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2D Design ( 0 )

What is a 2D Design Plan for Visual Outdoor Landscaping ProjectsTwo-dimensional or 2D design is visual presentation tool landscape architects utilize to help a client envision the finished look of a landscaping project. This landscape blueprint is an artistic representation that only contains the length and width of plants, walkways, or water features – as opposed to drawings with the other dimensions, such as height and depth. The plans contain accurate measurements of the different features while maintaining the garden’s uniqueness and overall functionality.  

A landscape architect, sometimes called a horticultural professional or specialist, is a trained professional in the disciplines of gardening, art, and architecture. They create stunning gardens, outdoor kitchens, aquascapes, patios, and more. They are highly recommended for any landscaping project as they have the knowledge and experience to create a 2D design plan and implement it. Landscape architects work with both residential and commercial owners.

To create an individualized 2D design, the horticultural specialist will sit down and interview a client. They will ask distinctive questions to gauge the necessary elements the garden must contain and any desires. When a client prefers the look of a certain type of shrubbery or flower that does not thrive in the region, a landscape architect will substitute, if possible, a regional plant that is similar to the customer’s preferences. A landscape architect will need to know the following information:

•    What does the client want?

  • Are there certain plants, trees, or shrubs they want in their garden?
  • If it is a business—are they looking to create an area for employees to lunch or take breaks?

•    What look is the client trying to achieve?

  • Some clients may want a traditional English cutting garden; another may want to attract butterflies and hummingbirds. Maybe they are looking to spruce up their property for prospective buyers.
  • A commercial client may want to beautify their business front for customers.

•    What are the essential elements a client needs?

  • Does a residential owner need a space for their children’s swing set or trampoline? They may want an outdoor kitchen and covered patio or need a privacy hedge around the pool area.
  • A commercial client may want to plant a walkway for their customers, or a hedge that block their employees break area from view.
  • What about any water features? Are they looking to include a pond, stream, or a waterfall?


2D design plans are close representations to the finished garden that include the actual site layout as well as the size and types of plants used. They are a powerful visual landscaping aid for the client indicating the maximum height and width of the plants, walkways, and other features listed so a client will be able to visualize what the mature garden will look like. They will also be able to see the different textures of the flowers, shrubs, and trees.

It is well worth the time it may take to find a local horticultural specialist used to working with 2D design plans. A great landscape blueprint leads to an exquisite outdoor space!

3D Design ( 0 )

Using 3D Design For Landscaping ProjectsBefore embarking on a landscaping job, a homeowner may not put much thought into planning, but a 3D design can really help speed a project along. This visualization tool is produced by landscape architects and shows, in great detail, what the project will look like when it is complete. Before putting together a detailed picture, the homeowner consults with a horticulturalist or contractor regarding the logistics of the project. Once everyone is clear on how to proceed, the landscape architect will produce a final visualization for the homeowner to review.

There are several reasons why a 3D design is an important part of the planning process
:

  • For one, a thorough visualization of the project can help determine whether it is possible in the first place. The software used to put together these representations is capable of keeping everything in scale. If the project requires more space than is available, it will be clear once the artist rendering is complete.
  • Current iterations of visualization technology come with an astounding number of features. They are so powerful now, in fact, that an artist can produce almost anything in a representation. If the homeowner wants to see what a brick deck will look like in contrast to the rest of the house, that can be demonstrated. If the homeowner wants to see all the different ways a grill can be integrated into an outdoor kitchen, that’s also available. The possibilities are nearly endless for visualization. This is extremely important because it will help the homeowner avoid making a costly decision they later regret.
  • Integrating plants into an extensive landscaping project is harder than it sounds. Planning is needed to ensure each plant has enough space to grow and flourish. Modern 3D design technology can produce each plant to scale, from a single tree to hundreds of small flowering plants. To-scale plant renderings are available using visualization technology.
  • Finally, this representation is essential for contractors and planters to plan their work and give the homeowner an accurate cost estimate. It also keeps the contractor on task and gives them a clear target to shoot for.

A landscape architect should always be one of the first people to contact when beginning a project. Their renderings can help determine the best look and optimal organization for the job. This will allow the homeowner to offer initial input into the project and then rest assured that everyone is on the same page.

Architectural Lighting ( 0 )

No matter how much time and effort a homeowner puts into their yard, it will never reach its full potential without architectural lighting. Illumination technology has improved substantially in the last 20 years, to the point that homeowners can now outfit their entire property with cost efficient fixtures. These fixtures are just as beautiful as previous technologies and are both more customizable and durable as well. In all, this means a homeowner can add that extra color or depth their yard needs to really garner the interest it deserves.

Architectural lighting may refer to fixtures inside or out, but it’s most often installed in exterior settings to provide illumination for landscaping or hardscape features. They are ideal for illuminating huge trees, preferably evergreens or large shrubs that have a lot of body. The lighting will filter through the branches and leaves, creating dramatic shadows and transforming the entire plant into a giant beacon of radiance itself. With several strategically placed fixtures along the front yard, the home’s trees can diffuse enough illumination to brighten up the entire front. This is not just for decorative purposes, either, as would-be criminals will tend to stay away from well-lit properties.

A subtle fixture is also a smart choice when drawing interest to a water feature. A fountain represents a major financial and infrastructural investment, so its beauty should not go to water. A fixture under the water or several aiming up at the feature will create that sound and light combination that entrances the senses. This is particularly true for fountains that feature sculptures or other stone design. Stone features are much more imposing when illuminated at night because a directly-aimed fixture will push shadows away from it. This will create a contrast between it and everything behind it, making the stone feature appear larger than it really is. During the day, the muted colors of stone tend to fade in the background, but architectural lighting can infuse some new life into it at night.

Gardens and intricate hardscape pieces are also a natural fit with this technology
. Placing subtle fixtures along paths or suspended from pergolas or arbors can fill a garden or other area with a subtle glow. This will make it easier to see and enjoy landscaping at night.

LED, incandescent and gas discharge lamps can all be used in exterior applications, but LED fixtures are usually the best choice for several reasons. For one, LED fixtures are the most efficient ones available on the market. They achieve this efficiency with their sophisticated designs, which allows only a small fraction of energy to escape in the form of heat. This means nearly all of the power it uses is dedicated to producing illumination. Also, because LED fixtures produce nearly zero radiant heat, they are much safer to use around landscaping. Finally, LED fixtures can be customized to produce a number of color and output levels, so a homeowner can get just the right color and level of brightness they are looking for.
 
Beautiful landscaping and hardscape features are just the beginning when setting up a front or backyard
. Finishing off the look with an assembly of exterior fixtures can truly set a home apart.

Bar and Grill Area ( 0 )

Bar and Grill Area Options For Outdoors or PatiosThere are almost no limitations on what a homeowner can do with a bar and grill area outside. Instead of settling for a simple standalone barbeque and some lawn furniture, consider putting together some hardscaping designed with aesthetics in mind. These outdoor retreats can be small and attached to the side of the home or standalone and big enough to entertain dozens of people. Before setting off on an outdoor project, though, there are several things to consider.

For one, if the bar and grill area will use gas or electricity, utility lines will need to be run to the spot
. The closer the spot is to the home, the easier and less expensive it will be to run the line. Gas and electrical supply lines can be run at pretty much any distance on a standard residential property. However, outdoor areas are unique in that, with special planning, they don’t require any utility lines. If the homeowner decides to go with a wood-burning grill, then a utility line may not be required. However, if a homeowner wants to keep their drinks ice cold, then a fridge and electricity will be needed.

A homeowner can design their outdoor retreat in hundreds of ways, from traditional to contemporary, classical to artistic. The options are limitless. A bar and grill area that matches the aesthetic of the home is normally the best option as it will blend in well with the house. Consider separating the retreat with glass walls and outfit the spot with a TV for entertaining on game day. Adding a tranquil water feature like a fountain or fish pond can make the spot a relaxing oasis. Or, go the traditional route and build the spot up with stone and cover it with a pergola. A large pergola will protect the retreat from inclement weather and provide shade on intense summer days. Pergolas range in size and can be large enough to cover dozens of people. However, if a homeowner only wants to entertain a few close friends regularly, a small pergola built out from the home can provide a nice seating area to relax, have a few drinks and catch up.

If the spot is going to become a focused entertainment hangout, plan everything in advance. Incorporating electronics into the project means determining the best placement for a TV or sound system. This will determine where cooking appliances are installed. Because the spot will likely be used most often at night, make sure that task lighting is installed around the kitchen prep area and barbeque. This will allow people to easily see at night and make food preparation possible at night. For safety reasons, install lighting around the edges of the hardscaping to keep people from falling or tripping.

Finally, find building materials that work best for the project. Stainless steel is a popular choice for appliances and cooking areas because it is easy to keep sanitary for food and requires minimal maintenance. Stone, granite and wood are also common because they evoke a rustic or elegant look that many homeowners want.

The only limit for these projects is imagination. A talented professional can bring to life any design a homeowner wants and can ensure that the spot is a treasured part of the home for years to come.

Composting ( 0 )

In today’s world there is an ongoing demand to “go green” and composting is a great way of satisfying that demand. In simple terms this form of fertilizing is described as a controlled, natural process of decomposing organic materials into the soil. The process itself is quite easy and has a long list of advantages and benefits that range from big to small.

There are two main types of composting, including backyard and grass clipping. The method referred to as “backyard” consists of no more than a 3x3 foot pile of leaves, straw, branches, and food scraps. From there all one needs is air, a little moisture, and a high temperature. These can all be achieved by turning the pile over (creating air pockets), wetting the pile slightly with a hose, and placing the pile in area that will receive ample sunlight. On the other hand, the method known as “grass clipping” is a fertilizing method done by mowing one’s lawn and taking off no more than one-third of the length of the grass. From there, the recycled clippings are shot out the side of the mower and back onto the lawn where they enrich the remaining grass.

Both methods are fairly simple and give some rewarding advantages. First, fertilizing in such a way allows households to keep food scraps out of landfills and back into the soil. Secondly, with more nutrients in the ground, not only is surrounding vegetation enriched, but it also looks healthier and greener. Thirdly, it saves resources such as time and money by ridding a family of making purchases for lawn care products. On top of these benefits, there are also some smaller perks such as healthier vegetables from a personal garden and stronger pest resistant plants.  

In general, there are no down sides to composting. It’s an inexpensive way to save resources for an individual and the environment. It is an effective process that should be considered by average households all the way to major businesses.  By taking advantage of this method, one can keep the lawn looking sharp and the environment clean.

Drip Irrigation ( 0 )

What is drip irrigation usually used for?

In recent years, gardeners have started switching to this kind of watering setup, eschewing standard sprinkler and manual watering methods. Because it requires a considerable amount of tubing, it is not practical for watering an entire yard, but it is highly effective at providing water to landscaping or plants organized on multiple levels or in groups. It is also a popular choice for homeowners that maintain a vegetable garden.

What are the benefits of drip irrigation?

Most gardeners who switch over to this system do so because of water conservation. These systems don’t apply blankets of water over a large area. Instead, they slowly weep water into the soil or directly to the roots, so less water is needed to keep the plant nourished. This is ideal for neighborhoods that enforce stringent water conservation standards or homeowners that just want to keep their utility costs down.

These systems produce little runoff, if any, because they are gentle on the soil
. This is important when using fertilizer, as more of the fertilizer will remain close to the plant and away from the municipal drainage system. It also suppresses weed growth as there is less excess water.

Gardens are often hard to water as well, because of their unique arrangement. While standard sprinkler and spray heads can keep a garden nourished, waste is a real concern, as is over watering. These systems mitigate both of these issues because the tubing used for water delivery is built to the garden’s layout. For example, if a gardener is working with a standard rectangular plot, a single feed tube can be attached to multiple emitter tubes. The emitter tubes are then run next to each plant in parallel, ensuring perfectly even coverage with less waste.

What are the primary components of a drip irrigation system?

Commercial systems are complicated and typically include powerful pump systems, multiple filters, several valves and many emitter lines. For the homeowner, these systems are much simpler. Most home systems consist of a vacuum breaker that’s attached to the pressure regulator, along with a filter. This prevents contaminated water from seeping back into the home’s supply line.

Everything else is just tubing, emitters and sprayers. Tubing can be bought with emitters or without emitters, though emitters will have to be attached to the tubing before installation. For dense planting areas or elevated plant containers, micro sprayers and foggers can provide moisture to a larger area. They are similar to larger form spray heads but use much less water.

How can Prime Lawn help a homeowner setup their system?

Setting up one of these systems doesn’t require too much labor, but it does take planning, foresight and some specialized knowledge. Before the installation, it is essential to calculate how much water will be available and how best to use it with a series of emitter tubes, sprayers and foggers. Prime Lawn will approach the system’s design with efficiency in mind, making the most use out of the home’s water. With Prime Lawn’s help, the homeowner will have a setup that provides ample coverage and efficiency while blending into the surrounding foliage.

Fire Pits and Fire Places ( 0 )

Questions About Fire Pits for Outdoor Landscaping

What are the benefits of fire pits and fire places for outdoor living?

