Northern Nevada Drought – Things you should know as you program your irrigation clocks

It’s a warm, dry spring and we’ve known for months the Truckee Meadows is in for a very dry summer.

So…other than an extremely elevated FIRE season, what does this mean for all of us who have a front lawn to mow, veggie seeds in the ground and a some trees to offer cools shade on the hot side of the house?  Can we tend to our plants and still save water?

Lawn watering tip for now through mid-June:  After watering the grass, let the top 1/2″ of the soil dry out before watering again.  This is when the roots are growing deep to seek water in the soil.  By letting that top 1/2″ dry out, you’re building a more healthy, drought tolerant lawn.

Here are some things to consider:

  1. While landscapes do take water, they also give back. Landscaping is part of our eco-system that cleans the air, shades buildings, mitigates pollution in both the air and storm water, produces food and cools the urban environment. Landscapes give back to us much more than they take.
  2. Water-deprived landscapes become unhealthy ones that are susceptible to weeds and disease. Even in dry times, we need to protect the long-term value of our landscapes while conserving water. LOW water does not mean NO water. We simply need to water responsibly.
  3. Now is the time to get busy and do the things that save water–like simple, budget-friendly upgrades to the sprinkler system.  Irrigation clocks/timers/controllers are terribly sophisticated these days – and the price on the good ones are surprisingly affordable. Plus they’re very user friendly!

Remember Xeriscapes from years gone by?  Now a globally-known concept, it was invented in Colorado about 30 years ago and its principles apply today.  Xeriscape isn’t a “look” or a specific kind of landscape, rather, it’s a whole system that starts in the soil and ends with a rich plant palette and vibrant healthy landscape.

What it looks like in your yard is up to personal preference and individual interpretation that comes about with a good design.  If you’re planning to renovate or installing a new landscape this year, check out what Xeriscape really means, because that vision of rocks and yucca plants is nothing more than pure urban legend!

Call our Landscape Design Center at (775) 857-4333 and schedule a free consultation to help visualize how a water-smart landscape could actually save you money while looking the best on the block.

Plus, all new landscapes qualify for our 180-Days Same-As-Cash landscape and paver program. So you can take your own sweet time to pay a landscape to last you and your family a lifetime.

Support your local farmers this Saturday

Biggest Little Cooperative in the West

Support your local farmers this Saturday at the Grand Opening Block Party and Seedling Sale.

Where (map): Great Basin Community Food Coop, 240 Court Street in Reno
When: Saturday, May 26th from 9am to 1pm

The Grand Opening event will showcase the best of sustainable organizations in northern Nevada, including our finest organic and natural farmers and producers, independent crafters, urban gardeners, educators, and bicyclists.

Court Street will be closed off for a farmers’ market style setup with local farmers selling fresh, local, green seedlings and edible plants for your garden. These plants have been carefully nurtured from area farmers, from as far away as Mewaldt & Lattin Farms in Fallon, Churchill Butte Farms in northern Lyon county, and from local growers like Loping Coyote farms and Reno High School’s Sustainable Agriculture Project.

Support local!

Reposted from Local Food Network email!

Award Winning Night Gives Signature Two Landscape Trophies

  • BEST RESIDENTIAL LANDSCAPE UNDER $1 MILLION
  • BEST OUTDOOR LIVING

Brian Dean, ISA, ASCA

Our design and installation team walked away with two huge awards for Residential Landscape Artistry at the 2011 BANNer Awards. Our resident Plant Guru, Brian Dean, was the fellow in charge of the evening as he picked up the two awards. That’s him in the snappy vest! Click the two links below to find out how we did it – and view some nice photos too!

Contact our Landscape Design Center to learn a little more about the award-winning Signature Landscapes design and consultation process. We’re so proud of these homes and we really want to thank the home owners for allowing us to spread our wings and design such beautiful work!

Best Residential Landscape 2011

Functional elegance forms this large landscape – White’s Creek Area

Bare dirt & boulders transformed into a beautiful family home

The Rowe’s residence is a large stucco Tanamera home built in the shadow of Mt. Rose/Galena area of South Reno. The bare-dirt footprint was almost one-half acre, surrounded by large scrub brush, randomly placed pines, and some cottonwood growing in a ditch behind the property. So overall, this was a blank canvas suitable for any design.

