Lawn Sprinkler System Maintenance

Water Production

The first thing to do is find out how long it takes your sprinkler to produce an inch of water. You can discover this information using a watering gauge, or by placing an empty tuna can under a stream of water. This information acts as a baseline. It allows you to anticipate your monthly irrigation costs, and it also reveals the standard amount of water used in an allotted time. By identifying normal function, you’ll be able to notice when something is not working properly.

Watering Schedules

Your watering schedules need to be adjusted depending on the season. Also, different zones of your yard contain different species of plants and need be tailored and adjusted accordingly. You can hire a serviceman to complete these settings if you aren’t confident, or you can set and monitor water output yourself using a “weekly watering number” for each section. The guidelines for weekly watering numbers can be found online, and include the necessary water percentages for various types of vegetation and climates.

Regular Inspections

Regularly inspect your overall watering system to identify leaks that will lead you to broken lines and misdirected heads. First, do an overall visual assessment, checking for pools of water and wet sidewalks. Both broken lines and misdirected water will cost you money, so take a few minutes once a month to make sure your water usage is efficient. A large, in-ground lawn sprinkler system should then be assessed zone-by-zone for leaks and damage to ensure proper functionality. Make any necessary repairs or replacements as soon as they are found to avoid worse, more expensive issues later.

Check Spray Patterns

Next, check the spray patterns of each sprinkler head to make sure water isn’t blocked by dirt, plants, or other material. If the heads are clear, but you’re experiencing poor water pressure, you may need to get your backflow checked. The backflow connection needed for automatic irrigation is required by law to be checked annually, but having it checked more often is a good idea. This testing process should be completed by a state-certified tester. Rules and regulations vary depending on your area, so contact your local water provider for specific information.

Save Water Outdoors

  • Avoid watering the lawn every single day. This is really wasteful considering that weekly watering is enough for the lawn even during summer months. You should actually avoid watering the lawn for some time when there has been a heavy downpour.
  • Plant your plants in such a way that they can make use of your roof runoff when it rains. Landscaping should actually be done smartly in that you can have water thirsty plants around areas where water collects and takes time to drain away.
  • If you must water your plans and the lawn, then make sure that you do this during early mornings before the temperatures rise and wind speed increases. When you time your watering schedules you will be able to minimize evaporation that can be wasteful. Consider the weather conditions before watering.
  • Use a broom to sweep clean your sidewalk or driveway instead of using a hose that uses gallons of water to clean off the debris and leaves from these areas. Alternatively, you can use an energy efficient blower for the same task.
  • Position your sprinklers so that your water does not get wasted on paved areas and instead lands where it is really needed. You should also consider irrigation devices that are water efficient such as drip irrigation and soaker hoses which go a long way in saving water.
  • Consider a higher cut for your lawn so as to promote deeper grass root growth, hold soil moisture and to offer shade for the root system so moisture is not lost faster. It is also very important that you avoid using fertilizer for your lawn because it increases the water need by the grass. If you must, then choose fertilizers that have nitrogen that is water soluble.
  • Consider a shut-off nozzle for your hoses so you are able to adjust the spray as needed for different areas. Once finished, you should remember to turn off your faucet instead of the nozzle because it can leak even when shut. It also helps to ensure that your sprinklers and hoses remain attended because you end up wasting too much water when you forget to turn them off. Make use of a timer to make sure you give only the intended amount of water to your garden.

About Snow and Landscaping

Snow acts as a natural insulator, so your landscaping will survive under snow all season, it’s when we come to shovel it that it may cause a problem or two. If everything is under a foot of snow, do you know where your driveway starts and ends? What about your walkway?

The most important and obvious thing is to keep your shovel on hard ground. Seems easy, but it is a lot harder than you may think. Where that landscaping starts is lost in a sea of white. This is why it is a good idea to use driveway reflectors to mark the boundaries of your hard surfaces. This way, you’ll know when to stop shoveling and hopefully you won’t have gone into any trees or shrubs that are hidden.