For a leisurely way to keep the family together and get away from technology, consider maximizing outdoor space and time by installing an area that gives both light and warmth. A fire pit or outdoor fireplace is a valuable investment that has many benefits. People can gather outdoors in the evening or in a season that otherwise might not be hospitable. Some ideas for installation are for areas that are uncovered, while others have a roof to further extend the usability for times of inclement weather. A professionally installed outdoor kitchen can also be a wonderful addition to family fun and home value, as well as providing an area to entertain outdoors.

Fire Pits Create Bonding and Evoke Peaceful Feelings

Since the earliest days of mankind, people have naturally been drawn to the warmth and light that comes from burning wood. There is nothing like having fire pits and fire places on a patio or on the deck to increase the enjoyment of the outdoors further into the day, longer in the season, and even into inclement weather if the area is covered.

Legal requirements

Due to potential hazards of burning woods or buildings, it is important to first check with local authorities before installing a permanent area for burning. The local Fire Marshall is a good first place to check. Keep all the information received in writing, including names and phone numbers as well as links to current laws, if possible. Building permits may be required.

Local Regulations

If a homemade arrangement using store-bought pit is all that is desired, it is not quite as important to research and shouldn’t require a permit. Just be sure to never burn when things are dry, and still check into burning permits, which are separate from those for building. Keep the burning at least 20 feet away from buildings and flammable materials such as plants. Have a hose and buckets close by for precaution. For a permanent structure that will be built, consider the benefits of a professional installation to make sure all bases are covered.

What are some Tips and Benefits of Building Fire Pits?

Enjoy cool nights outdoors with family and friends around a cozy area burning some logs. Hire a professional and talk about design ideas. The designer should have plenty of ideas and options for comfortable seating around the area to make it a natural gathering point. A covered area can also extend the times to use the burning area, but make sure the designer takes proper ventilation into consideration for maximum safety.

Why Install Fire Places For Outdoor LandscapingImportance of Checking with Professionals

One sure way to have your outdoor project conform to all local ordinances is to hire a professional such as Prime Lawn. They are capable of building some of the most beautiful and ornate fire features, and will consider safety a top priority in every project.

What Types of Outdoor Fire Places are Available?

Today’s installations can be made of stone, brick, or other options, complete with tile or glass accents. There are many options to consider and weigh before choosing a final design. Whether the homeowner would like this feature to double as a brick oven, or simply become a focal point for their landscaping, the options are limitless.

Add Value to the Home and to Family Time

Building a quality area to gather around a fire takes a lot of planning and coordination. These ideas are just the start. Do web searches of pictures that appeal to the consensus of the decision makers, and bring them to a professional to start the process, or simply fill out the contact form. By contacting a professional, the work will add many hours of pleasure and lasting memories with loved ones each year. The net increase of a home’s value for resale purposes will be seen as well. Whether for cooking, warming, or just gathering around, an outdoor fire place is one of the nicest features to add value to a home.

Fountains ( 4 )

How To Use Fountains For Outdoor LandscapingThe addition of fountains to landscapes can soften the noise of a busy street, while creating soothing background sounds. The look and sound of running water is restful and promotes peace of mind for those fortunate to be in its presence. Furthermore, property values are increased with the addition of a professionally designed and installed source of water. These special features can either be tucked in a private corner of the area out of the way, or be a dramatic focal point of an elaborate yard design.

An outdoor sitting area, such as a deck or patio, can become a more peaceful, inviting and serene resting area with the addition of a water feature. Fountains add beauty and interest to a yard that can bring a sense of travel to distant places, while also being close to home. Beautiful wildlife is also attracted to running water, as it easily benefits from the availability of this flowing hydration. Birds and butterflies are among the natural life that is commonly attracted to these special water features. Such engaging creatures often stimulate curiosity and educational opportunities for onlookers.

In order to ensure this intricate structure does not look like an added afterthought to the layout of a home or business landscape, it is best to have it planned and installed by professionals. One consideration is the view of the centerpiece from inside the home or office. This can add an outstanding benefit to the feel of the area, from both the inside and out. A flowing water feature can be added to any type of pool, including a still or waterfall pool. A professional will also add plant life that is correct for the location, and rocks to the surrounding area if that suits the clients tastes. To ensure complete satisfaction, professionals also take into consideration the existing structures and trees, along with the clients willingness to upkeep the clearing of leaves and pine needles from their investment to prevent clogging.

An outdoor landscape is supremely enhanced with the placement of fountains, as they become a focal point for any kind of topography. This is an excellent way to extend the living space of the property. A distinctly beautiful outdoor feature will draw attention and invite the viewer to relax a moment. All five senses are involved when spending time near running water. Realtors state that a professionally installed water feature in the front of a home or business can enhance the property value by as much as 15 percent. There are even Feng Shui benefits within the structure of formal fountains, as the free flowing water emerges from the structure in a ying yang type of contrast.

With today’s progressive living and intense stress, it is increasingly important for busy executives and their families to find relaxing moments together away from the glaring screens of televisions, computers and mobile devices. Fountains near ones home become a central focus point, and thereby encouraging relaxation and meditation. By adding green plants around the flowing water structure, along with aquatic plants in nearby standing water, the area has increased oxygen, shade and visual appeal. Walkways and patios can be designed to encourage people to spend time near this beautiful outdoor architecture.

French Drains ( 0 )

The easiest way to handle a large amount of water is to direct it downhill, and this is the principle behind French drains. Named after its inventor, Henry French, it has been a primary method of redirecting water flow since the late 19th century. It is fairly easy to install and has little impact on the surrounding ecology, making it appropriate for nearly any home. It is especially useful for properties that have trouble with large amounts of surface water, and for homes that have a leaky basement.

In many areas along the Gulf Coast, yards are saturated with groundwater that becomes stagnant. Walking on these yards is like trying to stroll over a wet sponge. They are also breeding grounds for mosquitos, parasites, and fungi. French drains can alleviate this problem without requiring huge renovations or construction on the property.

These setups are built around a trench dug out in the yard. The trench must be placed so that it will intercept any water that would normally collect in a certain area of the yard. This trench may be of any depth, though it will need to be fairly deep if it will direct water far away from the collection zone. Under the trench, a perforated pipe collects the water and channels it away. Above this pipe, gravel or rock is usually placed to improve the aesthetic quality of the French drains. Modern setups occasionally substitute synthetic material in for the gravel or rock.

Once collected, the water can be funneled to a ditch, a well or even into the street. French drains that only need to remove surface water are typically inexpensive. Installing a system to catch water seeping into the basement, though, is a bit more expensive and involved. Basement flooding is a major problem in many communities. Over time, water can rot away wood, erode a foundation or foster the growth of mold or other dangerous organisms. It should be removed as soon as possible to prevent property damage.

There are two ways to install a system to prevent basement flooding. Exterior systems are pricey, but they form a perimeter around the basement and keep all water from getting through. If the system is added during the home’s construction, though, it will usually be less expensive. Interior setups cost less, and are built around the interior perimeter of the basement. While this is an effective way to remove water, any interior walls will need to be removed to install the setup.

When ground or basement water is a problem, this century-old system can prove to be the perfect solution.

Hardscape Design ( 9 )

What Are Hardscape Design Services Offered By Prime Lawn?Prime Lawn is an industry leader in hardscape design, offering unique stone and concrete builds to homes of all shapes and sizes. For years, they have provided home and business owners with beautiful stone and concrete constructions, adding sophistication, color and organization to exterior spaces. These setups require a great deal of technical and artistic skill, which is why Prime Lawn is one of the few Houston area businesses that can fulfill all of the customer's needs before and during installation.

What kind of hardscape design can Prime Lawn offer to home and business owners?

They have an extensive portfolio of completed projects, and they range from simple accent pieces to sprawling paths and entertainment areas. They have certification in the installation of interlocking concrete pavers, which provide superior color, aesthetics and durability. They are frequently used in their installations, though architectural slabs, stone and other materials are also common.

They specialize in the creation of concrete or stone paths and can build them to any specification. They can take on sharp, angular patterns or built to resemble natural curves. Paths may consist of tightly interlocked concrete pavers or varying colors or may be constructed out of individual stones and packed with gravel. Stones can be placed along the perimeter of the path to retain the walls around the edge and clearly mark the outline of the path. These features are perfect for connecting different parts of the yard, leading a walking space from the driveway to the front door or for helping visitors navigate around a heavily planted garden.

Homeowners often like to use their yard as a space to entertain guests, but without a place to sit and catch up, it can be difficult. That is why every hardscape design should come with a concrete or stone patio. A patio will provide the space needed to entertain guests, set up an outdoor kitchen or link several paths together. Prime Lawn can create radial or angular patios, and can create images using contrasts in color and shape out of the patio. For example, they can build a rectangular patio and use different colored concrete pavers to build curves, lines or other patterns in the installation. These can provide a particular look to the space that isn’t found anywhere else.

Properties with unusual topography or lots of landscaping can also benefit from beautifully crafted retaining walls. Retaining walls are used to add elevation to a yard and are perfect for properties that are heavily planted. The stoic, strong retaining walls are an excellent contrast to the grace and organic shapes of the flora.

These are just a sampling of what Prime Lawn offers to home and business owners. In reality, there are thousands of combinations of color, shape and size that can give any property the unique look it needs to stand out.

IonGen System ( 0 )

Homeowners who have ponds may be interested in purchasing an IonGen System.  This product clarifies water in ponds, decorative water features, and waterfalls.  Maintenance is greatly reduced by using this cost saving process.  Gone are the days when the only choice was to use harsh chemicals to clean debris and algae from the pond area.  Many benefits exist for those that are in need of a superior cleaning system.  Those that are interested should understand how the product works and how it can save time and money for the homeowner.

Safety is always important to any consumer.  This unique IonGen System is safe for plants and fish, and is not toxic to any animal that drinks from the pond.  A unique probe is used to improve the clarity and quality of the water.  A microprocessor that is located inside a control panel creates a positive ion.  This ion flows between the two probes and begins to treat the water in the pond. Many consumers that have used this product have noted its’ many benefits.  Some of these include the following:

  • Pond upkeep reduction
  • No chemicals
  • Easy installation
  • Energy efficient
  • Ponds up to 25,000 gallons can be treated
  • Probe will last up to three seasons
  • Digital display is easy to read
  • Ionization level is adjustable
  • Indicator on probe will show when replacement is needed
  • Many units come with a three year warranty

Green, algae filled pond water is expertly removed with this unique product.  Many consumers have given the IonGen System high marks. One nice quality is that the unit calibrates on its’ own.  A complete kit includes a probe, electronic control panel, outdoor rated transformer, copper test kit, flow chamber, fittings, and an owner’s manual.  Installation of this unit is quite easy.  A person that buys this product can follow the list of simple steps to get the product up and running.

The price is quite reasonable as the device lasts at least three seasons when used properly.  It is also a good idea to go online and read reviews from other consumers who have used this product.  There is often a page dedicated to frequently asked questions on each website that will answer unique issues that might arise.

As seen, the process of purchasing and installing this product is fairly easy, and many previously used techniques can be very toxic to the fish and other animals. Consumers are helping the environment by not using chemicals to clean the ponds.  The IonGen System will prove to be a good investment for years to come by safely and effectively removing unsightly items from the water.

Irrigation and Drainage ( 5 )

Every yard needs proper irrigation and drainage for many reasons.  Many areas in the southeast have been hit with drought conditions in recent years, putting strain on the water supply. Now, more than ever, it is important to conserve as much water as possible while maintaining the health of the landscaping. The best way to do this is with a watering system that is calibrated to the yard it’s installed in. With proper coverage, precipitation and timing, a yard can be kept green and lush without wasting water.

Overwatering and under-watering are two of the biggest threats to a yard’s health
. Without expert irrigation  installation,  drainage, grass, trees and other plants will discolor and deteriorate, possibly causing the growth of fungus or molds. Grass that is exposed to poor watering conditions for long may not be able to recover even when conditions improve. This will necessitate expensive and time consuming reseeding. Overwatering can be a major problem, too, because it can result in runoff and soil erosion. Over time, soil erosion will strip the yard of valuable nutrients necessary for proper plant growth. If the yard is treated with fertilizers or pesticides, runoff can damage the environment and pollute the water supply.

The only way to avoid these problems is to provide customized irrigation and expert drainage installation service for the yard
. Several factors must be taken into consideration before installing a system, like yard and soil composition, area climate and the size and grade of the property. Most grasses found in neighborhood yards grow roots that extend to about a foot under the surface. Bluegrass, a highly popular turf-grass, grows roots that extend around six inches deep. To promote steady, healthy growth, the soil must be saturated to this root zone. If the water does not reach the root zone, the grass will compensate by growing shorter roots, which will leave it susceptible to harsh weather conditions, particularly drought. If the water penetrates beyond the root zone, it will be completely wasted because the grass won’t be able to reach it. The most important thing when considering the yard’s irrigation and drainage, therefore, is precipitation.

Most sprinkler systems sold at department stores are incapable of providing even coverage. They also cannot be finely calibrated, so they need to be closely monitored and moved every so often to water the entire yard. For this reason, underground systems are generally the superior option, but even these can be plagued with issues if they use lesser rotors and sprinkler heads. Ideally, every device should be fitted with a rotor that can produce multiple streams and is wind resistant. Wind evaporation is a major problem that affects yard irrigation and drainage. With an even precipitation spread and timed sprinklers, the yard can be watered without interference with wind. Advanced rotors can also reach grass close to the sprinkler and promote additional soak time with its uniformity. These rotors can be set up to provide water to yards of all shapes and sizes, including those that are sloped.

