Home Irrigation and Water Conservation– Can You Do Both?

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If you’ve got a green thumb, there’s no doubt that you care a lot about your property. It stands to reason that, as someone who values your land, you’re likely committed to caring for the environment as a whole. 

As more of the world focuses on green alternatives to everyday practices, lawn services and landscape maintenance practitioners are no exception. While many of us are taking shorter showers and riding bikes to work, property owners are also taking measures to ensure that the way they tend to their landscape is also eco-friendly. With as much water as it takes to maintain a landscape, water conservation may be the perfect place to start. 

It may seem like you have to choose: either you have a lush lawn and use excess water, or you can conserve water, but have a dull and lifeless lawn. 

While this may seem like a catch-22, you have other options! Here is what you need to know about conserving water while using a home irrigation system. 

Irrigation System Maintenance 

Making greener choices doesn’t always mean completely eliminating your daily activities that take a toll on the environment. When everyone does a little, it goes a long way to improving the state of the planet. 

One way to conserve water while still incorporating an irrigation system into your landscape maintenance is by making sure that your irrigation system is fully functioning. 

Aside from the fact that leaky sprinklers can jack up your water bill, malfunctioning irrigation systems can also waste precious water and lead to greater environmental impact. 

Regular maintenance of your irrigation system can keep you from wasting water. Check out this article for signs that your irrigation system needs to be repaired. 

Energy-Efficient Irrigation Systems

Another way to solve your lawn problems without harming the environment is to switch to a more efficient type of irrigation system. 

Using a system with time-controlled functions that can be easily adjusted as you experience rainfall can be helpful for conserving water. You can also set your system to water early in the morning, so that evaporation is reduced. 

The most efficient irrigation systems will also incorporate a rain sensor. Rain sensors are devices that can track how much rainfall an area of your property has received and can actually shut down any scheduled watering to prevent overwatering of the landscape. This way, you don’t waste water or damage your lawn. 

Holistically, you’ll also want to consider what kind of irrigation system is most appropriate for the area of land you’re watering. In-ground sprinklers are convenient, but they may be excessive for a small garden space and use more water than needed. Efficient irrigation begins with installation. 

Natural Irrigation 

The most eco-friendly irrigation system may not require excess water at all! 

Rainfall is obviously the most natural way for your landscape to maintain itself, but natural water may be of more use than you think. 

Rather than just letting water run off after a storm and losing valuable rainwater, consider containing extra rainwater and using it during dry spells. 

There are some sophisticated systems that can help you to maximize each rainfall. These systems will collect rainwater so you can lower your water bill and keep your lawn looking great without taxing the environment. 

If you’re looking for a low-maintenance way to harvest rainwater, it can be as simple as setting out some large empty barrels (especially near drainage pipes and gutter downspouts) and using the water in between rainfall. 

For property owners who want to care for the environment as much as they care for their own properties, expertise is key. The team at The Park Company has the exact skills necessary to tend to your property with eco-friendly practices that don’t sacrifice the beauty of your landscape design. 
Give us a call (615-350-6033) or contact us online today to see how The Parke Company difference can work for you.

How to Protect the Beauty of Your Home Landscaping in Tennessee’s Unpredictable Climate

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If you’re not too careful, you may make the mistake of assuming that Tennessee’s climate can be lumped in with other nearby states. By slapping the label “southern” on an area, you may assume that Tennessee’s yearly climate consists of dreadful summers, nonexistent  winters, and year-round warmth. 

While Tennessee could certainly be considered a southern state, its greatest diversity may not be how much it differs from surrounding states, but by how diverse the climates are within the state itself. 

Tennessee has a generally temperate climate, fostering somewhat pleasant weather year round, but its varied topography leads to a variety of climatic conditions that can be observed in the state.  

Given its wide range of topography, Tennessee is divided into six topographical regions: the Unaka Mountains, the Great Valley of East Tennessee, the Cumberland Plateau, the Highland Rim, the Central Basin, and the Gulf Coastal Plain.

The differences between mountains, plains, and valleys are vast and can make for some terribly unpredictable weather, regardless of where you’re located. 

Keeping the variety of Tennessee’s topographical features in mind, there is no one-size-fits-all method for caring for your landscape design. Here are some techniques to incorporate to your landscape maintenance throughout the year to combat a finicky climate. 

