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6 Key Factors to Consider When Creating Your Dream Garden

Many people dream of having their own garden. It’s a fun and rewarding hobby that results in a beautiful landscape.

As a homeowner, you have the freedom to create a backyard paradise. But, if you’re like most people, you have no idea where to start. It can be daunting trying to figure out what you want and how to make it happen.

Luckily, we’re here to help! Here are 6 key factors to consider when creating your dream garden.

1. The Current Condition of Your Backyard

Before heading to the home improvement store, you should evaluate your current backyard. Determine what you’re working with. Did you just move in and are starting with a blank space? There might be more work involved, but you’ll get to design it exactly how you want. If you want to modify a preexisting garden, it might be a little easier seeing as you have a foundation to work with.  

Once you evaluate your current backyard, determine whether this is a project you can complete yourself. Depending on how ambitious your vision is, you might need professional help. Use tools like this Georgia contractor license search to help you find a qualified landscape contractor. 

2. What Kind of Plants You Want

This might seem obvious, but you should carefully consider what kind of plants you want. They should fit your personal preferences while being suitable for the climate and soil you’re working with.

Many people are content with flowers, bushes, and even a couple of trees. Others might want to dive into fruit or vegetable gardening. Do your research to see how much work each involves and if you will be able to maintain your desired plants.

When you know what kind of plants you want, it will be easier to plan the rest of your landscape. You’ll know where to put plants that require a certain amount of space and sunlight, leaving you free to arrange everything else around them.

3. Focal Points

Focal points help tie your garden together. They bring emphasis to certain areas and provide a more cohesive look. Without focal points, your garden might just look like an overcrowded bunch of plants.

Some of the best focal points for your garden include:

  • Statues
  • Arbours
  • Benches
  • Fountains
  • Pools
  • Birdbaths

Note that certain plants can also serve as focal points. These can include a unique-looking tree, a cluster of plants, a particularly vibrant plant, etc. While focal points are a great addition, be careful not to use too many. Too many focal points can be distracting and cause crowding.

4. Shed

Now that you’re a gardener, you need somewhere to keep all of your tools. Why not build a shed?

A shed will keep you from having to lug tools from your garage. Aside from being convenient, a shed can also be an aesthetic choice. A rustic-looking structure can add a lot of charm to your garden.

5. Free Space

Before completely filling your backyard with plants and focal points, consider how much free space you want.

Do you have kids or pets that need room to run around? Do you want to have an area to host guests? If so, be sure to consider this when planning your landscape.

6. Privacy

Even though you want everyone to see how beautiful your new garden looks, you probably still want some privacy. Add a fence to keep prying eyes at bay and protect your plants. Or, consider adding a hedge for a more natural look.

Bottom Line

While creating your dream garden can be challenging, it’s also very enjoyable! Don’t take it too seriously, and have fun adding your own personal touches.

The Complete Guide to Creating a Self-Sustaining Garden

Over the past decade, the landscape design industry has been growing at a significant pace. By working with an experienced landscape architecture firm, you can add value to your home and also create a much more livable environment. This can include a wide range of projects including building a new patio, installing a koi pond, or—as has become especially popular in 2020—installing a new garden. 

Landscape architects, generally speaking, will help blend the best of architecture with the best of landscaping. They’ll focus on pursuing many different goals include creating a space that is environmentally friendly, increasing your overall rate of livability, and also adhering to your original budget. They will also work to ensure that the space you are creating is one that can be enjoyably lived in for many years to come. 

Recently, many top landscape architecture firms, such as Lifescape in Colorado, have been receiving requests to help install a self-sustaining garden. These gardens are popular because not only do they effectively decrease your current carbon footprint, but they can also help you add a reliable source of food and produce for many years to come. Additionally, growing your own food can be incredibly fulfilling. As the famed Roman philosopher Cicero once said, “If you have a garden and a library, you have everything you need.” 

In this article, we will discuss some of the most important things to know about building a self-sustaining garden. Whether you plan on working with a landscape architect or creating a self-sustaining garden entirely on your own, this spring is the perfect time to begin a gardening project and bring some new life to your home. 

Step One: Choosing What You Want to Grow

Contrary to what you may have initially assumed, there are actually many different crops that can be easily grown in almost any corner of the United States (and elsewhere around the world). If you have never gardened before, you may want to with some relatively high-calorie crops that are also very easy to store. This includes potatoes and sweet potatoes, along with winter squash and pumpkins. By planting just 60 sweet potato plants, you can generate more than 140,000 worth of calories, all of which can be stored for multiple months. 

In-ground crops are generally considered easier to grow, especially because you do not need to worry about insects, birds, and squirrels as much as you would with above-ground crops. Because of this, growing carrots, turnips, onions, and radishes can also be very productive. Most of these crops require about 2-3 months to fully grow. If you are going to begin growing above-ground crops, consider growing corn, tomatoes, basil, and even wheat. Though some of these crops will require careful attention to detail, they can still be successfully grown by even a novice gardener. 