If there is a lot of snow it’s a good idea to shake it off of trees and shrubs that you can see, just so that the branches aren’t burdened with the extra weight. The roots will thank you for the added protection, but the branches, especially if they are on the small side will not.

Don’t pile the snow that you have shoveled onto your landscaping if you can help it. This just adds more weight. Instead try to pile it on the side of the driveway or walkway with no landscaping, or put it on the lawn itself. Remember to keep it away from public sidewalks and the road or you may end up with a fine.

If you are using a snowblower, be careful where you shoot the snow. Again, avoid trees and landscaping and the public walkways around your property. People don’t want to be blasted with snow from a snowblower and trees don’t either!

Lastly, be careful where you salt. Remember that during a thaw and in the spring the water will carry the salt residue with it and you don’t want that ending up on your plants or trees. You don’t want them damaged so limit the salt to areas away from landscaping if you can.

About Wire Mesh

It’s preferred by many people due to the benefits that it comes with. Some of the benefits include:

  • Cost: wire mesh is cost effective thus you can afford it even if you aren’t operating of a large budget.
  • Versatile: as mentioned above you can use it in a wide range of applications. For example, you can use it in fences, in screens and many other applications.
  • Easy to install: although, it’s recommended that you hire a professional to install the mesh for you, you can also install it if you have the right skills.
  • Durability: since it’s made from stainless steel wire, you are guaranteed that it will last for a long time. There are some types of meshes that are galvanized to reduce the chances of corrosion.

There are many types of mesh that you can go with:

  • Woven: also known as wire cloth, this unit is characterized by very small openings. It’s the most popular and it’s used in door and window screens. It’s also ideal for enclosing patio and porch.
  • The mesh is recommended for areas that require extra security. These areas include: stock rooms, window barns, and storage facilities. Its primary function is to prevent outsiders from getting into the facility through the window.
  • Welded: here the wires are welded together to form a very firm product. They are often used for fencing where they come in different gauges. One of the most common applications is in the construction of perimeter wall both at home and industries.

It’s also used in highway and railway fencing where it’s used in preventing animals and people from trying to cross highway roads and rail tracks. This prevents damage on the tracks.

If you want to protect your garden, you can use the mesh to provide additional security. You can also use it as an alternative wire for climbing plants.

  • Knit wire: popularly known as chicken wire. It serves as an inexpensive barrier for livestock. When used in livestock fencing, the wire comes in different gauges and hole sizes. All you need to do is to choose the wire that is ideal for your application. Some of the animals that you can secure with it include: chicken, horses, cows and rabbits.

Simple Residential Landscaping Maintenance

  • Before planting anything, talk to some of the local nurseries or those in your area with particularly beautiful landscapes and learn as much as you can about the soil conditions and what type of plants and grass do best. If you are new to the area, be sure to also ask about the weather and light throughout the year. Knowing this will help you choose plants that will be successful.
  • Take some time to sketch out any ideas you may have your yard. Be sure to indicate areas for trees, hedges, flower gardens and edges. Often, local nurseries have people who can come to your residence and help you plan this out.
  • Plan on planting trees and shrubs that require minimal maintenance, but will grow and flourish for years. Be sure there are some shade trees included in your selection! After all, no residential landscape should be without shaded areas where one can sit outside and just relax.
  • Select flowers and trees that are native to your area. Plant these items in their sun preferred area and you will find that little to no work will be required for them to look fabulous.
  • Rather than trying to maintain numerous gardens and landscaped areas at once, start small. Choose 1 or 2 key areas to focus on. In subsequent years you can add more areas, just be sure to know your time limits, and plant accordingly.
  • Plant similar types of plants together. Not will this look great, but it will be easier to maintain.
  • Use borders and walkways to add interest as well as keep grass from creeping into the garden areas.

Decorating the Pathway to Front Door

Pathways are extremely important when it comes to homes. People don’t want to step on the grass in order to get to the door in case there is damp sand that gets stuck to their shoe. It does not need to be anything special but there has to be some kind of guideline.

