Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Common Lawn Irrigation Mistakes Made By New Homeowners

Buying a new home is a very exciting time in someone's life. The chance to capture the American dream and have a place of your own is a huge accomplishment, but it is also a huge responsibility. It isn't uncommon for new homeowners to feel overwhelmed or intimidated by the magnitude of work it can take to properly maintain a house.

One common factor that is overlooked when buying a house is the amount of work and money that can go into maintaining a healthy lawn, and the bigger the yard - the more responsibility. Additionally, many new homeowners take over a new yard, but don't know how to maintain it. Since your yard is one of the most visible aspects of your newly acquired property, it is very important that it stays healthy and hydrated. To do this, there are some common lawn irrigation mistakes you'll need to avoid.  

"A lot more goes into maintaining a lawn than just cutting the grass," says John Minor, owner of Irrigation and Lighting Specialist. "In order to have that lush lawn, you have to properly practice lawn irrigation, which is more than just spraying a hose over some grass." 

Avoid These Common Lawn Irrigation Mistakes

  • Watering at the Wrong Times - You may have seen your neighbor kick on his lawn irrigation system during the middle of the day, but this isn't ideal. Every above ground irrigation system can have its watering patterns altered by wind, and when does wind blow the most? During daylight hours. It is also warmer during the day, which increases evaporation rates. If you water during the day, chances are you are wasting water and not watering your grass throughly. The best time to run your lawn irrigation system is during the early dawn hours or right before dusk. 
  • Over Watering - Be careful not to overwater your lawn. This is commonly done when you are watering with a hose or if you have different types of irrigation heads in the same irrigation zone watering at the same time. This basically means you have different sources shooting water in the same area. Over watering your lawn can smoother your grass, create flooding and lead to an expensive water bill. Try placing your sprinkler heads in locations that will prevent overlapping water. Hiring a lawn irrigation professional to map out your system is the best way to address this issue. 
  • Watering Shrubs and Plants - You may think it is just quicker and easier to water your shrubs and plants with the same lawn irrigation system you water your grass with, but you are wrong. It is important to irrigate grass areas separately from your shrubs and garden beds. Virtually all of your common landscaping plants (trees, shrubs and ground covers) have vastly larger root systems that your grass. This means your plants generally require half as much water than your local grass. 
  • Overspraying - When you install your lawn irrigation system and the sprinkler head throws water outside of the landscaped area (onto sidewalks, driveways, neighbor's property or on the side of the house), you are wasting a lot of water. Just one half circle head could easily waste the same amount of water that there is in an average spa or hot tub in one year. Having your sprinkler heads professionally relocated is a quick fix for this problem. 
  • Creating Runoffs - Certain areas of your lawn might have compacted soil. This condition can cause water to run-off onto sidewalks or driveways without giving it enough time to seep into the soil. Installing a smart controller with multiple programs and start times allows for shorter, precise periods of watering, which prevents runoff. A high-quality rotary nozzles can also help by delivering water at even and slower rates, so the moisture can penetrate the soil. 
"Properly irrigating your lawn can seem like a huge burden, but once you have everything set up correctly and a routine - the rewards are huge," says Minor. "Hiring a professional to come in and asses  your lawn irrigation needs is the best way to ensure that you avoid the common mistakes of lawn irrigation. It is also the best way to guarantee your new home is dressed with a beautiful lawn." 

To learn more about common lawn irrigation mistakes, or to schedule an appointment, call John Minor at Irrigation and Lighting Specialist at 877-433-5833 or email John. We love helping new homeowners and veteran homeowners create a healthy lawn they can be proud of! 

Friday, July 26, 2013

Smart Lawn Irrigation Systems: Technologies that Use Water Efficiently

July is Smart Irrigation Month, and the start of summer is a great time to improve the efficiency of your irrigation system. There are many smart technologies available that will allow you to maintain beautiful landscapes while maximizing water efficiency.

"Going green has never been easier than with an irrigation system that uses water-saving technology," says John Minor, owner of Irrigation and Lighting Specialists. "The advances in irrigation technology has been great to see, and it has done a lot for water conservation efforts. In addition to protecting the environment, these devices also help save you money by reducing your water bill."

