Tag: Yard Care

Tips for a Green Yard this Spring

When someone mentions green this time of year, you may think of St. Patrick’s Day, leprechauns, four-leaf clover, or the green hills of Ireland. But this tradition goes beyond St. Patrick and his holiday.

The Irish Tradition of Green

Long before green became associated with St. Patrick’s Day, the ancient Celts wore green in celebration of the Vernal Equinox and the rebirth of the earth. And who could blame them? Known as the Emerald Island, Ireland’s principal color is green. Some even claim that the island boasts over 40 shades of that beloved color. As time passed, the wearing of green came to symbolize Irish nationalism. Today, people all over the world wear green once again to celebrate the coming of spring.

For those of us who aren’t lucky enough to enjoy the green hills of Ireland on a daily basis, here are some tips to help you bring that Irish green into your landscape this spring.

  1. Clear–rake up any leftover leaves from fall, pick up any broken branches from winter. If thatching is a problem, use a rake or a power thatcher to clear away the problem.
  2. Prune–trim back fruit trees and summer blooming bushes (including roses). Pruning encourages new growth and allows the plant to receive plenty of sunlight.
  3. Weed–it’s best to stop the weeds when they’re young. After removing new spring growth, take preventative measures (i.e. landscape fabric, mulch, pre-emergent herbicides, etc.) to limit weed growth throughout the season.
  4. Divide–make sure your perennials have plenty of room to grow. If things are getting a little tight, divide them up. Your neighbors would probably love some, or maybe there’s a spot in your yard that’s looking a little bare. Whatever the case, your plants will bloom better with that extra room to grow.
  5. Plant–bring color and new life to your yard by adding some new plants to the mix.
  6. Fertilize–if you have a well-established lawn, spring is a great time to fertilize. Pick a fertilizer with a slow-release nitrogen (nitrogen help keep your lawn green, but too much can cause damage to your lawn and the environment—especially water sources—so make sure you use it sparingly).
  7. Water–it’s important that you don’t over or under water your lawn, as both cause problems. At this time in the watering season, you will most likely not need to water your lawn every day. Rather, set your timer to water less frequently and allow the moisture to soak deep into the soil and establish a stronger root system.
  8. Grow–let your grass grow. Your lawn will be healthier if you don’t cut it too short. By letting your grass grow about 2 to 4 inches in length, you will protect the roots from the sun and disease, which will keep your lawn greener and healthier.

These tips will help keep your landscape lush and green this spring. So, here’s to wishing you the luck of the Irish!

 

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14 Ways to Love Your Home

In honor of Valentine’s Day, we are sharing fourteen ways to love your home.

1. Set a regular cleaning schedule

There is a quote—often attributed to Benjamin Franklin—that says, “Failure to plan is planning to fail.” Don’t let this be the case with your house. Make a schedule to clean one or two rooms each day and then stick to your schedule. By doing this, you won’t have to feel overwhelmed by a day full of cleaning and you’ll feel happier and more comfortable in your home.

2. Take care of your yard

Whether you love to spend all day in the dirt or would rather be off having some other adventure, take a little time to trim the grass and keep the weeds in check. A well cared for yard, no matter the size or style, increases the value of your house and how you feel about it.

3. Transition to LED lights

While the cost may be a little more upfront, LED lights are gentler on your wallet in the long run. These lights are longer lasting and more durable, which gives you more use than a regular light bulb.

Plus, they look great in your house and in your garden. Check back often to learn more about the release of our new line of energy-efficient, LED landscape lights.

4. Plant a tree (or two, or three)

Trees are a great way to bring beauty and variety to your yard. Take care to pick the right variety for your area and need—talk with a specialist at your local nursery for more ideas. A well-placed tree can also serve as shade and protection for your yard and home and can lower energy costs.

5. Plan a date

You know that list of projects you want to get done, but never seem to have time for? Plan a date. Whether it’s a deep clean or a new paint job, your home needs a little pampering once in a while. After all, it does keep you safe and comfortable from the world outside.

