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.

Ground Cover: Right or Wrong for Your Yard?

Ground cover

For homeowners, a lawn is both a blessing and curse. When a lawn is lush and well-maintained it greatly increases the property’s curb appeal. But if left unchecked for too long, a yard can quickly devolve into a warzone. Weeds, dead grass, tall grass, fungi, and other unwanted guests can infest this space at an alarming rate. It takes a lot more effort to undo the damage of these lawn problems than it does to prevent them from occurring. One way to protect a lawn from such chaos is by planting ground cover. But is ground cover the cure for every yard?

What is Ground Cover?

Ground cover refers to several species of plant that grow low to the topsoil, including grass. These plants help keep the soil hydrated and cool while warding off unwanted weeds. Though grass is a type of ground cover, people often categorize it separately because it is the most common type of cover for lawns (i.e. when we think of lawns we think of grass). Ground cover comes in many varieties, including the succulent Stonecrop, colorful Creeping Phlox, and darker Brass Buttons.

Which Yards Benefit from Ground Cover?

In truth, just about any yard can use some ground cover. It’s partially an aesthetic decision, though it also makes a big difference in terms of lawn maintenance. The majority of ground cover plants don’t rapidly grow upward like standard grass. This means that lawn mowing isn’t necessary over these spots. Some species will require a little trimming here and there, but for the most part, ground cover is extremely low-maintenance.

Yards that often experience bare spots and/or weed growth are prime candidates for ground cover. Since these plants help maintain the topsoil, they can often grow in these otherwise barren locations, filling out one’s yard while adding new texture and color. Ground cover, as previously mentioned, also stops weeds from growing, essentially maintaining itself. Those who enjoy gardening can also make good use of groundcover. With so many options, you can create patterns and outlines using groundcover to create a border or fill in a garden and protect it from unwanted weeds.

Is Ground Cover Ever Wrong for a Yard?

In short: no. It’s really a matter of taste and practicality. If you don’t have time to maintain your lawn and can’t afford to hire lawn services, installing ground cover makes a lot of sense. It will save you time and money on every aspect of yard maintenance. However, many homeowners would rather have grass fill their yard. This simply requires more effort in terms of watering, weeding, mowing, and fertilizing. Most people opt for a combination of traditional grass and ground cover. This way, bare spots and problem areas can be addressed with minimal effort, and the lawn as a whole still retains that classic look.

Everyone wants a beautiful, healthy lawn. If you’re struggling to achieve or maintain this, The Parke Company can help. We provide customers with complete landscaping services, including irrigation, maintenance, tree removal and trimming, stump grinding, and more. Whether you want to try some new ground cover or simply fix up a damaged lawn, give us a call today at (615)-350-6033.

The Year Round Guide to Maintaining Landscaping Irrigation Systems in Nashville

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No matter the size of your lawn and gardens, irrigation can have many benefits for your property and should be a key component of your lawn maintenance plan. An individualized, thought out, properly installed and maintained irrigation system can save you money and time, as well as conserve water. These benefits alone make it both a sensible and an environmentally conscious way to improve your property.

However, an irrigation system that is poorly planned, improperly installed, or not maintained can have the opposite effect and end up costing you both time and money in the long-term. Therefore, it is incredibly important to consult a highly trained landscape professional for every aspect of your irrigation planning, installation, and maintenance needs.

Maintenance Can Make or Break an Irrigation System

A well designed and installed irrigation system is only as efficient and effective as its maintenance plan. An unmaintained or improperly maintained system can be wracked by a plethora of issues. Broken or cracked pipes can leak. This will end up costing you money, interrupting irrigation, and flooding your property. Tilted, sunken, or improperly installed spray heads provide uneven water distribution and can lead to dry patches and overly saturated areas. Blocked or improperly placed heads (such as behind a tree) can also lead to large portions of your lawn or garden not receiving adequate irrigation. Timers that are either broken or not properly set up can lead to over or under watering, or can foster a system that irrigates during the hottest hours of the day when evaporation will undermine the effectiveness of your irrigation system. Additionally, water pressure that is either too high or too low can lead to evaporation, flooding, or inefficient coverage, and can potentially damage your lawn or garden.

