Rain water harvesting is a new trend that is actually a very old trend that has found it's way back into the main stream of the landscaping arena. The term rain water harvesting gives one sometimes visions of large collection tanks or underground water storage tanks or ponds to collect run away water that drains off of homes and other types of buildings. Even a 55 gallon steel drum or wine cask can serve as a useful rain water collection tool.Growing up in central Ohio, a lot of my neighbors and realatives had a "Rain Barrel" that was placed under the down spouts of their rain gutters. That water was then used to water plants,trees, wash clothes, or even your dusty body after a days work. The water was not as dirty and dangerous from such things as "acid rain" and air borne polluntants from cars and buses so the use of the rain water was a little more universal than what that same rain water collected today can be used for. Run off from the thousands of square feet of roof space causes havoc with our streams,rivers, and ocean. Thousands of gallons of useable water is running down the drain and not really providing a benefit to anyone other than occasionally washing down the street from gutter trash and residue oil from cars and trucks. You can install a simple rain water harvesting system at your home or business that can help you reduce the amount of rain water runoff and also provide a supply of needed water for plants and trees that can possibly save you some money on your water bill. Take the time out with a knowledgeable contractor to investigate the various types of rain water harvesting systems and methods available to you and make the decision to do your part to conserve some of that water that is making it's way down the gutter.
Spring time brings the traditional season to do rose pruning. When properly pruned, your rose's will give you a display that will be the talk of your town. Rose pruning is very important to the health of your rose's. Giving the rose time to take a break from blooming is a great way for them to regenerate energy and produce new shoots for the year ahead. There are great books and brochures on rose pruning that you can purchase at the local nurseries and home improvement stores and, you can also find great information on proper rose pruning online. Be sure to purchase yourself a set of quality pruning shears and loppers for your project. Corona is a household name in quality pruning products so be sure to check out what they have available. Applying a insect retardant such a volck oil after your pruning will provide your rose's with protection from "Over-Wintering" pest that find their way into the cracks and crevices of the rose bark. The application of a systemic fertilizer will also provide energy and pest protection for your rose's. The last finishing touch to round out your pruning experience is to add a quality mulch on top of the base/root zone of the rose bush. The mulch adds protection to the root system and also helps to retain moisture for the rose to draw from. By incorporating these simple steps, rest assured your rose's will give your a fantastic show for the new year ahead.
Seasonal Color Changes
Every gardening loyalist loves the thought of having various splashes of seasonal color through out the year in their gardens. The sight of different textures,colors,and scents adds excitement,class and pleasure to the gardener and/or business owner. The cost of doing seasonal color changes may cause many folks to abandon the idea completely as the cost of installing flats of color can be expensive depending on what type of plant materials are being used and how much planter bed area needs to be covered. For many years, I have suggested to my clients that love a lot of color in their planter beds to entertain the idea of planting various flower bulbs within the planter beds along with the foundation shrubs and plants that set the stage for the color display. Iris,tulips,cycamens and the like are fantastic bulbs to incorporate in the planter bed areas. seeing the various types of bulbs pop their heads through the chipped mulch and ground covers is a beautiful site. Being able to cut fresh flowers for your living room or dining room table adds class and savings to your home or business desk. Spending the extra money on quality bulbs is important and also making sure the bulbs you choose are the best selections for your planting zone is a must. By going on-line and reviewing the numerous bulb supplier catalogs and planning what bulbs grow well under certain conditions and areas within the planter beds. Through time your bulbs will multiply and you will be able to share your bounty with friends and business associates. A gift of some special home grown bulbs is a special and unique gift that your friends will always remember. Look for the end of the year specials on bulbs at your favorite nurseries right now but just be careful and pick and choose those bulbs that are healthy,plump and suitable for your growing region or zone.
Outdoor accents are what make nice landscapes "Great landscapes". The use of various landscaping accents such as orbs, statues, wrought metal works, bird baths and the like add visual artistry to a landscaping project. Outdoor furniture made of wicker, wood,and man made composites have made a big statement in today's outdoor living room world. Consumers all over the U.S. are extending their living and entertainment areas to cover the outdoor spaces of their business or home settings. Adding furniture to a landscape project adds comfort and peace of mind to the visitor to that space. Adding accents such as doors and glass piece's gives you a different perspective of a landscape setting by changing the view , appearance and/or feel of a space. The use of wrought iron trellis and arbors with ornate designs have been a big seller within my company the past couple years. Custom made iron work that has been powder coated to protect it from the elements and help prevent rusting damage to hardscaping areas is a great addition for long term value and beauty. Consider using various outdoor accents for your next cost effective upgrade your landscaping and outdoor living environment.