Water Saving Devices for your Irrigation System 

If you are interested in saving water and money, here are some devices that can help: 
  • Rain/Freeze Senors - These devices prevent irrigation systems from running when it is raining and right after excessive when irrigation is unnecessary. They also have the ability to stop irrigation when temperatures approach freezing to prevent ice on landscapes and hardscapes. These devices can reduce water usage up to 35 percent and help extend your irrigation system's life. 
  • Weather-based Controllers - These types of smart controllers can automatically adjust your watering schedule based on local weather conditions. Some even factor in your exact landscaping needs based on the type of plant life you have. The water savings from this device can be substantial, and the convenience of these self-adjusting controllers is a gift in itself. 
  • Sensor-based Controllers - These smart controllers rely on soil moisture sensors that are placed below your lawn in the root zones to determine if and how long to water. Soils may be maintained between lower and upper target-moisture levels for optimal plant health. Water-based and sensor-based controllers are available as stand-alone controllers or as an add-on to existing controllers. Each has been shown to reduce irrigation water usage up to 70 percent. 
  • Pressure Regulation - All irrigation systems operate best at a certain water pressure. Using the ideal pressure allows water distribution to be uniform over the target area. That allows shorter run times for your irrigation system. Reducing high pressure also eliminates problems like misting sprinklers and potential irrigation system damage. For every 5-point reduction in water pressure, you use 6 to 8 percent less water. Those savings can add up quickly. Water pressure regulators are easily added to valves to control a whole irrigation zone or added to individual sprinklers. 
  • Low Precipitation Rate Nozzles - Many quality sprinkler nozzles on the market today use lower precipitation rates to reduce run-off. They also improve water distribution uniformity, which is very important when trying to reduce watering run times. 
  • Drip Irrigation - These systems are very different from the traditional pop-up irrigation systems. Rather than spraying wide areas, they generally utilize point emitters to deliver the desired amount of water to particular locations near plant root zones. Water drips slowly from emitters, either onto the soil surface or below ground. Less water is lost to wind and evaporation as a result, and weeds can be reduced. Drip irrigation systems are very water-efficent and customizable for different plants in a small area. 
"All of these water-efficient products can reduce water use and your water bills without sacrificing plant and landscape health," says Minor. "You can still enjoy all the benefits associated with attractive and enjoyable landscapes while helping conserve a precious natural resource." 

To learn more about water-saving irrigation system features, or to schedule an appointment, call John Minor at Irrigation and Lighting Specialist at 877-433-5833 or email John. We love helping our customers reach the state of a healthy, vibrant lawn while saving water and money!

Friday, July 19, 2013

Light Up the Night With These Outdoor Landscape Lighting Ideas

877-433-5833 Landscape Lighting

There is something special about owning a beautiful yard. Its charm welcomes you home. Its serenity tucks you in at night, and with the right outdoor landscape lighting - its style can set you apart.

Finding the right outdoor lighting technique for your outdoor space is more complicated than it may seem. It is more than just mounting a light over your porch or hanging a few lanterns. It takes creativity and craftsmanship. When outdoor landscape lighting is done correctly, it can unlock a world of potential and enchantment.

"When it comes to outdoor landscape lighting, there are tons of possibilities," says John Minor, owner of Irrigation & Lighting Specialist. "The key is to combine your personal tastes and try to extend it a little. Push yourself to think outside of the box. Before you know it, you will have an original design that will be the talk of the neighborhood."

Outdoor Landscape Lighting Ideas

Each yard has its own potential and its own charming attributes that need to be highlighted. Here are some ideas that you can use to find an outdoor landscaping design that is perfect for your yard. 