Irrigation Systems

As much as we may like to, none of us can control rainfall. It’s obviously incredibly important that your home landscaping receives the appropriate amount of water year round, regardless of the rainfall that occurs naturally. 

A simple solution to this is to install an irrigation system. By doing this, you can easily water your landscape and adjust quickly to changes in the weather. Rather than digging out your sprinkler from the back shed after you thought you were finished for the season, an irrigation system ensures that all areas of your property get the water they need to flourish all year long. 

This also includes factoring in drainage systems. The appropriate drainage system will help you deal with any unexpected rainfall or flooding, and it could be the saving grace to ensure that your landscape doesn’t drown in unpredictable weather. 

Plant with a Purpose

Proper lawn care and landscape maintenance begins before trimming and watering processes. The best landscapes are carefully designed with variable climates in mind. 

While your options for what to plant are somewhat regionally determined, there are a number of flowers and trees known to withstand a variety of climates. If you’re looking for a low maintenance addition to your landscape, one of these plants may be a wise idea if you’re looking for something that can withstand unexpected frost. 

According to Cassy Aoyagi, president of Form LA Landscaping, planting species that are native to your region is also a great way to proactively combat tenuous weather. Plants that have grown in your area for a while have had time to adapt to any common changes in the climate and the soil. These plants will be more resistant to disease and will self-adjust to many of the changes in climate.  

Proactive Maintenance

You’d be surprised at just how essential a routine cleanup job is to your property. An unpredictable climate can mean unusual growth and death that clutters your landscape. 

When trees suddenly shed leaves and branches, being unprepared for this change can pose a threat to the health of your property. Perhaps your trees drop a large number of leaves in the summer season before your planned leaf removal. Being out of season is no excuse for leaving this issue unresolved. 

If lots of leaves and branches stay on the ground, you risk leaves rotting and stifling the growth of grass and tree roots. Protecting the beauty of your landscape in unpredictable climates means being proactive and observant, quickly tending to issues when they arise and not waiting until the next season to tackle the problem. 

Swings in weather can also lead to growth of mold and fungus. If left untouched, these invaders can infect your property with disease and lead to the death of trees, shrubs, and other vital elements of your landscape. 

To avoid resorting to tree removal, be sure to incorporate proper tree maintenance and inspect your plants closely when there are unexpected shifts in the weather. 

Get an Evaluation 

Ultimately, there will be changes in the climate that you can’t prepare for. As the environment suffers more and more unusual swings in climate behavior, there is a chance that your property will endure unprecedented shifts in weather that take a toll on your landscape. 

The best way to protect the beauty of your landscape is by hiring a professional to evaluate your property’s needs and treat it accordingly. 

A certified arborist or lawn care specialist has the skills and know-how to critically assess your landscape’s unique needs. The Parke Company is staffed by specialists who are ready to help ensure that your property stays beautiful, regardless of nasty weather. 
Give us a call (615-350-6033) or contact us online today to see how The Parke Company difference can work for you.

Don’t Install New Landscaping Features Without First Doing This

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Variety is the spice of life, as they say. If you’re someone who invests a lot of time and energy into your landscape maintenance, you probably get a great deal of joy from creating a beautiful useful space. You may also find yourself wanting to incorporate new and exciting features to add to the beauty of your property.

If you’re often bored by maintaining the status quo of your landscape design, installing new features can be a great way to shake up the aesthetic of your property, but before you do so, make sure that you keep the following things in mind.

Work With What You Know

The only person who interacts with your yard on a daily basis is you. You know what has grown well in the past and which areas get enough shade or full sunlight. Mapping out these locations can be helpful for planning purposes. Use your knowledge and experience of your yard to plan any new additions accordingly.

It’s important to consider the unique terrain, soil quality, and light exposure of your property if you intend to install any new features in your landscape. While a cobblestone walkway may seem like a good idea, you know the particular incline of your property and should consider such factors when deciding what to install.

You also know best what your property will be used for. It is important to consider how the presence of children or pets in your yard will affect what you decide to install. A fountain may be a beautiful focal point to your property, but it could be dangerous if you have toddlers, or it could be one more thing for your dogs to splash around in.

When you’re deciding how to improve your landscape design, make sure that you use your previous knowledge of the property to inform your decision.  

