Landscaping, Sprinkler Systems, Snow Removal and More…
Ogden, Salt Lake City
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30 Apr 2016
ACG Sprinklers - Utah SLC / Ogden - Lawn Care, Landscaping, Snow Removal

Mowing Lawn 101

If you are aiming for an immaculate lawn, you need to do a little more than mow it every few weeks. Regular feeding, watering, weeding, and trimming are necessary to give you a lawn to be proud of.

How Often to Mow

There are no hard-and-fast rules about how often you should mow, so be guided by the rate of growth of your lawn and the type of finish you want. Unless the weather is extremely mild, your lawn is unlikely to need cutting in winter, but it will need regular trimming from early spring until the fall.

Hard-wearing family lawns will need cutting once a week, while those maintained for their ornamental looks may need trimming up to three times a week at the height of their growing season. Start with the blades on their highest setting, then reduce the height of the cut as the season progresses; an eventual height of 1 inch (2.5 cm) is ideal for domestic lawns, while 3/4 inches (2 cm) is suitable in gardens where a more manicured look is required.

Mowing Safety

To prevent accidents, always ensure mowers are turned off when you are cleaning or otherwise maintaining them. Do not put hands or feet near blades when the mower is in use. Electric mowers should always be turned off at the main switch before you inspect or replace cutting blades.

Stripes and Edges

Alternating dark and light green stripes gives a sharp finish to a formal lawn. To achieve this, you need a mower with a rear roller. Mow in parallel rows, with each row in the opposite direction to the next. The stripes are most obvious from a distance, especially from above.

After mowing, put the finishing touches to your lawn by trimming the edges. Use a pair of long-handled edging shears to remove any overhanging grass. Edges can become uneven over time, so redefine them with a half-moon edging tool. Use a piece of wood as a straight-edged cutting guide. Remove all cuttings and trimmed turf.

Watering and Feeding

Recently created lawns will require regular watering to thrive, but established lawns are remarkably tolerant of drought. Although grass may turn brown in extended dry periods, the damage is largely superficial, and the grass will bounce back when the rain returns. Longer grass deals better with drought, so raise the blades of your mower to their highest setting. This encourages plants to become deeper rooted and avoids the risk of scalping the surface, which will pull out dry grass by its roots, leaving ugly bald patches in the lawn.

Most lawns will do well if fed twice a year. Give them a quick boost in spring with a liquid or granular formulation high in nitrogen, then strengthen up the roots for winter with an fall feed. Avoid using spring feeds later in the year since this can result in soft sappy grass, vulnerable to frosts.

Rolling a Lawn

A heavy roller, which can be rented if necessary, is traditionally used in spring to resettle the surface of the lawn after winter, especially if fall-laid turf was damaged by frost. However, rolling is not essential and can cause problems. The heavy weight may compact the soil, impeding drainage and leading to the conditions favored by moss. The perfect lawn demands tender loving care and a few tricks to get the lush, verdant look just right. You will also need the right tools.

25 Apr 2016
ACG Sprinklers - Utah SLC / Ogden - Lawn Care, Landscaping, Snow Removal

Creating a Cohesive Property

One of the first things our designers take into consideration when meeting with a new client is to identify any strong existing features on the property. These features could consist of the homes architecture, interior design, a wooded back yard, or being next to a pond or lake. All of these existing features, coupled with the homeowner’s personal style and need for a functional outdoor space, is the basis behind a comprehensive design.There are many ways to make a connection between the home and landscape. Some homes have a strong architectural style, while others are more universal. A good designer will find elements within the home to pull inspiration from. For example, using colors or shapes from the brick or stone façade of a home and repeating them within the design of the patio ties the two together. Sometimes our designers will opt for the same materials, as well.

