Lawn Sprinklers Miami

Install Lawn Sprinklers Outside Your Home for Better Lawn Maintenance!

Lawn Sprinklers Miami

Most homeowners take a well-designed and properly functioning sprinkler system for granted. Since sprinklers are all but invisible, until they turn on, it is easy to forget about how important they are to keeping your landscape looking its best. On-the-other-hand, if you’ve lived even a short time without automated sprinklers, you’re likely well aware of their value. Hand watering can be tiring and inefficient for the inexperienced eye.

A professionally installed sprinkler system will provide water for your lawn or plants on a schedule. There are two types of watering systems, overhead sprinklers and drip irrigation. Traditional sprinklers are widely used for lawns, while drip lines work well for garden beds. If you are especially concerned with water usage a drip system is a good option.

Before deciding on the type of irrigation system to have installed on your property you should think about what you will need to water. Watering needs are different for lawns than they are for shrubs or trees. If you have existing landscaping, sprinklers can be installed to support what is already there. If you are planning on installing new plants it is helpful to know the location of certain plant types so that your sprinkler installer can get the right heads or emitters in the proper place.

If your home has an existing sprinkler system it is important to make sure it is maintained and that water waste is kept to a minimum. The biggest signs of water waste are wet pavements and run-off. If you notice these problems on your property it is likely that the design of your sprinkler system is not appropriate for the size or shape of your lawn. The solution may be as simple as adjusting the position of a sprinkler head, but a professional can come evaluate your system and help you be more efficient with your use of water.

Having sprinklers installed is not something you should be overwhelmed by, there are many knowledgeable pros who can help you figure out the best system for your needs. Your sprinklers will be up and running in just a few days. All you’ll have to do is make sure the timer is set right and keep an eye out for any signs of problems.

Having underground sprinklers installed requires that trenches be dug. This may disturb your existing landscaping, so make sure you are clear with the installer about any plants you don’t want disturbed. A drip system is installed above ground so it is an easier process with minimal disturbance. If possible, most landscape contractors recommend installing sprinkler lines prior to any other construction work or planting. This way you don’t have to deal with running water lines under pavement or messing up a freshly planted lawn.

Sprinkler systems are a very convenient way to keep the plants in your yard healthy. They can range from simple to high-tech or be designed to conserve water. Use the resources here to better understand sprinkler system options, design and maintenance.

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Low Voltage Landscape Lighting

How Important Is Low Voltage Lighting for the Appearance of Your Home? Find out Here!

Low Voltage Landscape Lighting

Low Voltage Landscape Lighting is an afterthought for most homeowners, but professional landscapers consider it one of the most important elements in the landscape. “We use lighting for three purposes,” says TJ Wilcoxson of Alexon Design Group in Gilbert, AZ. “To create atmosphere, provide safety by repelling burglars or vandals, and to light the way on paths, patios, and other places we spend time in the landscape.” Here, professional landscape contractors share their tips on using landscape lighting effectively.

Up until 2010, the majority of landscape contractors were using halogen lights, which provide a warm glow and great quality of light. Yet with the recent advances in LED lighting, most contractors have converted their operations to energy-efficient LEDs. Solar lights, by contrast, aren’t currently recommended by professionals.

Halogen lighting

Pros:
“Halogen lighting has a warm, amber glow that makes everything look good,” says Wilcoxson. Gerry DuBreuil of Belknap Landscape Company, Inc. of Gilford, NH agrees. “Until recently, we were primarily using halogen and incandescent lighting because of the light quality.”

Cons:
Unfortunately, halogen lighting costs more to run than LED. “Choosing LEDs over halogen will save you 60-70% of your energy costs each month,” says Wilcoxson. Halogen lights also require more maintenance. As Matt Barton of Coppercreek Landscaping, Inc. in Mead, WA points out, “Halogen bulbs need replacing every 8-12 months, depending on how long the system runs each day. Compare that to LEDs which have a 10-year bulb life, and LEDs look like a set-it-and-forget-it solution.” Halogen lights can also run hot, which means lights must be placed carefully so plants are not brushed up against the fixture or bulb.

When having low-voltage landscape lighting installed you may hear your contractor use these terms:

  • Low Voltage Transformer: A transformer converts line voltage power from a dangerous 120 volts down to 12 volts.
  • Direct burial cable: Low voltage cable can be direct burial cable meaning it does not require placement in a conduit when set underground.. The longer the run the heavier your cable should be. Line loss occurs more readily in smaller cables. Plan your system with 12-2 twisted pair wiring for typical runs and 10-2 or even 8-2 for runs over 100 feet.
  • Line loss: Low Voltage electrical systems are very susceptible to “line loss”, the voltage drop caused by resistance in wire during transmission of electrical power over distance.
  • Watts: A watt is a measurement of total electrical power. Volts x amps = watts
  • Cable Load: Cable load defines how many watts can be on any one cable. Plan for 100 watts on 12-2, 150 watts on 10-2 and up to 200 watts on 8-2.
 LED lighting

Pros:
Most professionals use LEDs almost exclusively now. “Our clientele are asking for LEDs more and more,” says DuBreuil. The obvious benefits are those of cost and maintenance savings over time. LED bulbs generally have a 10-year warranty so you rarely need to replace them, and the monthly cost to run is much less than halogen. “They’re eco-friendly,” says DuBreuil.