All of these issues can be identified, mitigated, or corrected through frequent and proper irrigation system maintenance. Ideally, your system should be checked monthly, though seasonal maintenance is a minimum. Below are the steps that should be taken seasonally to ensure that your irrigation system is running as smoothly, effectively, and efficiently as possible.

Please note: a professional irrigation company should always be utilized to guarantee proper servicing of your specific system. Though do-it-yourself irrigation system installations and fixes may be tempting, improper care can simply be too risky and too costly.

Winter Maintenance

Winter irrigation preparation and maintenance is vitally important in order to prevent damages during the colder months. Winterization is a necessary step for all irrigation systems in Tennessee.

The first step is to shut off the main water source and to open manual drain valves to allow gravity to facilitate drainage. If you have an automatic controller, it is also very important to shut this off or switch it to manual. Next, your newly empty system should be pressurized with compressed air. This should be done to each system or zone until the heads in all zones blow air, ensuring full system compression and drainage. Finally, your controllers should be reset to automatic to run a few minutes every month over the winter.

Seem complicated? It is. This is why we strongly recommend hiring a professional to help facilitate the winterization of your irrigation system.

Spring Maintenance

Proper spring startup of your irrigation system is just as important as effective winterization. Start by making sure you have all the necessary replacement parts on hand. If you uncover any issues during the repressurization process, it is important to be able to fix them quickly. Next, test your lawns and gardens to ensure they are frost free. For a buried system, you should also check the soil to the depth of the pipes. Filling frozen pipes with water is an all but guaranteed way to crack or break them. Finally, if the system seems ready, close all manual drains and re-open the main valve to the water supply. Once each zone has water flowing, thoroughly check your system for damages sustained during the winter months. Even a small crack or a slightly relocated or realigned head could result in costly water loss or improper watering in the long run.

Summer & Fall Maintenance

Though not as important as winterization and spring startup, consistent maintenance throughout the summer and fall months is paramount to a well-functioning irrigation system. Your system should be frequently and thoroughly inspected for leaks; misaligned, sunken, or clogged heads; improperly set timers; irregularities in valves and flow; insufficient water pressure, etc. Any problems that are discovered during routine inspections should be swiftly and effectively dealt with to maintain the integrity of your irrigation systems.

It Doesn’t Stop at Maintenance – Other Irrigation Support

From planning to installation, maintenance to monitoring, and everything in between, The Parke Company is here to help you and support your irrigation system. We offer a wide variety of irrigation and lawn services, and have the skills and experience to meet your irrigation needs, whatever they may be. Our expert irrigators not only ensure excellence in design, installation techniques, and equipment used, but they are also specialists in water and resource conservation. Using pressure-regulated sprays and proper scheduling can make a substantial environmental impact. We’ll make sure you get the best advice when planning your irrigation project to ensure you create the perfect system to fit your needs. Whether you are looking for a new installation or seasonal tune-up, it’s important to remember that your irrigation system is a vital part of your landscaping investment.

Whatever Your Irrigation Needs Are, Let The Parke Company Go to Work for You

Locally owned and operated, The Parke Company provides community-centered, high quality, and affordable tree and landscaping services to municipalities, businesses, and private residences in the greater Nashville area. We know Nashville. When it comes to irrigation, we know the soil, water tables, and the specific water requirements for species endemic to Tennessee. Our certified team of Nashville locals has a reputation for being clean, consistent, professional, and for being leaders in their industries. We at The Parke Company stand behind our work and pride ourselves on our ability to respond quickly, provide efficient and cost-effective services, and meet your needs every step of the way.

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

Irrigation Project Plan: The Key Decisions to Consider to Plan Your Irrigation Project

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What does it take to ensure you have a truly perfect yard, a yard that’s inevitably the envy of the block? It can often start with the perfect irrigation plan. The Parke Company can help you plan, install, test, and maintain an irrigation system that will ensure your plants flourish for years to come. Here are some important aspects to consider as you plan your ideal irrigation project.

Irrigation Project Planning and Design

Before any planning can start, it is critical to measure and draw your property lines, examining the property carefully, and making a map that can be referred to as key decisions are made. During the irrigation system planning and designing process any and all obstacles must be considered –  driveways, walkways, trees, shrubs, decks, etc.