Using structural elements like a pergola can also create an easy transition from indoors to outdoors. This is another area we can incorporate details within the pergola that are found on the interior or exterior of a home. Homes that have strong character, such as colonial style homes, will naturally lend itself to plants and materials that were used during that time period like clay pavers and upright evergreens. Plants can also be used to repeat shapes. For example repeating a pyramidal roofline by using a strategically placed pyramid shaped tree helps the home and surrounding landscape look like one cohesive piece.

In addition to a home’s features it’s just as important to identify the naturally existing landscape on a property. This could range from a heavily wooded lot to a wide-open prairie. Our designers are considerate in choosing a landscape style that blends in with the surrounding area. Repetition of native plant material is good way to create cohesiveness throughout a property. At the same time, you lessen the amount of maintenance required to care for that plant because it naturally thrives in that environment.

In some cases the architecture of a home may contradict with the naturally existing landscape. This allows for a unique design and a fun challenge for our designers. The Pine to Prairie design team thrives on being creative, original and inventive. The goal is to achieve unity and rhythm on a property so it creates a sense of calm, relaxation and purpose.

18 Apr 2016
ACG Sprinklers - Utah SLC / Ogden - Lawn Care, Landscaping, Snow Removal

Spring Color

The trees have flowered and gone to leaf, lining the streets and filling our yards with shades of green to keep us cool in the upcoming summer months. To keep your yard filled with color through the growing season it’s time to place perennials and prepare annual beds.

Color can make a strong impact in a landscape if placed strategically around the yard. Choose areas that will be seen by cars passing by or neighbors taking a late afternoon stroll down the street. Dress up areas near the driveway and make a statement that creates a welcoming entrance to your home. Add drifts of color along your walkway that will cheerfully lead people to your door. The annual and perennial garden is something that should not be left for others to only enjoy. Add splashes of color around your patio area making the space more inviting and intriguing to those enjoying the outdoors.

The many nooks around the typical yard can be planted and enjoyed by a homeowner through a window or while out in the yard. There is more than one way to exploit the beauty of the annual flower. Many people like to plant them in the ground but others prefer to make them mobile and move them around the landscape. This option allows you to create change in the landscape as the growing season moves towards fall. Annuals are a perfect match for summer pots.

There are a variety of pots from large ceramic urns to small and bright colored containers. Use these to add color, interest, and draw attention to the plants placed within. Hanging baskets are another option to brighten your yard and home. There are a variety of new and old favorites that will add spectacular color around a landscape. Baskets, like pots, come with a range of options. Use large hanging baskets to frame an entry or place small baskets to adorn a patio for a gathering. The options for hanging basket use are great and the display provided will be vast. Don’t forget about window boxes. Many people enjoy seeing a display of color at the base of their windows. With shades partially open color can still be seen from inside the house while maintaining privacy if sought. This type of treatment to a house makes a visual display for both the homeowner and people passing by, while adding color at a level in the landscape that will be seen by many. Now that you’ve considered the options for your color it’s time to prepare the space in which they will be established.

The first step when preparing a planting bed is to choose a space and begin clearing out the area. With a good rake remove any existing plant litter, preparing the site for soil amendments. If possible, till up the native earth loosening the soil which prepares it for the addition of organic nutrients. Spread a four inch layer of a good compost material such as mushroom compost or Kelloggs Amend and blend it into the native soil. You should have a deep colored soil left behind that is now ready for the annuals and perennials to be planted. You will undoubtedly encounter many rocks; if you have the patience, remove as many as possible to make future digging easier.

When placing the plants in the newly prepared flower bed arrange them in large groups by type. This will create waves of flowers and be more interesting and pleasing to the eye. Don’t be afraid to mix colors but try to be consistent throughout your landscape when choosing your plant color palette. This will create the most visual impact in your yard. Consider the coming months when choosing your flowering plants and pick varieties that will bloom at various times and throughout the growing season. This will allow you to have a wonderful display from spring through fall. For the best selection of the latest cultivars and colors, visit an independent nursery garden center where the staff is knowledgeable and has experience with the peculiar challenges of high desert gardening in greater Reno-Tahoe. You’ll get sound advice on what will work best for your particular needs and how to maintain what you select. Or, if you prefer, just wonder through the aisles and discover the new colors and varieties of plants that you can use to create your new annual and perennial beds.