But there are other benefits, too. “LED bulbs have a very crisp light that really brings out the features of a home or landscape,” says DuBreuil. LED bulbs are available in warm white, white, and cool white tones. “The cool white has a bluish tone most people dislike,” DuBreuil continues. “I generally use warm white bulbs.”

Barton points out that because of the energy efficiency, LEDs can be easier for your landscaper to install. “You can use more lights on a run, or even use a smaller transformer which saves money. It takes a lot less wiring and labor time to install LEDs compared to halogen.”

LED bulbs also stay cool, which means you can nestle a plant next to your LED fixture without worrying about burning the foliage.

Cons:
Most of the cons of LED lighting are in the past. “LEDs have come leaps and bounds in the last couple of years in terms of quality of light and fixtures,” says DuBreuil. While the LED bulbs of the past were a cold bluish-white, now the bulbs are available in warmer tones that feel more welcoming in the landscape. In addition, manufacturers have begun offering well-designed, professional-grade fixtures that last well in the landscape.

The price of bulbs is another consideration. “LED bulbs can run $30-40 each,” says Wilcoxson, “while halogen bulbs are only about $6.” Yet the ease of installing LEDs means that the higher cost often balances out in labor savings.

Placement in the landscapeIn a new landscape, once you have a written landscaping plan it’s easy for a professional to recommend some high-impact locations for lighting. Some of the best locations will be specific to your particular landscape, but there are a few common places that work well when lit.

  • Pathways and steps – “We call this traverse lighting because it helps you get from one place to another,” says Wilcoxson.
  • Decks and patios – Similarly, patio lighting is called “converse”. “This type of lighting allows you to enjoy conversation and company,” Wilcoxson says. “When you chat with friends, you want to be able to see them.”
  • Home and architecture – Barton suggests lighting your front entry, pillars and stone veneer.
  • Water features – “There are underwater lights available that highlight the rippling water in a simple, classic way,” says Barton.
  • Driveway – Few lights are needed on the driveway, since we all have headlights. The best tactic for lighting a driveway is to light the landscape alongside.
  • Trees – Uplighting into trees creates bold shadows in the landscape, while downlighting from the top of a tree mimics the romantic effect of moonlight.
  • Patio covers and pergolas – “A chandelier light fixture overhead feels inviting and creates ambience,” says Barton.

Budget-friendly lightingWhile landscape lighting is one of the first things to get thrown out when the budget is tight, landscapers urge you to reconsider. “Here in Arizona, we don’t sit outside in the afternoon. It’s just too hot,” says Wilcoxson. “But as soon as the sun goes down, you can have barbecues, night-time parties, or just sit quietly outside enjoying the landscape. Good lighting lets you actually use your landscape.” If the budget doesn’t allow for a full lighting installation, you can either break the project into two stages, or just choose a few key locations to light.

Barton suggests that if you can’t afford lighting right now, “at least pre-wire it so if you install it later, your landscaper won’t have to dig up your sod and beautiful landscape.” When your landscape is all dug up and in the construction phase, it takes very little effort to run wiring throughout the landscape. Once you lay sod and your shrubs have filled in, digging up the landscape to add wire takes a lot more time and money. “I would 100% encourage people to pre-wire; it saves so much money for them in the end,” says Barton.

If you’d like to install lighting right now but need to keep it minimal, there are a few areas to consider first.

  • Pathways and patios – “The functional areas always come first,” says Barton. This lets you actually spend time in your landscape after dark.
  • Architectural features – DuBreuil suggests putting the focus on your home. “Pillars, stone and veneer make beautiful shadows and cast indirect light into the landscape,” he says.
  • Focal areas – Every landscape will have its own unique features. Old twisting trees, waterfalls, or spiky plants are all dramatic candidates for lighting.

 

SOURCE: http://www.landscapingnetwork.com/landscape-lighting/low-voltage.html

Need Some Fresh Backyard Patio Ideas? Check Them out Here!

Backyard Design Company

Most people think of a patio as simply a place to spend time outdoors. However, there are a wide variety of uses for a patio. Patios can be used for dining, cooking, socializing, relaxing, playing and more. The style of your patio will change depending on the activities you want it to accommodate.