  • Creating Shadows - With the right placement of your lighting, you can create shadows that are just as interesting as the lighting. One way you can do this is by placing your lights close to the foundation of your house or a feature you wish to highlight. The light will catch the edges and create an intricate shadow pattern. 
  • Creating a Silhouette - With a mix of down and up lights, you can create a warm bath of light on your house that will show off its detail and beauty. Try adding light to the chimneys, dormers and surrounding trees to broaden your houses sense of space. 
  • Creating Dramatic Doors - Instead of hanging a spotlight over your front door, try placing the lights behind pillars or off to the side. This will generate a sense of drama for the front door, especially if you have a narrow porch. If you have a wooden door that is dark, an amber lens in the light will make the door look even richer. 
  • Cool Lighting - As far as outdoor lighting goes, moonlight is by far one of the most welcoming. To simulate moonlight, try using a softer, bluer lighting source. This can be accomplished by using a lighting source with a color temperature of 5500 kelvins. Doing this will create a soft, relaxing touch. 
  • Adding Color and Texture - Path lights are visual aids in dark spaces, but they can also be used to add color and texture near interesting landscaping features. 
  • Mix Styles- Take a walk on the wild side and try mixing up the styles of your lighting sources. Using different styles of path lights can change things up and provide an interesting flow to your yard. 
  • Creating Dark Parameters - Less is usually more when it comes to outdoor landscape lighting. Try offset lights and make sure there is enough distance between them so you can lead the eye naturally through your landscape. After all, you are trying to add tranquial nuances in your yard, not land a plane.

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"We take a different approach to outdoor landscape lighting than most companies," says Minor. "Our outdoor lighting designs focuses on what kind of lighting best matches the landscaping and beauty of your home, not just how you will use your home when the sun goes down. We feel that your outdoor landscape lighting should be more than a source of light; it should be a source of beauty and add style to your house." 

To get more outdoor landscape lighting ideas for your home, or to schedule an appointment, call John Minor at Irrigation and Lighting Specialist at 877-433-5833 or email John. We love helping our customers unlock the potential of their home's yard and giving them an outdoor lighting style all of their own!

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Be Smart with Smart Lawn Irrigation

877-433-5833 to save money with lawn irrigation
The month of July is usually associated with sunshine, hot temperatures and blue skies. But so far, the month has been full of thunderstorms, flooding and almost-daily showers. The Charlotte region has already had almost 50-percent of its expected monthly rainfall, and we are only in the second week.

Due to the above-average rainfall, several homeowners have had to deal with flooded lawns and inadequate lawn irrigation. July also happens to be Smart Irrigation Month, making it the perfect time to explore ways to avoid flooding, save money, reduce water consumption and have a healthier lawn.

"When homeowners think of lawn irrigation companies, they usually only associate us with installing irrigation systems to keep their lawn hydrated, but we really do a lot more than that," says John Minor, owner of Irrigation and Lighting Specialist. "Our job and our goal is to promote a healthy lawn that you can be proud of, and this includes making sure your lawn isn't over-watered or flooded. We also want to make maintaining your green spaces easy and convenient."

Homeowners typically overwater their lawns, unintentionally wasting money every time they take out the hose or turn on the sprinklers. This is especially true during rainy weather. Irrigation and Lighting Specialist, a leader in smart water-saving practices, is delivering real results by following these smart lawn irrigation practices:
  • Helping customers identify and maintain low water landscapes that will thrive in our climate and site conditions. 
  • Installing new irrigation systems that use real-time weather data and soil moisture sensors to automatically adjust water to meet plant needs. 
  • Using low volume micro-irrigation to precisely apply small amounts of water to gardens, trees and shrubs, minimizing evaporation and waste. 
  • Retrofitting existing systems with rain sensors that prevent watering in rainy weather. 
  • Helping customers program automatic controllers to comply with community water restrictions while extracting maximum benefit from every drop of water. 
  • Auditing irrigation systems to make sure water is being used effectively and making necessary adjustments.  

Smart Lawn Irrigation with Irrigation Smart Controllers

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One of the best ways to practice smart lawn irrigation is through the technology of an irrigation smart controller. The installation of this device can help you save up to 60-percent on water, which means a lower water bill for you and a healthier environment for future generations. 