Retaining walls have been a mainstay for slope retention and erosion prevention for a long time. There are numerous companies that specialize in producing various styles and sizes of retaining wall materials for today's contractor and home owner. The latest addition to the mix of useable "Eco-Friendly" materials to use in building retaining walls is the fully plantable segmental retaining retaining wall block. Manufactured by Soil Retention Systems ( Which offers the Verdura Wall block ) The interlocking block has a section built into the block to allow for the planting of vegatation which will help in the retention of soil and aid in the reduction of water runoff and help maintain the natural habitat where the retaining walls are built. Use of native plant materials is encouraged as native plant roots can grow much longer and have the ability to bind the soil better and possibly faster than non native vegatation choice's.There are developer advantage's also as there no height restrictions when you are build a green wall ( Be sure to check your local city and county code requirements anyway to be sure ) so an increase in property value is a possibility by installing the green wall. LEED certification (Leadership in Energy & Environmental Design ) points can possibly give the owner an opportunity to take advantage of state and local government incentives for your project also. Beautiful ground covers and vines add class and suit a landscaping purpose when using the plantable segmental retaining wall system.
* For more information on the plantable segmental retaining wall system go to the website www.soilretention.com.
* Information for this blog was obtained from the January/February 2011 publication "Soil Erosion and Hydroseeding" ( www.soilerosiononline.com ) article "Living Retaining Walls".
Low voltage landscape lighting adds class,safety benefits,and high lights beautiful landscaping features such as trees,vines and hardscaping. During the evening hours, the beauty of a well planned and installed landscaping project is hidden unless the owner of the property takes the time and money to invest into lighting features that will enhance and display the same beauty he or she enjoys during the day light hours. The use of low voltage lighting is the most cost effective way to add value and class to a landscaping project.Years ago, utilizing high voltage lighting fixtures,junction boxes,and conduit pipe was the norm in order to have landscape lighting at one's home or business. Today the use of low voltage transformers that utilize lower wattages and the various types of lighting fixtures made out of aluminum,brass,copper and man made materials have taken the place of the clunky metal fixtures and pipe fitting to run high voltage cable. The next level in low voltage lighting is the transition to LED lighting fixtures. The use of LED lighting is very cost effective as the normal low voltage lighting fixture may use either a 10,20,or 50 watt lamp to provide the lighting needed for a particular setting and a LED lamp fixture utilize 3,5 and 6 watts to provide the same amount of light at a much lower wattage use. The life span of a typical low voltage lamp may vary from 5,000 to possibly 10,000 hrs. based on the amount of time the fixture is on. The same LED lamp will provide at least 55,000 hrs. of light with the same amount of hours of use. The cost of a LED fixture is higher than a normal low voltage lighting fixture but that cost is off set by the long range return on investment the LED fixture and lamp will provide. Be careful what fixtures you purchase when switching to LED. Do your research and learn as much as you can about the LED world before you spend your hard earned cash for the latest trend in the landscaping world.
* A couple great web site for LED fixtures and information is: www.fx.com.
We install Low voltage lighting and are available to give you a consultation to help you design and determine the best low voltage lighting system for your home or business.
* Call me direct at 562-755-9914 or respond back at the "CONTACT ME" page on our web site.
Patio covers and pergolas have always been an added bonus to a well planned landscaping project. The comfort of sitting outside under a patio cover protected from the sun and other elements plus providing that "Extra Room" feel to an other wise dull outdoor experience has captured the country by storm. There are various types of materials that patio covers and pergolas are made from. The traditional wood patio cover has always been the standby for most consumers when it comes to having a low cost way to to protect one from the sun. The challenges with wood are many and lead folks to look for other choices from wood. Termites,moisture damage,re-finishing the wood after so many years are some of the serious challenges that are in store for the wood cover owner. Yes having "Treated Redwood" and other types of treated wood helps avoid a lot of these mentioned challenges but in the end, you still have maintenance issues to look forward to. The next choice consumers look at is either vynal or aluminum. These materials are effective, low cost choice's to wood but, vynal warps, comes in limited colors ( You cannot paint vynal ) and expands and contracts according to weather conditions. Aluminum is a heavy product ( Size limitations due to weight of the products ) , once it dents guess what, the dent will stay there. The best choice for todays consumer in my opinion is fiberglass. Fiberglass will not warp,rot, or mildew. You can paint it and can run long spans of fiberglass without worrying about the cover sagging or having to install a number post to hold the cover up. Do your investigation and make the choice for fiberglass patio covers and pergolas. It may cost you a little more up front but, the long term reliability of the product will surely repay you on your investment.