What Conditions are Best for Creating a Self-Sustaining Garden?

The first thing you will want to be sure to include in your garden is plenty of space. If you want to create a garden that is genuinely capable, The Urban Homestead claims that a family of four could be fed with less than one-fifth of an acre of land. Other estimates claim that one-tenth of an acre can be enough to sustain a family, though this may require some additional equipment, such as vertical farming supplies. 

Beyond space, your garden will need the three basics that all plants require: sunlight, soil, and water. Ideally, your crops will be exposed to at least six hours of sunlight each day. In the Northern Hemisphere, south-facing gardens will be positioned to get the largest amount of sunlight. You should also avoid placing the garden where trees, buildings, or other tall objects will block the plants for significant periods of time. 

To help better improve your soil, consider creating a compost pile that incorporates all (or most) or your organic waste. Additionally, fertilizer—which can easily be made from scratch—will help add nutrition to the soil and help your plants grow. Some gardeners will use pesticides to help discourage pests from eating the plants, though others prefer to grow without them. In terms of water, there are also quite a few things you can do to create natural irrigation and remove the need for sprinklers (discussed below). 

Creating Natural Irrigation Systems

Water will be essential for growing all crops—if you are in a relatively dry state, such as Colorado, it will be crucial to develop strategies to help ensure your plants are getting the water that they need. One of the ways that a landscape architect can help ensure your plants are well-watered is to create natural irrigation systems that direct water from higher ground to the lower ground where your garden will ideally be located. While you can’t control the rain, you can control where the rain landing in your yard ultimately ends up. 

Additionally, you may want to consider using various rain collection systems to help increase your water supply even further. These collection systems are relatively affordable and can usually be purchases at your local hardware store. You can also use a hose or sprinkler to water your garden, but this might go against the “true spirit of sustainability.” 

Pursuing True Sustainability

William Kent once said, “Garden as though you will live forever.” With today’s emphasis on sustainability and minimizing environmental harms, it seems this quote is now more relevant than ever before. Naturally, if you want your garden to be truly sustainable, you’ll need to do some additional planning. 

By choosing local plants that are compatible with your growing conditions, cycling crops as needed, reusing seeds, and utilizing compost as fertilizer, your garden will continue producing crops into the perpetual future. Take some to research your options and see what works best for your specific yard. If you are able to plant the right crops, you may not only eliminate your (food) carbon footprint, but you can potentially create a negative footprint, due to carbon capture. 

Conclusion

There are few things in this world that are more fulfilling the creating your own food supply. By creating a sustainable garden in your own yard, you can have a regular supply of crops and the satisfaction of living harmoniously with the Earth while creating something from scratch. By keeping these things in mind, and by working with a landscape architect as needed, the home garden of your dreams is something that will be well within your reach.

Best Garden Hoses (which one you need)

If you've got a big, wonderful family garden, chances are, you've got a garden hose. A garden hose maybe a flexable bungee hose or an expandable garden hose also recognized as a water hose, is practically a grippy rubber tube that carries water. Although garden hoses could also be made of polymer or vinyl, rubber is by far the most material commonly utilized. Connected to a spigot or a pump, water hoses are helpful watering devices that allows irrigation a lot simpler and quicker. Also, you can connect a variety of things to a garden hose specially on flexable bungee hose like sprinklers and sprayers. For instance, focus entirely or cross-concentrate water at one juncture or across a broader area.

Learn: https://bestgardeninggiftsideas.com/how-to-connect-a-water-hose/

Shaped from composite materials or resilient gentle polycarbonate, garden hoses get an inner polymer web that makes garden hoses flexible and their seamless exteriors make it very easy to traverse among, over, past tree branches and other hurdles. Mostly because of their intrinsic toughness, garden hoses can survive grinding, scratching and even scrambling without compromising their operational use.

Learn more about best buy garden hose here:

https://bestgardeninggiftsideas.com/the-complete-guide-to-garden-hoses-in-2020/

Garden hoses are definitely the quickest and easiest way to irrigate your lawn. But if your garden is rather massive, you could perhaps appreciate having multiple garden hoses attached to each other. The strands at each end of the standard garden hose can be easily connected to one another.

Hoses are basically categorized according to the usage, strength, durability and overall quality of the materials used. Garden hoses can be of three types:

Light Duty:

Light duty garden hoses are constructed of lightweight plastic and can be treated very quickly. You should use a light duty garden hose for light planting or basic cleaning services tasks. This category of hose is easy to carry around rather than drag to separate areas. After use, this can be coiled around a spool. It's normally made of sturdy polycarbonate or latex.