The yard often provides the first impression, and can either be a point of pride or an eyesore
. To maintain its curb appeal, the yard should be fitted with a state of the art watering system.

Kid Safe Water Features ( 1 )

What Are Kid Safe Water FeaturesThe look of a garden or backyard can be greatly improved with kid safe water features which provide optimum safety without sacrificing beauty. Drowning is a major hazard for young children. In fact, it is the second-leading cause of death for children aged one to fourteen, behind only motor vehicle accidents. Many of these accidents occur at home around an unprotected pond or pool. For this reason, child safety should be the first priority when selecting a decorative piece to add to the yard. Fortunately, there are several options available to homeowners with small children.

The most common kid safe water features are ones that don’t include any standing water
. Pondless waterfalls are an extremely popular choice and contain no standing liquids. The base of the falls is normally covered with gravel or cobblestones and is fitted with a pump underneath. The pump supplies water back to the start of the circuit, so no additional maintenance is required. Pondless models normally incorporate intricate rock and landscaping designs. These designs are not only better for children, they are easier to keep clean and don’t contain any stagnant liquids. This is especially helpful along the Gulf Coast, where mosquitos are a constant problem. Mosquitos breed in standing liquids, so pondless features may be a better choice for people who don’t like dealing with these pests.

Pondless designs are only limited by a person’s imagination
. They can be traditional, like those built from stone and landscaping or bordering on bizarre. Homeowners have built kid safe water features into a number of objects, like gigantic millstones, metal tubing, glass sculptures or recycled materials. They can be small, only measuring a couple feet on one side or large enough to take up most of the yard. In short, pondless designs can be just as beautiful as those with ponds as long as the installer is familiar with them.

Another option is fitting the top of the pond with a screen or grate. This is only practical for smaller ponds and isn’t feasible for all designs. When installed, the screen will help keep children from sinking into the pond and will also protect any fish from wildlife. Families that expect visiting children should consider a screen or grate if they don’t want a pondless design.

A final option is placing a fence around the pond to keep children out. This will only work on small children who can’t climb over the fence or just unlatch it, but it is effective. A fence can be designed and integrated into a yard’s aesthetic, so it can boost the look of the property while providing additional security. Fencing is also effective at keeping out some forms of wildlife, which keep the fish from becoming dinner for a raccoon or rodent. Fencing is available in a variety of designs and heights, so a homeowner can also get better privacy around their pond if they want the space to be a private retreat.

These options will protect children from the ever-present threat of standing water
. Once in place, a homeowner can rest easy knowing that their children can play in the backyard without risk.

Koi Ponds ( 5 )

Why Install Koi Ponds And Water Features For Outdoor LandscapesThe addition of water features when landscaping is an ongoing trend in the world of landscaping and can include water gardens, fountains, koi ponds, and waterfalls. A talented landscaper will even be able to custom design a flowing stream through a homeowner’s yard! Koi ponds are great inclusions to a landscape design and beneficial to an owner’s health and wallet alike. The sound of running water has long been proven as a relaxing and soothing sound for people. Aquascaping helps people reduce the tension and anxiety in their fast-paced lives. They also increase a house’s market value and makes the home more attractive to a prospective buyer. This particular type of water feature is almost completely self-maintaining, making them a desired addition to any home’s landscape.  

When aquascaping with water gardens, it is generally recommended to consult a professional. They are experts in designing and installing aquascapes. Koi ponds are an environmentally friendly feature to introduce to one’s landscape and maintain. A well-equipped aquatic feature will include:

•    a mechanical and biological filtration system
•    the pump and its plumbing

  • The latest pump and filter technology means ponds can be installed under trees without worrying about clogging the pump with leaves and other debris.

•    a liner

  • The 45 mil EPDM liner is highly recommended because they are better able to handle temperature extremes, are stronger than their PVC counterparts, more UV resistant than PVC, and are less likely to puncture or tear.

•    the underlayment
•    a berm (ledge)
•    any desired underwater lighting
•    rock and gravel
•    automatic fill valve
•    and/or a waterfall

There are several steps to installing koi ponds. First, it needs to be designed – will it be a rectangle, an oval, will it be a freeform shape? Second, the shape will be sprayed onto the area designated for the pond. Next, the area will be dug out and the skimmer and pump housing unit will be placed. At this time, if a waterfall is being installed, it will be situated at the opposite end from the pump/skimmer unit. A ditch that will house the plumbing from the pump to the waterfall will be dug and the plumbing installed. Once, that is done, the ditch is covered in dirt. Next, the underlayment is installed to protect the liner from root and rock damage. Then the liner is placed and the pond is filled with water. The liner is smoothed out and any necessary folds are created. A leak check will be performed at this stage and minor corrections carried out. Gravel and rocks are next, followed by the fish and bacteria starter. After this, it is time to enjoy the tranquility of a personal oasis.

Once installed, koi ponds are simple to maintain and upkeep. Most of the maintenance is handled by the filtration system and the koi. While the mechanical pump keeps the water moving to help with filtration, the plants in the water garden also aid in filtering the water. Because the fish will consume the plants as a part of their diet, they will keep plant growth to a good minimum. The rocks and gravel will also reduce maintenance as they provide a surface for good bacteria to grow, and they protect the liner from damaging UV radiation. Cleaning the skimmers daily (or every couple of days) and removing any surface debris will keep the plant and fish life healthy.

Landscape Design ( 9 )

What Is Landscape Design For Outdoors and PatiosThe art of landscape design combines elements of architecture, gardening, painting, and sculpture to create amazing outdoor spaces. An experienced horticultural consultant will plan a garden to be an ever-changing piece of art based on the seasons. They will also create garden spaces that fit the abilities of the owner – whether the gardens will require little to no maintenance or will be high maintenance. Expert Landscape design in Kingwood, TX requires more than just plant knowledge. A professional will be able to design an outdoor kitchen, an oasis surrounding the pool, a beautiful backyard patio, or create a stunning walkway to a front door. A horticultural professional will turn a humdrum space into an exquisite and functional spot.

Landscape design is the incorporation of landscaping, hardscaping (paths, walkways, etc.), water features, irrigation, lighting, and pest control to create an oasis out of one’s garden. The garden is a critical location for any property – whether a private residence or business. First impressions are lasting impressions, and inadequately maintained spaces create a negative impression about the property and reflect poorly upon the owner. For a garden space to make a great first impression, it is recommended that a homeowner or business owner consult a horticultural professional to plan and carry out such an undertaking.

Horticultural consultants are master planners with the proper knowledge and training to create aesthetically pleasing and environmentally sustainable gardens. They will not only understand and know how to make the best use of a garden space, but will enhance a building’s façade by using the right combination of the following:

Color

The power of color and its effects on the senses are well known. A horticultural professional is like an artist – they will understand how to utilize different palettes to attract the eye, create a specific atmosphere, or affect the perception by creating patterns of light and dark or shallowness and depth.

Form

The shapes of trees, shrubs, and plants are important in the planning of a garden
. When a horticultural professional plans a garden space, they must factor in the growth rates of plants, the final structure of a mature plant, and whether a plant grows symmetrically or asymmetrically.  Understanding form helps horticultural professionals to place plants in the most advantageous spot for optimal growth and aesthetics.

Textures

How a plant looks or feels influences the overall landscape design. Plants have many qualities – not just color. They can be rough or smooth, soft or sharp, glossy or matte. The ability to use texture correctly creates balance between different plant qualities.

A business owner can consult a professional to create a relaxing space for employees to take their breaks in or to make the front of their businesses more appealing to their customers.

Homeowners know a great landscape design not only creates envy amongst their neighbors, but also increases the value of their homes. Horticultural consultants will know how to create shade for the hot summer months, use trees and shrubs to give homeowners privacy in their backyards, and even block out noise.  They will be able to install irrigation and plan drainage, so that the space is always maintained. They will even know how to keep the pests away so a person can enjoy their beautiful space. So leave the overwhelming task of landscaping to the professionals – they know what they are doing!

Landscape Lighting ( 0 )

Landscape Lighting Installation in Kingwood TXA homeowner that is interested in a landscape lighting installation in Kingwood, TX can benefit from hiring a professional to assist. This form of exterior decoration takes extensive planning. A professional will not only help with the design, but also with the setup of the flora illumination. They will be aware that the design will have to work with every season and not just in the summer when everything is in full bloom. They will also keep weather in mind, so that electrical components are not placed in areas that end up being puddles after it rains.

Someone with experience will know that both direct and indirect illumination have their uses and effects. With careful consideration, even shadows can be used in a strategic manner. A professional can help determine the color temperature, and pinpoint how many degrees kelvin the perfect shade is in order to provide a sense of balance and depth. Illumination that is on the cooler end of the spectrum will look more blue and mimic the natural glow of the moon. Warmer colors like orange and yellow, which mimic candlelight, can make the illuminated area seem softer and more serene.

The landscape lighting installation requirements of each yard will be unique, and due to this, hiring a professional will produce a custom appearance that accents each area perfectly. There are a wide range of options available for each purpose, and each will provide different benefits based on the setting and use. The surrounding plants, the layout of the yard, and landowner preferences can all factor in on the final design. There are specialty, well, flood, path, area, and motion sensor lights available. Some concentrate on a small area, while others illuminate large patches of darkness. There are various styles available for walkways, with a number of finishes including a natural copper patina. For yards that feature a decorative pond, there are also underwater options that enhance night time viewing.

Landscape lighting installation requires wiring to either a high or low voltage transformer, which is best handled by someone who has experience with these installations. Low voltage options, which include LED and halogen, prevent a decorative decision from becoming an expensive one. LEDs have the benefit of being bright, having a longer runtime, and using very little energy. Halogen bulbs are some of the brightest when it comes to outdoor use. There are also solar options, which do not have any electrical requirements like underground wires.

Opting for illumination that enhances the layout can lead the eye across the landscape and create a sense of wonder. Adding texture and color to the view can happen by placing lights near interesting or exotic plants. Moonlighting is the practice of hiding fixtures high up in trees, which can cast a more natural glow on the area. This method of indirect illumination can create a cozy feel. Another approach is up-lit trees. Calculated placement of landscape lighting does more than merely brighten the area. Thoughtful choices draw the eye and complement the appearance of not only the lawn or garden, but also of the building’s structure.

Whether it is to illuminate a path, add the finishing touches to a deck, or accent topiary trees, a professional that is willing to offer creative and attractive landscape lighting solutions is readily available for hire today!

Lawn and Shrubs ( 0 )

How To Use Lawn and Shrubs For Landscape DesignGrowing the best looking lawn and shrubs may seem like an inexact science, but it’s actually more straightforward than it seems. For decades, many homeowners have relied on chemical fertilizers and soil additives to boost their plants’ growth. It is now becoming increasingly clear that organic, natural products are ideal for promoting plant health and the long term well-being of a lawn. These substances are typically higher in essential nutrients, like nitrogen, and aren’t packaged with artificial chemicals that often damage the sensitive biology of the plant. Chemical fertilizers and insecticides also tend to remain near the surface of the yard and are swept into rivers and lakes following rainfall. Natural substances are much more eco-friendly and typically won’t cause measureable harm to the environment.

A lawn and its shrubs are profoundly affected by what occurs under the surface of the soil
. Beneath the topsoil, microorganisms and other animals interact in a complex orchestra of life. For example, earthworms are essential to a yard’s health. They aerate the soil so that grass and other plants can more easily reach water and other nutrients with their root systems. Earthworms also produce organic waste that is packed with nitrogen and other essential materials many plant needs. Bacteria and fungi consume diseased and dead organic matter, like dead leaves, that can choke off growth.

These organisms require a delicate balance that is usually upset by harsh chemical fertilizers and additives
. While an artificial substance can mimic the benefits of earthworms and other fauna, they often wipe out the organisms already in place. Once the fertilizer stops working, the lawn and shrubs will immediately suffer from nutrient starved soil. The only solution will be to add more fertilizer and more additives, increasing runoff pollution and expense. The easiest thing to do is to promote overall soil health, including fostering the reproduction of beneficial organisms.

Eco-friendly products contain natural materials with no factory-produced ingredients
. These substances are predictable in their impact on the yard and are much less likely to provoke a poor response. As a result, it is easier to treat the problem without worrying about side effects. If the yard has soil that’s either too acidic or too base, eco-friendly products can quickly correct this problem. If the yard has too little nitrogen or too much carbon, these are both easily dealt with using natural substances. Under no circumstances is a chemical solution required to promote plant health.

Many artificial fertilizers and additives also come with substances that can result in long term damage to grass and plants. For instance, a large number of products contain compounds that neutralize into sodium as they are broken down. Excess sodium is hazardous to both plant and animal life because it leeches moisture out of cells. Adding sodium rich additives to the yard is exactly the opposite thing to do when trying to grow healthy plants.

Instead, consider eco-friendly products when concentrating on yard health. Their natural components will help plants grow hardy and strong for years.