Our instructions were initially simple; use as much color as possible, create a unique landscape feature, and make sure a mountain theme rolls through the entire design.

Our team, lead by our designer, Brian Dean, broke the project down to three production pieces. In 2011, we have seen completion of the first two important phases and have turned this standard home into a showcase property for the owner as well as Tanamera Development.

Due to the large square footage of the driveway and entry walk, we chose an older-style of paver in a muted but colorful pattern to match the surrounding environment – the look was to mimic that of an older dirt/DG driveway.

PHASED DEVELOPMENT

Two first two phases have integrated color wherever and whenever possible. Flowering plants as well as foliage in greens and reds were used to accomplish this natural but vibrant palette – colors that will provide substance during the winter as well. Taking advantage of the property’s large boulders, and to continue the mountain theme, two aspen groves and Austrian pines were integrated into the front yard.

The backyard area was designed for entertaining and privacy. A functional vineyard on the east side gives a wine country feel to the viewer, as well as an untraditional whimsy not typically felt in a Truckee Meadows property. A third patio within the vineyard is designed for the phase three, slated to begin in early spring 2012.

Using natural boulders around the entire property helped to set the home within the Mt Rose scenery perfectly. Drip irrigation was key to keeping the water-usage numbers reasonable. Limited turf still allows cooling to the house in hot summer months, while keeping the largest water consumer at bay.

Overall, this landscape showcases how a colorful and complex outdoor environment can be attained without breaking the bank, can be simple to maintain for years following installation, and will deliver immediate satisfaction for the homeowner and guests for generations to come

Complicated Tree Removal with 90-Ton Crane

Saturday morning in west Reno time-lapse video…

Signature Landscapes and NV Energy crews carefully worked together to remove giant branches overhanging high-power lines in west Reno last Saturday. This significant project was actually just the first step in a multi-day project that will result in the removal of two giants – an 85 foot tall cottonwood and a 90 foot tall Siberian elm. Each nestled deep in the back yard, bordering a day care and other neighbors.

Cottonwood and Elm removal

As you can see, the neighborhood was out to watch this delicate balance of engineering and skill as the Signature Landscapes and NV Energy crews removed the trees.


Reno Tree Removal photo gallery

Second Annual Cal-Neva Border Blitz Nets 16 Phony Contractors

Individuals on probation for theft and burglary were among those who bid on the Lake Tahoe area projects.

via Second Annual Cal-Neva Border Blitz Nets 16 Phony Contractors.

We cannot stress enough, the importance of hiring legitimate, licensed and bonded companies for your landscape (or any other work) projects.

The decks are stacked against you the minute you agree to let them on your property. If you have any concerns about a current contractor working for you, give us a call. We’ll try to help you out of any pickle you find yourself in.

Call us at (775) 857-4333 to learn more about the benefits of a reputable, licensed landscape company, like Signature Landscapes.

REDUCE AND DIVERSIFY WITH X-E-R-I-S-C-A-P-E!

Reducing turf areas, lowering water costs and bringing a more organic look to the landscape was the big ‘to do’ for us in 2009. In other words, Xeriscaping was back into favor with homeowners, designers and contractors. I have a good feeling it’s going to top 2010 project list again.

Now, before you get the idea this translates to a few cacti, scotch broom and a cover of river-rock mulch, you just might want to take a new look at Xeriscaping. At its most basic, this is a practice designed to help make low-water-use landscaping an easily recognized concept. Here in the Truckee Meadows, water costs, mandatory watering schedules and plant deaths have demonstrated Xeriscaping is a smart choice and can look magnificent.

Xeriscaping represents a multi-step approach to incorporate soil amendments, compatible plant material and efficient irrigation into a well thought-out design. Try to look at your landscape in a simpler way and choose appropriate plants, native and naturalized, for our area. Use plantings that will survive and thrive Northern Nevada’s climate. And think organically at all times; part of your overall earth-wise gardening solution will conserve water with native and adapted plants and consume less synthetic pesticides and fertilizers, while reducing emissions from lawn equipment.