The next crucial step is to identify the different areas of your property (lawn, vegetable garden, flower beds, groves, etc.) and designate watering zones based on the needs of each area. Different watering zones will require different sprinkler heads. An analysis of the watering needs for each area should happen before any key decisions are made. Watering zones should be determined based on the characteristics of the soil, amount of natural light, and the water needs of the plants within that zone. Different plants will, of course, have different watering needs, and shaded areas have different water requirements than those exposed to lots of sun. A well-designed irrigation system will have one type of sprinkler head per watering zone. Each zone will thus use the same type of sprinkler head and have its own valve and appropriate sized pipe to serve those sprinklers. Your irrigation system design should ensure that sprinklers are spaced evenly and spray patterns overlap for complete coverage that makes certain there are no dry patches in your plan.

Key Components For Your Irrigation Project

The key components needed to implement an irrigation system are proper irrigation pipes, sprinkler heads, and valves (preferably with timers). Before you make key decisions around what types of components are needed to implement your irrigation plan, you’ll need to determine the water flow of the entire system. This will inform decisions around what size pipes you will need, how many sprinkler heads you will need, and what type of valves are best suited for your specific needs. Your water source’s GPM (gallons per minute) will also need to be measured in order to design and implement an irrigation plan that best suits your property.

When it comes to irrigation pipes, the pipe length, the number of sprinkler heads the pipe serves, and the water flow (or GPM) for each pipe will determine what size pipe belongs where in your irrigation system. Each watering zone will also require appropriate sized sprinkler heads. Lawn maintenance, for example, will require large sprinklers while flower beds benefit from smaller sprinklers. It is vital that you choose a sprinkler that thoroughly covers the watering zone. Other considerations include whether the area would benefit more from a rotating (rotor) sprinkler head or a fixed spray head. Once you’ve decided what type of sprinkler heads go where, ensure that you have the correct number of sprinkler heads to adequately water the area. Once the layout of water lines and sprinkler heads has been decided, it is important to establish the best placement for the system’s main shut-off valve, which will be connected to the sprinkler valve manifolds. A backflow prevention device valve will also be a vital part of your system in order to prevent unwanted materials from backflowing into your main water supply. Timers are also great assets to include in a quality irrigation system.

Further Considerations to Keep in Mind as You Plan Your Irrigation System

Water conservation should be a primary consideration as you plan your irrigation system. Conserving water is not only vital for the environment, it also prevents excessive water runoff that can cause damage to your lawn. Moreover, water conservation saves you money as it often results in lower utility costs. There are a variety of ways to ensure your system uses optimal water conservation techniques. For starters, you’ll want to set up the system to ensure you are only watering areas that need it while avoiding pavement or other areas that don’t need to be watered. The system should only water at night and in the early morning to prevent evaporation. Timers should be used as efficiently as possible and it is often a good idea to install a rain sensor so the system shuts off during rainfall. You’ll want to choose the smallest sprinkler heads required to cover each watering zone and keep in mind that short bursts of watering are often better than extended periods.

Additional information to consider when making decisions around your irrigation system include potential winterizing strategies, recommendations around what type of underground piping you should use in your area, and even whether or not your area requires permits or has any regulations around irrigation systems.

Let The Parke Company Help Plan the Perfect Irrigation System for You

The Parke Company’s irrigation services include the installation of new systems, re-energizing existing systems, additions and repairs to existing systems, backflow testing, and winterization and spring start up of systems. Our expert irrigators not only ensure excellence in design, installation techniques, and equipment used, but they are also specialists in water and resource conservation. Using pressure-regulated sprays and proper scheduling can make a substantial environmental impact. We’ll make sure you get the best advice when planning your irrigation project to ensure you create the perfect system to fit your needs. Whether you are looking for a new installation or seasonal tune-up, see why an irrigation system is a vital part of your landscaping investment.

Locally owned and operated, The Parke Company provides community-centered, high quality, and affordable tree and landscaping services to municipalities, businesses, and private residences in the greater Nashville area. Our certified team of Nashville arborists and irrigation professionals has a reputation for being clean, consistent, and professional and for being leaders in their industries. We at The Parke Company stand behind our work and pride ourselves on our ability to respond quickly, provide efficient and cost-effective services, and meet your needs every step of the way. To inquire further about The Parke Company’s top-notch lawn services, please feel free to give us a call (615-350-6033) or contact us online today to see how The Parke Company difference can work for you.