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.
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.
Before discussing the benefits of a healthy lawn, let us clear that a healthy lawn is not only about growing grass outside the home. It is far more than that! Just like a baby needs care, love, and dedication to grow into a healthy human, your lawn also demands attention. If taken care of properly, a healthy lawn can provide you with numerous benefits.
Living in a home with a healthy lawn is extremely profitable as it keeps you fit and improves the surrounding environment. Waking to a beautiful and healthy front garden in the morning can refresh your mood. The fresh air your lawn gives you can make you feel happy, energetic and positive the whole day. Not only this, a healthy lawn is useful in many other ways. Let us see how you can benefit from a healthy lawn.
- It purifies the air around you and your home – Plants take in carbon dioxide and release oxygen. And well-maintained grass also traps dust. Thus, a green, lush garden improves the air quality outside as well as inside your home, and you get fresh air to breathe.
- It can reduce stress – According to studies, it has been found that daily access to greenery can lower your stress, regulates your mood and increases your overall productivity. Just gaze at the beautiful green lawn adorned with landscape lighting every night before going to bed. You will feel calmer and experience sound sleep.
- It helps you in fighting allergies – Some people incur allergies on coming in contact with pollen. The pollen in your lawn is produced by common weeds. And to get rid of the weed problems lawn maintenance is a must. A healthy lawn means less pollen that, in turn, reduces the chances of allergies.
- It controls soil erosion – Soil erosion can make your lawn unattractive and can cause environmental concerns. Whatever the reason for soil erosion is, a healthy grass, especially turf grass, can help in keeping the soil in place, thus reducing the risk of soil erosion. If you want to prevent erosion and want a strong root system for your trees, plants and shrubs, then make sure to keep a check on the health of your lawn.
- It keeps you cooler – Plants are extremely helpful in keeping the outdoor living spaces fresh and cool. Also, a healthy lawn reduces the heating effects of the sun and keep your home cooler than in turn, helps in lowering your energy bills in summers.
- It increases the curb appeal and value of your home – Ahh! What an astounding look that well-maintained and beautiful lawn gives to the exterior of your home. Your home looks more inviting with a garden full of plants, greenery and flowers. Moreover, the value of your home manifolds because of a healthy lawn.
Providing numerous benefits, your garden deserves due care and love. And if you are serious about the health of your lawn, then it is highly recommended to invest in an automatic lawn irrigation system. The right irrigation system helps in preserving soil structure, saves water, and prevent your plants from diseases.
When you own a commercial property, your concern about the landscape design goes beyond the usual landscape design planned for homes. You have to keep the expenses under control and at the same time create long-lasting experiences for your employees and customers visiting.
Commercial landscape development is a high-stake undertaking that either makes or breaks your property. That is why business owners are required to spend ample time to research what kind of landscape would be best to present their brand.
Designing a landscape isn’t hard. All you need is a substantial investment of time and money to fill your garden with lush greenery. And once the project is completed, you are able to offer an opportunity for your employees to relax and a beautiful sight to your customers to feel good.
If your old commercial building has been lacking a curb appeal, it is time to reinvent its surroundings and bring in something new, fresh, and vibrant. Following are a few helpful tips to help you redesign the landscape of your commercial property:
- Plan Well
Well-thought planning is essential so as to ensure that every single decision of yours is in alignment with your landscape goals. Whether you choose to perform landscaping yourself or call for professional help, it is always wise to have a detailed and clear-cut plan in hand.
A landscape plan is the same as a floor plan in which a visual representation of the area is presented. It includes all important elements like shrubs, trees, flowers, outdoor furniture, sheds, lighting fixtures, etc. required to give your landscape a complete and attractive look.
- Match the Design With Building’s Architecture
Standing out is good, but not becoming an odd one out. So, beware of going overboard. Pick a theme that connects your landscape with the building and overall surroundings to make the premises look proportional, not confusing.
Think about the architecture first when you try to mix and match natural and man-made elements together. Remember, your landscape should be a healing space. It should be simple yet attractive and never dominate the architecture.