People love the idea of walking between rose bushes or trees to get to their final destination. To the guest or the homeowner, that greenery can seem like a path to a sanctuary. In many fairy tales, a hidden cottage is found in the middle of a beautiful forest that can only be seen by a special person.

Be careful of creating paths or patterns in perfect geometric shapes. It may seem pleasing to the perfectionist but a person who has to take a turn at a sharp corner may simply cut across the grass because it would be easier that way. If you really want to keep people on the pathway, you can add a few leafy plants along the side of the walkway which will encourage people to remain on it and not cut across the grass.

You need this kind of pleasant atmosphere to lead the person to the front door. A door is a threshold that shows a person where the property of another person starts. An outsider who opens it with permission understands that they are welcome and it is important to make that person feel welcome. To achieve this, a door with sidelights or glass panels works perfectly. This is where you can experiment with perfect geometric shapes. Just like many houses have these same kinds of shapes so should your door.

A good way to work with contrasting coloured doors is by making the frame white which will oppose the colour of the door which is mahogany or chestnut. This will add lovely character to your home and will not make the dark of the wood seem so intimidating.

Planting Summer Bulbs

Make sure you will plant the bulbs in the best area in your garden. Make sure you will be planting the bulbs in areas that have the ideal conditions. This is especially true for perennial bulbs or the ones that hardy in your zone. For instance, many of the tropical summer bulbs thrive only in really warm, sun-bathed sites. Other species, such as canna or elephant ear, flourish better in moist areas and will even grow in shallow standing water. There are also some summer bulbs that won’t grow when planted in clay soil.

Never plant summer bulbs into the garden soil until it has warmed adequately. If you live in a cold area, start planting only when the spring air temperature is warm enough since summer bulbs planted in cold soil tends to rot easily. You can consider using black nursery pots to absorb the sun’s heat and warm soil if you can’t wait to start planting. However, don’t transplant the bulbs into the garden beds until you’re sure the soil is warm enough.

Always plant bulbs right side up. The roots should always be on the bottom of the planting hole. Although it can be tricky to tell which end is up for some bulbs, it is important to do this. One tip you can follow to determine which part is the bottom is to look for the part where there are roots attach to the bulb – this is the bottom part. Although plants can recover if you tuck bulbs into the soil upside down, you’ll still have better results if you get things right at the start.

If the plants need staking, insert stakes at planting time. Lastly, it is important to insert the stakes during planting time so that you can avoid accidentally spearing the bulb later in the growing season.

Use Pavers to Create A Stunning Patio

Don’t Be Afraid to Dig Deep

In order to set the patio pavers, you have to dig out some of the existing dirt or grass. Before getting started, contact your local utility companies and have the lines marked. Most services will do this free of charge. Once the lines are marked, you can safely dig. Be sure to dig about six inches deep to get below the root level of current vegetation. If your soil is dry, water it the evening before you start work. This will soften the dirt, making it easier to dig.

Create a Weed Barrier

Nothing is more frustrating than to have your beautiful area marred by weeds. To prevent weeds from coming up through the cracks, lay down some landscaping cloth before placing the sand base. The cloth forms a barrier between the soil and the new sand, helping to keep out unwanted weeds. In order to know how much landscaping cloth you need, calculate the square footage and add ten percent.

Pack in the Sand

Once you have laid your cloth, it is time to add the sand base. Before you add the pavers, you should use a tamper or plate compactor in order to pack in the sand. You want it smooth, solid, and level. Run the packer over the surface in between each layer of sand before you start.

Do Not Forget the Drainage

While you want a level area, you need to make sure that you have a slight slope to drain rainwater away from your home’s foundation. You should angle it so that the water flows to an area that can absorb additional water or to a drainage area you have already established. The drop does not have to be significant, only about a quarter inch for each two feet.

Address Movement

Settling and weather can cause your pavers to move slightly. In order to keep this from happening, you should have a solid edge to help keep them in place. Some use additional pavers while others go for a solid cement edge. You can also put up vinyl or metal edging to add stability.