Moderate duty:

Medium duty hoses are ideal for everyday irrigation purposes. Prone to kinks and usually strong and durable, medium-duty hoses are ideal for watering your lawns or washing your vehicle. Most of them also come with at that have at a four-year warranty. Medium duty hoses can provide ample water pressure to remove hard core dirt in tough edges.  Though that's a little thick, it's really handy when dealing with large lawns or gardening.

Heavy Duty:

Using a high duty hose for difficult watering jobs. Quite kink-resistant, medium duty hoses come with high duty octagonal brass couplings. They 're incredibly versatile, too. Heavy duty hoses like Bungee garden hose can handle all your typical watering tasks, such as gardening, car washing, etc. That form is ideal when you're using the hose because the other high duty hoses come with long- term warranty.

Learn more about flexable bungee hose reviews:

https://bestgardeninggiftsideas.com/flexable-bungee-hose-reviews/

Those certain kinds of hoses are useful for a range of purposes and applications. Typically, wider and constructed of products that are harder than garden hose rubber, a few of these forms of hoses are used for commercial applications and are capable of sustaining high water pressure.

Learn How to store your garden hose:

https://bestgardeninggiftsideas.com/how-to-store-your-garden-hose/

If you're a serious gardener or only a sport, find a nice garden hose that's convenient. It's intended to represent you well enough in the garden and for many other purposes you may require.

Tree surgery: when to remove your tree

As a gardener, you want all parts of your garden and yard to look as good as possible. So it can be extremely disappointing to realize that the bark on one of your trees is starting to fall off or that your tree has become a host to a swarm of bark beetles.

You might wonder — does my tree need to be cut down or is there a way to save it?

There are certain signs that you’ll want to watch out that indicate that it is time to cut a tree down. While it is possible to recover the health of some trees, you don’t want to risk leaving a dead tree in your yard. You also don’t want to let a tree grow so large that it becomes a safety hazard due to the proximity of the tree to your house or the power lines.

Signs of a dying tree

Certain signs indicate that a tree is no longer healthy. These signs include brittle bark, limbs starting to fall off, lack of healthy leaves during the growing season, and large amounts of pests such as carpenter ants living in the tree. You may also notice the tree starting to lean in an usual way. You might also notice fungus, such as mushrooms, starting to grow on trees. However, sometimes fungal infections can be treated before they spread, allowing you to save the tree.

Hazards of a decaying tree

A decaying tree can cause a safety problem for you, your neighbors, or other people. Over time, the wood of a decaying tree becomes brittle, making it more likely that a branch or a limb will fall, which could cause a serious injury if someone is struck by the falling branch. A falling limb could also land on a house or a car, resulting in property damage. You could end up being held financially responsible if the branch of a decaying tree injuries someone or damages property.

Other reasons to remove the tree

Another reason to remove a tree, even if it isn’t dead, is if the tree is too close to your house or is interfering with a powerline. Even trees that aren’t dead could still fall over in a heavy storm. This could result in the tree damaging property or falling on the powerline. You could also decide that you just no longer want a tree and it has become a nuisance — maybe it is taking up too much yard space or leaves berries all over the place.

DIY or professional

Once you decide to remove a tree, consider whether you want to do it yourself or if you should hire a professional. Taking down trees can be tricky, especially if the tree is large or if it could fall on a powerline or your house. If you don’t have experience with tree removal, it could make sense to look into tree surgeon companies that can help remove the tree. If you cut the tree down yourself, look at an online tutorial before starting the process.

When to leave the tree alone

The only time you should consider leaving a dying tree alone is if the tree is located somewhere where it won’t pose a safety concern if it falls. For example, if you have a large property and the tree isn’t near a building or powerline. Or if it is located deep within the woods. Dying and fallen trees can make great habitats for animals, so if the tree can decay without causing harm, consider leaving it alone. It’ll eventually fall or decay due to natural circumstances.

Keep trees healthy

While all trees will eventually die, there are certain tips you can use to help your trees stay as healthy as possible. Make sure to plant trees where they’ll have plenty of room to grow and where they’ll have access to the appropriate amount of sunlight. Fertilizer and water the tree as needed to make sure it gets needed nutrients. And when you notice dead branches, trim them back so healthy branches can grow. The good news is, most trees are good at taking care of themselves!

Final thoughts

When it comes to keeping a healthy garden, don’t overlook your trees! While trees might not need as much maintenance as your flowers, you still want to check on them regularly to make sure they’re healthy. If you suspect that you have a dead tree, don’t hesitate to reach out to a professional to see if it needs to be removed.

How to build a DIY outdoor movie screen

COVID-19 means that we are spending more time at home in order to protect our own and others' safety. Social distancing and working from home when possible are also likely to be with us for some time.  To cope with this, we need to find new ways to do things we used to enjoy in a fully socially distanced way. In this post, we look at how to build your own movie screen as one way to enjoy some escapism and hark back to happier times in a safe and socially distanced way.