LED Lighting ( 0 )

LED lighting is the new up and coming way to illuminate a yard, pathway or patio. LED stands for light-emitting diode and is superior in many ways compared to an old fashion halogen bulb. For many reasons a customer may wish to illuminate a pathway, deck or other area of their home. Often times it can make an area safer. Installing a lit pathway allows people to see where they are going easier. Brightening up a patio or sitting area is another popular reason to use this illumination. These lamps can add a soft glow to a sitting area that other types of lamps simply cannot bring. This type of illumination can be used to also for a flag at night or other decorative piece in the yard.

The advantages to using LED lighting are wide spread. These types of bulbs can offer up to 50,000 hours of life. This is far more superior compared to a regular fluorescent bulb. This bulb also produces less than half of the heat of a fluorescent bulb, while using almost eighty percent less energy. This advanced product is energy saving and efficient, and it is safer to have around the yard.  It is ideal to have around delicate plants since there is little heat that radiates from them.

Depending on which company is used, there are many varieties and styles of casings, coverings, and mounting fixtures that can be provided. An LED is extremely popular today because of the wide spread applications. Many companies realize this so they are trying to make a more stylish design to distribute. This allows customers to not only have a superior lighting system, but the look can be more customized. Common mounting options can include in ground, tree mounting, and also canopy mounting. Colors can be picked ranging from traditional black, to gold, or even silver. The styles can also range from a vintage look to a modern day finish. LED lighting fixtures can be made to mimic the style of the house as well.

The beam produced by LED lighting fixtures is wide spread with extremely precise aiming and also uniform distribution. This product creates little to no glare, leaving a crisp clear view of what is being illuminated. To change the amount of light given off by the fixture, most mounts have an adjustable knuckle to broaden or narrow the beam being emitted. The fixtures are also equipped with a fully adjustable shroud that allows the head to be rotated almost a full 360 degrees.

Misting System ( 0 )

What Is A Misting System For Mosquito Repellant?A mosquito misting system can be the answer for a yard overrun by pests. All manner of stinging and biting insects inhabit yards along the Gulf Coast, and many of them carry diseases deadly to people and pets. To combat this threat, homeowners turn to repelling technology, but most of these options are lacking in some areas. Spray-on repellant is sticky, uncomfortable and produces a bad odor. Candles can only protect a small part of the yard. Bug lights quickly become filthy. Insecticide is effective, but applying it without professional help is dangerous and professional help can be expensive.

For these reasons, many families limit their time outside or just put up with the constant stinging and biting
. Normally, insect bites and stings are only annoying, not dangerous. However, many children are allergic to bites or stings and mosquitos can carry many blood borne illnesses. These include West Nile Virus, encephalitis or even Dengue fever in some parts of Texas. Pets can also be infected with heartworm, a possibly fatal disease that’s expensive to treat. Protecting the home from these pests has become an increased need for homeowners. A misting system can provide this layer of security without the inconveniences that other repelling methods come with.

A misting system is an automated method of defense against mosquitos, flies, wasps, bees, ticks, mites, gnats, spiders, and mud daubers. Each setup uses insecticide (typically pyrethrum) to kill off pests before they have a chance to bite or sting. When placed strategically, these setups can create a perimeter through which insects cannot pass. In effect, a porch, a deck or even an entire property can be turned into a “no fly zone” for pests. This gives the family freedom to walk around outside without fear of being bitten or stung by troublesome insects.

These setups consist of three major parts. A master reservoir unit contains the insecticide in a single drum. There are multiple drum sizes available, from compact 30 gallon tanks perfect for protecting a small area, to 225 gallon tanks capable of securing a large piece of land. This reservoir is connected to several nozzles placed around the property. These nozzles deliver the insecticide in a fine spray that is barely noticeable. In fact, one of the most important design principles behind the misting system is aesthetics. Every piece of the setup is built to remain out of sight and to blend in with its surroundings.

For example, the nylon tubing that connects the reservoir to the nozzles is run underground. The nozzles are tiny and attach to narrow copper risers that keep them elevated. These are normally placed around landscaping that can hide them from sight. The misting system is run from an easy to use control box located inside the home. From here, an operator has access to several options, including insecticide application frequency and the amount of insecticide used during each application. This allows the homeowner to respond quickly to periods of heavy pest activity.

In most cases, it takes four to eight hours to install the setup. However, this small time investment is worth the safety and comfort it brings to the occupants of the home.

Mosquito System ( 0 )

How Is A Mosquito System Used?Modern technology makes it possible for homeowners to have a mosquito repellant system that can run autonomously and efficiently. These devices can handle a number of harmful and annoying insects, including gnats, spiders, wasps, bees, ticks, mites, and flies, among others. Insect-borne disease is a major concern in many parts of the U.S., and people allergic to insect bites or stings need to be especially careful when outdoors. Pets are also at risk for developing severe health complications when exposed to insect bites. For these reasons, an automated repellant device can be a major line of defense in safeguarding the health of loved ones and pets alike.

For years, the only mosquito repellant system available was one that needed to be applied manually. From simple skin applications to hand-operated insecticide sprayers, there wasn’t a convenient way to prevent intrusion of harmful pests. Skin creams and sprays are only effective against a small number of pests and can leave the skin feeling sticky. Repelling candles only work in a small radius around the candle and have to be replaced regularly. Insecticides are able to control pest populations to a degree, but they are unsafe to handle by untrained people. Calling a professional in to do the job can be prohibitively expensive and is not always a permanent solution.

However, there is now a better approach to eliminating pests from a property. An automated mosquito system in the form of an insecticide mister can eliminate a large number of dangerous insects with minimal maintenance and attention. Spraying nozzles attached to copper tubing are installed in several places throughout the property. They can be fitted just about anywhere, including around porches, pools, flower beds or decks. Automated repellant devices can also cover an entire property, ensuring that pests stay far away. The nozzles are fed the insecticide (normally pyrethins or environmentally friendly repellants) from a large tank stored in a safe place on the property. The tanks are available in several sizes, from 30 gallon drums to 225 gallon tanks. Nylon tubing connects the nozzles to the tank. The nozzles, copper and nylon tubing are all designed to be difficult to see so they don’t detract from their surroundings.

The mosquito system is run from an analog or digital control box that can quickly change the settings of the insecticide application. From this control box, a homeowner can change misting frequency and the amount of insecticide applied per misting. The misting frequency can be set anywhere from four hours between sprays to one minute between sprays. The nozzles can also be set to spray for anywhere between one and 99 seconds during application. The large number of options available allows a homeowner to quickly adapt to changing conditions in the local pest population. During elevated periods of insect activity, the operator can manually trigger misting, providing immediate defense. Both the analog and digital control boxes come with a backup battery so misting is uninterrupted.

Pests pose a threat to people and animals beyond just painful bites and stings
. A mosquito system can prevent transmission of deadly blood-borne diseases, like heartworms in pets, or West Nile Virus in the rest of the family. Heartworms kill numerous cats and dogs around the country every year, and West Nile can cause severe, possibly fatal, illness in children and the elderly. An automated insect repellant setup may seem like a luxury, but the view quickly changes when people realize it can save lives.

Organic Lawn and Garden Care ( 0 )

Organic Lawn and Garden Care Services With A Landscaping CompanyDeciding to investigate the advantages of organic lawn and garden care is the first step in adding luster and life to an often stressed and overworked property. With the popularity of “Going Green” on the rise, it is surprisingly easy to begin and it is a cost effective choice. Reducing artificial chemical usage benefits not only people and the environment, but makes the land safe for animals. To see the best results may take one or two growing seasons, but positive results are experienced immediately.

What is involved with organic lawn and garden care?

Testing the soil lets the professional see problem areas in the pH balance of the property. A healthy pH balance is determined, and then a treatment plan put into place to reach the proper levels. The test is performed regularly during the treatment process to ensure the plan is working, and to help guide the professional’s actions when it comes to the property. A treatment plan is a good foundation for the future of the soil and foliage.

Compost is extremely important to the success of the treatment plan. Compost is a natural fertilizer and insecticide all in one. Since it can take a long time to properly prepare, a professional company will have compost prepared beforehand. The alteration to the pH balance performed will match the need of a particular property. The consumer may decide to build a compost bin, and the company will help guide the consumer to guarantee the right nutrient and pH levels are reached for the following years.

It is important to begin with a clean slate. Commonly, professionals will prune trees and shrubs to rid the plants of dead and diseased limbs and branches. Organic lawn and garden care can also include a regime of bringing in earthworms, and aerating during the right times. Additional landscaping can be added to the property using these natural methods to produce a beautiful landscape that is a reflection of the homeowners.  

The advantages of organic lawn and garden care are many. Imagine a property that does not have a plague of insects and pests. A healthy property actually makes the foliage and plants less susceptible to environmental stresses and the damage caused by pests. There are no harsh chemicals used on the property, so it is safe for animals and people. The soil is healthy, and it shows in the quality and quantity of fruit, vegetables, and plants produced.

Natural fertilizers are utilized to encourage the soil to stabilize its own pH level, and over time, less human intervention is required for a healthy, natural landscape. Many people do not realize that creating a natural compost collection box begins with grass clippings. In fact, compost is generally made of household products, and comes from items found on the property. Instead of tossing away bio-degradable products commonly found in the home, these items are tilled into the compost. This is recycling at its best, and anyone can get involved.

Organic lawn and garden care is not expensive or complicated. However, it may take the guidance and tutelage of a professional landscaping company. By turning to a qualified and certified expert, the consumer can relax comfortably knowing their pets and children can safely play outside. Because all natural ingredients are used to develop that ideal landscape, no one will be injured as they enjoy the beauty of an organic yard.

Outdoor Kitchens ( 0 )

Why Use Outdoor Kitchens For Patio DesignsMany homeowners are choosing outdoor kitchens to improve their property value and add some functionality. Compared to interior renovations, this addition to the home is easy to install and offers more options. As long as there is enough space in the backyard to fit the setup, it can be simple and understated, or expansive and ornate. Either way, this addition will provide the perfect area for entertaining and enjoying company while preparing delicious food.

Most outdoor kitchens are placed close to the house for practical reasons. For one, it is much easier to build onto an already existing space. Utility lines can be readily connected to appliances close to the home and may be expensive if new lines need to be run to appliances further away. It also makes more sense to connect food preparation areas to existing decks or patios, so food and utensils can quickly be carried in and out. However, it is also popular for homeowners to set their area in a separate spot in the backyard, sheltered by a wood or thatch roof. This may cost more, but it doesn’t restrict a homeowner’s options in outfitting their space.

Lighting and shelter are both primary considerations for outdoor kitchens. Without them, it will be impossible to use the area during inclement weather or darkness. All lighting fixtures need to be approved by the Underwriters Laboratories for their safety, but track lighting and halogen fixtures tend to be the safest and most efficient option. It’s also a good idea to surround the space with lights close to the ground so people can see where they are walking. Retractable awnings and pergolas are popular shelter options, and both should be able to handle most rain and wind.

The real fun in putting together outdoor kitchens, though, is outfitting them with ample counter space and state-of-the-art appliances
. Here, the options are virtually endless. A homeowner with enough space can build a setup that provides 50 or more linear feet of counter space. Even a few linear feet of counter space, though, is enough for most food preparation. Granite counters are the most popular, though Silestone and sealed concrete are also common choices. The flooring and walls are usually built with brick, stucco, tile, stone or slate.

The centerpiece of outdoor kitchens is the cooking equipment
. While the grill still reigns supreme for backyard cookouts, when integrated into these setups, it can be upgraded significantly. For instance, the grill can be built with inductive surfaces for safe cooking, warming surfaces or shelves, a smoker or a rotisserie. Refrigerators, sinks and ovens can all be integrated into a space. Some homeowners prefer even more exotic items, like a full size brick pizza oven or an open fire pit for charring meat or kabobs. These appliances are usually made from stainless steel and will resist corrosion and oxidization. Cabinetry fitted into the space is built to be climate resistant, so they won’t swing open or degrade during bad weather.

There is little that can’t be built into these spaces. Much more than a simple grill, a full kitchen outside can help a family make the most of their backyard oasis.

Outdoor Surround Sound ( 0 )

The pool is finished, that old concrete patio was upgraded with pavers, the new outside kitchen with the custom gas grill is complete, yet something still seems to be missing – an outdoor surround sound system. An outside entertainment system can be as simple as a couple of multidirectional speakers wired or wirelessly connected to a device, or it can be as grand as an outside home theater with projector, portable big screen, and speakers. The possibilities are limitless with the new speaker technology available now.

An outdoor surround sound system can really set your patio entertaining apart from the typical “meats and eats” events
. With a personal backyard entertainment system, you can watch movies, watch sporting events, listen to music, or even play video games. There are a couple of options available for people looking to upgrade their backyards with an outside entertainment system. With the new wireless external speakers, they can be camouflaged to look like the natural surroundings, most commonly as rocks. They come in different shapes, sizes, and colors to adapt to anyone’s personal preferences. The advantages of a wireless system are that there are no wires to try to hide. In addition, they can be placed just about anywhere for optimal listening. Another option is a wired speaker system.