* For more info on fiberglass patio covers and pergolas go to the web site www.arbors direct.com and learn more.
Our recent Southern Calif. windstorms were one for the record books. Residents of foothill cities such as Pasadena, Altadena and San Gabriel have reported that the winds in their communities have never been so strong and so destructive. Wind storms can damage trees in a couple of ways. A tree may be completely blown over, or branch and trunk failure can happen. CERTIFIED ARBORIST will find many times that a tree may have been predisposed to failure by cut or damaged roots, or by diseased or decayed roots. The wind forces on the upper portion of the tree simply become too great for the roots to support the tree. Wind storm damage that causes branch or trunk failure is caused by the twisting and swaying due to the high winds. In some cases the wind forces cause the wood fibers to split or twist. Often stem and branch failure occurs at old wounds. Wind storm damage can be minimized if trees are maintained in healthy condition. Timely watering,and moderate fertilization will help keep the tree growing vigorously. Pest or diseases may indicate a stress problem with the tree. Healthy , vigorous trees adjust more quickly to changes in the environment than one's under undue stress. Proper pruning can eliminate hazardous limbs and allow adequate wind movement through a tree. CERTIFIED ARBORIST provide the needed "Educated" opinion that is needed to properly advise consumers what steps that should be taken to assure the proper health and safety from tree hazards to reduce the amount of wind storm related damage.
For help in locating a CERTIFIED ARBORIST in your area, fill out the " CONTACT US " form on our web site or call me direct at 562-755-9914.
* Information obtained from the Arborist Certification Study Guide
Believe it or not natural green grass is very good for our environment. With the latest craze to strip out existing lawns and install water friendly shrubs and ground covers, natural grass reduces greenhouse gas and converts it to life-giving oxygen, purifies water as the grass roots act as natural environmental filters and help with the biodegradation of contaminants that are carried in runoff water. Grass provides urban habitat by providing productive forage for birds, small mammals, and native birds. Grass is a natural air conditioner, on a hot summer day, lawns will typically be 30 degrees cooler than asphalt,14 degrees cooler than bare soil, and a surprising "35 DEGREES COOLER THAN ARTIFICIAL TURF". Grass purifies the air by absorbing some our worst atmospheric pollutants such as sulfur dioxide and ozone.Proper watering schedules based on the actual "NEEDS" of the grass , proper fertilization practices, and utilization of some of the latest lawn mowing tools available will certainly help reduce hydrocarbon exhaust.
We install natural grass and do quite a bit of lawn renovations to native and water-friendly landscapes but, with proper planning, and practices, a"GREEN Natural Lawn" will always prove to be our best friend for our environment.
* Information obtained from Southland Sod farm publication: "Think green. Think grass. Think genuine Marathon Sod.
Winter time offers not only shorter sunny days but the prime time to do some "winterizing" of your landscaping lawn,shrubs and trees. During the winter here in our Southern Calif. climate zone, we normally get most of our seasonal rain. This supplemental water provides the needed ingredient to activate energy to the root system and provide needed nutrients for the flower and fruiting production for our shrubs and trees later on in the growing season ahead. Fertilize those fruit trees,lawn,and shrubs with a balanced fertilizer and to add more boost to your fertilizing program, be sure to fertilize with a fertilizer that has a higher ratio of potassium and phosphorus. ( The last two numbers listed on the fertilizer bag, the first number listed is nitrogen )These two ingredients add strength to the root system to help your lawn, shrubs and trees withstand the hot arid summers ahead and also provide the energy for your shrubs and trees to produce massive blooms and plenty of fruit. For more information on our fertilization programs and soil supplements that we have available, respond back on the contacts link or call me direct at 562-755-9914.