According to the Environmental Protection Agency or EPA around 30% of residential water usage is invested for outdoor usage. More than half of that percentage is put towards hydrating lawns and gardens, the act of which is summed up as irrigation. Now, there is a huge chance you’re doing it wrong, which means you’re wasting a precious resource, your money and in the end it’s definitely not doing your plant life any good. So let’s save the fish, keep those bills in your wallet and satisfy your plant life with a professionally installed sprinkler system installed by a certified irrigation contractor.
So, you watched a garden makeover on TV and now designing one for your home. Well, those professionals do make the entire process look easy, but once you start prepping, there might be challenges you may not be able to overcome.
Not to worry! There is nothing that has to overwhelm you. Just steer away from elements that can over-complicate the space and instead focus on a single and homogenous design – you can soon see everything falling in its place.
A properly maintained garden can then be a favorite place for your family, kids, and even pets to enjoy summer evenings and make a commendable contribution in adding to the value of your home.
However, before you run out to buy a bunch of plants, we would like to bring a few factors in your notice that are essential to understand and avoid the mistakes which most novice gardeners make. Here have a look:
- Size of the Garden. You may not have to be precise here, but a little approximation is vital to decide how many plants and shrubs will appear good without looking like a jungle.
- Weather Conditions. The direction or location of the area impacts the amount of sunlight and wind it will receive. The placement of other large trees nearby also plays a crucial role.
- Proximity to the House. The distance of the garden from the house and its visibility from the street can be an important deciding factor for the kind of design you choose.
- Soil Type. It can vary from place to place, and the plants you see on your neighborhood’s property may not work on yours. So, take a sample to the nursery to have it tested properly.
- Moisture Content. Different areas in your garden can have different humidity level. Some spots may collect more water than others and become moister. Thus, inspect that beforehand.
Once, you understand these aspects; start your designing process with the following lawn professional tips in mind –
- Think about how you want to use the garden. Do you want to grow food or want a place to entertain and relax? Picture yourself in your future outdoor space and list down the must-have elements.
- Plan an evergreen planting. To punctuate the aesthetics of your garden, opt for small shrubs, large trees, and colorful flowering plants that bloom and remain healthy all year long. Pick a variety of heights for a harmonious effect.
- Use the grouping method. The larger grouping of plants appears restful to eyes. So, instead of one or two large numbers of plants, use more (maximum up to five to six) to enjoy better cohesiveness and coordination.
- Add wide pavements. The way your paving is styled and laid can create a strong direction. Also, a wider pathway is crucial to make up for comfortable passages. Thus, keep it no less than five feet, or else it can restrict the movement.
- Accentuate with lighting. You must envision how and when you want to use your outdoor spaces, and use landscape lighting That will assure you safety during the dark hours and also amp up the appearance of your garden.
By installing a landscape lighting system to the exterior of your house can enhance the beauty and appeal of your house. But before planning on a landscape lighting you must keep certain things in your mind like know the outer areas of your house you want to light, choose the right lighting techniques and look for the fixtures and accessories to obtain the desired effect.
There are many types of landscape lighting. Some of them are as follows :
- Box shape : These lighting designs directly focus on light beams and cut off the glare in order to save the lamp and socket from moisture.
- Wall bracket : They are designed as to be mounted on the entry doors. Their lantern style design casts the light outward in a direct or diffused manner.
- Post lights : These lights cater to driveways, pools, steps or garden walking areas highlighting that particular area and enhancing the look of it.
- Well light or in – ground : They are used for lighting trees and shrubs and are also used for grazing of textured walls.
Therefore, it is very important to select the right kind of lighting that suits your landscape in order to make it attractive and appealing. Because that will enhance the beauty of your house.
Below stated are some landscape lighting tips for beginners:
- Observe the exterior of your house : The first step is to observe the exterior of your house and select which areas need lighting. This will give you a basic idea about your house and will allow you to select the best lighting. Without looking around your house you won’t be able to make out about the areas which need lighting and you won’t be able to judge its look after landscape lighting is installed.