6. Keep unwanted pests out of your yard and home

Whether you are dealing with deer eating your prized tomato plants, or ants invading your pantry, there are ways to protect your house. For those annoying spiders, ants, and bugs, try calling a local pest control company. If it’s bigger critters in your yard that you’re worried about, check out our Yard Enforcer. The Yard Enforcer is a motion-activated sprinkler that deters unwanted pests with sound and water. The best part? It actually works! Check out this video:

7. Increase the safety of your home

There are little things that we can do all year long to increase the safety of our homes. Whether it’s keeping the walks shoveled, or keeping our yard well lit at night (again, check back for more information on our new landscape lights), or baby proofing our cabinets and stairs, do the little things to make your home a worry-free space.

8. Give your plants the perfect amount of water

To keep your yard lush and green, give them the water they need. Our sprinkler timers are a great way to ensure that your landscape receives consistent watering, because in our crazy world, we all have a lot on our minds.

9. Try something new

Don’t be afraid to try out a new idea. The internet is full of DIY projects, for budgets big and small that may give you just the change you need. Check out our Pinterest page for some great DIY ideas for your home and garden.

10. Plant a garden

Who doesn’t love fresh produce? If the weather is nice, set aside some land and start working the earth. But don’t let snow keep you down. You can start your garden seeds indoors. What’s better than getting your hands in the dirt again? Plus, you can start enjoying the fruits of your labor earlier than if you wait to plant when the weather’s nice.

11. Give

Sometimes we let our lives get too cluttered. Instead of throwing things away, pick a number (any number) and then select that number of items to give to charity or a family in need in your area. It’s a great, and easy, way to serve your community.

12. Add some color

If you’re not ready to commit to a big color change or if you just want to update a space with this year’s color trends, try incorporating color in small ways. Buy some plants for a room, or plant some flowers in the garden—it doesn’t have to cost much to bring a lot of life to your home.

13. Take time to enjoy some peace and quiet

Whether you like to spend your time indoors or outdoors, it’s always nice to sit back and relax for a few minutes. Read a book, work in the garden, or sit on your porch and watch a rainstorm roll in. Take some time out of your busy day and do whatever it is that relaxes you. You will find that you are more centered and ready to accomplish any task.

14. Build relationships

Often, our homes are special because of the people we share them with. Don’t forget what truly makes your house a home. Take time to build those important relationships with the people you love.

 

Please share. What are some of the ways that you love your home?

 

 

 

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Midsummer Watering Tips

My Midsummer Night’s Dream

With the very top of summer sliding past,
I often wonder, what’s up with my grass?
It’s brown, it crackles,
It raises my hackles,
And I despair
That it is beyond repair.

It would be a midsummer night’s dream,
For my grass to appear a lush green,
Just in time for my soiree
Where we will play a lively round of croquet.

So dearest Titania, send me a fairy
“Over hill, over dale,
Thorough bush, thorough brier,
Over park, over pale,
Thorough flood, thorough fire. . . .
Swifter than the moon’s sphere . . .
To dew [my herbs] upon the green”
And thus fulfill my midsummer night’s dream.

Midsummer Watering Tips

All rhyming aside, (and due to lack of Shakespearian fairies) here are some tips to keep your yard looking lush and green through the rest of the summer:

  • Interval watering – do you have stubborn brown spots popping up on your lawn? Rather than adding more water, try interval watering. Water each zone for 10-15 minutes, and then repeat 2 more times. This allows the water to soak into the soil without running off into the neighbor’s yard or down the drain. Do this 2-3 times per week (or as needed).
  • Raise you lawn mower height. A slight raise in the length of your lawn protects the roots from the blaring summer sun and keeps your lawn looking healthier.
  • Sharpen your lawn mower blades. This cuts the grass rather than tearing it and protects your lawn from disease.
  • Keep those weeds down. Unwanted weeds compete with your existing landscaping for much needed water. Eliminating that competition helps your plants to thrive.