Step-by-step guide to make your own movie screen

When socially distancing, outdoor activities are better as they carry less risk than indoor activities. Equally, indoor cinemas make one of the worst environments in terms of risk of spreading COVID-19. As such, an outdoor movie screen is a great way to overcome this challenge. Theatres and cinemas around the world are also finding novel ways to bring performances to our homes. Why not enjoy it on the big screen, safe in the comfort of your own garden?

Here, we outline the simple steps you can follow to build your own outdoor movie screen from scratch:

1. Get materials together

The first thing you'll need to do is find or buy the following items:

  • A large drop cloth canvas (for the screen) - make sure to buy a canvas that is not made from scraps and that is made form full panels.
  • A projector (can you borrow one from work?)
  • At least 26 screws
  • 3 X 2 by 4 wooden studs
  • An electric saw (a miter saw wood be good)
  • A screwdriver
  • A staple gun/ hammer and nails
  • A measuring tape

2. Cut the screen frame to size

Once you've got your wood and canvas, you need to decide how big you want your screen to be. This will obviously have to be within the bounds of what is offered by the wood and the canvas. A 3-by-5 feet screen is a decent size that is fairly easy to maneuver. Cut your 2 X 4 wood studs as required. The 3 feet represents the height, whilst 5 feet is for the width.

For a 3 X 5 screen, this would actually require cutting 4 X 5 feet long wooden studs. The extra length on the height can then be used as feet for the screen. You will also need 2 pieces of at least 2 feet to attach as stabilizers for the feet/frame-legs. A miter saw makes this task easier but any saw will do. Alternatively, you could cut 2 extra studs so that the feet and the frame are separate if you have plenty of wood.

3. Assemble the screen frame

Lay out the frame flat on the ground, leaving the feet stabilizers to one side for the time being. Ideally, place the flattest edges together for a neater finish. The flattest edges will be likely to be the stud edges that were machine cut -  unless you're particularly neat with your cuts. These can then all be screwed together tightly.

It is a good idea to pre-drill holes in the frame. This helps to prevent the wood from splitting and makes the task a whole lot easier. Deck screws are ideal for this task. It's good to place at least 4 on each join to ensure that the frame is securely fastened together. This will also make it much more durable in the long-run.

4. Staple/nail your cloth canvas onto the frame

It's best to have at least a couple of pairs of hands for this next part. Ideally, the canvas should be big enough to be pulled tightly over the frame and stapled onto the back of the frame. A mid-thickness canvas of 8-10-oz will be easiest to work with. You should also give the canvas a good wash and dry it out first. This helps to ensure the screen is completely clean and helps to ensure there are no wrinkles in it before placement.

Pull the canvas tight and staple it in place if you have a staple gun. If not, you can hammer in the staples. Make sure to pull the canvas completely taut before stapling. Once it is stapled in place, you can trim off any unsightly edges. This would be very challenging with just a single pair of hands.

5. Attach the stabilizers

Now you're ready to test it's standing legs and attach the stabilizers. Put the 2 feet block you held in reserve against the base of the feet and screw it into place. If it feels at all unstable, you may wish to add a stabilizing bracket as a support between the stabilizer and the legs. This is a good idea if things can get a little bit windy where you live. However, this will require a couple of diagonal cuts which can be more challenging.

 With that, you are good to go! You will need a decent stand for your projector though so if  you are loving your newfound carpentry skills, then you can give making a box-stand a whirl with any leftover pieces from the screen frame.

This project won't take long to complete and is a great way to enjoy some light-relief in a challenging time. As quarantines adapt over time it also makes it possible to be in the vicinity of loved ones safely. With this project, we can do this whilst enjoying the wonders of the cinema, theatre, or anything else you want to watch in the great outdoors.

Basic Swimming Pool Maintenance Tips You Must Always Remember

One of the biggest dreams of all homeowners is to have a swimming pool in their backyard. It could be the perfect place to relax and unwind during a scorching hot day. It could also be an ideal venue to host a summer party at home. During your private time, you may also use the pool for some cardio exercises. Once you finally afford to have a pool installed in your property, you must make sure that you will take care of it properly.

Just like any other portions of the house, swimming pools also have several components that require regular maintenance. Companies like Dowdens Pumping & Water Treatment, which supply different types of pool and spa pumps, pool cleaning accessories, chlorinators, and other swimming pool paraphernalia, also offer services and repairs for residential pools.

Aside from professional maintenance services, here are several ways to make sure that your swimming pool gets the right attention.

Know The Essential Parts Of A Swimming Pool

Your swimming pool can be as straightforward or state-of-the-art as you wish. If you want to do other things in your pool aside from swimming, you can add additional accessories like lighting fixtures and heating equipment if you are going to swim at night. You may also install automated pool covers to keep it clean when not in use. But aside from these extra components, the main parts of a swimming pool include the pool water, its interior liner or wall, and the filter system.