- Decide the subject : You need to decide what basically you want to highlight in your design. Whether it is the landscape of your house, particular trees and shrubs, any fountain or the courtyard, you need to pick a particular subject. Mostly the lighting is done to the exterior of the house in order to enhance its outlook.
- Select the light : It is very important to select the right kind of lighting for your house in order for it to suit the environment. If you end up selecting the wrong lighting then you won’t receive the desired results. The primary choices for landscape lighting are flood lights, spotlights and path lights or even a combination of all three depending upon how you want your exterior house to look. Then after that you have to choose between LED, halogen or fluorescent lighting again depending upon the subject you want to decorate.
- Picking the right company for the job : Another essential decision is to select the right company for this work. Selection should be done on the basis of the company’s reputation, experience, client review and expertise. If you end up picking the wrong company then you won’t receive the results as per your expectations. But the right company will properly study your house and work according to your preferences which will lead to desired results.
How greener does your garden look? People are fond of having a beautiful backyard or landscaping, but when it comes to taking care of it, they suddenly become lethargic. Even if you are an intrepid landscape designer earnestly shaping topiaries and taking care of shrubs, you can still end up with an unhealthy garden due to lack of knowledge.
We would suggest people to not go harsh on their gardening plans, incorporating minimal things can add a lot to a healthy garden. The simplest jobs may involve using the right fertilizers, planting seasonal flowers, keeping them hydrated by using water irrigation systems and recycling the compost.
Here are some tips that will help you create a greener and healthier garden-
1) Keep the things real-
Mother nature doesn’t need to rely on chemical concoctions of pesticides, weed killers, and chemical fertilizers to keep it healthy. Going for all-natural mixtures and compost can do the most of it and using the beneficial insect reinforcements to fight pesky backyard pests to the ground is all that’s needed.
2) Scrutinize plants before buying-
The easiest way to get rid of disease damaged plants is to avoid introducing them into your space. Therefore, whenever you are plant-shopping, keep a magazine or your smartphone handy to search about it and to examine the areas that reveal whether a plant is disease-free or not?
If due to lack of awareness, you bring a diseased plant in your garden, it will soon damage the other species too, and you will be left with a dead garden.
3) Create compost from kitchen scrap-
Instead of throwing the kitchen scrap into the landfills, use it for your kitchen. Compost is known as the “gardener’s gold.” that enriches the soil and elevates the fertility by powering the plant-loving nutrients. Apart from stimulating the healthy root development, it enhances soil texture, aeration, and water retention.
4) Use easy watering techniques-
Adopting smart watering habits will help you save water and provide the most to your plants, especially during summers. Installing inground sprinkler systems is one of the efficient ways of watering your plants and saving water. They can sprinkle water, covering every area of the garden. Adding mulch and composite will help retain the water and protect it from evaporation.
5) Harvest rainwater-
Tap water contains some percentage of chlorine that affects plants. Therefore, counting on rainwater is another way to water your plants since the rain barrel is an inexpensive and effortless way to gather water full of minerals. By collecting this water, you will not only save tap water, hydrate your plants but can prevent runoffs causing clogs in the downspout and gutters.
6) Don’t crowd the garden-
Overcrowding plants can trap moisture and leads to the formation of mildew affecting plants. Improving airflow around your plants can reduce high humid conditions and allows foliage to dry more quickly. Overcrowded plants tend to grow poorly due to lack of soil, sunlight and airflow. Therefore, always choose seasonal plants and flowers to grow in your garden and place them keeping gaps.
People who have gardens in their home want it to look green and healthy throughout the year. Homeowners wish to have a beautiful and well-maintained lawn that makes them feel relaxed. But because of the hectic schedule, most of the people don’t have enough time to look after their garden. But, it is highly advised to follow a weekly schedule if you want to have a lush green garden. You need to take care of your lawn like a baby if you want it to look fresh, and charming.
Before moving towards the tips, let us see why weekly lawn maintenance is recommended by the experts.