There are advantages and disadvantages to both set ups. The disadvantage to a wireless speaker system is that the resonance can be distorted by interference from other wireless devices. A way to get around this is to make sure you install high quality, weatherproof wireless speakers. When considering installation of a wireless outside entertainment system, the quality of the speakers is an essential component. Inexpensive speakers may lead to inferior quality, poor transmission, interference, and distortion. The advantage of the wired system is that there is less potential for interference. The disadvantage is it is harder to hide wires for a seamless look, and the wires can be a safety hazard if not concealed properly.

For an outside acoustic experience, finding the right system and positioning the speakers is crucial. Having a professional installer is helpful as they will be able to assess the size of the space and accurately place the correct number of speakers necessary to project the right sound. No matter which option you choose, outdoor surround sound is an excellent way to kick your backyard entertainment up. Add in a backyard home theater with a projector and big screen and you have the makings of an impressive party that everyone will want to attend.

Patio and Outdoors ( 2 )

Where To Find Patio and Outdoors Design IdeasNature is food for the soul, so it is no wonder a homeowner loves their patio and enjoying the outdoors. Just the act of being outside in nature has been found to boost a person’s sense of well-being. It is also both relaxing and energizing, increasing vitality. Potential homeowners say a beautiful outdoor living space is a top ten feature they look for when purchasing a home, and the need to connect with nature is the reason why. Upgrading an outside area also increases a home’s value. Homeowners with an existing outside area are not stuck with what they have. Patios are not just plain concrete slabs anymore – they can be luxurious areas that include outdoor kitchens, fire pits, grills, or entertaining spaces. They can be covered, uncovered, and have screened enclosures, keeping those annoying mosquitoes away! When covered, they can have ceiling fans to help keep people cool while enjoying their garden space. A landscape professional can install a fireplace to keep the bugs away in the summer and to warm up on the occasional, cold Texas night. The benefits of installing or upgrading a current patio with interlocking concrete pavers are numerous.

•    Flexible living space

The patio and outdoors space of a home creates more usable space for entertaining or relaxing. It is also a great area for kids’ birthday parties, family get-togethers, or to enjoy a Saturday barbeque.

•    Low maintenance

The use of interlocking concrete pavers dates back to ancient Rome. The roads made with those bricks are still in use today! Interlocking concrete pavers are not only durable, but also weather-resistant and low maintenance. The bricks are able to expand and contract because of the joints between them; making them less likely to crack than traditional concrete slabs. If a repair is needed, it is much easier and more affordable to fix one paver brick than a solid piece of concrete.

•    Easy to customize

Interlocking concrete pavers come in a large variety of colors, shapes, and sizes. A homeowner can create any type of aesthetic character they are looking for – rustic, elegant, contemporary, and more. Any pattern is easily created by using interlocking concrete paver bricks.

•    Environmentally friendly

A traditional concrete slab is a solid, impermeable piece. Interlocking concrete pavers are individual bricks, and the spaces between the pavers are filled with porous material, such as sand. This allows water to permeate through the surface and recharge the groundwater tables.

•    Increase home values

Next to great landscaping, outside living spaces augment a home’s exterior attractiveness to potential homebuyers. A beautiful patio and outdoors area enhances curb appeal and additional living space to a home with minimal investment.

Installing or updating a home’s patio and outdoors area can be a large project for a homeowner to undertake. If the outside living space is installed incorrectly, it can cause drainage issues that compromise a home’s foundation – thus leading to costly repairs. It will also reduce the attractiveness of the house, making it a hideous blight upon the landscape. A professional interlocking concrete paver installer knows how to design an outside living area that will fit the space, provide the right drainage, and can create intricate designs and patterns. A patio and outdoors area can be a visually stunning addition to any home with the right professional installation.

Paver Maintenance ( 0 )

What Is Paver Maintenance For Hardscaping WalkwaysPerforming regular concrete paver maintenance can preserve the look of hardscaping for years, even decades. Fortunately, hardscaping made from this material is extremely durable and only requires minimal attention, normally just the occasional cleaning. However, a homeowner that wants the most from their hardscaping should consider a couple of extra projects. These will ensure maximum integrity and aesthetic quality from the hardscaping.

As long as the hardscaping is installed correctly to begin with, there should be minimal paver maintenance required. If, however, a utility line needs to be repaired or the hardscaping is not fitting together well, a professional may need to remove some of the blocks. Additional bedding sand can be placed to smooth out any uneven spots and the edge restraints replaced if blocks are drifting apart. In most cases, additional blocks aren’t needed for these fixes and the hardscaping can be restored to its initial appearance with only minimal work.

If the hardscaping is properly installed, regular cleaning is often all that’s required. Over time, discoloration known as efflorescence may occur on the concrete. Efflorescence gives the concrete a milky appearance, with white spots washing out the colors in the blocks. While it may appear that the color is fading, this is not the case. Efflorescence is a chemical reaction that occurs when calcium oxide in the concrete interacts with carbon dioxide in the air. This normally happens when the concrete is exposed to water, as the calcium oxide is pushed from capillaries in the concrete to the exposed air. When the calcium oxide and carbon dioxide react, they create the milky look on the concrete. This can easily be treated with specialty cleaners that will restore the concrete to its original look.

Another way to prevent discoloration is sealing the hardscaping. This can be done relatively quickly with special chemicals created for this purpose. Sealing and regular application of biodegradable herbicides can also prevent ants and weeds from inhabiting the spaces between the blocks. Sealing can also prevent damage caused by snow or ice, but concrete hardscaping is extremely hardy against ice and snow, so this is rarely a concern.

There are several options available when picking a hardscaping material for a project. Some of these materials can be installed quickly, but will need constant attention to remain effective. Others are costly and difficult to install, but will withstand decades of wear. Concrete pavers provide the best of both worlds with relatively simple installation, a customized look and premium durability. The primary reason why concrete paver maintenance is so simple is because the individual blocks can quickly be replaced should damage occur. These blocks are created in a range of colors, shapes and sizes, but they are made to be uniform. This allows quick substitution in case something happens to the hardscaping.

This material can withstand both intense heat and extreme winter conditions without trouble. They are also made to handle heavy foot traffic and will retain their shape even under extreme loads. This shouldn’t be a surprise, because this material was specifically designed for hardscaping projects.

Pavers ( 1 )

Where To Use Pavers For Outdoor Landscaping and Patio DesignsConcrete pavers, also called patio stones, represent the best combination of hardscaping versatility, durability and price. Capable of handling intense summer heat and blustery winters, concrete hardscaping can last for decades in the face of some rather adverse conditions. They are also simple to install, though they normally require professional assistance to be placed correctly. Because they are designed to lock together, they must be placed just right and installed on a stable foundation. Fortunately, contractors certified through the Interlocking Concrete Pavement Institute, or ICPI, are trained to handle the job.

Concrete hardscaping is ideal for a variety of settings and is appropriate on nearly any property
. Imagination is the only limiting factor, and this product’s versatility means it can blend into any color scheme or landscaping design.  Patio stones are often used to lay out a path from the home to other parts of the property, like the pool, an entertainment area, an outdoor kitchen or a garden. They can be integrated into a number of lighting or water features, which can turn a simple space into a tranquil retreat or nighttime oasis. When placed around outdoor kitchens or seating areas, they help establish the space and keep the property organized. When installed in a garden, they provide a peaceful walking path for anyone who needs a few moments to relax. Concrete pavers also encourage safety by keeping people from stumbling over landscaping or slipping into the pool.

Homeowners have a number of options when setting up hardscaping
. Clay, cobble stone, gravel and various other forms of concrete are the most common. Clay typically comes in a limited spectrum of colors, cobble stone is expensive and takes a long time to install, and gravel requires regular maintenance to keep up its appearance. Standard and stamped concrete don’t require much maintenance, but they tend to crack when exposed to constant foot traffic and brutal weather if they aren’t placed properly.

Interlocking concrete pavers aren’t bothered by these problems as they offer a premium range of colors and designs and low maintenance. By segmenting the hardscaping into small fitted slabs of concrete, dealing with cracked or worn areas is simple. The affected pieces just have to be removed and replaced, something that can be done without manipulating the foundation or overall design. As a result, interlocking concrete hardscaping avoids unsightly cracks and other structural flaws.

Though there are several steps to the installation process, a certified contractor can work through them quickly
. The contractor will first need to excavate the installation area and carve out enough space for the concrete. Securing the soil subgrade and foundation is next, and this normally requires the bulk of the contractor’s effort. Once the soil is compacted for additional strength and graded for proper drainage, edge restraints are placed. The edge restraints are responsible for keeping the concrete from shifting around and will blend into the hardscaping once it is completely installed. Bedding sand is then placed over the foundation and the interlocking concrete pieces secured in their spots.

Adding interlocking concrete hardscaping is an investment in beauty and function for the home, and with its strength, it will be enjoyed for generations to come.

Pergola and Arbors ( 0 )

What are Arbors for Outdoor Design and PatiosWhile they may look the same to most people, there are a few subtle differences between a pergola and arbors. These differences can have a big impact on design decisions, but with either, the sky is the limit. Both can be integrated into an exterior space of any size and can be built in a range of styles. Both have been used for years in multiple venues, and are ideal for entertaining guests and adding beauty to the yard.

Some people, even professional builders, refer to a pergola and arbors interchangeably, but there are notable differences to be aware of. A handy rule of thumb when trying to identify which is which is determining if a person is meant to sit or lounge under the structure. Both are freestanding structures, but an arbor tends to be smaller and often features latticework along the top. They are usually placed at an entrance, whether to a garden on onto the property itself. In general, they are best for improving the look of the property and are highly effective at doing so. A pergola may look similar at first glance, but they are typically much larger and are often covered with a slatted roof or something else that screens out a lot of sunlight. They often cover an outdoor seating, cooking or entertainment area and may be found anywhere on the property for this purpose.

What is a Pergola for Outdoors and PatiosHowever, both a pergola and arbors are perfect for improving the look and sophistication of an exterior space
. Either can be fitted with intricate latticework that is beautiful itself, but can be enhanced further by training plants to grow on them. Ivy, grapevines and roses can all be grown in this fashion and impart serene, viridian scenery into the structure. For this reason, they are often found in or around gardens, where they provide a nice contrast between nature and manmade. This look can be even more striking when they are made from natural, unfinished wood.
 
Both are a bit of a blank slate, able to take on nearly any architectural style, color, shape or size. A traditional southern build may be perfect for an outdoor barbecue area or a full size exterior kitchen. A contemporary, angular look can fit into an outdoor seating or conversation area. Contemporary builds are also ideal for covering an outdoor bar or audio/visual entertainment center. If a homeowner wants a classical look, with beautifully designed, ornamental pillars, those are available too. With precise placement, both can produce enchanting shadows that can cascade through the home or yard. In short, the only limiting factor is imagination. Their simple design means just about any look can be made into reality.

Pond Lighting ( 0 )

What Are The Different Pond Lighting Options?Effective pond lighting requires a creative touch. It can be difficult to find the right balance of intensity, color and placement. Too many fixtures or fixtures that are too bright may come off as too harsh or will fail to accent the best parts of the water feature. Poor placement will cause distracting shadows or accent the wrong parts of the feature. For this reason, it is best to consult with a professional when it comes to illuminating this type of water feature. Here are a few options the professional may present to the homeowner.

  • Floating pond lighting: Some fixtures are designed to float on the water’s surface and may be disguised as water lilies or something else that helps them blend in to the surroundings. These fixtures are typically not anchored to anything, so they move wherever the current takes them. To prevent bulky power cords from getting in the way, many of these fixtures are solar powered and automatically activated at night. They are usually fairly inexpensive and simple to set up, but because they move around a lot, they are rather unpredictable.
  • Underwater fixtures: Also known as submersible fixtures, these lamps are placed under the water’s surface, usually mounted along the bottom of the water feature. They require more work to set up, but they can create dramatic effects on the water’s surface. They are particularly effective when placed beneath a waterfall or in a pool of water that has lots of fish in it, as these will be beautifully accented. However, they should only be placed in water that is clear and clean. Any suspended debris will make the water appear murky.
  • Land based pond lighting: One of the best options for displaying a water feature is to place the fixtures away from the water itself. This form of illumination works best when there are several places to conceal the fixtures, like rocks or landscaping. They can outline the edges of the water feature, giving shape and body to the water even at night. This option promotes better safety around the water feature and doesn’t wash out the moon’s reflection on the water, something that homeowners often like to preserve.


No matter how the fixtures are installed, it is best to choose LED lamps for this job. Halogen and LED fixtures are the only two technologies safe and practical enough to use around water. However, halogen has been surpassed by LED over time, as LED is more efficient, brighter, and more durable. Halogen fixtures are less expensive upfront but will end up costing more over the lifetime of the bulb. LED fixtures are around three times brighter than halogen and can last nearly 10 times as long as halogen bulbs. They also generate close to zero heat, which makes them safe to touch. Finally, LED fixtures are highly customizable and can be fitted with a number of filters to create a colorful waterscape.

Bringing out the natural beauty of water takes a little work, but it is worth it.
These fixtures can take a mundane water feature and turn it into an enchanting oasis once the sun goes down.

