Landcare news and tips
French drains are a popular type of drainage system, but they are not always the best option for some. For example, using a French drain in a smaller landscape may not work well when diverted water near, or above, the surface may end up on city property or in a neighbor’s yard. Also, in areas where extensive piping would be required for a French drain, there are other systems that may work better.
Another type of drain, similar to the French drain, and growing in popularity is the dry well. A dry well drainage system transfers excessive surface water deeper into the subsoil via a temporary holding area. It allows a more eco-friendly way to drain water away from a foundation and prevent soggy areas in a landscape.
The drainage area of a dry well can be a gravel and sand filled pit or a porous concrete sleeve or other container placed in the ground. Drains are installed in areas of the yard where standing water is a problem and then fitted with pipes that feed into the dry well. As water flows through the drain and piping into the dry well, it is held for a short time until it disperses deeper into the water table.
Dry wells are excellent for roof water runoff. One dry well per gutter is recommended to ensure water is efficiently dispersed during heavy rains or snow melt. They are also good for low areas of a yard, where soil buildup is not possible, by directing water away from the area to prevent further erosion.
Dry wells should always only be placed in areas where there is good, consistent drainage. A dry well, just like many French drains, can be time-consuming and difficult to install. Placement of the dry well and digging at the correct depth as well as proper placement and fitting of pipes must be done properly. If not, the drainage system will not work as efficiently as it should or, will not work at all.
In addition, as with all drainage systems, once a dry well is installed, it is not maintenance free. Just like the French drain, it can become clogged over time. Often, if a concrete sleeve or other container was used, the walls of the container will need to be cleaned thoroughly for it to drain properly again. Sand and gravel pits can become slow to drain over time as well and may need to be dug out and refurbished with new sand and gravel.
A dry well, or any other drainage system, that is not installed correctly can end up causing more water damage than before resulting in more costs for a property owner. All Seasons Landcare has been successfully installing drainage systems in DFW for many years. In certain areas of DFW such as the mid-cities of Hurst, Euless, and Bedford, not having a good drainage system has resulted in major foundation issues for many homeowners. Allowing a landscaping company in DFW, such as the skilled experts at All Seasons Landcare, to install a professional drainage system can help keep your lawn and foundation in good shape.
This article is ©2017 All Seasons Landcare • All Rights Reserved
A year ago, we wrote about drainage systems and how to prevent water damage. It’s an important topic for homeowners, so we wanted to expand on it to provide more information. As mentioned previously, the damage that can be caused by improper drainage can be extensive, resulting in the need for major repairs to your home’s foundation. Addressing drainage issues early, by spending a little up front, can save you lots of time and money later.
All Seasons Landcare has created many types of drainage systems for clients throughout the area from Keller, Southlake, and Colleyville to Hurst, Euless, and Bedford. Each system is custom created to address specific drainage needs and is designed to be aesthetically pleasing to fit well within an existing landscape.
One of the most prevalent drainage systems installed by All Seasons is the French drain. It is used to draw water away from your home’s foundation or any other areas where standing water is a problem. A well designed French drain will require minimal maintenance, so it’s important to have knowledgeable, experienced professionals install it. One that is not built properly can cause more problems than it’s worth with endless hours of cleanout required for it to function. In the initial design, a wider drain is always recommended because it allows water to be dispersed over a larger area allowing more water to flow through in less time.
Using the right materials and proper placement of the French drain are imperative as well to make sure the drain works as it should for many years to come. Often, people make the mistake of using materials such as crushed limestone in their French drain which can harden and allow little, if any, water to flow through. Simple, clean gravel is best. The piping used for the drain is also important. A rigid, non-flexible, perforated pipe is important. Flexible, corrugated pipes should not be used. They are often the source of a non-functioning French drain because their flexibility makes them almost impossible to clean out. Other materials include permeable landscape fabric, a fabric sleeve, and leaf separators to lessen any clogs.