Work With What is There

When thinking about your new landscape feature, remember that the rest of your yard is still there. That flashy gazebo or gorgeous footbridge may be just what you’ve always wanted in your yard, but if you’ve already got a pool, a back patio, and dense trees, it may only result in the congestion of your property.

Some landscape features can be moved or modified if you want to add something new to the existing design, but it’s important to consider what is already there and what is permanent.

On a less pragmatic level, it is also necessary to consider the aesthetic of your property. Will this new feature fit the theme that has already been established by your landscape design?

An eclectic property can either be a whimsical amalgamation of features or it can look like a reckless assembly. When you consider installing anything new to your existing landscape design, make sure that it will incorporate seamlessly with what you’ve already put together.

Work With a Professional

When you’re making a big change to your landscape design (or even a small one), having a second opinion is key to making sure that you don’t make any costly mistakes.

Working with a professional could give you the foresight to know whether or not the feature you want to install is feasible. While they can help you hammer out the details of installation and cost, they can also help you determine whether or not it is a wise aesthetic choice.

Consulting a lawn care and landscape professional is important because their experience can also help you envision the future of your landscape design. They will be able to foresee future issues and help you figure out how to prevent or prepare for them.

If you’re looking to develop your property and create a more exciting landscape, the experienced landscape and tree experts at The Parke Company know just how to meet your unique landscape service needs.

Give us a call (615-350-6033) or contact us online today to see how The Parke Company difference can work for you.

4 Signs Your Irrigation System May Need Repair

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The right irrigation system can be every property owners best friend. When functioning properly, irrigation systems ensure that the beauty of your landscape design is maintained, even when the weather is less than hospitable.

Caring for finicky plants and upkeep of green grasses requires that your irrigation system is running at top performance to ensure that the moisture content of your soil remains optimal.

On the other hand, if it isn’t functioning properly, a faulty irrigation system could spell trouble. Dying plants and flooded flower beds shouldn’t be your first clue that something is up. Do you know how to spot a damaged irrigation system?

For the best landscape maintenance, check out these four signs that your irrigation system may need repair.

1. Increased Water Costs

As a prudent property owner, you should be well aware of how much your water bill typically costs – and for more reasons than one. While this cost may fluctuate somewhat from season to season, a sudden skyrocketing of your water bill for lawn care may be a sign that your irrigation system is malfunctioning.

This may be one of the first and only ways to quantifiably assess that your irrigation system isn’t working properly.

An increase in your water bill tells you that the system is pumping more water than normal onto your property, either due to a glitch in its settings or a leak. In either case, it is vital to have a lawn care professional evaluate the damage immediately before any harm is done to your property.

2. Flooding

An over watered landscape doesn’t always look like a small pond has cropped up in your flower beds. When your irrigation system functions as it should, the appropriate amount of water should be distributed to the soil.

If you notice pooling of water anywhere near your irrigation system, this lawn problem could be a sign that maintenance is required to fix a leak.  

When evaluating the leak, check to see if the excess water is only showing up in certain places or if it appears to be along the entire line of irrigation. This could help pinpoint the area of concern and narrow the focus of your landscaping professional.

This is also a good opportunity to assess your drainage systems. Flooding can also be caused by an inability to sufficiently drain excess water that collects when an irrigation system releases too much water.

3. Dry Patches

Conversely, dry patches on your property can also be a bad sign. At this point, if there are dry patches along your irrigation system, your system has likely been malfunctioning long enough for parts of your lawn to die.

It is paramount that you seek a lawn care professional immediately to quickly mitigate the situation before any further damage is done to your landscape or to your irrigation system.

4. Leaking Valves

You would never let a leaky faucet go unaddressed. The same goes for leaking valves in your irrigation system.

While a little extra water around your spigots may not seem like a cause for concern, it is a clear sign that your irrigation system may need repair.

On its own, an extra few drops of water will not cause significant damage to your landscape, but left unattended, this small issue can turn into a crisis.

If excess water seeps into your soil, it can result in constant moisture around the roots of your plants which can harbor mold and cause serious damage.

Healthy Irrigation with The Parke Company

An irrigation system seems like a form of landscape maintenance that doesn’t require much attention: you can install the system and worry a little less about watering your property as frequently.