The four most popular patio styles are dining patios, living room patios, bistro patios and sundeck patios. Each of these patio styles serves a different purpose. You can incorporate one, or all of them into your yard, depending on how much space you have available.

Backyard Design Company An outdoor dining patio will provide you with a space to enjoy a (fresh) meal al fresco. Sisson Landscapes in Great Falls, VA.
Backyard Design Company
This patio was designed to accommodate four chase lounges for comfortable sunning. Milieu Design in Wheeling, IL.

Outdoor Dining Patio
Outdoor dining patios are a must for people who enjoy dining al fresco. There’s nothing better than enjoying a meal on your patio with friends and family. An outdoor dining patio must be large enough for a dining table and chairs. Generally speaking, you’ll need a space at least 12 feet by 12 feet. A dining patio should be placed adjacent to an outdoor kitchen or near the backdoor of your home to make carrying food to the table as easy as possible.

Living Room Patio
Outdoor living rooms are incredibly popular. Adding an outdoor living area to your backyard will give you a space to relaxing with friends and family. This style of patio often features a fireplace or fire pit with deep-seating patio furniture and a shade structure. An outdoor living room should be at least 16 feet by 18 feet. Don’t forget to include extra space for people to walk around the furniture.

Bistro Patio
If you are looking for design ideas for a small garden, a bistro patio may be your answer. A bistro patio is the perfect size to accommodate a small table and two chairs. Adding this type of patio will give you the perfect outdoor breakfast spot. A wall fountain can be used to add a focal point to a bistro patio without taking up too much space. For a bistro patio you’ll need at least 6 feet by 6 feet of space.

Sundeck Patio
Sundeck patios are usually located near a swimming pool, or on a vista point. A sundeck patio is designed to be a place where you can relax and enjoy the sunshine. Outdoor chaise lounges with comfortable cushions are the furniture of choice for a sundeck. A typical chaise lounge measures 2 feet by 6 feet, so keep this in mind when deciding on the size of your patio.

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SOURCE: http://www.landscapingnetwork.com/patios/styles.html

Low Maintenance Landscape Miami

Tips for a Low Maintenance Landscape Provided by Professionals! Click Here to View the Tips

Low Maintenance Landscape Miami

Low maintenance landscapes must be planned ahead of time. Many homeowners make the mistake of piecing their yard together here and there. This typically creates a landscape that requires more time and money to maintain than was anticipated. The best way to avoid this problem is to hire a professional landscape designer or architect to plan out your garden with reduced maintenance in mind.

Simplicity of Design

Landscaping experts agree that a simple design is the key to a Low Maintenance Landscape Miami. Christopher Starbuck, an Associate Professor for the Division of Plant Sciences at the University of Missouri Extension, says, “Simplicity is characteristic both of good design and low-maintenance landscapes. Eliminate frills such as statues and water features, or design them for easy care and maintenance.” Let the landscaping professional that you choose to work with know up front that you would like a simple, low-maintenance landscape.

Low Maintenance Planting

According to Robert F. Brzuszek, an Assistant Extension Professor for The Department of Landscape Architecture at Mississippi State University, a Low Maintenance Landscape Miami must have the right size plant in the right place. If your designer keeps this in mind it will help you avoid constant pruning. Brzuszek also recommends planting in masses because plants are easier to care for and mow around when grouped. For the most success, mass plants with similar light, water and care needs.

Mulching

Skip Richter, the director of the Travis County AgriLife Extension (Texas A&M), recommends mulching as a way to reduce landscape maintenance needs.

Benefits of mulching:

  • Acts as a weed barrier
  • Holds in moisture, which reduces watering
  • Releases nutrients into the soil
  • Improves the appearance of garden beds

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Common Landscaping Mistakes

Believe it or not, building a poorly designed landscape can cost just as much as building a well designed one. So when you’re forking over big bucks to create the outdoor living space or garden of your dreams, it pays to get the design just right. In fact, the more time you spend on the outdoor landscape design by reviewing its nuances, the more familiar you will be with the outcome. That eliminates unpleasant surprises during the chaos of construction or later on after the crew has left the yard.

extended patio edge , landscaping mistakes
Where space is limited, this designer extended the edge of the too-small patio outward behind each chair location to allow them to slide back safely.
Maureen Gilmer<br /><br /> Morongo Valley, CA , landscaping mistakes
Though charming, this sideyard gate is so narrow it becomes a bottleneck for access with any large item such as a mower

Mistake #1 Spaces created are too small to use.

For Patios

This is a typical problem for small urban homes, condos or small country club residences where outdoor space is minimal, but it can happen in larger landscapes too. When making patios, walkways and gates, beware of undersized dimensions. Here’s why: A patio that leaves little room to slide your chair back from the table results in a chair leg falling off the deck or slab. Servers can also suffer the same fate creating liability. That is why a 10′ by 10′ space should be considered bare minimum for a 5′ diameter table with chairs. Get more information about properly sizing patios and walks with thesebackyard patio dimensions.