Many do-it-yourself homeowners have attempted a French drain on their own and some are successful. However, many others have called on All Seasons Landcare because once they got started, they realized it was a bigger project than they wanted to attempt. The equipment to install a French drain can be expensive to buy or rent and the time needed to do it properly can turn a weekend project into many weeks. Allowing a professional company like All Seasons to do it for you can save you invaluable time and money.
This article is ©2016 All Seasons Landcare • All Rights Reserved
Thanksgiving is just around the corner and many in the Dallas Fort Worth area are already planning their holiday meals. Everyone wants to make sure their turkey is top notch, but one of the first things your friends and family will see is your front yard. Here are some quick ways to spruce it up just in time for Thanksgiving visitors.
Most of these yard improvements can be done in less time than it takes to cook a turkey.
In addition to improving the front yard for fall, don't forget the back! When the weather is nice, the backyard is often a favorite place to gather during the holidays and an outdoor fireplace is a nice focal point. Depending on the size desired, All Seasons Landcare has the skilled professionals who can construct a fireplace or fire pit usually within just a few days. Additional items such as lanterns or Tiki torches can also make your backyard a welcome place for your guests.
For further ideas on how to make your yard more inviting for the holidays, contact All Seasons Landcare. We are happy to help and wish you and yours a great Thanksgiving!
Many homeowners often consider remodeling their house, but they don’t always consider the added value of remodeling their landscaping. A recent report by the National Association of Realtors (NAR) and the National Association of Landscape Professionals (NALP), shows the top ten outdoor features likely to add value to the home. Landscape upgrade was the number one feature.
Other outdoor features were (from highest to lowest) were:
New Wood Deck
Standard Lawn Care
Based on the report, the suggested landscape upgrade included:
Installing a front walkway of natural flagstone three feet wide and thirty feet long
Adding two stone planters six feet long and two feet wide
Installing five flowering shrubs and one deciduous 15-foot tall tree
Mulching with landscaping bark
Costs can vary depending on location, but the percent of value recovered from a landscape remodel such as the one described above is estimated at 105 percent.
Besides the monetary value, upgrading your landscape can have health and environmental benefits as well. Creating an eye appealing home exterior can decrease stress and encourage more outdoor activities. It can reduce noise and heat and can address issues such as erosion that may occur over time.
The NAR report also provided a “joy score” for each of the ten features listed. This was based on a survey by HouseLogic.com of 4,079 respondents who had completed a remodeling project and the amount of satisfaction they got from it (on a scale of one to ten). The landscape upgrade had a joy score of 9.8.
In addition to the suggested landscape upgrade mentioned in the report, there are many other ways to update your landscaping including adding fencing, adding a sitting area made of stone, and installing stone borders along pathways.
Fencing is available in a variety of heights, styles, and colors. Pairing the fence with an arbor and a climbing plant such as yellow trumpet vine can really create a welcoming new space. Stonework can transform a boring area into an intriguing outdoor sitting area especially when paired with potted flowering plants in the warmer months and adding a portable fire pit when it’s cooler.
Many landscape remodels are extremely cost effective when considering all of the benefits that can be gained. The professionals at All Seasons Landcare have done hundreds of landscaping remodeling projects over the years and can complete your project while saving you time and money in the process.
Even though we are well into September in North Texas, and fall is just around the corner, with temperatures still in the 90’s, summer is still hanging on. However, the warm weather will soon give way to cooler temperatures and many people will be decorating with fall foliage and pumpkins as well as plants and flowers that can withstand a colder climate. Some of the best flowers for the Dallas Fort Worth area are:
Dianthus - Available in varying colors of white, pink, purple and red, dianthus are a biennial. You can buy them in low-growing or tall varieties. They should be planted in a well-drained area to receive sun in the morning and some shade later in the day.
Mums - Easy to grow, these perennials come in a variety of colors and can measure from 1 to 3 inches wide. Mums can be planted in containers or beds, but should not be placed near artificial lighting such as landscape lights because they can reduce the number of blooms produced.