The pool water is precisely what it is. But no one will enjoy swimming in a pool filled with dirty water. So always make sure to keep the pool water clean and free from any pollutants and contaminants to protect the entire pool. The pool walls are the part of the pool that is always in direct contact with the water. It must be free from any moulds, algae, and debris.

Finally, the pool filter system keeps the entire pool going. The pump maintains the water circulation, while the filter takes away most dirt and contaminants from the water. You can find different types of pool filter system from local suppliers, like Dowdens Pumping & Water Treatment. It’s you who must understand the needs to decide which filter system will suit your pool.

Understand The Three C’s Of Pool Maintenance 

For proper caring of your swimming pool, you must learn the Three C’s. The first C symbolises Circulation. If the water in your pool remains stagnant, it will eventually turn dirty and unsafe to use. You need to make sure that the water circulates properly to prevent algae infestation.

The second C is about Cleaning. To make sure that you can keep the pool in its pristine condition all the time, you need to invest in cleaning materials like net skimmer, pool brush, and a pool vacuum. Always keep your pool clean to avoid the possibility of bacterial contamination.

The third C refers to Chemistry. You need not be a science expert to understand how the pool water chemistry works. You just need to know three essential things, including the pool water’s pH levels, its alkalinity, as well as its sanitiser levels. After learning all these, you can begin to add or reduce the chemicals you mix in your pool water.

After learning these maintenance tips, you need to make sure that you follow the right ways to clean your pool. Include the pool cleaning job in your regular schedules to ensure that it remains spic and span all the time. Call your local pool supplies and service provider to check on your swimming pool frequently, so you can get an assurance that all the filters and pumps are working accurately.

When You Should Call for Sprinkler Repair

Many people rely on their sprinkler system to assist in keeping their yard, plants, or grass healthy, but with active use, problems are bound to arise. Being aware of the signs of a problem, and knowing when to call a professional, might be the difference between an easy repair, or a costly mistake. Luckily, most problems with your sprinkler system can be easily addressed with regular maintenance. Make yourself aware of some of the most common instances in which you should call for sprinkler repair.

Discolored patches

Patches of yellow or brown grass can indicate major or minor issues. If you are experiencing discolored patches in your lawn, you might only have a faulty sprinkler head, but you also might have incorrect zone settings. For cases of discolored patches, it is essential to call a sprinkler repair service.

Calling a professional to repair your sprinklers if you have discolored patches will ensure you will find the cause of the problem, and you will also avoid killing areas of your lawn. If you have plants that run on a sprinkler system, this is even more imperative as it will allow them to continue growing and thriving as they were before.

Overly soaked and uneven pools of water

Another indication of possible faulty sprinkler heads or incorrect zone settings are areas that are overly saturated with water. If you are experiencing pooling of water or overly soaked areas, then you will need to contact a professional to make sure your system provides balanced coverage. This problem can also be an indication of a leak in the home’s irrigation system, as this can negatively impact the water distribution.

Constantly dripping valves

The amount of water that is distributed in each zone of your lawn or garden is determined by the back end of your sprinkler system, which is your valves. Valves that are operating properly should never be leaking or dripping. Finding damp areas around your filters or pressure regulators generally means that there might be an issue.

These issues can be due to grass clippings or dirt particles accumulating in your equipment. This will result in leaks and will also compromise your entire operation. If you see drops of water regularly around any valves, filters, or regulators, make sure to call a professional to get the problem diagnosed right away.

Sputtering sprinkler heads

When your system’s sprinkler heads begin to sputter or spray off their usual target, this can be a sign of a larger problem. This issue generally occurs due to pop-up heads shifting out of their proper position. This can end up having the sprinkler heads sputter the water into puddles. Sputtering heads might also be a response to issues with pressure or valves and contacting a professional will allow you to catch the problem before it becomes a larger issue.

Pressure problems

The pressure of your sprinkler system is important and whether you have too little pressure or too much pressure, this is a serious problem. When your sprinkler system is not receiving enough pressure, it will result in your yard or garden receiving less water than it requires. If your sprinkler system is releasing excessive pressure, then you might cause extra wear on your equipment.

Fluctuations between high and low pressures might be due to the regulators, control valves, or even an issue with the irrigation pipes, which can be because of tree roots. Having a professional let you know the cause of these problems is the only way you can be sure to prevent future issues.

Impacted sprinkler performance

Although not always obvious to the naked eye, sprinkler heads can develop chips and cracks. These chips and cracks can greatly impact performance. Another reason why you might have an impacted sprinkler performance is due to accumulated debris.

Accumulated debris can result in off-target spraying which not only wastes water but will also result in eventual neglect of your lawn. Professional lawn experts can let you know exactly the problem with your sprinklers and why you are having poor performance before it gets out of hand.