Minimum Patio Dimensions:

PATIO SEATING DIMENSIONS
5′ diameter table with chairs Minimum 10′ x 10′ space

For Walkways

Functional walkways must be wide enough to accommodate a wheelbarrow, lawn mower or garbage can. Though 3′ is standard, some designers narrow it to 30″ which becomes problematic. Consider 4′ wide an even better choice if possible because this also dictates the dimensions of the gate. Otherwise this bottleneck can cause you to bark your knuckles on the gate posts every time you pass through with a large item.

Maureen Gilmer<br /><br /> Morongo Valley, CA , landscaping mistakes
When these doors are thrown open, the interior paving flows perfectly into the exterior patio.

Mistake #2 Failure to connect indoors with outdoors.If your outdoor landscape is successfully designed to become a visual extension of adjacent rooms, the whole will seem greater than the sum of its parts. This is doubly important in smaller homes where the patio or garden is vital to utilizing every square inch of what can be very expensive real estate. Beware of a design that fails to do this in every possible way.

This connection relies on carrying the colors, textures and style of your indoor spaces over the threshold to the outdoor materials choices. When the French doors or slider is closed, your eye should travel across the room and through the glass to the outdoors as seamlessly as possible. When the doors are thrown open you want the transition point to literally disappear. Key to this is paving materials that are nearly identical, such as travertine flooring indoors and a matching ceramic tile or imprinted, colored concrete outside. Also key is to match the decorating style to furniture, plants, exterior partitions, and decor outside.

Maureen Gilmer<br /><br /> Morongo Valley, CA
You don’t feel a design that’s piecemeal because four different types of surfacing and gravel, a combination of traditional garden and desert garden plants with potted herbs thoughtlessly in the center support no overriding style.

Mistake #3 Piecemeal design.Creating a large or intricate landscape can take time and a lot of money, so many elect to build it one item at a time. The most common example is the swimming pool, a highly valued and often used amenity. The contractor comes in to design the pool within a new home yard exclusively from his or her point of view. These early decisions later become the overriding criteria for the rest of the landscape. It becomes an afterthought, and looks like it too.

When you tell your designer you want “phased installation”, he or she will design your entire project up front. This way it is all visually and functionally integrated for maximum beauty and economic efficiency. You can construct any part without conflicts with the rest of the space any time in the future. If the pool goes in first, the design will tell the contractor where mechanical must be located, how safety fence works with adjacent outdoor living spaces, where surfaces should drain without damaging planting and so on. The answers are all there on the plan, so no one is making a decision arbitrarily without taking into consideration all the elements of an holistic landscape.

Maureen Gilmer<br /><br /> Morongo Valley, CA , landscaping mistakes
When a plant such as this ivy is used in a small space, it will require future pruning on a regular basis to keep it attractive and in bounds.

Mistake #4 Oversized plants.Planting design is all about selecting the perfect plant for every space in the landscape. That plant should fit in the space provided when it reaches maturity, which is its maximum height and diameter. This is particularly important with shrubs used in foundation planting around the house. When a plant selected grows too large for the space provided, particularly when it is in a crucial spot such as a tight entry or beneath a window, the gardener must prune it to size. This is most often done by shearing the plant into the space, which spoils its foliage, flowers, and sometimes attractive fruit. When you see homes with a lot of shearing going on, it’s because the plants have outgrown their spaces. It also tells you there’s a lot of maintenance required to keep it looking good.

A good designer knows the dimensions and character of every plant he or she specifies for a project. This allows the plant to reach its ultimate size while retaining its natural beauty as envisioned on the drawing board. It does not become a box, ball or pyramid. The plant, like its siblings in the wild, grows to be relatively maintenance free, saving you labor, time and money.

Maureen Gilmer<br /><br /> Morongo Valley, CA , landscaping mistakes
This very small entry yard is so well designed it offers excellent access and beautiful views year around.

Mistake #5 Underestimating importance of good design.As stated above, a beautiful, well designed landscape costs the same as a poorly designed one. This difference is with the designer. Well trained landscape designers who work with a large palette of plants and materials as well as a wide range of styles are geared to give you a fine project. An installer who has little training may get the plan done, but it won’t be great and it will do even less for the beauty and enjoyment of your home.

Plan to spend a bit more time to find a reputable designer. Make calls and ask for references. Talk to former clients to verify all claims. Visit those jobs if you can. For just as an architect can design an ordinary tract house or a beautifully detailed cottage, a landscape designer can create a vital and lovely outdoor living space, or just a patio and some plants for about the same price.

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SOURCE: http://www.landscapingnetwork.com/landscape-design/common-mistakes.html