Planted veggies line a walkway

You don’ have to sacrifice style and grace to create a beautiful Xeriscaped garden. Instead of roses, peonies and Hydrangeas in flower beds, showcase the plants in a pot or urn that can be appreciated close up and maintained easier. For a green, clipped European-themed garden, you can spend a lot less effort, money and water using native plants to achieve the great designs and the first place to start is by asking questions of your landscaper or nursery. They have the professionals on staff with the native plant knowledge to steer you in the right direction.

 

 

 

Xeriscaping can reduce landscape water use by 60 percent or more and increase property values by as much as 15 percent, according to Colorado WaterWise – an agency focused on promoting water-efficient landscaping


Be Water Smart

Drip irrigation is gaining popularity in our state as we’ve begun to experience more drought and watering restrictions and should be part of our commitment to the intelligent use of water. Drip products are made of control zone components that control water flow (valves, filters and pressure regulators), distribution components that get water where it needs to go (blank tubing or dripline emitter tubing) and emission devices (drip emitters and low volume microsprays).
Drip systems are often the perfect solution for sparse planting schemes. Applying water directly to the plant roots without watering the areas in between, you not only cut down water use but also help prevent weed growth. It’s also ideal for plantings near buildings and paved areas, greatly reducing runoff and overspray that are wasteful and can ruin wooden structures – such as your fence or the side of your house.

Grass is still OK!

Xeriscape garden does not have to look dry and desolate, and it doesn’t require the absolute absence of turf grass. We loves turf and use it frequently in moderation as in a ‘turf medallion’ in an arid-type garden, or as a focal point, a destination or a way to set off the plantings that surround it. Your landscape will still benefit from turf’s summer cooling properties and even more exciting, the sizeable water expense savings.

Also, you might highlight interesting architecture and use brightly painted yard art, urns, stones and plants with colorful flowers, foliage, fruit and bark to lend year-round intrigue to a Xeriscape.

For any questions about how you can produce a wonderful Xeriscaped landscape, give your landscape professional or nursery a call. They’ll spend the time to provide you with smart, affordable ideas on how you can transition your old-school yard into a stylish, sturdy outdoor environment designed for Nevada.

Hiring a landscape contractor Q&A

Question: I’m evaluating a landscape contractor who has a current
contractor’s license. That’s all I should be concerned about, right?

Brian Dean, ISA Arborist, ASCA

It’s a common misconception that a contractor’s license relieves you, the homeowner of liability should a worker get hurt while on your landscaping job. Unfortunately, that’s far from the truth. A contractor’s license only stipulates qualifications to perform certain work. It doesn’t mean the contractor has provided his workers all the necessary insurance as required by law.

Without workers comp and liability insurance, homeowners are often shocked to find themselves the target of lawsuits by injured workers.

When considering a landscaper, always be certain:
  • Your contractor is actually the person named on the license.
  • Workers compensation and liability insurance are in place and both are current. Insist on viewing the documentation.
  • Request references and contact them.
  • Get a written estimate with timeline.
  • Insist on Landscape Industry Certified technicians.
“You don’t really purchase a landscape. You buy the services of a landscape contractor to install and construct the project you want.”

When shopping your next landscape project, you’ll likely find a substantial gap between the highest and lowest bids. If this is the case for you, begin by asking questions specific to insurance and liability. If the contractor fails to provide reliable answers, you’ll be smart to move on. There are ample highly qualified and respectable landscape contractors in the Truckee Meadows. This talent pool will allow you to make a choice based upon the integrity of the contractor rather than the lowest price freelancer.

The bottom line: As with any major construction project, solid due diligence always pays for itself. Licensed contractors are regulated by laws designed to protect the public, are bonded, and must successfully complete arduous testing to acquire a license. Unlicensed persons, typically, are not bonded and may not have liability or workers’ compensation insurance. If you hire an unlicensed person, you may be financially responsible if injuries, fire, or other property damage results.