Pondless Waterfalls ( 2 )

What Is A Pondless Waterfall?A pondless waterfall is the perfect option for a home owner that doesn’t have a lot of space to spare or doesn’t want to maintain a pond. Though beautiful, lagoons do require some maintenance or they may attract mosquitos and algae growth. Homeowners that would rather not bother with the upkeep but still want the sound of rushing liquid can get what they need with this system. From an outside observer’s point of view, the sight of one of these features can be confusing. After all, where is the liquid coming from and where does it go once it hits the bottom? Many homeowners would be surprised at just how simple these features really are.

The idea of a pondless waterfall is a bit misguiding, because these features are still connected to a standing body of liquid, it’s just not visible. At the base of the feature, the installer will place a bed of rocks or gravel to hide a grate that sits over an opening in the ground. Under the surface, the liquid will fall into a reservoir that is attached to a pump. The pump channels the liquid through a filter and up to the top of the feature, where it repeats the process again. In effect, these features are closed systems that are compact and nearly free of maintenance. Because they don’t require a lot of infrastructure to place, these features are available in a huge number of designs and builds. They can be small enough to serve as an accent piece and large enough to span an entire backyard. The options are only limited by the homeowner’s preferences.

The most popular design is one that includes a dynamic rock and landscape. Made to look like a natural feature, these designs look like a series of rocky plateaus and create a joyful combination of sound and motion. If built large enough, this pondless waterfall can produce sounds close to natural rapids. During a period of relaxation, this sound can drown out the day’s worries and lull a person into deep meditation.

This isn’t the only design available, though. Some homeowners opt for something more contemporary and crafted, like a series of smooth granite or marble steps. Contemporary features are often sharply designed so they are ideal for staring into and getting lost in thought. Contemporary designs are even better when combined with lighting placed under the surface or near the edge of the falls. The light will give the feature new life at night by making it stand out.

A home doesn’t need to dedicate a lot of space to one of these features, however. Some designs can be compressed to the size of a single vase or art installation. They can also be relatively flat, with only subtle gradations spread out over a longer distance. Some homeowners like to build several rills into the ground and combine one of these systems with the rills. The effect can be striking and sophisticated.

These features provide the perfect combination of beauty and ease of handling, providing an aesthetic air to a property with none of the maintenance.

Ponds ( 19 )

Using Ponds for Landscape DesignPonds can easily become the focal point of any landscaped yard design. A professionally designed water feature can transform a home’s outdoor living space into a beautiful paradise. A certified professional designer typically begins with a preliminary consultation on location so they can determine the needs and goals of the client. The professional will take photos and measurements, and then analyze the intricacy of the project as they develop a plan of action.

Complex projects may require a site survey, which use a survey plat
. This survey includes the size and locations of existing structures, the measurements, and setback lines. Topological features are often an important part of the plan.

There are several types and functions to consider when looking to add a water feature as part of a yard scape. Ecosystem ponds can provide food, shelter, and safety to the wildlife around it. This type of water feature is low maintenance, all-natural, and works with the elements it encompasses. There are many pieces of the puzzle to be considered when creating this kind of yard accent, and a professional will be sure that the circulation system, including the proper filtration system, aquatic plants, rocks, gravel, light and even fish, work together to create a the atmosphere the client desires.

Some ponds are designed as water gardens. A properly designed and maintained water garden will increase the value of a home and make a landscape distinctive. The gurgling or splashing sounds of water can compensate for other unwanted noises such as traffic and provide restful sights and sounds. Nicely designed water features can act as magnets, pulling together family and friends to a peaceful gathering spot. There are also educational opportunities with the ecosystems of water, including the lily pads, frogs and fish. Children will better appreciate nature and are more likely to get outdoors with this type of addition.

While a beautiful, professionally designed water feature inherantly brings people together, it will also add value to any home or business. Water has long been known for its benefits in promoting relaxation with its therapeutic effects. The Sustainable Sites Initiative of 2007 states that hospital patients with a view of nature will recover more quickly and typically do not need as much pain medication. In fact, all of patients measurable indexes such as blood pressure and heartbeat return to normal much faster when viewing natural, soothing landscapes, rather than city scenes.

Another benefit of a professionally designed water feature is environmental conservation
. Water is our world’s greatest resource. Ecosystem ponds are low maintenance and self-sustaining. While they do require a certain amount of water to set them up initially, over time they typically use less resources than the lawn that they often replace. The water naturally attracts all sorts of wildlife, including birds, butterflies, salamanders and frogs.

One of the most popular designs to date are Koi ponds, filled with lively orange and white Japanese Ornamental Carp
. Children and adults alike are mesmerized with a water feature that includes life. The professional designer will share all the information necessary to keep the water feature running optimally.

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Rain Barrels ( 0 )

Both environmentally concerned and financially concerned homeowners can make an impact with rain barrels installed outside of the home. Precipitation collection systems have been in use since the dawn of man, when drought could do serious damage to a family or community. Over the centuries, collection methods have become more sophisticated, and modern tanks can hold hundreds of gallons of water. These collection devices are normally made from plastic, stainless steel, fiberglass or concrete. Most are designed with an opaque outer layer to prevent algae from growing inside. They are easy to install and usually come prebuilt, so a homeowner can place them without any technical knowledge.

As the world population increases and more parts of the world undergo development, the available water supply is becoming more of a concern. In the U.S., at least 35 states are projected to suffer from water shortages before long, placing a huge amount of strain on infrastructure dedicated to delivering water. Homeowners who waste water contribute to this strain and will have to pay greater water rates in the future if the trend does not slow down. Rain barrels are just one part of the conservation equation, but they provide significant and immediate benefits to the household.

Precipitation collection systems are typically designed to catch runoff from roofs or gutters
. It doesn’t take long to fill up a standard 55-gallon drum, because a single inch of rain can generate approximately 620 gallons of useable water (assuming a roof size of about 1,000 square feet). Along the Gulf Coast, where annual rainfall can exceed 50 inches, more than 30,000 gallons of water are harvestable in this way. The average U.S. household uses around 80 gallons of water a day, so a precipitation collection system can provide almost all of the water a family needs every year, assuming there is enough precipitation and that the water is safe for consumption.

Rain barrels designed for drinking must come with some kind of filtration and an insect screen to keep mosquitos from infesting the water. Precipitation is naturally pure, but it can pick up airborne pollution that settles on roofing as it runs off. This water should be filtered if it is going to be consumed, but it safe for all other applications, including yard watering. In some homes, water tanks can also provide additional insulation because water is highly effective at absorbing heat energy.

By reducing strain on local infrastructure, a household will protect the environment from overconsumption of natural water resources. Reduced utility consumption will also cut down bills and save the family a significant amount of money every year. Also, water that’s trapped before it has a chance to escape into the sewage system prevents oils and other pollutants from getting swept into streams and from infiltrating the groundwater supply. In short, it is an investment that benefits everyone from nature to man.

Rainwater Harvesting ( 1 )

Installing rainwater harvesting systems is extremely beneficial for all living beings and the environment alike. With a minimum of 36 states in danger of experiencing water shortages in the near future, it is up to home and business owners to repurpose the natural resource provided to them free of charge. The innovative equipment completing these systems offer a sub-surface collection and storage system with the added visual benefit of an attractive water feature. After the initial investment, rainwater harvesting will give back for years to come, ensuring future generations will enjoy the same environmental benefits.

As demand for this pristine resource rapidly increases, the supply continues to dwindle. Despite nature's regular contributions, lakes and other storage sources are facing a declining volume. This is a serious issue for a resource that so many things rely on for their survival. Collecting precipitation for the sake of repurposing not only lowers the stress on the supply, it also reduces the harmful run-off entering natural holding areas. Without the ability to penetrate man made materials such as concrete and roofing, it effortlessly heads away from its original location. In route, dirt, fertilizer, oil, and other damaging contaminants are picked up along the way. This uncontrolled flow can negatively impact its surroundings in the form of flooding, erosion, and unwanted debris in storm drains.

Utilizing a rainwater harvesting system decreases this waste and damage by catching and repurposing incoming precipitation
. It accomplishes this by collecting roof run-off or drainage among permeable pavers. A specialized liner under the pavers gathers the liquid and guides it in the right direction for further storage. When drainage occurs via downspouts an added filter will ensure contaminants such as leaves, sticks, and even fine debris are eliminated before directing the run-off towards the storage basin. This tightly sealed reservoir is modular in design and easily shaped to accommodate a variety of arrangements. Once collected within the storage component the fluid can be repurposed in a number of ways. A high pressure pump allows for its easy use, and irrigation equipment can be installed to provide moisture to the surrounding landscape. When a recirculating filter system is included, a pump maximizes system efficiency by reusing the liquid and providing a continual cycle of recycled enzymes and valuable bacteria.

Shortages of this precious resource are widespread, yet the need remains. From just 30 inches of rain in a given year, roughly 37,500 gallons of it are available to repurpose. It is imperative that home and business owners become educated on the many avenues in which the liquid can provide beneficial savings to both the environment and the bank account. From washing a vehicle and topping off a backyard swimming pool, to bathing and fueling an irrigation system, this free and organic resource is one to make the most of. By installing comprehensive rainwater harvesting systems property owners can maximize the potential benefits.

The environmental impact is at the forefront of the many positive outcomes. With 70% of a home's liquid being utilized for exterior use, the equipment can substantially alter the demand on municipal systems. By resourcefully making use of such an important (and FREE) resource, self-sustainable property owners will see a decrease in their utility costs. From plants and animals to residential and commercial property owners, everyone wins when a rainwater harvesting system is incorporated into their landscaping.

Rainwater Harvesting For Irrigat ( 0 )

Rainwater harvesting systems have become increasingly popular as resources around the world become more scarce. Utility companies and municipalities are finding it more difficult than ever to secure resources fit for drinking, bathing and cooking. This has resulted in inconsistent service and higher prices around the country, hitting homeowners right in their wallets. Unfortunately, this trend shows no sign of slowing down, so anything a homeowner can do to secure their own source of clean water can save money and frustration.

For the most part, rainwater harvesting systems are extremely simple and easy to install. This is particularly true if the liquid will not be used for consumption or bathing. In its most basic form, a collection system consists of a method for gathering the resource from the roof of a building (usually through a gutter) and a storage tank or barrel. This storage container is almost always sealed so that insects and other animals cannot get inside. Also, to prevent the growth of algae, the container must be opaque. Any sunlight will foster the growth of microorganisms that can taint the liquid. However, if it is only going to be used for treating the yard, thorough filtration is not normally a concern.

If the liquid will be used for consumption or bathing, though, it needs to be filtered and kept in a secure reservoir. Rainwater harvesting systems that collect drinking liquid are usually installed underground and are a bit more complex than above ground systems. The liquid is collected from the roof and directed to piping that descends underground. This liquid is often tainted with animal droppings or sediment left behind by air pollution. These contaminants are removed by a filter that sits just outside the reservoir. If there is any overflow, a separate pipe carries the excess to a storm drain. Following filtration, the liquid is pumped into the reservoir at gentle speeds to prevent disturbance of any sediment along the bottom of the tank. The reservoir is typically made from durable metals that are water and airtight. This prevents loss of liquid to evaporation and keeps animals out.

When people in the home need it for drinking, cooking, washing dishes, laundry or bathing, a pump in the reservoir delivers the liquid into the house.

These systems can be designed as small or as large as a homeowner needs them. Simple 60 gallon barrels can provide enough liquid to keep the yard healthy, while a huge tank that holds thousands of gallons can deliver all the water a family needs in a month. The larger the system, the more it costs upfront, but this cost is quickly made up for with reduced utility prices. Also, some states offer tax incentives to families that install these systems, reducing the cost further. Maintenance is usually minimal, but regular cleaning is necessary to prevent any microbial growth.

In all, this technology is a simple way to reduce impact on both the environment and the homeowner’s bank account.

Rebates and Specials ( 0 )

Prime Lawn Rebates and Specials for Water Feature ProductsAquascape is an industry leader in water feature design, environmental sustainability, and responsible business practices, and Prime Lawn is one of the few certified Aquascape contractors in Houston. Those thinking of adding a pond to their landscape should act quickly to take advantage of Aquascape’s 2014 consumer mail-in rebate program. Between March 15th and May 31, Aquascape customers can get additional savings on select products in the form of a prepaid Visa card. The process is simple and can provide up to $100 in rebates.

What products are included in Aquascape’s 2014 mail-in rebate program?

Several pumps and lights are eligible for rebates during this time frame. These include:

  • AquaSurge PRO 2000-4000 Pump ($50 rebate)
  • AquaSurge PRO 4000-8000 Pump ($50 rebate)
  • AquaForce PRO 4000-6000 Pump ($50 rebate)
  • AquaSurge 2000 Pump ($30 rebate)
  • AquaSurge 3000 Pump ($30 rebate)
  • AquaSurge 4000 Pump ($30 rebate)
  • AquaSurge 5000 Pump ($30 rebate)
  • IonGen G2 (2013, U.S. only) ($30 rebate)
  • IonGen G2 ($30 rebate)
  • AquaForce 1000 Pump ($25 rebate)
  • AquaForce 2700 Pump ($25 rebate)
  • AquaForce 5200 Pump ($25 rebate)
  • 3-Watt LED Pond & Landscape Spotlight Kit ($10 rebate)
  • 6-Watt LED Pond & Landscape Spotlight Kit ($10 rebate)
  • 1-Watt LED Pond & Landscape Spotlight ($10 rebate)
  • 1-Watt Waterfall & Landscape Accent Light ($10 rebate)
  • LED Fountain Accent Light ($10 rebate)
  • LED Fountain Accent Light with Transformer ($10 rebate)


How can an Aquascape customer participate in the 2014 mail-in rebate program?