- Focus on the Entrance
Your building’s entrance is the first thing the customers or clients visiting would see; thus, it should be as inviting as possible. Vivid flowers, bright grasses, landscape lighting in the springtime – are some of the things that are going to draw everyone’s attention.
To provide a more pleasant experience, highlight the entryway and beautify it using decorative bricks or stones. That way, your clients know exactly where to go and create a nice first impression of your business premises.
- Install Seating Area for People
Commercial landscapes and people interact in many different ways; so it is vital to design the area with people in mind. Your landscaped environment should be utterly beautiful and appealing in its form and offer a commendable functionality for the precious people of your organization.
Experts recommend placing benches and other seating areas within the landscape – not just as a hangout/resting spot for your employees but also an efficient business area for your valuable clients.
- Think Low Maintenance
When choosing plants and other features for your commercial premises, you have to consider the amount of time and commitment you can invest in for the maintenance of the final product. Of course, there is no zero-maintenance plan, but you can derive a low-maintenance plan.
By doing that prior to the installation of your landscape plan, you would save yourself from unforeseen maintenance and unexpected expenses arising as a result of over-pruning, die-back, and winter damage.
Many people shoo the idea of installing landscape lighting in their homes because of the misconceptions they have about outdoor lighting. But in reality, outdoor lighting is amazing and beneficial as it enhances the appeal and increases the value of your property.
Let us see what are the misconceptions that people hold about landscape lighting and why you should overlook them.
Myth #1. Landscape lighting is too costly.
Most of the times, homeowners believe that the cost of landscape lighting is out of their reach. No doubt, the initial price of outdoor lighting is high, but it costs 1/5th of what traditional lighting or other systems cost. Moreover, they don’t consume much electricity and thus save your money in the long run. Also, the cost benefits are really high when you take into account the longevity of landscape over traditional bulbs.
Myth #2. It takes too much time for installation.
It is one of the most common misconceptions and not at all true. Typically, it takes half to full day to install a functional lighting system completely. Professionals will do everything for you.
Myth #3. Landscape lighting has a limited lifespan.
Many people hold this misconception that landscape lights do not last long. But, in a reality where traditional bulbs last for few months only the modern bulbs last for many years before they need to be replaced.
Myth #4. Landscape lighting is not efficient.
Don’t trust this myth as it can stop you from installing highly efficient outdoor lighting in your lawn. These lights consume too little power, and according to a research it has been found that the lights used in landscape lighting these days are 15% more efficient than fluorescent lights and six times more efficient than incandescent bulbs.
Myth #5. There are too many hidden costs.
This is another myth, that should not be believed if you are hiring a professional, reliable company for the installation of landscape lighting. A trustworthy installation company keep everything transparent and tell you about the cost involved in the project before starting it.
Myth #6. Installation in the middle of the winter is not possible.
Outdoor lighting can be installed throughout the year. Only your ground needs to be cooperative and not frozen. Professionals are trained and have enough of the experience to help you in installing the lights and fixtures successfully.
Myth #7. Professional landscape lighting service is not important.
Many people believe that landscape lighting installers don’t have the technical expertise and required skills, and they don’t need to hire the one. They think that trying hands on a DIY project can be more beneficial to them. However, it is not the case. The maintenance and construction of landscape lighting are quite technical and can lead to several problems in future if not done correctly. You may then have to hire experts to fix the issues. Thus, it is suggested to hire the professionals beforehand.
Moreover, the installation of outdoor lighting by experts is one of the best home improvement projects and increases the overall value of your home. It also increases the curb appeal of the house, making your home more inviting.
Now, what are you waiting for? Free your mind from misconceptions about landscape lighting and enhance the look of your home by getting them installed. A top-rated landscape lighting company will ensure safe, high quality, low voltage components and outstanding lighting design.
Keeping family and valuables safe inside the home is the priority of every homeowner. With the increase in burglaries and crime rate, it is becoming even more important to have a safe and secured home. To help you make your home safer, we are here with some of the best tips.