Extraordinarily high water costs

If you have had your sprinkler system running for at least one year, you will most likely be aware of water costs to expect for each month and season. If you happen to open a water bill for the month and it seems extraordinarily higher than normal, you will want to contact an irrigation professional.

Overly high water costs are often due to the result of a control valve that is delivering loads that are unbalanced. This can also be due to a bad pressure regulator that has forced too much water through your system. Generally, a huge spike in your water usage is a reason to be concerned and it is important to have it looked at and fixed right away.

Cut wires

Another common problem amongst underground sprinkler systems is accidentally cutting wires. Generally, cut wires can occur easily while performing small tasks such as digging up a root. If you find yourself in a situation with a cut, ripped or severed wire, do not try to repair this yourself. It is incredibly important that you do not attempt fixing this yourself.

Anything that is regarding the electricity of your sprinkler system needs to be left to the professionals. Not only could you detrimentally harm your sprinkler system, but even worse, you could accidentally electrocute yourself! Irrigation specialists can quickly identify and solve the problem because they are trained professionals.

Any noticeable issues with your sprinkler equipment

If you notice issues with any of your pipes, valves, or even sprinklers themselves, you need to repair them as quickly as possible. Contacting a professional to have the proper repair done might be the difference between a quickly solved issue, and a long term problem. For any irrigation system problems, big or small, contact Colorado Sprinkler Service, a Denver sprinkler repair company, to help ensure your sprinkler system is efficiently working and so that no other issues arise.

Discover the Hidden Repairs Needed for Your Sprinkler System

When you decide to install a sprinkler system you most likely do so to keep your grass or plants green and healthy. Sprinkler systems can help you in watering your plants with the precise amount they need at the time that they need to be watered. This can be based on the season or time of day that is best for specific plants or lawn types. Sprinkler systems can also help to prevent overwatering, which saves money in water costs.

As someone owning a home with a sprinkler system, you do not want a system that has hidden issues that need to be repaired. Overdue repairs can cause even larger problems in the long run in which you could end up needing a full system replacement.

To avoid the issues that might arise, you can learn how to look for little signs. These signs can tell you how to indicate the source of leaks or other complications. If these do not work for you, then you can always end up calling a professional to make your system fully functioning again.

External leaks

One great way to be able to spot external leaks is by dry spots or small pools of water in your landscaping. Although these might seem like a sign of too much sun or overwatering, it is often the case of an external leak. Make sure to check your sprinkler heads to see if there is any damage you can visibly see.

Next, you can have one person on the controls, while the other person goes around the inspect all the sprinklers. This person should make sure there is no water specifically gushing out of one of the heads, or an improper balance in water pressure.

Since this is a hidden issue you may not see immediate problems when doing a self-check. Other things to look out for are small pools around certain sprinklers, or if the system is turned off and there is still leaking from specific heads. Underground leaks are obvious when you see water seeping up slowly or fountaining from one head to another. This is a good time to contact a professional to come to check your system.

Underground leaks

These leaks are especially hidden as they are generally under the ground. You might be able to see small areas where water seems to be seeps or spraying between heads. This is a sign that you have an underground leak. Another note to make is if you have swampy areas of your yard where leaks can hide. Mold or fungus might be growing in these areas, and you might also be able to see dirty water spraying out of your sprinklers.

Check on your irrigation controllers

Some problems with your system may not need to be repaired because of bad sprinkler heads or leaks. Instead, it could be because you improperly programmed your irrigation controls, or they have an issue within the system. Your irrigation controllers that tell your sprinklers when to spray, so when they need to be repaired, this will throw your entire system out of whack. Irrigation control issues can show signs in the form of either a dryer landscape or a very much wetter landscape.

Options to repair leaks

Irrigation leak repair is often not something you will want to do on your own, but there are a few steps you can take before calling professionals.

Clean or repair heads

Often spray patterns that are a bit “off” will mean that you have a clogged nozzle. This is something that you can try to clean on your own, to see if it works afterward. If this does not work, then you may have cracked nozzles. This means that you can either attempt to change these yourself, or you may need to call a professional.

Repair underground line

When your sprinkler system is leaking underground, this might mean that you need to dig to find the problem. In this case, you might end up digging up your lawn, and destroy the very thing you attempted to grow with your sprinklers! Some underground leaks are not too difficult to repair and might need a clamp tightened, or a seal replaced. Calling a professional is the easiest way to get this done properly.

Trust an expert and practice proper maintenance

The best way to fix a leak or to avoid repairs is with prevention. The experts at Omni Sprinkler Service and Landscaping, a sprinkler repair company in Denver, will be able to help you repair your system, or perform regular maintenance. This is a huge prevention tip because by treating small issues it will help to make sure your system is working properly. This helps to prevent hidden issues before they become larger issues.

LANDSCAPING TIPS FOR YOUR RENTAL HOUSE

Renting a house does not mean you cannot have a say in how the lawn looks.