Pansies - These are the best flower in our area for fall and winter. They come in colors of blue, black, orange, yellow, purple, red, white and pink. They grow well in areas of good drainage and can survive some of the coldest conditions. They grow well in full sun.
Petunias - Are great flowers for fall because they continually bloom as long as they are cared for properly. They need a well-drained location and lots of sun and water while the weather is warm and will bloom until the first frost. They come in many different colors such as yellow, pink, purple, and red as well as a combination of those colors.
Snapdragons - Come in lots of different sizes and colors that include purple, orange, pink and red. They are great for fall and the early part of the winter because they grow well in temperatures in the 70’s.
All of the flowers above can add some extra color to your yard when the grass and trees are changing in the fall. Remember that fall is also the time to plant any bulbs as they need some time in cold dormancy to be able to fully bloom in the springtime. In addition to flowers, the cooler autumn weather, is also a good time to plant trees and shrubs.
Some other plants that are good for colder temperatures and make a great addition to a fall landscape are ornamental cabbage and kale. They come in pink, red, or white. They are frost resistant and their colors become more vibrant as the weather gets cooler.
If you need help planting autumn flowers, plants, shrubs or trees for your fall landscape, give All Seasons Landcare a call! They will help keep your yard looking great all year.
Besides mowing, some lawn maintenance companies will help with landscape design and installation as well as other areas such as stonework, and fence repair. A great company, like All Seasons Landcare, will do all of that and more to ensure your lawn care needs are being met consistently.
True professionals are trained to recognize factors that can affect the quality of your lawn before a bigger problem develops. This is important because being proactive with lawn care can save you lots of time and money in the long run. A professional trained in lawn care and maintenance will know how to address potential problems based on where you live as well as the type of soil and grass that you have. However, no matter where you live, three general factors that can have a big impact on your yard are water, weather, and pests and they are all interrelated to some degree.
Not having proper irrigation or drainage for your yard can cause damage quickly.
Over watering can prevent oxygen from reaching the roots of the grass stunting its growth and increasing the risk for weeds that can thrive in areas too wet for grass growth. Too much water also promotes fungus and can result in unsightly mushrooms popping up throughout your yard. On the other hand, not watering enough can result in brown spots. Although grass can lie dormant for several weeks, if left unwatered for too long, it will eventually die and new grass will need to be planted.
Many areas of the country experience different seasons of the year and lawn care should be adjusted based on the season. Most people know that weather conditions such as heat and drought or excessive rainfall can adversely affect a lawn. However, other conditions such as consistent wind in dry, arid areas or high humidity in others can wreak havoc as well. Wind can cause sprinkler systems to malfunction by causing over watering in some areas and under watering in others. Wind can also cause soil erosion and can stunt plant growth. High humidity, in others areas, can encourage fungus and mold growth.
Pests are attracted to grass and plants for many different reasons. Over watered lawns can provide an attractive habitat for insects by lowering the effectiveness of insecticides. Everything from grasshoppers to gophers can cause significant damage to your yard. Also, ants and anthills aren’t necessarily harmful to grass, but they aren’t attractive and can harm you or your pet. Once an anthill emerges, if it’s not addressed quickly several others may follow.
When it comes to managing your yard, water, weather, and pests are all in a day’s work for knowledgeable lawn care professionals. They know what to look for and can prevent a problem before any significant damage can occur.
If you are in the mid-Cities of Hurst, Euless, and Bedford or in other areas such as North Fort Worth, Keller, Southlake, and Colleyville, All Seasons Landcare has the expertise to manage your lawn to keep it healthy and looking great throughout the year.
Contrary to popular belief, a well maintained lawn isn’t just for looks. The Lawn Institute (www.thelawninstitute.org), an organization founded in 1955, encourages research and education about lawns and sports turf and they have a pretty cool website that offers some fun facts.