The major advantages of lawn maintenance are
- You have strong and healthy grass in the lawn.
- The grass and plants recover at a fast pace from diseases.
- Your garden will look like a professionally maintained yard.
- Plants and grass will grow evenly.
- The curb appeal of the exterior of your home will enhance.
To keep a check on your lawn, you can perform the following activities as per your convenience, once in a week.
- Fertilizing –For the overall development of plants in your garden, fertilization is extremely important. Learn which type of fertilizer should be used depending upon the season. Make it a habit of checking your plants every weekend. See if they are getting essential nutrients or not and apply manures as and when required.
- Watering – To promote the root growth, it is crucial to ensure that the garden gets required water regularly. You can even install irrigation systems to eliminate manual watering. The built-in sensors in sprinkler systems water the lawn on time and in the right amount. They are extremely advantageous as they save the water from being wasted. Therefore, if you don’t have an irrigation system, get it installed by lawn sprinkler professionals.
- Mowing –It is an important lawn maintenance task to keep the grass in good condition. Mowing depends on the type of grass and season. However, mowing once in a week is enough to keep the garden healthy.
- Edging – This task is done right after mowing, and it is essential to keep the lawn green and healthy. Also, you will require an edge trimmer to get a perfect finish.
- Weed Control – Weed is a common problem of any lawn. Thus, weeds need to be eliminated from the garden before they consume water and all the nutrients from your plants. To avoid weeds, make sure that the lawn is fertilized and watered after regular intervals and once in a week. However, if you find weeds in your garden, get rid of them immediately.
- Damage Repair – If you have kids and pets at home, then your garden must be facing heavy foot traffic. So, repairing the damaged part is crucial if you want your garden to look green. If necessary, sprinkle seeds and fill up the patches formed.
When it comes to adding a landscape, many homeowners seem interested. And of course, why not; there are some amazing advantages of surrounding your property with those beautiful flowers and green plants. You get to improve the quality of air indoors, regulate the temperature and avail high reselling price for the home.
However, if you are a first-timer and haven’t dealt with landscaping components before, you might feel overwhelmed with the choice you make. You may not know what kind of layout to finalize or the kind of plantings to choose. In such a case, you may require a professional landscaping designer to guide you and some self-help in the form of these tips –
- Determining Your Landscape Needs and Wants
To design a perfect outdoor space for you, kids, and other family members, you have to be crystal clear on your actual requirements. Whether you need a quiet place for reading, an area to grow vegetables or an entertainment space for your children to play – jot it down on a piece of paper and include it in the rough sketch of your lawn. Fit everything together and then use this blueprint as a starting point.
- Understanding the Basic Landscape Terms
Whether it is landscaping or any other field, you ought to know the terms related to it. That will make your search and decision process easier and effective. So, spend some time on Google and familiarize yourself with words like ‘deep shade’, ‘afternoon sun’, ‘groundcover’, ‘back of the border’, ‘winter interest’, ‘ornamental tree’, and other similar terms before hitting the ground. We are sure that knowledge will come handy in understanding your kind of landscaping situation.
- Considering the Local Weather Conditions
While devising a landscape design plan, you need to take into account the sun and wind patterns in and around your property. Only after that, you can create sufficient sitting areas with the right amount of shrubs blocking the direct winds and have your trees planted at spots having a maximum amount of sunlight.
- Taking it Slow
It makes no sense to compare yourself with landscaping makeover masters you see in television shows or YouTube videos. These people have a huge crew to support them, but when working alone, you don’t have that back. That is why it is recommended to most of the beginner gardeners to start with a small area first and work on it when you have time and gradually add up more flower beds as you learn.
- Creating a Focal Point
Every good garden design has a series of focal points to draw the attention of the visitors. They can be antique sculptures, customized seating areas, or a series of colorful flowers and shrubs. You can also create distinct views by planting a few trees for that perfect shade and cooling effect in summers and vibrant feel in winter months.
