how important landscaping is to the resale value of your home, you’ll want to take your time and plan ahead to make sure your landscaping is ready. For more information, contact a company like Glynn Young’s Landscaping & Nursery Center.

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Are there areas of your property that are simply unusable for one reason or another? Do you have a swampy yard that you cannot walk through or mow for days following a rainstorm? Are some areas more difficult to get grass to grow than others? You do not have to deal with these issues! I had both of these problems to address in my yard. The backyard was a swampy mess, and the front yard would not grow beautiful green grass. I hired a landscaper to make some improvements and now, I love the look of both yards and can use them as I like. Learn what my landscaper did by visiting my website.

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