Renters are often under the impression that landlords and property managers assume 100 percent responsibility for landscaping tasks. However, many landlords and property owners encourage tenants to assume some of the responsibility for maintaining a vibrant lawn and a beautifully sculpted garden.

Your lease will define who is responsible for monthly lawn care. According to Utopia Management, there is no specific rule of thumb, about half of landlords prefer to provide lawncare, and half require the tenant to fulfill those duties.  However, in either case, landlords tend to be extremely open to additional landscape improvements by the tenant, even encouraging and preferring it.  Whether you’re responsible for mowing your own lawn or not, you can still find ways to improve and participate in your landscaping, making the home feel like your own. The benefits are that you make the home feel like your own, enjoy a sense of pride in beauty of your home, and get to partake in the lifelong hobby of gardening as an expression of creativity and joy.

Here are a few landscaping tips for renters. The answer is to keep it simple and if you have a more complex landscaping project in mind, make sure to run it by the property manager for approval. You may even convince a landlord to share some of the costs with you.

Stick to a Consistent Mowing Schedule

Because of the temperate Mediterranean-like climate, San Jose’s growing season typically starts in early February and it runs until mid-December. That is more than 10 months of mowing grass. Follow a consistent mowing schedule, such as every seven days during the rainy season and around two weeks when the weather turns much drier.

Pruning for Looks

Outside of overly long grass, nothing detracts from the appearance of a home more than overgrown bushes and shrubs. You do not need the landlord’s permission to prune the bushes and shrubs that surround your rental home, and may even be required to. However, you should brush up on when it is the best time to prune different bush and shrub species.

Clean the Gutters

You might what wonder what do gutters have to do with maintaining a healthy lawn and garden. The answer is overly clogged gutters eventually spill debris across a property. The unsightly mess indicates the landlord does not do a good job of maintaining the property. Cleaning the gutters can be done twice a year around the end of growing season and during the middle of summer.

Go Greener with Low Maintenance Plants

Mowing the lawn is just one way to develop a greener lawn. Another way to get greener is by planting certain species of plants that enhance the appearance of your rental house. Cliff Bressler of Nature’s Friends Landscaping suggests boxwoods, hydrangeas, and weigela as solid options for dwarf shrubs.  

Native plants in gardening are growing in popularity, and they naturally require less maintenance and offer a more organic, relaxed landscape design.

For flowers, choosing perennials instead of annuals will also cut down on maintenance, as annuals will die out and require replacing seasonally.

Using a ground cover, such as an ivy, is another way to decrease the area to be mowed and maintained.

Weed Control without Using Chemicals

Although herbicides and pesticides do a good job of killing weeds and then preventing any regrowth, you can go chemical free and still eliminate weeds by using a barrier cloth. An organic, biodegradable barrier cloth is an effective weed deterrent when placed around vulnerable plants, as well as susceptible area of the yard where weeds flourish. Using a weed barrier is an effective anti-weed strategy for protecting annuals. Since barrier cloths require frequent replacing, you can expect to spend a little money to optimize the benefits of this landscaping tip for your rental home.

Mulch Your Way to a Better Lawn and Garden

Mulching delivers a powerful one-two punch for tenants to enhance the appearance of a lawn and garden. By adding mulch around plants, you prevent soil erosion and improve the retention of moisture for thirsty plants. Mulch also presents a finely manicured appearance for the lawn. Depending on your landscaping objectives, you can go with organic mulch such as cedar and cypress, or turn to inorganic mulch like rubber. Mulching offers an affordable way to improve the appearance of the entire property, while eliminating the use of harmful chemicals to fend off weeds and pests.

Add Tasteful Lawn Art

If it does not dominate the aesthetics of a lawn and garden, lawn art can enhance the appearance of your rental home. You want to stay away from eye-cringing artifacts such as gnomes and instead utilize natural resources like the sun to project more illumination off visually appealing objects. Adding a water fountain to attract birds or a statute to provide a temporary home for squirrels can increase wildlife activity.

Rock Out

Displaying a symmetrical formation of rocks brings a sense of design uniformity to any landscaping project. Rocks that encircle a large tree or lead up to a walkway can improve the look of a lawn and garden. Rocks also add a high degree of functionality when placed around a garden by helping the soil retain more moisture and nutrients.

Keep Water Flowing

Installing a sprinkler system sounds like a great idea, and even your landlord agrees it makes sense. However, the high cost of most water sprinklers makes installing a sprinkler system out of the question. Instead, you can keep the lawn looking green and the garden flush with colorful plants by following a consistent watering schedule. Watering is not as important during the rainy season, which runs from late October until early April.

With these nine landscaping tips for your rental house, you will assume a level of ownership that will make your landlord happy. It will also keep you active in the daily management of the rental property.