- Lighting it Up
Once you lay down your lawn, plant your flower beds, set up a sprinkler system and install a barbecue in the backyard, start highlighting your yard’s best features. Contact your local landscape lighting expert and plan the appropriate outdoor lighting for your project to make your lawn warm and beautiful and your home safe.
If you want to enhance the look of your home, it’s best to set up a lush green, beautiful landscape. Landscaping has recently become a popular project among homeowners who want to maintain a healthier lifestyle. Good landscaping not only makes your home stand out from the rest within your neighborhood but also increases your home’s value. And due to these reasons, it makes sense to invest in landscaping. But designing a well-balanced landscape requires extensive skills and experience.
To choose the best design, right plants, and functional irrigation system, you need to hire a landscaping professional. To get a flawlessly structured lawn, you need to find a specialist. But how do you ensure that the landscapers that you choose are capable of providing you with quality services? It’s easy to search landscapers online but not all landscaping companies that you see on the internet are reliable. Without proper research, you’ll end up wasting your money on a garden that not even looks attractive. To avoid this frustrating situation, it’s crucial to make the right hiring decision. Below you’ll some factors that you are supposed to put into consideration before hiring a landscaping company.
Qualification & Experience
It can be a huge mistake to hire a landscaping company without looking at the qualifications and experience. Landscaping is not just about planting trees and trimming shrubs. The professional is also responsible for installing an irrigation system that involves placing automatic sprinklers, setting drip irrigation systems, and proper landscape lighting. The contractor you hire should have a license and 5+ years of experience. If a landscaping company is new in the industry, there are high chances that they provide limited or inferior quality services. The experienced landscapers, on the other hand, have both the skills and facilities that are needed for an effective job.
Equipment & Staff
Another factor to consider is how well equipped is the landscaping company is. It is always good to hire a company that is well equipped and has trained staff. To check how well equipped a company is, you can check the variety of the landscaping services that they offer. A company that offers complete landscaping services usually has a qualified team of professionals and advanced equipment to provide efficient services.
Before you hire a landscaping company, it is essential to check their reputation. The track record of the company reveals a lot about the quality of service they offer. Online research is the best way of finding out the reputation of the landscaper. You can visit review sites to read reviews of past customers. If the company has been offering quality services, then you will see a lot of positive reviews on their website, and that is a sign that you can go ahead and hire them.
Before you make a hiring decision, make sure the company will not overcharge you. You should first determine how much you intend to spend on landscaping. Once you have a budget in mind, ask at least three contractors to provide you project quote. Compare the job estimate provided by these companies by evaluating the quality of material used among other factors.
If you have a beautiful garden, you must know that you can’t rely on Mother Nature to take care of your plants. You need a properly functioning irrigation system to keep your flower beds and shrubs flourishing. Most homeowners install a sprinkler system to avoid the hassles of watering the lawn daily. This system works automatically to keep your lawn and yard watered throughout the year. But the automatic sprinkler system is quite efficient but it’s not immune to damage. You might have installed the most advanced sprinkler system but all devices tend to wear down over time.
Without frequent inspection and proper maintenance, your sprinkler system may get damage which leads to unnecessary additional expenses. So, to maintain the health of your lovely garden, as well as avoid repair costs, it’s best to keep checking the irrigation system. Taking care of your sprinkler system and quickly attending to any problems that may arise, it’s possible to avoid a costly repair. Now you may ask how to identify these potential issues. Your sprinkler systems can occasionally develop issues like an underground leak in the waterlines. But this fault may go unnoticed because it’s not visible to the naked eye. However, there are some warning signs that do indicate that your sprinkler system needs repair. Below we’ve listed the top signs you should look for to figure out if your sprinkler system needs repairs. The earlier you identify these signs, the quicker you can fix the problem.
If the grass is turning yellow or you notice puddles around the yard, it means something is wrong with your irrigation system. Whether you find dry patches of grass or pools of water in various areas of your lawn, you should check the valve. You may also have the heads adjusted. This issue often arises when there’s a fault in the sprinkler head or a leak in your irrigation system.