Ways To Increase Curb Appeal

The Lawn

Customers and neighbors will notice quite a few things at once when they firs gaze upon a place, and one of those things is the lawn. A well-manicured lawn tells people who a home is taken care of and a business is professional. Hiring a landscaping professional to complete this job on a weekly basis is a popular option. For owners that would prefer to save money, simply mowing the grass and weed eating around the edges of the property will do the trick.

The Exterior

When the outside of the building has chipped, peeling paint or broken siding, it can easily deter potential customers and give neighbors a negative impression. Instead, exterior painting can make homes look nice instead of unkempt, and can make businesses seem professional and give potential clients the impression that products are high quality. Depending on how large the building is, exterior painting can be quite the task to take on. Professional exterior painting companies can typically get the job done quicker at an affordable cost.

Flowers and Fountains

Flowers and fountains are not a necessity, but they do increase curb appeal. Hiring a landscaping company can save people from having to do the back-breaking work themselves, and the result will be gorgeous. Plant flowers around the perimeter of buildings, and a nice fountain or arrangements of flowers in circular areas for a traditional look. Different colored flowers in the shape of a circle, a rustic barrel tipped over to give the illusion of flowers spilling out and different types of grass, such as striped grass, are all popular options that will help make a residential or commercial building more aesthetically appealing than ever before.

Fix Concrete

Cracked and uneven concrete not only makes a home more of an eyesore and a business less appealing, it also poses a hazard to neighbors and customers. Children may trip over small cracks, and uneven areas may not be seen clearly in winter weather, causing people to slip and fall. This will not only irritate people and turn away business, it can result in a lawsuit that will wind up costing owners more money than it would take to simply repair the concrete. Many companies that specialize in exterior work, such as painting, are also able to complete minor concrete repairs.

Curb appeal can make or break a business. It can help customers find a business they are looking for when customer service representative describes it as “the white building with the pink and yellow flowers out front”, put clients at ease (making them more likely to spend money) and can simply make a business more well-known for being beautiful (instead of being well-known for the mail man who fell and broke his leg on the uneven sidewalk.)

Residential units can benefit just as much from owning a home that appears beautiful on the outside and inside. When neighbors see a home that is beautiful on the outside, or a home owner that is trying to make it beautiful, they are more likely to stop by and welcome them to the neighborhood. Pretty things put people at ease and are inviting, while things that are not aesthetically appealing tend to have the opposite effect.

Plan Your Backyard Renovation

Once you have a visualised version of your backyard in your mind, the next step is to write it down or draw it. It doesn’t have to be to scale (it is better if it is, though) but the drawing does need to have realistic boundary lines so that you can insert the details. Start with drawing the outside lines of the yard, that is, the walls of your fence and wall of your house, assuming that the yard has three fenced walls plus the one wall of the house facing the backyard. Essentially you should have a boxed outline. Then draw in the fixed components, such as any outside buildings, garage, swimming pool, etc. Now you’ll be able to see the parts that are not occupied by any components. These are the parts that you can use for the design of your backyard.

Next, you need to establish how much of this blank space you want to pave, plant grass, or add a garden. Where should the pathway go and which sections should be paved? Once you’ve allocated where the grass will be planted, it leaves you with space that could be paved. Depending on your budget, you need to decide whether you want to pave with standard paving bricks or use beautifully designed flagstones. Paving bricks are more practical and fit into any budget as they are more affordable. Paving bricks are also ideal if any cars may be parking in your backyard. Flagstones are beautiful natural looking paving stones that usually come in medium to large square sizes. They are not suitable for cars to drive on them. You can place strips of grass between the flagstones to create an interesting design. Plus you can add cobblestones as a pathway through the grass and outlining the flagstones for added decoration. You can also allocate a portion of your backyard for a garden with flowers and plants to add some colour. Around this garden you can use cladding to keep it separate and create a focal point.

Once you have the backyard renovation planned, then you can get the gardener, paver and/or landscaper to get started on the backyard renovation.