Install Christmas lights without stress this year

Save time and aggravation by hiring a local decorator to adorn your home this holiday

There’s nothing like the sight of a beautifully-decorated home with dazzling lights to signal the arrival of the holidays. But, nothing can be more aggravating than that annual chore of hanging the lights, wrestling that old ladder and untangling strand after strand of lights.

If you’re like me, it seems holiday stress tends to rise with over-commitments, over-spending, over-eating, and over-indulging – all done with the hopes of making everything perfect and memorable.  That’s why I recommend letting someone else the climb the ladder, negotiate the roof, handle the electrical, and do the lighting and decorating – so you can achieve a happier and safer holiday season.

Call Tim Scott for help with light installation at 827-5296


Tim Scott, lighting manager for Christmas Décor of Reno sums it up this way, “There are two unspoken rules to hanging lights and decorating. One, whenever you decide to put up the decorations, the weather will turn bad. Two, it will always take longer than you thought.”

“That’s where we come in,” says Tim. “When you recruit help for the lighting and decorating, you know it will be done with attention to every detail because the installation is done to your personal specifications. We’re not done until you’re a smiling Christmas Elf yourself!” he chuckles.

Christmas Decor - Caughin RanchWhen hiring a lighting company like Christmas Decor (managed by Signature Landscapes), you should always check to ensure the company is fully insured and expertly trained. And by trained, a friendly uniformed crew should really understand what it takes to get on your roof, not break a tile or damage the delicate wood fascia, and most importantly how to navigate all types of ladders. Safety is king when it comes to hanging Christmas lights.

On the lighter side, Tim says he’s already received calls for lights and overwhelming requests are for the newer LED lights. “These lights are the strongest and most durable lights you can get and their power savings are 1/100th the energy of larger, traditional bulbs. When you consider how long these thousands of bulbs are powered on each night you will quickly notice the effect of the more efficient LEDs in your NV Energy bill. Plus with the newer technology the bulbs now have that warm glow versus that stark bright neon look from earlier LED products.”

In addition to the installation of your décor, you’ll want to make sure you’re to receive proactive drive-by maintenance, and of course, prompt take-down. Some companies, like Christmas Décor, will store your materials during the off season too.

Installation from start to finish usually takes about 6 hours. This includes wrapping the trees and hanging garland. Some of the larger properties can take much longer depending on the depth of their lighting and decor, so plan ahead and get on the install schedule early.

“Our clients want an impeccably-decorated home,” said Tim.  “Whether entertaining guests, lighting the family home, or creating a warm and welcome environment for business customers, people are discovering that using the services of a professional really lowers stress levels for the holidays.”

 

Annuals Bestow Instant Burst of Color

Perhaps one reason people like annual flower plantings is precisely because they change from season to season – and they provide an instant show of color after the gray of winter. Because annual varieties die at the first freeze, each spring offers new opportunities to experiment with new color palettes and flower types.

Read more via Signature Landscape: Kansas Citys Premier Commercial Grounds Maintenance Company » Annuals Bestow Instant Burst of Color.

Tips for a Pet-Friendly yard

It will be easier to keep your dog out of the proverbial dog house if you do what it takes to make your yard pet-friendly.
Here are a few pet-wise accommodations to give your pet a safer place outdoors.

Deal with puddles that lead to muddy paw prints. Dogs don’t walk around puddles and sporting breeds instinctively dig when they see water. So if puddles are your problem, fill in low areas that collect water. If poor drainage is the cause, address the bigger issue. Quick and simple fixes are to place rocks, gravel or bricks in depressions to keep paws out of the mud.

Need help? Schedule a FREE Consultation with the pros in our Landscape Design Center to learn how to create a yard that both you and your pet enjoy. Simply call (775) 857-4333 or visit our only service request page to start today.


Wipe out well-worn paths across the yard. Dogs often have a favorite path across the yard that stamps out the lawn or the ground cover in beds. It’s unlikely you’ll get your dog to change its route, so place pave stones where he walks across the lawn or in the flower bed. This deals with the unsightliness, helps with mud and lets your pet to stay on its critical path.

Create shade. Female dogs in particular like to dig nests in the cool spaces next to foundations. In wet weather, these holes fill with water, make muddy paws and can lead to foundation problems. If there are no shade trees, make sure the dog has access to the patio or the north and east sides of the house. A dog will duck into the shade of the trampoline or other structures if you make the area accessible.

Don’t deck your dog! We love time out on the deck, but it’s not a safe place for dogs. Wood decks often have splinters if not sanded regularly. Dark woods absorb heat and can create conditions leading to heat stroke. If you’re building a deck, look at the lighter recycled products that are cooler and splinter free. They are also less maintenance for you and sustainable. Unless your deck is well shaded, put the dog under it rather than on it.

 

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.

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.