Making Your Yard Festive for the Holidays

The holiday season is here, have you done your decorating yet? While many people will deck their halls and make the insides of their homes a winter wonderland, the yard and landscape are often overlooked. Don’t skimp out on your curb appeal- follow these tips to make your yard festive and welcoming for the holiday season:

Touch Up Your Walk Way

You want your guests to feel welcomed and excited to enter your home. To help with this effect, consider redoing your walkway. With the increasingly shorter days, a little extra lighting will keep everyone safe, especially as things get increasingly icy with the cold weather. Additionally, if the stones or bricks that you currently have lining your path are dingy, old, and worn down, it may be time for a makeover. You can take a seasonal approach to this project by lining your space with lights shaped like elves or candy cane or focus on fixtures that you can display throughout the whole year. Regardless, both you and your guests will be thankful for the extra lighting

Add Planters

Another way to add life to your space in the cold is by investing in holidays planters. This beautiful burst of color will help to make your yard and deck beautiful and vibrant. You can buy planters with evergreen and birch to last throughout the holiday. Spruce up your planters with pinecones, ribbons, and ornaments to give them a night holiday feel. Planters are an elegant way to add some decoration to your home for the season.

String Some Lights

The same old Christmas lights can seem a tad boring, but with a little creativity, you can add a fun new twist. You can line your house and porch with strings of lights but have also you considered draping them throughout the trees and other foliage? Instead of traditional white lights, invest in other colors to add some flare. You can also get icicle-like hanging strands that can give your front porch a great wintery theme. Add some lights to unusual places, like light posts and mailboxes, to add some shimmer. The more lights, the merrier.

Add Some Foliage

While many of your plants will suffer in the winter months, maybe it’s time to rethink your landscaping scheme. Wintergreen boxwood, coneflowers, blue spruces, and catmints are just some of the many plants that can survive and thrive in the winter. Adding new foliage will help to give a feeling of life to your yard that may otherwise be looking a little barren in the season. If you are confused or unsure of what plants will do well during the season in your space, give us a call. We can help you make a landscaping plan to meet your needs and to help your yard stay vibrant the whole winter long.

Revamp Your Deck

If you don’t have a porch or deck, now may be the perfect time to consider adding one. With the weather getting colder and colder, you will want a space where you can enjoy being outdoors, even for a little. A furbished deck or patio is the perfect spot to sit outside and entertain company. You can add a firepit or heat lamps for warmth and decorate your space to entertain. In addition to keeping you happy and cozy, these additions will also help with your curb appeal and the overall value of your home. If you already have a deck or porch but just aren’t crazy about their look, feel, or layout, use this time to do a quick remodel. You’ll be so excited to have them when the weather gets warm again.

No matter how you decide to decorate for the holidays, don’t skip out on your landscape! And, as always, if you need any help, call the experts at Hidden Creek Landscaping. We will help you get your space ready for the holidays and the new year!  

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Winterizing Your Sprinkler System

With the harsh winter weather coming up fast, it is important to take some time to prepare your home for the elements. One preparation that is often overlooked by homeowners is preparing your sprinkler system for the cold weather. Doing so can help avoid damaged valves, seals, and pipes when warmer weather returns. Without proper winterizing, you may be faced with steep costs to repair any damages.

Where to Begin

The most important thing to remember when winterizing your sprinkler system is that any water remaining in it must be blown out. Harsh winter temperatures can cause any water left behind to freeze and expand, resulting in damage to the metal and plastic components of the sprinkler system.

You will need an air compressor to prepare your system. You can rent an air compressor from an equipment rental company, hire a plumber who is qualified to perform this service or contact the company that initially installed the system and have them do it.

What You’ll Need

If you have an air compressor, you should have the following items to winterize your sprinkler system:

  • Safety glasses for eye protection
  • Your sprinkler system user manual in case you have any questions
  • Metal fitting for the airline on the compressor
  • Insulated blanket (if applicable)
  • Stop and waste valve key (if applicable)

The Process

The first step in preparing your sprinkler system for winter is turning off the water supply to the system. Your shut-off valve will be in a valve box, which is typically found in your basement, garage, or another space that will protect it from freezing. Your shut-off valve could also be located up to five feet underground, and you will need a key to turn it off. It should not require much effort to turn your shut-off valve off; however, you do not want to force it and risk damage to the valve. Sprinkler systems that utilize a pump for the operation must be drained and disconnected. If possible, store your sprinkler system pump inside for the winter months. For pumps that are permanently in place, this is where you will need the insulated blanket to protect it from the elements.

The next step in the winterizing process is clearing out any water in the backflow device. If your sprinkler system operates on privately owned water, you will want to check the installation plan. Most sprinkler systems typically utilize public water sources and either have a pressure vacuum breaker (PVB) or an atmospheric vacuum breaker (AVB). You will find the AVB located below the valve, and it can be cleared out with the system. In contrast, you cannot use an air compressor to clear out a system with a PVB. For ones with PVBs, you will need to clear out the system first then rotate the test cocks and ball valves a few times. You will then want to position them half-open in order to avoid moisture from building up.

The third step in winterizing your sprinkler system is to actually clear the water out of the system. You will want to clear out all the water in the valves and downstream part of the system. While using the air compressor, it is recommended that you reach a range of 40-80 pounds/square inch. The following are recommendations based on the type of material of your sprinkler system:

  •       50 pounds/square inch maximum for polyethylene pipe
  •       80 pounds/square inch maximum for rigid PVC tubing

In order to find the best volume for your sprinkler system, simply take the gallons per minute and divide by 7.5, which will give you the cubic feet per minute of compressed air needed.

Things to Remember

It is important to note that the size of your air compressor must be considered during this step. Large air compressors should be operated with a regulator to avoid clearing out the water too quickly and causing damage to the sprinkler system. Smaller air compressors can certainly be used for this step; it will just take longer to complete the process.

You will then need to hook up the air compressor to the blowout valve. Turn the compressor to the appropriate psi and begin running it. We recommend that you run the compressor two times for each zone of the sprinkler system.

The final step in the winterization process is to set all the valves on the backflow device to half-open. You will also want to keep the compressor controller plugged in since it is a source of heat to prevent condensation.

You have now successfully prepared your sprinkler system for the winter. Once the spring arrives, you will need to prepare your system for use again. You will need to ensure all valves are closed before re-pressurizing the system. Once the water flow is operational, you can then reopen the valves.

If you have any questions about this, or anything else related to landscaping, give us a call today!

 

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