You might notice that your sprinklers heads are spraying water off-target. Sometimes, it’s simply because the pop-up heads have shifted out of position and may need to be readjusted. It is also possible that the sprinkler heads have become clogged o cracked. In this situation, you need to check the head for dirt clogs. If the problem is not solved after cleaning the debris and fixing cracks then it’s important to inspect the pressure settings for your control valves and your sprinkler heads.
If the water pressure has become too high or too low then it means that the system is malfunctioning. The sprinkler will not work properly if there is a loss of pressure in a zone or head. On the other hand, when the pressure becomes too high, it could cause premature damage to your sprinkler system. In both the conditions, look at the control valves and regulators. If you can’t identify the cause, contact an irrigation and landscaping expert.
Dripping Control Valves
The control valves are responsible for regulating the water supply. When these valves start dripping or leaking, it may lead to high water bills. You need to check the system for any dirt particles, grass clippings, or mold.
It’s that time of the year when most homeowners plan to give a face-lift to their landscape. They clean out the flower beds to plant new, beautiful flowers or maybe a few trees and bushes. It takes a lot of effort to maintain a splendid landscape. However, the efforts you’ve put in beautifying your lawn, pathways, flower beds, backyard, and other elements lurk in darkness after the sunset. And this is where installing a landscape lighting system becomes crucial.
A well-designed landscape lighting system can add a new dimension to your home’s exterior when it’s dark out. Strategically placed landscape lights highlight the best architectural features of your house, as well as the trees and flowering plants in the garden. Landscape lights are important but most homeowners find it confusing to pick the right one. So if you don’t already have lighting installed on your property, choosing low voltage landscape lighting can be the right decision.
Low Voltage Landscape Lighting
Low voltage lights make use of a transformer which reduces the 120 volt current to 12 volts. This lighting system helps in saving electricity without giving up the quality. As compared to line voltage lighting which uses 120 volts, low voltage lighting produces 12 volts of electricity. This system is less expensive to install, uses less energy, and is safer. These qualities make low voltage lighting a more practical choice than high voltage lighting. Now let’s explore some more benefits of installing a low voltage landscape lighting system.
Installing a low voltage lighting system is not as expensive as the line voltage system. Although this system needs a transformer, the cables required for line voltage lighting are more expensive than those needed for low-voltage lighting. A low-voltage setup uses LED light fixtures which cost more than incandescent lights. However, these lights have a longer life span and consume much less power (2-10 watts) to save electricity costs. Lower electricity bills and longer life of LED lights make this system cost-effective.
- Energy Efficiency
The light fixtures used in this system are highly energy efficient. As compared to the incandescent halogen bulbs used in the high voltage system, LED lights emit a higher amount of light while using only 20 percent of the energy. This not only helps in saving energy costs but also helps in conserving our valuable energy resources. This system is environment-friendly and allows an improved thermal reduction.
- Safe & Easy to Install
The lower voltage lights are much safer to install and use. Unlike 120V lighting options, 12-volt led lighting systems don’t have any risk of getting electrocuted when exposed to snow or rain. It is also relatively easier to install low voltage landscape lights. Setting up a line voltage landscape lighting system is not only risky but also complicated. Only a professional can install the line voltage lighting system by burying the wires at least 18 feet deep and placing the wire connections via junction boxes. A low-voltage lighting system, on the other hand, can be installed on your own.
Your home has to be your pride and joy. It should be an epitome of style and practical functions all in one. That is why it is recommended to add outdoor lighting and garden lights to add to your curb appeal along with highlighting its best features.
Outdoor lighting projects are known to bring warmth and beauty to the property and also make it a safer place to live in. They allow you better visions at night and make the backyard, lawn, or garden areas of your house stand out.
Besides, landscaping lighting plays a great role in deterring crime such as burglaries. It gives out a message to the ill-intentioned people that your home is well looked after and there is no way an invader would get a chance to a break-in or be able to remain unseen.