While irrigation systems are certainly a source of convenience, a malfunctioning system can be hazardous for your property. The experienced professionals at The Parke Company are uniquely qualified to help you evaluate irrigation system issues or any other lawn problems you may be experiencing.
Don’t leave your lawn service up to fate. Give the experts a call  at 615-350-6033 or contact us online today to see how The Parke Company difference can work for you.

Mulching 101: Choosing and Applying the Right Mulch for Maximum Growth

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As much as many of us would simply like to let nature takes its course when it comes to tending our property, the fact of the matter is that lush landscapes do not grow themselves and often need to be helped along.

Incorporating mulch is a time-tested method for maintaining a beautiful landscape design, but with the myriad options available for mulching, choosing the best one for your particular property can be challenging.

First and foremost, the type of mulch you select depends heavily on the project you have in mind. When people hear “mulch”, brightly colored wood chips often come to mind. While this may be an appropriate aesthetic choice, the harsh dyes and chemicals in this material do not foster growth; they would be much more appropriate to cover parts of your landscape that only need visual improvement.

Furthermore, once you have carefully selected the type of mulch you’ll use, ensuring optimal growth means more than just heaving bags of compost over the top of your garden or along the edges of your property.

If you want your landscape to be the crowning glory of your neighborhood, properly incorporating mulch is key. Here is everything you need to know about choosing and applying the right mulch for maximum growth.

Mulching How-Tos

Choosing the right kind of mulch may require a visit back to high school environmental science class.

What you want out of mulch is decomposition. Decomposition pulls nitrogen from the soil, which plants love.  

Nitrogen is vital to plant growth because it is a primary component of chlorophyll, the necessary chemical for photosynthesis. Even if you slept through science class, you probably still caught that photosynthesis is how plants use sunlight to grow.

Many mulch varieties boast of their nitrogen content, but the best mulch for your next project may depend on the specific plants you are trying to grow.

Gardens

For a garden growing fruits and vegetables, organic and inorganic mulches can be effective. In some circumstances, mulches like wood chips can still promote growth, but in a garden they are more likely to be a nuisance since you will be digging up that area frequently.

When selecting an inorganic mulch for gardens, choose ones that will help defend against weeds while still protecting the soil.

Using plastic mulch can be good for gardens with temperature-sensitive plants. A dark plastic sheet will retain heat overnight and keep your more delicate vegetation warm. These sheets can ward off weeds and also prevent too much rainwater from soaking through the ground and overwatering your plants. When applying this kind of mulch, be sure to bury or weigh down the edges of your sheet and make holes in the sheet to allow for growth.

Organic mulches both cover and nurture soil in gardens. As mentioned previously, an organic, decomposed mulch enriches the soil because of its nitrogen content.

Additionally, hay and straw can be effective mulches to help retain moisture in soil and well as offering nutrients during decomposition. It is vital, however, that the hay is seed-free so that you are not inviting any unwanted plants into your garden. You should also be careful not to lay the hay or straw too close to the stems of your plants. This can attract slugs and other pests.

Trees

Mulch can also be a helpful tool if you’ve planted a tree and want to boost its growth. Mulch can be helpful for maintaining moisture in the soil around a tree’s roots, adding nutrients, and reducing damage to roots caused by lawn mowing (and damage to lawn mowers caused by tree roots!).

When it comes to these hardier plants though, the type of mulch used is less important than how the mulch is applied.

Much like garden plants, it is vital to avoid laying your mulch too close to the tree’s roots. This “volcano effect” occurs when mulch is piled high around a tree trunk and it can often result in too much moisture buildup which leads to root rot.

To avoid this pitfall, follow these few steps from The Arbor Day Foundation for the best tree care when laying mulch:

  • Remove all grass from around the base of the tree within a three to ten-foot radius (depending on the size of the tree).
  • Pour your mulch (they do recommend organic) within the circle about two to four inches deep
  • After pouring, double-check that the mulch is not touching the tree’s trunk.

From hardy oak trees to dainty tomato plants, incorporating mulch into your regular landscape maintenance could be what helps you achieve the lush property you’ve dreamed of. If you’re reticent about adding a new practice to your landscaping techniques, fear not! The certified arborists and landscaping professionals at The Parke Company are knowledgeable and experienced in how to cater to your property’s specific needs.

Give us a call (615-350-6033) or contact us online today to see how The Parke Company difference can work for you.