A GUIDE TO SCARIFYING YOUR LAWN

Having a lush garden with a well-kept green lawn will be your pride and joy. It is a wonderful place for the kids to play, the family to bond over a barbecue, and for you to find a quiet me-spot for some time out.

If you are a beginner gardener and are giving yourself a well earned pat-on-the-back for a great looking lawn, sooner or later you will come across the term ‘Scarifying”. What is this and does it sound as scary as the name implies?

This article will tell you all you need to know - what the process is, and why, when and how to do it.

What is scarifying a lawn?

Once you have an established lawn, you will find that after time, dead grass cuttings, moss, decomposing grass stalks and other organic debris tend to collect. They form a layer known as thatch. Thatch lies on the top of the lawn and also between the grass blades just above the soil.

A small amount of thatch is fine, but after time, it becomes thick and clogged. It will then impede the flow of nutrients, air and water into the soil. The thatch will also block out sunlight and eventually your lawn will start to look less-than-healthy.

Scarifying is the process of removing this layer of thatch. This can be done manually or mechanically using a special scarifying machine.

The first decision you need to make is one of finances. Can you afford to purchase a special scarifying machine to do this? The second decision is one of fitness! Are you prepared for a good workout in your garden?

When to scarify your lawn

Unlike mowing or weeding, scarifying only needs to be done once a year. The best time is in late spring or early autumn. At this time, weather and soil conditions are best. Your lawn also needs to be growing strongly. If you have a newly established garden, perhaps wait for a season to pass, and allow the grass to gain strength before scarifying.

How to prepare your lawn 

Before starting, you need to do some basic preparation to ensure the best possible results. Using a manual weed remover tool, work your way around the lawn and dig out anything that is not grass. Remember not to use the weeds in your compost. This will only create more weeds in the seasons to come.

Cut away any grass that crept onto paths, driveways and flower beds. Then, using your standard lawnmower, mow your grass reasonably close. This will ensure that the height of the grass is level and will remove any tufts. If your grass is too long, it will prevent the scarifier from reaching down to the soil.

Plan to do this job on a dry day!

Scarifying using manual tools

The first tool you need is a standard Springbok rake. This tool has very strong steel tines that are flexible. Work one small section at a time, applying enough pressure to lift the thatch. You will see it starting to accumulate in heaps. Then, work the same section in a cross-wise direction to pick up any debris that was missed.

Once the section is done, use your normal garden rake and run it over the area, to lift up all the loose pieces. Save the debris and use them in your compost heap.

If this sounds like too much hard work, you can get yourself a hand scarifier. This is a non-mechanical machine that offers a row of blades on a wheel with a handle. You simply push it across your lawn with a to-and-fro motion. By adjusting the angle of the handle, you will get the blades to cut in deeper or shallower. It is light work and takes up far less energy than the rake. After running the hand scarifier over your lawn, use a landscape rake to collect up all the debris. You are not finished yet. Repeat the scarifying process at an angle to get rid of any missed bits of thatch.

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Scarifying using mechanical scarifiers

If you have a larger garden or a larger budget, you could consider a mechanical scarifier. There are two types -

 Electric Scarifiers

These machines look very much like a lawnmower. However, if you turn it over and look underneath, you will see that it is fitted with a collection of steel blades. The blades remove the debris and slice through the lawn, allowing new shoots to grow through.

The drawback of any electric garden device is the cable, and this is no different when it comes to a scarifier. You need to ensure that you wind your way around it and don't accidentally cut it in half. You also probably need a long extension cable to reach the far end of your garden. On the pro side, the machine is quiet, easy to use and requires minimal maintainable.

 Scarify by pushing the machine across your lawn up and down. Then repeat doing the lawn again at a 90-degree angle. Give your lawn a final mow with a standard lawnmower to pick up all the debris.

Petrol Scarifiers

A petrol scarifier is a larger, heavier and more expensive machine than its electric equivalent. It is also noisier. The process however, is the same. Set the blades to a shallow setting - you don’t want to start too deep and tear up all your grass. Do a double pass, up and down, and then again at a 90-degree angle. If you are feeling up to it, do a third pass at a 45-degree angle. Give your lawn a final mow with a standard lawnmower to pick up all the debris.


To find the best scarifier, check Lawn mower Larry’s comparison.

A few last things before you are finished 

When you are done, don't collapse on the couch. You need to spend a little more time. Your lawn at this stage may not look it’s best. It will appear to be rough and even ugly. Don’t let this worry you. Within 4 to 6 weeks, it will grow back strong and vibrantly green.

Finish off by throwing on some organic fertilizer. Set up a soft sprinkler to soak the grass. You can also overseed, by distributing grass seeds evenly over the area. This will bring out new and fresh growth in the weeks to come.

Scarifying your lawn makes it healthy and lush. As it only needs to be done once or maximum twice a year, it is certainly worth adding this process to your annual garden routine.

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