The Very Top of Summer

Pro Flo 7-Pattern Watering Wand With Thumb Control

“The first week of August hangs at the very top of summer, the top of the live-long year, like the highest seat of a Ferris wheel when it pauses in its turning. The weeks that come before are only a climb from balmy spring, and those that follow a drop to the chill of autumn, but the first week of August is motionless, and hot. It is curiously silent, too, with blank white dawns and glaring noons, and sunsets smeared with too much color.”

Natalie Babbitt’s classic book Tuck Everlasting represents discovering life and the wonders of the world.

Often, our tendency is to bury ourselves with tasks, projects, and good intentions until we are so busy we rush right past life.

And life, “like all magnificent things . . . [is] very simple.”

No matter what you have (or have not) accomplished this summer, there is still time to enjoy what’s left.

“Life’s got to be lived, no matter how long or short. You got to take what comes.”

So take a moment to enjoy the day. Consider something that you have wanted to do for a while and make plans to do it. You could:

  • Read a book
  • Go on a hike
  • Build that tree house
  • Enjoy your outdoor living space
  • Plant a garden
  • Stargaze
  • Roast Marshmallows

Sometimes, it is easy to forget that Orbit is more than just an irrigation company. We are a company built around making life easier and more enjoyable.

So let your sprinklers keep the grass green for those family barbeques and starry nights. Let your mist system create a comfortable outdoor living space.

As Tuck says: “Don’t be afraid of death; be afraid of an unlived life. You don’t have to live forever, you just have to live.”

Let us help you create a happy yard and a happy home.

*All quotes taken from Tuck Everlasting, by Natalie Babbitt

Hose Faucet Timers

Joke:

Three plants are talking to each other just after being watered. One says: “Tell me, how did he know we were thirsty? Who told him?”

Another answers: “I think one of us must be a plant.”

Okay, lame jokes aside, how do you know your plants are being consistently watered whether you are at home or away? One great solution is a hose faucet timer.

What is a hose faucet timer?

A hose faucet timer is a simple device that attaches to your faucet and automates hose watering. It is a great addition to your sprinkler system or, in some cases, can act as an independent watering system.

How does it work?

It’s pretty simple:

  • Attach the timer to your faucet
  • Connect your hose to your timer.
  • Set your watering preferences.
  • Go do everything else on that long to-do list you have.

Want to see for yourself? Just check out this video.

What are your options?

There are plenty of options, from a timer with one outlet for basic needs, to a timer with four outlets to create a whole watering system. So visit our website or your local home improvement store to learn more!

Water Conservation – Save Water and Money

Are you interested in water conservation?  Do you want to save money?  Just interested in having a beautiful yard?

You can save water and money.  Here’s how:

  • Start your sprinkler system right—inspect, repair, and adjust
  • Set your sprinkler timer schedule—aim to apply about 1”-1.5” of water per week during cooler months
  • Adjust your watering frequency—depending on the time of year, soil type, and plant needs

How much water am I using?

Sprinkler heads release water at the rate of about 1.5 to 3 Gallons per Minute (GPM).  So let’s say that you have 50 sprinkler heads releasing water at 3 GPM.  That means you are using 150 gallons of water per minute!  Now, run your sprinklers for 20 minutes and how much water are you using?

The answer: 3000 gallons of water!

What could I do with 3000 gallons of water?

That’s enough to fill: a 4’ x 18’ swimming pool (1900 Gal), a 4-person hot tub (700 Gal), and 10 bath tubs (400 Gal)!

Bigger isn’t Always Better

Many nutritionists suggest that eating smaller meals more frequently is better for your health.  In a similar way, it may be beneficial to break up watering duration for each zone into multiple cycles for optimal absorption.

As always, each yard is unique.  Consider your individual needs and factors—season, climate, plant and soil types, and other similar influences—for the best results.

Want to Learn More about Conservation?

Orbit believes in Conservation through Innovation.  With an increased awareness of our water usage and some easy adjustments we believe that everyone can have beautiful, eco-friendly yards.

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