For example, their current homepage boasts that the average front lawn has the cooling effect of 8.5 tons of air conditioning and that fifty-five square feet of turfgrass provides oxygen for one person for an entire day. Their Turfgrass Facts and Stats page offers up some impressive and often little known facts about lawns that include the following:
In a well maintained, thick 10,000 square foot (929 square meter) lawn there will be 6 turf plants per square inch (25.4 millimeters), 850 turf plants per square foot (30.45 square meters) for a total of 8.5 million turf plants.
Grass plants are 75 to 80% water, by weight.
Up to 90% of the weight of a grass plant is in its roots.
Clippings contain nutrients usable to the grass, when left on the lawn.
A lawn, 50 by 50 feet (15.24 by 15.24 meters) (2,500 square feet) (232 square meters) releases enough oxygen for a family of four, while absorbing carbon dioxide, ozone, hydrogen fluoride, and peroxyacetyl nitrate.
A dense, healthy lawn prevents run-off, absorbing rainfall six times more effectively than a wheat field and four times better than a hay field.
Turfgrass helps control pollution, trapping much of an estimated 12 million tons (10.9 million metric tons) of dust and dirt released annually into the US atmosphere.
The front lawns of eight average houses have the cooling effect of about 70 tons (68 metric tons) of air conditioning, while the average home-size central air has only a 3 to 4 ton capacity (2.7 to 3.9 metric tons).
As part of a well-designed and maintained landscape, turfgrass increases a home’s property value by 15 to 20 %.
Safety sightlines discourage intruders and heighten visibility.
Absorbs noise and reduces glare.
Needless to say, the maintenance and care of your lawn is important not just to provide an aesthetically appealing front or backyard, but to ensure it continues to provide all of the benefits possible for you and your neighbors.
Hiring a professional to care for your lawn may be a smart investment for you if you’re too busy to do it yourself or you’re just not interested in maintaining it, but want to keep it looking great.
One of the biggest advantages of hiring a professional lawn company is to save you time and money over the long term. A professional lawn company, like All Seasons Landcare, has experts to ensure every aspect of your lawn maintenance is addressed. From weeding and seeding to fertilizing and aeration, they know how and when to address any lawn care issue you may have. They do this with top of the line lawn equipment so you don’t have to purchase and have the added cost of maintaining and operating mowers, weed eaters, edgers, blowers, and other equipment yourself.
Your lawn is an important investment as it adds value to your house and the environment surrounding it. So, maintaining it the best way possible will ensure your investment will provide benefits for years to come.
When the temperature in North Texas inches toward triple digits, you may be tempted to water your grass, as well as your plants, shrubs and trees, as much as possible. However, over watering your lawn can cause root rot and make your lawn much more susceptible to disease. Shaded areas getting too much water may cause the grass to die. Trying to regrow it by adding fertilizer can make the grass grow back, but more mowing will be required as well as de-thatching.
On the other hand, not watering enough can result in unsightly, brown, dying grass. Grass can go dormant after not being watered for two to three weeks and still survive. However, infrequent watering, or not watering at all, after four to six weeks of dry, hot weather, can kill the grass completely.
So, how do you know when you’re watering too much or when you’re not watering enough? Knowing how much water your lawn needs, at different times of the year, and for the particular grass that you have may leave you with more questions than answers.
There are many online resources and apps that can be targeted to the Dallas Fort Worth area that can help you determine how to water your lawn for optimum results.
If you live in a city that is a client of the North Texas Municipal Water District, the Texas A&M AgriLife Extension offers WaterMyYard.org to provide water saving tips and ways to keep your yard healthy.
Another site, SprinkerTimes.com, provides an app, for a nominal fee, that allows you to enter your zip code to calculate the average weather data, based on the last twenty years, for your specific location. You then enter your plant type (grass, shrubs and trees, drought tolerant plants, annual flowers, or newly planted plants), sprinkler type, soil type, and amount of sun exposure. The app will generate a monthly watering schedule customized specifically for your landscape.
In addition to websites and apps, there are also smart sprinkler system controllers that can replace your existing control box. These are available at places like Home Depot, Amazon, and Best Buy for a few hundred dollars or less.