So without further ado, let us understand all the important factors one should consider when adding outdoor lighting to the house:
- Your Requirements
Before you go out shopping, you need to figure out the amount of lighting you need for decorating your house exterior. And to do that, all you need to do is multiply the square footage of the area you want to light by 1.5 – that will give an estimation of the total wattage needs that is sufficient to light up your entire space.
- Size of Fixtures
It is important to first observe your space and take accurate measurements so you don’t choose too small or too large fixtures. Don’t end up ruining the look of your house by placing inappropriate lighting fixtures or the ones that block your house doorway. Even if you have a large space outside your house, you better go for medium-sized fixtures that can provide lighting in specific areas.
- Lighting Color
Your outdoor lighting color should not clash with the color scheme of your walls – this rule applies both to interiors and exteriors of the house. The color of the lighting fixture you select should be attractive enough and instead complement the overall look of your landscape and outer architecture.
- Energy Efficiency
Halogen lights and incandescent bulbs tend to use a lot of energy and lead to higher utility bills. That is why landscape lighting experts suggest using LEDs for outdoor lighting fixtures. LED lights consume lesser energy in comparison to their counterparts, are almost maintenance-free, and don’t require frequent replacement. And not to forget – they look just amazing in the garden.
- Solar Powered
Solar lighting is one of the most talked-about outdoor lightings nowadays. These lighting fixtures are powered by the sun and don’t require any kind of extensive wiring as needed in the case of traditional electric lighting. They are extremely flexible and can be moved around your lawn too. The best part is that solar powered outdoor lighting helps in reducing your energy consumption and is indeed the safest option for your homes if you always have kids and pets playing around.
Your home is your biggest investment, and you would not like it to appear shabby to others. A poorly maintained exterior can create a bad impression on visitors and can land you in problems like blocked gutters, messy gardens that invite critters, growth of molds on walls and many more.
If you can’t spend a lot to renovate the exteriors, you can at least adopt some simple ways to make it look better and cleaner. Taking small steps towards home improvement can boost its value and curb appeal.
Here are some ways that can help you improve the exteriors of your house without much effort-
Add Greenery to Your House-
Plant some flowers and green plants to enhance the look of your house. If you do not own a garden, then use some planters and window boxes. You can hang plants around the edges of the entry points or windows. A single plant arrangement can add a lot to it.
Take Care of Your Lawn-
Keeping your lawn clean and adding some trendy features can create a beautiful look. It is not important to add expensive stuff to your garden at all. Regular cleaning can be enough, which includes mowing the grass, raking off leaves and pulling weeds.
Water your plants regularly to prevent brown spots and don’t forget to plant seasonal flowers to make your lawn look bright and colorful.
Let there be Light-
Make your house more welcoming by adding lights near the walkway in front of your home. Replace the old lighting fixtures such as sconces and yellow lights that give a dreary look with porch string lights or solar-powered lanterns.
You can add landscape lighting to your garden that can benefit during outdoor parties. Make your gardens appear more attractive by adding accent lights near the kiosks.
Creating symmetrical patterns can improve the focal points that make your home look more put together. Symmetry could be achieved using lights at correct spaces, maybe putting light lamps on either side of your front door.
Make your backyard look more symmetrical by adding furniture at the right place and landscape lighting in such a way that can converge to a wider area.
Change the Paint and Upgrade your Front Door-
If the paint on the walls of your house is too old and dull, it can make the walls look damper with all the cracks. It is a sign that you should get a fresh coat of paint that is water-proof and durable.
An old and fragile door with stains of rust is of no good. Replace it with a new robust door with matching hardware. Change the door knockers and upgrade the house numbers with a font that aligns with the architecture of your home.
Clean Up Your Gutters-
Clogged gutters can cause further problems like water leakages and standing of dirty water around your house. Therefore, clear the debris and drains regularly to make them look new and improve their working otherwise the foul odors and stagnant water can bring in a lot of infectious diseases.