14 Apr 2016
ACG Sprinklers - Utah SLC / Ogden - Lawn Care, Landscaping, Snow Removal

7 Reasons to Hire a Professional Landscape Designer

Opting for the best outcome in your garden

As humans we are driven by design in all aspects of our lives. The complexities that arise in designing a garden or a landscape come from the necessary intersection of multiple disciplines in order to address all the layers that abound in nature. To succeed you need to have some proficiency with numerous fields of study: horticulture, soil biology, engineering, and art to name a few.

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Most humans have an innate draw, and some a natural ability, to work on the land – to build things, to plant things and to imagine beauty. This has given rise to the booming Do It Yourself  (DIY) market and is a wonderful aspect of our culture that professionals should embrace and nurture especially in this difficult economy. Often the mistake is for the professional and the amateur to stay separated when their cooperation would improve outcomes all around.

For the designer there is a whole new way to offer their talents in the market by working as a resource for design ideas, construction techniques and industry connections. For the DIY enthusiast, working with a professional designer will improve the project outcome in three distinct ways:

  • Ability to take advantage of ideas
  • Ability to avoid pitfalls and failures
  • Ability to tap into better resources.

Whether you are going to develop a project with your own two hands, or are going to leave it entirely in the hands of hired professional, check out these 7 ways that your project can get a leg up on success by working with a professional landscape designer.

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Before running down the list of ways a designer can help you, there is one important tip on choosing your designer… Go LOCAL

Why local? For the simple reason that this reduces travel time and response time in project planning and management. A way to ensure that you get the best ideas and service is to promote numerous meetings to discuss and review possibilities and concepts.

7 Reasons to Tap the Expertise of a Professional Landscape Designer

1.     Idea Generation

Landscape designers have loads of ideas. This is due in part to their training, but it is also an innate quality of the kind of person that chooses this career. While the formulation of ideas is a human quality, the ability to be abundant with ideas and to spin one idea into a new and improved idea using past experience and industry expertise is a unique talent of design professions.

2.    Site Analysis

Every parcel of land is unique as well as being part of a larger ecosystem. A professional landscape designer will have the skill to understand the macrocosm that will dictate the broad-brush strokes of design. They will also have the refined talent to read the microcosm details, which define the unique elements of a single area of focus.

3.    Conceptual Design

Once there is a clear analysis of the project site, it is possible to come up with conceptual design ideas to contemplate. Every site has multiple solutions, but when the background research has been done thoroughly, a professional landscape designer will be able to narrow down the options to a concept that answers the needs, wants and wishes of the land owner while addressing the ecosystem characteristics presented in the existing landscape.

4.   Construction Planning

Just because a human being has an idea about a design, doesn’t mean that idea is actually buildable or sustainable. We can dream up some pretty wild stuff! By working with a seasoned professional, you can be assured that what you develop together will have the ability to not only be built, but also to be sustained.

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5.    Budget Creation

Understanding what things cost is very important. We are all quite familiar with how much any development project cost. The design processes requires unhampered imagination and creativity in the beginning, but once the direction and aesthetic is defined it is necessary to bring the project into the reality of money. A professional landscape designer will be able to reasonably provide a project budget range or ball park budget through experience or be able to guide you through the pricing/bidding process, so that you can determine whether to build the project all at once or to phase it in over a few years.

6.    Contractor Liaison

It is monumentally important to draw the design process into the construction phase. Some designers work with in house contracting operations – known as Design/Build. Others work solo and have developed strong relationships with professional landscape contractors that they are confident in working with or recommending. These relationships are very useful to anyone planning to hire installers for the construction phase.