- Keep doors secured – Doors of the home, especially the front doors, are the first thing that one should consider when talking about security. It has been found that approximately 34% of the burglars walk in through the front door. So, get all your exterior doors inspected, to ensure that the hinges are protected, and frames are strong. Also, if your door locks are not good enough to protect you, then get it replaced at the earliest.
- Lock the windows –The most common entry points for burglars are doors and windows. So, keep the windows locked, especially at night. Also, consider having windows and doors of tempered glass. And if your windows do not consist of tempered glass then consider updating it as soon as possible. It is because tempered glass does not break easily and thus is highly beneficial.
- Light up the landscape – Burglars only invade in those houses that are not lit up properly at night. It is because they don’t want to be in the spotlight. So, keep them away from your home with adequate lighting. Moreover, landscape lighting doesn’t only protect you from invaders but also enhance the beauty of your home.
- Secure the garage – If you have stored plenty of good stuff in your garage, then you need to secure your garage too. Moreover, the garage is becoming a popular entry point to your home among criminals. So, make sure that your garage door is secure and have a sound lock system. Never forget to lock the garage door after using it.
- Add security cameras – These days, security cameras are a necessity. If there is someone who is keeping an eye on your house or trying to invade, then everything will be recorded in the camera. Moreover, criminals stay away from places where cameras are installed.
- Eliminate hiding places – Trees and shrubs may enhance the curb appeal of your house, but they also act as a hiding place for burglars. So, trim them down so that no one can hide behind them. To beautify your home, use small and colorful flowers instead of bushes. In case you have trees near windows then remove them, and if you don’t want to do so, then make those windows extra secure.
Further, don’t keep things like ladders and stools outside your home. It is highly suggested to don’t place your expensive possessions in the yard, as they can provide an invitation to the thieves.
If you are living in a country that witnesses a high amount of rains every monsoon, the last thing you would want is a damaged lawn. Wet weather and plants is usually a match made in heaven; however, if there is excessive rain, it can lead to plenty of trouble to your fragile plants.
As a homeowner, the daily garden care can get tough when it is constantly raining. You may not be able to mow the grass with the standing water, and the long term exposure to moisture may cause a variety of issues such as leaf spots, yellow leaves, root problems, and southern stem blight that can get extremely tricky to handle.
Heavy downpour accompanied with winds can potentially harm and totally ruin the hard work you put into nourishing the garden throughout spring and summer, with severe consequences such as the death of the plants.
Therefore, to avoid that from happening, here are a few tips to consider:
- Amputate damaged shoots and limbs. Before the rainstorm hits your region, it is recommended to remove dead shoots and limbs from your plants and try to streamline them as much as possible. That prevents the snapping and tangling of plants.
- Give enough support to taller plants and trees. Heavy rains and constant drizzles combined with strong winds can put your tall unsecured plants at risk of falling. That is why it is best to dig a wooden or metal support into the ground and tie your vulnerable plants to it and protect all sorts of physical damage.
- Ensure proper drainage. Rainy days come with the trouble of water accumulation. That drowns the nearby plants and affects your entire garden. So, to restrain any standing water or blockages, construct a runoff that slopes away the water and keep your garden healthy.
- Cover the plants. Plants, including herbs and vegetables, are pretty delicate when they are young. They may not be able to take the hit of hard rains and winds. That is why it is always best to have them covered under a slanted waterproof tarpaulin.
- Keep a check on plant roots. Every single time when the rain stops, go and check if they are any exposed plants roots following soil erosion. Cover them at the earliest with the desired amount of soil and compost. Also for small plants that get rooted out by fast-moving water, replant them at the same place or in another pot as soon as possible.
- Don’t walk on rain-soaked yards. Mowing and moving around your soggy lawn can cause unwanted stress on unstable grassroots and tear them down; which is why you should wait for at least a day or two to use your lawn like normal and walk on it only when it dries up.
- Install rain sensors. If you are using a lawn irrigation system, you require a rain sensor (wired or wireless) along to shut it off automatically when it rains. It is an inexpensive device that helps conserve water and protect your lawn from getting over-flooded during rainy days.