These systems work similarly to the SprinklerTimes.com app where you enter information about your plants, soil, and sun exposure for each zone of your yard. Then, watering cycles are automatically calculated to deliver just the right amount of water.
Adding a water feature such as a fountain, waterfall, or pond to your existing landscape can provide some great benefits to your outdoor space. Water features are not only aesthetically appealing, but during the hot spring and summer months in DFW, a water feature can help cool the surrounding areas. It can also provide a soothing place to relax and unwind after a stressful day.
All Seasons Landcare can help with adding any of the following water features to your existing landscape:
Fountains have been popular for centuries because of their endless elegance and style. The possibilities for fountains can range from small to elaborate with simple streams of water shooting up into the air, to a spouting statue with single or multiple sprays, to colorful lights "tinting" the water in colorful hues. Modern fountains are made functional by installing electrical pumps which circulate and spray the water.
Waterfalls and Walls
When thinking of a traditional waterfall, a tropical forest or mountain brook with water cascading over a cliff may come to mind. In your landscape, achieving this on a smaller scale can be done by using plants that thrive in and around water and using river rocks and boulders built up from the ground level.
A water wall is a less traditional way to incorporate a water feature into your space and is sometimes found in more minimalist, urban landscapes. A water resistant wall can be created by using colorful mosaics, or any other tiles or rocks, and pumping water closely against it into a small basin covered with with stones, rocks, and pebbles. Incorporating bottles, clay pots, or copper piping can also give a water wall a unique look.
Adding a pond to an existing landscape can usually be done in the course of one day depending on the size of the pond desired. With any pond, it’s a good idea to add a pump, waterfall, or water fountain to keep the water circulating. This will keep it from becoming stagnant and becoming a breeding ground for mosquitoes or other pests. Adding fish, such as Koi, to a pond can help with mosquitoes and make a pond more entertaining. However, it's important to keep the pH balance of the pond in good condition to ensure any fish will thrive.
No matter what type of water feature you decide on, maintaining it properly is important to keep it looking nice throughout the year. Keeping it free from dirt, leaves, and other debris as well as winterizing it in colder months will ensure it will stay beautiful for years to come. Contact the experts at All Seasons Landcare to help you design and create a water feature to fit your landscape!
Constructing a privacy fence from wood, brick, or stone is not the only way to create your own space away from the hectic hustle and bustle of the Dallas Fort Worth area. Building a border or barrier with plants, shrubs, or trees can provide all of the privacy of a traditional fence and offer more flexibility. Privacy landscaping not only looks appealing, it can be designed in ways that standard fences can not. It can also provide noise buffering in high traffic areas and offer a nice backdrop to almost any space.
There are many varieties of screening plants recommended by Texas gardening and horticulture expert Neil Sperry for the DFW climate. They include:
Eastern Red Cedar Juniper (to 35 ft.)
Little Gem Magnolia (to 30 ft.)
Teddy Bear Magnolia (to 20 ft.)
Nellie R. Stevens Holly (to 18 ft.)
Yaupon Holly (to 16 ft.)
Oakland Holly (to 10 ft.)
Mary Nell Holly (to 10 ft.)
Waxleaf Ligustrum (to 10 ft.)
Willowleaf Holly (to 8 ft.)
Glossy Abelia (to 7 ft.)
Elaeagnus (to 7 ft.)
Sea Green Juniper (to 6 ft.)
Lady Banksia Rose
Confederate Star Jasmine
Madame Galen Trumpet Creeper
Sweet Autumn Clematis
These plants normally bloom from spring into early fall, so the type of trellis or arbor you pick will determine the amount of privacy you will still have once the plants are no longer blooming.
Trellises can be purchased from large home improvement stores or local nurseries and are usually made of wood, metal, or vinyl. Popular styles include fan, ladder, and diamond shaped designs. However, you can also create your own trellis from more unique materials such as copper piping.