Anyone who purchases one or more of these items between March 15, 2014 and May 31, 2014 is eligible for rebate savings. To receive a rebate, fill out Aquascape’s rebate form and send it, along with the original UPC codes (no copies) from the product packaging. The UPC codes should be taped or stapled to the form to ensure its processing. The original or duplicate receipt should also be included, with the qualifying items circled. This will allow for the fastest possible processing time, helping Aquascape customers get their rebates as soon as possible. Those who purchase eligible products can expect their prepaid Visa card to arrive in eight to ten weeks.

All rebates must be postmarked before July 1, 2014, so be sure to contact Prime Lawn and get your pond installation set up to take advantage of this fantastic, money saving offer.

Seating Walls ( 0 )

What Are Seating Walls For Outdoor PatiosSeating walls are an excellent way to produce additional sitting room for any type of outdoor location or function. This type of added accommodations can be placed around a fireplace, an outdoor kitchen, or around a simple patio. These structures are typically made out of a variety of material including stone, cement or different types of brick. Many times they are used as primary seating eliminating the need for large pieces of patio furniture.

What makes seating walls so desirable is their ability to perform more than one job. Typically, these structures are already put in place to establish a boundary for landscape. If these perimeters are constructed with a sturdy brick or stone base at a height of about eighteen inches then it will naturally be used as a place to sit.

To make this sitting area adequate and comfortable, it is advised to use a certain type of material for construction. This type of seating should typically be made with stone or brick. Common materials include bluestone, cultured stone, brick or another form of natural stone. It is not advised to cap a wall at the top because this can lead to an uncomfortable sitting area completely defeating the purpose of having the structure installed in the first place.  

When a wall is constructed for specific uses such as an outdoor kitchen, the possibilities and designs that are available to use are endless. The stone, style of layout, color, and placement is up to the discretion of the customer. Along with the professional installing the seating walls, the customer can choose a look that is completely unique and original to their style. A typical outdoor kitchen can include accommodations along the perimeter of the patio with an island that can double as a bar. The island is usually equipped with an area for an oven/grill to be installed, a sink put in, refrigerator, and additional cabinetry for storage. There are really endless possibilities with these designs.

The advantages that come from installing these items go far beyond just added sitting. They also include increasing the value of a home.  Seating walls create the look of having a higher end patio or sitting area. It also creates the illusion of having more space than what is really there. These seats make it look like a patio is larger because typical patio furniture is no longer necessary. Additional items often seen in a patio area aren’t present to clutter up the space. These walls also offer a place to sit even when other furniture is already put away for the winter season. Lastly, it provides a perfect structure to place plants, decorations, or lawn sculptures upon.

Soil Amendment ( 0 )

A soil amendment may refer to one of the dozens of supplemental nutrients that can be added to planting areas. When mixed in the ground properly, these substances can greatly improve the aeration, nutrition, drainage, and available root depth of the planting spot. These materials may come prepackaged or produced from composted organic matter. In general, they are categorized as organic or synthetic, though each substance, regardless of its origin, produces a unique range of effects. For this reason, a homeowner should consult with a planting expert before selecting a supplement for their yard or garden. Picking the wrong product can result in disastrous effects on a yard’s health.

Not all planting areas are suitable for healthy plant growth. In these areas, a soil amendment may be needed just to make the ground suitable. For instance, areas that contain a high amount of clay are excellent at retaining water and nutrients, but their dense nature makes it difficult for plants to penetrate with their roots. Mixing in less dense material will help loosen up the area and improve drainage and root growth. However, mixing sand in with clay will cause a cement-like viscosity when exposed to rain, so this must be done precisely.

An organic soil amendment may consist of wood chips, straw, compost, grass clippings, manure, sawdust, sphagnum peat, moss or other biosolids. Many people prefer organic supplements because it will improve aeration and water penetration with time. Decomposing organic substances also release high amounts of nutrients into the surrounding area. Organic matter also provides a critical source of energy for organisms that keep the ground healthy, like bacteria, earthworms and fungi.

However, a homeowner needs to be careful when adding an organic soil amendment because it is possible to go too far
. For the most part, plants only need soil that is 4 to 5 percent organic matter. In this concentration, there is usually enough nitrogen available for healthy plant growth. While adding higher amounts of organic matter is not inherently dangerous, it can foster irregular root growth. Plants tend to grow their roots into favorable parts of the ground. If the immediate planting area is high in organic content, the roots may not penetrate deeply. This will cause the plant to decline over time and reduce its resistance to wind and disease.

Also, organic and synthetic materials can alter the pH and salt content of the planting area. Every type of plant prefers a certain pH and salt range for optimal growth, and only an expert can help a homeowner select the best soil amendment for this purpose. Without guidance and careful application, the planting area may be rendered too acidic, basic or salty for anything to grow. A lawn and gardening expert can help a homeowner avoid doing damage in this way.

Finally, the best planting texture for most plants is loam. Loam is denser than sand but more permeable than clay. It retains water and nutrition perfectly for optimal growth in most plants. Attaining a loamy planting area is not as simple as pouring a bunch of prepackaged soil on the ground. To ensure the proper mixture is achieved, a lawn professional should be consulted.

Sprinkler Systems ( 2 )

How To Use Sprinkler Systems And Installing Lawn IrrigationThe best way to ensure the health of a lawn is with efficient sprinkler systems customized to the property. A poor irrigation design will result in lots of wasted water and higher bills. Also, incomplete yard coverage will equate to unhealthy grass and plants. The yard makes the first impression for a homeowner, so everything should be done to ensure it’s a good impression. Prime Lawn can help a homeowner get the most out of their irrigation installation, providing optimal coverage while saving water consumption.

While Prime Lawn can help set up sprinkler systems at a property, it also offers efficient rotor technology that can be integrated into an existing installation. Their rotors are attached to existing sprinkler heads and represent the pinnacle of smart irrigation technology. Each rotor is wind resistant and produces multiple streams. One of the primary issues an irrigation setup has to deal with is wind. Anything more than a gentle breeze will carry the water away from the yard or cause it to pool in a small area. Prime’s smart rotor technology mitigates this problem and keeps each water stream focused.

The steady coverage produced by Prime’s sprinkler systems means equal coverage in all areas
. Equal coverage is essential for preventing soil erosion and stripping soil nutrients from the yard. Uniform coverage means each plant and patch of grass only receives the water it needs, so yards don’t dry out or yellow from overwatering. Homeowners can also go green with this technology because it prevents excess soil runoff from occurring. This is especially important for homeowners that like to fertilize their yard or lay insecticide down. A high volume of soil runoff can carry away these chemicals and wash them into sewage drains. This can cause pollution to leech into lakes and streams near the home. In short, homes with a Prime Lawn smart rotor are doing their part to protect the environment.

Perhaps the most convenient thing about Prime Lawn’s smart rotor technology is its ability to be customized to each situation
. Every homeowner knows the frustration of having to change out a spray head over and over, just to ensure every plant gets watered. This naturally wastes more water, especially if the homeowner forgets to adjust the spray head. Prime’s smart rotors can be calibrated to produce a huge number of spray patterns, including adjustable radiuses and arcs. They can also be set to cover anything from eight to 30 feet, so a yard of any size and shape can benefit from a Prime Lawn installation.

Sump Systems ( 0 )

What do sump systems do?

In humid climates, moisture entry is a common problem in basements and other areas below ground level. In fact, excess moisture is a problem in more than 60 percent of households, according to the American Society of Home Inspectors. This moisture is often difficult to detect until it pools and floods into crawlspaces or along the walls. These pumps are designed to remove excess moisture from areas below ground and direct it away from the building. Normally, this technology is installed in the lowest part of the building in particular areas that trap water.

How do sump systems protect basements and other below ground spaces?

Water collection can be a serious problem in homes, because it can foster the growth of mold and other microbes. These threats are difficult to detect and may cause serious health problems before a homeowner notices them. Mold is particularly dangerous and can infest huge areas behind walls and in crawlspaces. These pumps are effective at keeping a basement or other space below ground free of standing water. This keeps the area dry and safe from dangerous microbes. Eliminating moisture also protects sensitive electronics and textiles from deterioration.

How do sump systems work?

These pumps are built into a pit dug out of the lowest spot of the basement or crawlspace. The pit is normally around two feet deep and is covered in gravel. A pressure sensor or float activator arm is responsible for detecting the water and this switches the pump on. The pump is connected to a check valve that only allows the water to flow one way. Once on, an impeller spins and exerts centrifugal force on the water. This creates a low pressure zone inside the pump that forces water to rush in. The impeller then forces the water through a pipe that leads away from the home. These pumps run on electricity, but can function using the home’s basic current. No special wiring is usually required to power the device.

What decisions does a homeowner need to make when selecting a pump for their basement?

A homeowner should verify that there is, in fact, a moisture entry problem before installing a pump
. This can be done by taping plastic along the walls of the basement and checking a day or two later. If water has collected under the plastic, then a pump is required. Calling a professional to inspect the site is also highly recommended. They can help the homeowner determine which system will do the best job. When searching for the right fit there are a few things to keep in mind. A homeowner can choose to have a manual pump installed instead of an automatic one for a slightly lower cost, but automatic pumps are much more convenient. The technician will discuss which pump will provide enough horsepower and head pressure to flush the water out. They will also ensure that the pump runs on the proper voltage, as some models are industrial strength. Once installed, the tech will go over how the system operates, ensuring that the homeowner is confident in the process.

Tree Injections ( 0 )

Tree injections are used for the same reason that a person receives a vaccination, to protect from a variety of pests. Large plants, particularly those along the Gulf Coast, are under constant threat of caterpillars, beetles, aphids, weevils, scales, moths and many other problematic insects. These pests are normally active during mild and warm climates, so plants in the south are at major risk. Once these insects show up, they will damage the health of the plant, causing discoloration, weakness and eventual death. A plant that is under attack by pests will be poorly equipped to handle any other stresses, like a lack of water or extreme weather.

In the past, when pests were discovered on a plant, the only solution was to spray pesticide all over the leaves and bark. The pesticide was often applied as a gas or fine mist. For obvious reasons, this could cause problems because the pesticide had a tendency to blanket anything nearby, including people or pets. The pesticides could also interact poorly with other plants, possibly causing more damage than was initially present. This is no longer a problem with tree injections, because they are a focused solution for ridding the plant of pests.

Like most other organisms, plants have a vascular system that transports various materials to leaves, roots and the trunk
. Like a human’s cardiovascular system, the plant contains thousands of microscopic highways that move water and sugars around. By placing insecticide directly into this system, a homeowner can take advantage of a plant’s vascular system.

Insects that feed off of any part of the plant will be wiped out as soon as they consume or come in contact with the insecticide
. While this can be done by feeding the roots of the plant, relying on a root system to delivery insecticide can take weeks. A plant that’s in particularly bad health may not have enough time to uptake the insecticide or may be too weak to efficiently consume it. In contrast, tree injections act so fast that if the substance is delivered in the morning, it may start eliminating pests in the afternoon.

During this process, a professional will measure the plant and determine the appropriate amount of insecticide to use for the job. The substance is placed in a container and pressurized using a pump or other device. Pressurizing the insecticide helps the plant take it up faster. Several holes are drilled around the plant, spaced out to maximize insecticide spread in the plant. Valves are hooked up in each of these holes and tubing is connected to the insecticide reservoir and valve. As soon as the valve is opened, the plant will start drawing from the insecticide reservoir right away. Depending on the temperature and level of moisture outside, a plant may take in all of the insecticide within minutes or it may need the better part of a day to empty the reservoir. Once inside, the substance spreads throughout the plant, reaching leaves, bark and the vulnerable tissues just under the bark. There is minimal spill and a low volume of insecticide is needed for this process, so it is more environmentally friendly and less likely to cause injury to others. However, a professional should administer the treatment because over treating or undertreating the plant can cause damage or may not be efficacious at all. However, when a plant needs to be saved from pests as soon as possible, this is the fastest and most thorough option available.

Up Lighting ( 0 )

Up lighting is a form of illumination that is mounted on the ground and casts a beam vertically into trees or other landscaping features. It is a common type of illumination prized for its ability to create dramatic silhouettes and effects. The fixtures normally used for this purpose are LED projectors usually hidden from view with shrubs or rocks. They may be solar powered or hooked to a separate power source that is also concealed from sight. LED fixtures are preferred for this pattern of illumination, because they operate with superior efficiency and can be easily customized.

Most homeowners place up lighting around their property to highlight large trees, the front of the house or any interesting landscaping features. They are also a smart choice for walkways, staircases or the area around a pool or pond. It’s best to set these fixtures up against an object like a tree because the beam will, to some extent, be reflected off the object and fill the immediate area with illumination. This improves visibility and the look of the yard at night. For larger properties, these fixtures can provide an extra layer of security by eliminating any dark alcoves or hiding places created by dense flora.