7.    Project Management

One of the real benefits of working with a professional landscape designer in the design development process is in having this person stick with you through the construction phase. Every project will have the potential to be improved upon as it is being built. Additionally, almost every project will have some “unknown” pop up during construction. Having your designer close at hand or as your project manager will ensure that you capitalize on opportunity and minimize any unforeseen pitfalls.

If you have a landscape project bubbling up in your imagination, think about contacting a professional landscape designer to help you develope and refine your ideas into an actionable plan for you or a landscape contractor to build.

Happy Gardening!

11 Apr 2016
ACG Sprinklers - Utah SLC / Ogden - Lawn Care, Landscaping, Snow Removal

Roses are red… Violets are blue.

Roses have a reputation for being difficult to care for, but with the correct amount of water and sunlight and a little bit of grooming, your roses should thrive. Explore these basics of caring for your roses — but if you forget or muff something, the plants are surprisingly forgiving:

[Credit: ©]

Credit: ©
  • Watering roses: The rule of thumb is to make sure roses get about 2 inches a week. Deep soakings are much better than frequent, shallow waterings. Set the hose at the foot of the rose and let water trickle in. Or if you have a big bed of roses or roses and companions, use a soaker hose or install an in-ground system.

  • Fertilizing roses: Use an all-purpose garden fertilizer, because it has balanced amounts of N (nitrogen), P (phosphorus), and K (potassium). Fertilizers touted especially for roses — such as Rose Food — are fine but not mandatory. In spring, as the plant emerges from dormancy, you can water with a tablespoon of Epsom salt (magnesium sulfate) dissolved in a gallon of water to promote strong canes.

    Always water before applying fertilizer so the plant is plumped up and under no stress.

  • Grooming roses: Using sharp clippers, you can spruce up your rosebushes whenever something unattractive about the plant catches your critical eye.

    Here’s stuff you can cut out any time you see it:

    • Dead wood: Remove dead canes down to the ground level.

    • Damaged wood: Cut it back into about 1 inch of healthy wood.

    • Misplaced stems: Take off stems that are rubbing together (choose one and spare the other), stems that are taking off in the wrong direction, and stems that are trailing on the ground.

    • Suckers: In a grafted plant, these errant canes emerge from below the graft union (the bulge at the base of the bush). The suckers look different from the rest of the bush — they’re often smoother, straighter, and lighter in color. Another clue: They sprout leaves and occasionally mongrel flowers that look nothing like the main bush.

  • Deadheading and tidying up roses: The plant looks better when you get rid of spent flowers. Also, because the goal of all flowering plants is to stop flowering and produce seed (in the case of rosebushes, to make rose hips), deadheading thwarts the process. So the plant is fooled into making more flowers. Deadhead away!

    Whenever you see badly damaged, diseased, or dead leaves, remove them. To be on the safe side, throw them in the trash rather than in the compost pile. Otherwise, the leaves may spread disease.

  • Pruning roses: Early spring is the best time to prune. If it’s still winter, your overeager cuts may lead to frost damage. Pruning is pretty straightforward: Remove all non-negotiable growth, thin the plants, and then shape them.

Experts advise cutting 1/4 inch above a bud eye so the bud eye doesn’t dry out.

Use clean, sharp clippers, and cut at a 45-degree angle. Cut near a <i>bud eye,</i> the tiny browni
08 Apr 2016
ACG Sprinklers - Utah SLC / Ogden - Lawn Care, Landscaping, Snow Removal

Landscaping Tips – Use Thicker Borders Around Outdoor Stairs

In the event that you want to upgrade the outside of the house by installing a stairway that connects the garage to the open porch, you have arrived at the perfect spot. Before you settle on home expansion, you ought to remember what can be the pitfalls in such an outdoor construction. Unlike the insides of the house, the exteriors should be arranged keeping the worst possible situation in mind. The outsides of the house experience adverse weather conditions. So adverse climatic conditions, dust, grime, mold, and ordinary wear and tear of the outsides need to be considered while looking to build a stairway. To recognize what to remember when outlining and building a stairwell outside your house also, watch this video.