Monthly Archives: April 2011

Starting up your Sprinkler System

Now that spring has finally arrived, it’s time to take a close look at your irrigation system to make sure that it’s fully functional. Don’t wait until hot, dry weather arrives to find out that you have a problem! A thorough inspection and run-through of your irrigation system now will save time, money, and headaches associated with hidden system malfunctions.

Here are the most important things to look at in your irrigation system –

  • Check your controller and replace its battery
  • Make sure the rain sensor  is working and is set to turn off the irrigation system when 1″ of water per week has been delivered through a combination of rain and watering
  • Repair broken sprinkler heads
  • Check the adjustments on all heads to make sure that water sprays only on the lawn
  • Inspect the yard for leaks in the system

When you’re sure the entire system is operating correctly, schedule regular system checks and adhere to a proper maintenance schedule throughout the irrigation season. After a lightning or electrical storm, check your controllers and irrigation system for damage. And if your plant choices change over the season, adjust your system accordingly.

Container Gardens

I was thinking of utilizing some unused space on the  deck this summer by starting a few container gardens. It’s pretty easy actually and in addition to flowers, there are a host of vegetables and herbs that can be grown in containers (pots). Container gardens are small and perfect for those renting apartments or living in condos – and they’re lots of fun!

There are plenty of vegetables and herbs that will grow well together, and experimenting with what works for you, is half the fun. The only way to fail with container gardening is to not water!


The following list is just some ideas that will help you get started:

  1. Plant your favorite herbs – I’m a big fan of Chives, Thyme, Basil and Rosemary. You can plant these in the same container and have fresh herbs all summer long. I’ll be adding Cilantro to my gardens this year.
  2. Grow some tomatoes – All of sudden I’m thinking of BLT sandwiches and fresh, vine-ripened tomatoes. You may even consider cherry or grape tomatoes to give some wonderful color to your salads.
  3. Speaking of salads – Why not try growing some sort of leaf lettuce variety or spring greens mix into your  garden.
  4. Take it up a notch with spicy peppers – I’m a real big fan of spicy foods. I add Jalapeño peppers to my tacos, Banana peppers to my subs and I’m even planning a batch of hombrewed beer (a Scotch Ale) that will utilize Serrano  peppers to add a little back-end heat to offset the malty sweetness of that style […]

Do it Yourself vs. Hiring a Professional

The Professional Landcare Network (PLANET) offers consumers advice about how to tackle their yard. It is important to know when doing it yourself is a good option and when it is best to hire a professional.

PLANET suggests that people first focus on making sure that their lawn, plants, trees, and shrubs are healthy. Do a walk-through of the yard, look at the plants, trees, and shrubs and make sure they look green and healthy. If the lawn is patchy and brown or the plants, trees, or shrubs are diseased, it is a good idea to call a professional lawn care company to make an assessment and offer solutions.

Hire a professional for:

  • Landscape design and installation — Most people, with the exception of very experienced gardeners, do not feel comfortable designing a landscape, so they generally turn to professionals for design and installation help.
  • New lawn installation or major repairs — Installing a new yard or repairing a damaged yard is difficult and time consuming. Professional companies have the equipment, training, and the skills to do this task, and to do it safely. It is important to the value of a home that the lawn is in good condition.
  • Irrigation, aeration, and lighting projects — Projects such as installing irrigation systems, aerating a lawn, and installing outdoor lighting are usually done by people with professional grade equipment and expertise.

Do it yourself for:

  • Maintenance — Some people opt to have lawn care and landscaping companies mow, weed, prune, and trim hedges on a regular basis. However, homeowners with an interest in gardening or who are looking to save money can do some of their own maintenance.
  • Seasonal sprucing up — Homeowners can add a lot to their curb appeal by planting […]
By |April 20th, 2011|Irrigation|0 Comments

Benefits of Healthy Lawns

More than 30 million acres of lawns exist in the United States. It’s estimated that these lawns remove 5 percent of the carbon dioxide in the atmosphere as well as provide money-saving cooling effects in the summer months.

Turf’s power to generate oxygen has a major impact on the environment. A well-maintained, 50-foot by 50-foot lawn produces enough oxygen for a family of four. Turf also provides pollution control by trapping dust and smoke particles from the atmosphere.

Grass is a natural air conditioner. Eight healthy front lawns have the cooling effect of 70 tons of air conditioning — enough to cool 16 average homes. Dense, healthy grass also slows down and filters runoff, removing contaminants and trapping soil. Fresh, filtered water then returns to the underground water supply.

In addition to its positive environmental impacts, a healthy lawn can also make a home more marketable, and in this tough housing market, a well-cared-for lawn can make or break a sale.