Using the Irrigation Smart Controllers is easy. All you do is input your zip code, desired watering schedule and your soil type, and the controller does the rest! You will never have to worry about your lawn irrigation system kicking on while it is raining or when you lawn doesn't need the extra water. 

"In a recent project, we helped a Charlotte homeowner install an irrigation smart controller on an existing irrigation system, and they were more than pleased with the results," says Minor. "They were amazed by how easy it was to maintain their yard. It is incredible to have access to devices that make lawn irrigation so easy for busy homeowners." 

To learn more about smart practices for lawn irrigation or to schedule an appointment, call John Minor at Irrigation Lighting Specialist at 877-433-5833 or email John. Just because it has been rainy doesn't mean you have to settle for a flooded yard! 

Monday, July 1, 2013

Irrigation Repair: Avoiding a Slow Flow

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On average, July is the hottest month of the year in Charlotte. As hotter temperatures make their way into our region, the possibility of dryer conditions increase, which means your irrigation system needs to be in tip-top shape to handle its potential workload.

By now you've probably had the opportunity to run your irrigation system a few times, giving you time to discover any damages or issues that can result in subpar performances. Now is the time to address these issues with an irrigation repair service.

"Failing to address problems in your irrigation system will only harm you in the long-run," says John Minor, owner of Irrigation & Lighting Specialists. "We have seen it far too often. Either the damages result in a series of expensive water bills due to wasted water from leaks, or a drought comes and the lawn's health suffers from inadequate hydration. Repairing your irrigation system will end up saving a lot of headaches and money."

Common Irrigation Repairs and Adjustments 

Below are just a few of the most common irrigation repairs and adjustments we perform:
  • Broken Equipment - One of the leading causes in water leakage occurs from broken equipment. If you are experiencing leaking water, resulting in runoffs, you could have a broken sprinkler head, valve or lateral and main line. The equipment can be replaced or repaired, but repairing broken valves and water lines requires professional assistance. 
  • Tilted or Sunken Heads - Over time, sprinkler heads settle and tilt due to natural compaction of soil, foot traffic and lawn maintenance. This frequently causes uneven distribution of water resulting in brown spots, misting and runoffs. Attaching a swing joint to the sprinkler head is a great way to fix the issue and prevent it from reoccurring. 
  • Mixed Zones - Mixed zones exist when both rotor and fixed spray heads operate together on a given area. Correctly realigning the sprinkler heads will help you avoid flooding and excessively dry areas. We also recommend sticking with one head type in a given zone. 
  • Blocked Heads - When the spray pattern from a sprinkler head is being blocked, water is not going where it should. Blockage can be caused by overgrowth of vegetation, low-lying branches or inappropriate placement of the sprinkler head. You will need to trim-back vegetation or move the head to a better location. 
  • No Check Valves - Without check valves, water may drain out of sprinkler heads that are at lower elevation after they have been cut off. Check valves lock water in the lateral line and result in quicker start up times and no runoffs after the system shuts off. 
  • Clogged Nozzles - A clogged nozzle is caused by debris in the system getting stuck in the nozzle or the filter of the spray head. Common clogs are caused by dirt, sand, roots and plastic and result in uneven distribution of water and brown spots. Cleaning or replacing the filter should resolve the issue. 
  • Overspray - When heads are improperly placed and spend more time watering streets, sidewalks or fences, you are experiencing overspray. You end up paying for this in terms of money and runoffs. This can be fixed by maintaining appropriate system pressure and relocating the sprinkler heads. 
Professional Irrigation Repair 877-433-5833

"What seems like a small problem or a minor inconvenience can quickly turn into an irrigation nightmare," says Minor. "It is best to quickly address these problems with the help of a certified irrigation professional. This ensures you are getting quality work with a focus on efficiency and water conservation. Routine inspection, testing and maintenance can also add years to your irrigation system. "

To learn more about our irrigation repair service, or to schedule a free consultation, call John Minor of Irrigation & Lighting Specialists at 877-433-5833 or email John. No matter how hot it gets this summer, let us help you make sure your irrigation system is working at the peak of its performance!