When placed strategically, they can also impart an imposing or dramatic look over a property. The askew, elongated shadows these fixtures cast can affect a person’s perception and make the home appear larger. Placing multiple layers of illumination can increase this effect even more. For example, a row of trees spaced from the front of the property to the home are perfect candidates for up lighting. By installing the fixtures at multiple distances, it will seem like the home is further back from the road.

When placed around a rocky area or water feature, the extra visibility these fixtures offer can improve safety. A backyard pool is a popular retreat once the sun goes down, but it may not feel safe if it is shrouded in darkness. With a few well-placed LED projectors, the area can be bathed in soft radiance. This can also be effective at keeping wildlife away from the pool.

LED projectors are the technology of choice for many homeowners because they are extremely efficient and produce very little radiant heat. Both of these are primary considerations because these fixtures are often left on all night. Inferior fixtures will waste large amounts of power and run up the utility bill. They will also produce more heat, which can result in a fire hazard, particularly around landscaping. LED fixtures are also the longest lasting on the market, maintaining steady performance for around 50,000 hours on average. This is two to five times longer than other forms of illumination.

This addition to the yard can change the look of the property like few other features can. Their impact is immediate and requires little setup. In short, they are the perfect choice for the homeowner that wants to make a quick, powerful impression.

Walkways ( 0 )

How Are Walkways Installed With Prime Lawn Landscape CompanyIntricately designed walkways can greatly boost the curb appeal of a home and can last for decades. Most installations consist of concrete pavers, clay bricks or cobble stone and each have their benefits. Most of the time, though, the selection will come down to which material the homeowner finds the most attractive. Concrete pavers can be designed in a range of colors and shapes, so they are extremely customizable. Clay bricks are normally red or red-brown and provide nice contrast with landscaping colors. Cobble stones are ideal for evoking an Old World look and touch of sophistication. All three can be installed quickly and precisely with the help of a hardscaping installer like Prime Lawn.

Prior to installation, the installer will layout the job and excavate the area for the hardscaping. The soil subgrade is then placed in the excavated area. Which soil is used for the subgrade will depend on several factors, including the hardscaping material to be installed, the amount of foot traffic expected, and the area climate. Laying down the soil subgrade represents the bulk of the work and may take up about 70 percent of the project’s time and labor. The subgrade soil is graded and compacted next. A minimum of a 2 percent grade keeps water from collecting in the hardscaping and allows it to drain properly. Compacting the soil is extremely important before placing the hardscaping because it improves load bearing and prevents pavers from shifting around after installation.

Once the soil is prepared, edge restraints and bedding sand are put in place. Edge restraints prevent paver movement and bedding sand provides additional load bearing and drainage for the hardscaping. At this point, the pavers can be cut and placed. When all of the pavers are installed, a layer of polymeric sand is spread evenly over the pavers and pushed into the joints between the stones. Without joint sand, walkways are unable to settle and will wear down faster. A couple months after installation, the homeowner may have the installer come out and put a seal on the hardscaping to improve its color and prevent stains from occurring.

While there are many materials available for walkways, only concrete pavers, cobble stone and clay bricks offer a combination of durability and excellent aesthetics. Concrete pavers are the most versatile and are easy to repair if any are damaged. The damaged pavers can simply be removed and replaced with new pavers. Cobble stone may attract ants and weeds, but the stones themselves are extraordinarily durable, capable of sustaining many decades of wear. Clay bricks are ideal when placed near landscaping, but they may chip under constant wear.

All three are able to withstand harsh winters, though cobble stone and concrete pavers are particularly strong because they consist of high density stones. Unlike standard concrete and asphalt, concrete pavers, cobble stones and clay bricks are unlikely to crack under normal wear and tear or thermal expansion. This means the hardscaping will maintain its initial beauty for much longer. In the case of concrete pavers and cobble stone, this beauty can be preserved for generations.

Water Features ( 18 )

What Are Water Features For LandscapingWater Features in the yard scape help to soothe the spirit after a hard day of work. Today’s culture has so many stress producing factors, such as constant interruptions from technology, increasing weather shifts, and economic uncertainty. A beautifully planted yard with well-groomed plants and hard-scaped walkways with custom bricks is lovely, but lacks the flow and continuity that a stream, pond or fountain can bring. A well-designed yard will make a statement about the owner with a professionally designed pond or fountain included in the landscape.

There are a variety of water features to consider for a yard scape, and more benefits than beauty and relaxation to be gained. With the increasing weather shifts including droughts and intermittent heavy downpours, a well-designed yard can include rainwater harvesting. A water garden created by certified professionals can be one of the most beautiful and earth friendly water features that one can invest in. They add tranquil beauty and relaxing sounds to a back or front yard oasis. The homeowner, their family and friends will all feel welcomed and relaxed in a yard with these types of additions. Since it is becoming harder for people to travel due to work schedules and fuel prices, it makes sense for families to do more to make their home like a mini vacation spot.

Water Features designed by professionals can avoid some of the leakage and mildew problems that homemade additions or hobbyists encounter when attempting to install such an intricate feature. Lovely waterfalls and ponds can actually channel excess rain away from the foundation of a home, offer some flow and balance to the yard, and become a lovely topic of conversation. Imagine working from home, and wanting to take a break, but there is no time to go to the gym. Simply by walking into the back yard, perhaps with a cool drink or cup of hot coffee, a quick stroll can energize the spirit to go back into the focus mode for a more productive working day. A home businessperson would be better prepared to entertain business guests with a patio and a small stream or fountain running nearby. The conversation is much more likely to go well with this type of atmosphere. A professional landscape architect will take into account the drainage of the soil, the location of the streets and trees, and the run off of the home. The final design will be one that not only adds harmony to the homeowner’s life, but it will also add value to the home.

One of the most delightful additions to any home or business landscape is a Koi pond
. This is one of the most lovely and tranquil ponds with large orange and white carp that are related to the basic goldfish. The way that the pond is designed can have a distinct effect on the health of the fish. It makes sense that a person in an environment that is well planned and beautiful will also experience greater peace and wellbeing. A custom designed yard with plants chosen for their hardiness and need for light and care, interesting paver or bricks selected for personal tastes, and flowing water features will delight the homeowner for years to come.

Water Gardens ( 3 )

What Are Water Gardens and Landscaping DesignWhat kind of attractiveness will water gardens bring to a home or building? How are they set up? Is there a large amount of maintenance involved, and what type of different features are there to choose from? Many clients wish to have a stunning backyard that is relaxing, practical, and also pleasing to the eye. In today’s society, craftier ideas are all around us and new inventions are being installed in the front and backyards of homes. Many families choose to have ponds, fountains, or even create rivers that run through their land. These water elements can create a relaxing and breathtaking view for any homeowner.

How are water gardens set up for a home? A garden is created using not only flowers, but also flowing streams. Rivers can be created, ponds can be installed, and flowing waterfalls can be cascading over any hilly area. The first step to making this creation possible is deciding on how large the aqua space must be. This is very important because this can determine how many accents are included along with how expensive installation may be. An easy way to visualize the proper size is by roping off an area that would be the same size as the garden installation.

These landscapes are installed much in the same way as a fish pond. A forty five millimeter EPDM crack proof liner is placed at the base of the pond, river or stream stopping any seepage of liquids or bacteria into the ground. This is followed by an underlayment which is a needle-punched padding that provides cushion for the vertical shelves that accompany water gardens. A skimmer is place on one end of the aqua scape which assists with maintenance by continuously removing debris. This is then attached to a pump that returns any liquid back to the start of the pond or stream. Rocks, gravel, plants, fish, and vegetation can be added for decoration and also for cleanliness.

How much do water gardens typically cost and what other features may also be installed? These landscaping additions can be compared to installing a hot tub. This can range anywhere from a few thousand dollars for a normal addition up to around ten thousand dollars depending on the size of unit being installed. However, once installed, these gardens require almost no maintenance, no chemicals for cleanliness, no testing kits, and will overall increase the value of a home’s exterior.

Other units such as waterfalls, koi ponds, and fountains can also be put in to create a relaxing atmosphere at home
. Rocks and boulders can be constructed to create a cascading effect. Koi ponds are popular because the fish that are used can create such a lovely color and vibrancy to an outdoor area. Fountains are also popular because they can produce a vivid focal point, while adding the relaxing sound of water movement. Whichever type of unit is picked, each adds their own sense of relaxation and beauty to a home.

Water Saving Nozzles ( 0 )

Water saving nozzles are an effective, but often overlooked, way to improve conservation and the level of irrigation a yard receives. These sprinkler heads are retrofitted on top of most conventional spray heads and provide immediate benefits. They use smart, multi-stream technology to deliver irrigation in a steady, even pattern. Many homeowners rely on single stream spray heads in their irrigation systems. Single stream delivery, however, is an inferior method of lawn care and requires more liquid to deliver the same level of irrigation that a multi-stream system can provide.

Multi-stream spray heads produce four to six jets of liquid, each with much less volume than the standard single stream model. A multi-stream head may also rotate while in operation, directing the irrigation in an even pattern over a large patch of ground. Single stream models tend to irrigate parts of the yard too heavily, but water saving nozzles do not suffer from this issue. Even though they use less liquid than a single stream head, they deliver just the right amount of care to a greater part of the yard. They reduce consumption so much, in fact, that each efficient spray head can save more than 1,000 gallons of water every year. Fitting an entire property with this technology can reduce consumption by several thousand gallons every year. For the average household, this is the equivalent of one to two months of a home’s total water consumption. That’s a lot of conservation in a short amount of time.

Another major issue single stream models suffer from is wind obstruction. Because the liquid comes out at a single trajectory, any wind interference will completely alter the spray head’s irrigation pattern. This will result in some parts of the yard becoming too saturated, while others are starved for irrigation. Multi-stream spray heads can be affected by wind, but because they produce several streams using several trajectories of delivery, they can more easily compensate. This maintains even coverage throughout the yard even during particularly windy days.

It’s important to avoid excess irrigation in any one spot because this may cause surface runoff
. This is a problem on many properties and often goes unnoticed. Some yards, like those on a slight incline are more predisposed toward surface runoff, but single stream spray heads are more likely to worsen the problem. Because they have a tendency to pool liquid in some spots, the excess moisture is not absorbed by the soil. Gravity and wind will then pull the liquid away from the yard. Unfortunately, the moisture will also carry away harmful chemicals, like those found in artificial fertilizers, or needed soil nutrient. If the problem is particularly bad, the soil itself may be stripped away from the yard in spots. Not only will this cause uneven growth in the yard, it may kill off plants that aren’t directly affected by the runoff. Water saving nozzles are much less likely to pool liquid in the yard, allowing the soil to absorb the moisture evenly. This protects the local ecology and promotes superior yard health.

With their ease of installation, efficiency and even irrigation, this technology should be the top choice among homeowners.

Waterfalls ( 6 )

How To Add Waterfalls for Landscape DesignThe sight and sound of waterfalls provide natural beauty to any landscape. Whether incorporated in a residential or commercial location, the design chosen can ultimately accentuate the surrounding atmosphere. Formal or informal, in-ground or wall mounted, there are numerous styles to choose from depending on the space available. The benefits that waterfalls provide make them a rather smart and rewarding investment for any property owner.

When it comes to landscaping the grounds of a home or business it is important to consider the desired look and purpose
. There are a variety of options to choose from beyond the standard patio and greenery. When the best features are included the exterior environment can have an entirely fresh appearance. Waterfalls in particular can add significant curb appeal and value to any property. In contrast they provide an added sense of peace and relaxation to the space, creating a personal oasis. The ongoing and rhythmic flow aerates the water to encourage the growth of plant and animal life while remaining algae free. They can range in price, yet the potential return on investment is substantial.

There are a number of types and sizes to consider during the planning phase. A formal design is often stair-like and made up of right angles and geometric lines. They are frequently constructed of stone blocks or bricks, whereas an informal style is often a more natural material such as driftwood, boulders, or gravel. The specific type to be installed is dependent on the look of the existing environment and available area. A wall mounted feature is ideal for limited space or when vertical aspects prevail. They are self contained and designed for exterior use and conditions. Those designed for in-ground application utilize real or artificial rocks of all sizes to give off a pure appearance. An underground holding tank pumps the stream up and over the stone exterior. When placed poolside they are integrated into the larger body to provide an organic and complementary addition while utilizing the existing pool circulation set-up. Manufactured designs are customized and pre-built for the space, but can be more expensive depending on the material and installation necessary.

Pondless waterfalls are an ideal option for public and other locales where safety and liability are to be considered
. Their pondless nature refers to the lack of water collection above the surface of the rock and gravel fill that are placed in a lined hole with a depth greater than a typical pond. Circulation takes place underneath, utilizing a pump to transport the liquid through a specialized filter and over the decorative exterior material. Once in the invisible basin it is continuously recirculated through the components. When space allows, a full scale pond can always be added to the design at a later time.

This style is more energy efficient than other formats as the pump does not need to run constantly and has timer capabilities. In addition, pondless set-ups are great for small areas and require minimal maintenance as it must simply be topped off every few weeks due to evaporation. A main attraction for birds and other wildlife, waterfalls easily become the heart of any landscape. With the help of an experienced professional a home or business exterior can be a relaxing escape for those lucky enough to enjoy it.