Homeowners can be proactive by working with a lawn care professional and putting together a program that ensures their lawns will be healthy and beautiful throughout the year.

By |April 19th, 2011|Irrigation|0 Comments

The Benefits of Irrigation are Real

A well-designed, properly installed and appropriately maintained irrigation system can be the most efficient way to keep a landscape healthy. The benefits of an automatic irrigation system include:

  • Reduced labor for watering
  • Convenience
  • Full landscape coverage
  • Easy control over irrigation timing for early-morning watering
  • Added value to your home or business property
  • Minimized plant loss during drought

With irrigation systems that deliver exactly the right amount of water at the right time to lawns, plants and trees, you can be assured of environmentally sound and efficient results. The irrigation industry offers reliable options and affordable technology (such as rain sensors) for water conservation and efficient water distribution to protect landscaping investments.

Call Before You Dig!

Planning a home improvement job? Planting a tree? Installing a fence or deck?

Homeowners often make risky assumptions about whether or not they should get their utility lines marked, but every digging job requires a call – even small projects like planting trees and shrubs. The depth of utility lines varies and there may be multiple utility lines in a common area. Simple digging jobs can damage utility lines and can disrupt vital services to an entire neighborhood, harm those who dig, and result in expensive fines and repair costs. Marked lines show those who dig the approximate location of underground lines and help prevent undesired consequences.

“Call before you dig”, “Digger’s Hotline”, “One-call”, “Miss Utility”, or Underground Service Alert are services that allow homeowners and contractors to contact utility companies, who will then denote where underground utilities are located via color-coding those locations.

Remember, know what’s below. Always call before you dig.

Smart Irrigation Systems: A “Greener” Idea

If you’re a typical homeowner, you probably put your automatic sprinkler system into the same category as your home’s heating and cooling system. You expect it to work reliably and efficiently with minimum fuss. The latest technology offers just that–and more.

A sprinkler system is one area of your home where a little knowledge can go a long way to conserve water while maintaining a healthy yard that’s the envy of the neighborhood.

The new generation of “smart” sprinkler systems can be viewed as sophisticated communications systems that happen to dispense water, rather than a network of underground valves, pipes and pop-ups controlled by a wall-mounted timer.

Thanks to advances in electronics and communications, sprinkler systems can monitor data, such as climate, site conditions, or soil moisture, and automatically adjust your sprinkler’s watering schedule. Smart systems keep your grass green while saving your “green.”

The secret to smart systems is the controller. Smart controllers use either weather and/or site data to automatically determine when and how long to water. Then your sprinklers apply just enough water at exactly the right time in each zone of your yard.

Here are highlights of the substantial benefits that smart controllers offer:

Saves Water

Environmentally friendly smart systems conserve water by watering only as much as needed. Smart sprinklers work with Mother Nature to automatically suspend watering during rain, freezing or high wind conditions or compensate for rainfall. Plus a smart system can keep your lawn and landscape healthier by avoiding the pitfalls of inadequate watering, too frequent watering, or the more common problem of overwatering, which often results in disease or poor […]

Teaching an Old Irrigation System Some New Tricks

Update your irrigation system for greater efficiency

Saving water is in every homeowner’s best interest. You save money and help conserve the local water supply at the same time. Just because you have an old irrigation system installed in your yard doesn’t mean that you can’t update it to take advantage of the newest, most efficient technology. Your irrigation contractor can tell you what components are best suited to your system and offer the greatest benefit.

  • Add “smart” technology. Smart technology refers to irrigation devices that can adjust your watering schedule without direct input from you. Climate-based controllers that adjust watering schedules based on weather conditions and plant information can have a profound impact on your water usage. Find out more about smart technology at: www.irrigation.org/swat/homeowners.
  • Install a centralized irrigation controller. Typically used on golf courses, these systems are finding their way into more residential and commercial applications, especially for large lawns where water is expensive. With just a few computer keystrokes or by remote control, the user can reprogram controllers in multiple locations. Plus, watering schedules can be saved and reused with ease.
  • Have a rain sensor installed. Low-cost, excellent value! This device can be added to almost any system and will automatically override the system settings to prevent watering when it rains. They are inexpensive, simple to install, and they save water and money.
  • Add a pressure regulator. Incorrect water pressure can cause conditions such as “misting.” Misting occurs when water is turned to vapor rather than droplets at the sprinkler from too much water pressure. Most of the misted water is blown away. While a pressure regulator may not help your neighbor’s lawn, having one installed by a qualified contractor could do wonders for yours.
  • Install micro-irrigation. […]