Landscaping, Irrigation, and More - R & R Sprinkler & Lanscape, Inc. of Cape Coral, Florida Blog

Landscaping, Irrigation, and More

R & R Sprinkler & Lanscape, Inc. of Cape Coral, Florida Blog

A Good Sprinkler System Design is Essential

Posted by Landscaping, Irrigation and More On September 23, 2012

Installing an automatic sprinkler system is a worthwhile investment for your property. Having a professionally licensed and insured contractor install your new irrigation system is important. Ask for references and don’t always select the cheapest price. Ask about the design of your sprinkler system. Ask for references too. A good design that will use water efficiently is much better than a cheap price and is an overall better investment.

A good system design will be divided into zones by plant material. Typically the grass portion of your property is irrigated by rotor heads. Rotor heads have a higher output of water and run for longer periods of time. Plants and shrubs are typically irrigated by mist heads or drip irrigation which don’t require the area to be irrigated as long. If the design includes a zone that has a large span of grass along with an area of delicate shrubs set to irrigate for the same continuous period of time then someone will loose. Either your grass will not get enough water or your plants and shrubs will get too much. This is a bad design on behalf of your irrigation contractor and a poor water useage.

A zone comprised of rotor heads should run 30-45 minutes. A zone comprised of mist or spray heads should only run for @ 10-15 minutes. You can see by the difference in time that each of these components need to run how important it is that they are grouped in zones accordingly. R & R Sprinkler and Landscape is a professionally licensed and insured irrigation installation company. Our first priority is designing and installing an irrigation system that will be easy to operate and maintain while providing a sprinkler that will use the least amount of water with the maximum watering capabilities.

If you are considering installing a new irrigation system we’d love for you to give us the opportunity.

Chinch Bugs Love Florida Grasses

Posted by Landscaping, Irrigation and More On September 20, 2012

The common name is Chinch Bug.

The Scientific name is Blissus sp.

The layman’s term is “OH NO!”.

Chinch bugs love Florida grasses because they love a hot environment. Chinch bug population peaks between the months of May – October but they can and do survive year round in Southwest Florida. They love warm climates.

Most people don’t know they have chinch bugs until it’s too late. You’ll know you have them by that dreadful patch of yellowed dying grass. Chinch bugs stay in groups and will attack a small area at one time. This is why you will notice a small patch or span of grass that is damaged but not the entire yard.

Most people haven’t even seen a chinch bug before. They are a small black bug only 1/8 – 1/6″ long with whitesh colored wings. To find out if you have chinch bugs bend down and pat the grass or scrape your shoe along the surface of the yard. This will disturb them and make them visable. Sometimes you can even smell a foul odor after you have finished mowing your grass.

There no one reason that chinch bugs attack although some think over fertilization might be a culprit.

There’s no specific type of Southwest Florida grass they attack over another although some argue that thy like Floratam the best. They plaque floratam, bermuda, zoysia, bahia and centipede grasses alike.

Your only course of action is to call a local licensed and insured pest control company to have your lawn professionally treated. One good dose is good. Your homework is to keep an eye out for future attacks by using the methods above. There is no evidence that spraying on a regular basis will prevent an attack and may even make chinch bugs more resistant to the chemicals the lawn companies use.

Moth Balls Aren’t Just For Moths

Posted by Landscaping, Irrigation and More On September 19, 2012

Do you have problems keeping critters from unwanted places. We all do somewhere in our homes or businesses. A simple solution is moth balls. The minute you say moth balls the scent appears in your nostrils even though you don’t have a moth ball in sight right? It’s not a pleasant odor. We think of our grandmother’s sweaters or a cabin that has been closed up for a long time. However, moth balls are fabulous for keeping all sorts of critters away.

Do you have birds in the tree that sits right over our car. We all know how that ends up. How about mice invading a garage space? Yuck! Or even insects in your sprinkler timer. Annoying!

There aren’t very many creatures (including humans) that like the smell of moth balls. Throw moth balls in the areas you want clear of animals and pests. For example, if you have mice at your shop, put them on the floor in the general areas they hang out in. If insects invade your sprinkler timer throw them down on the ground under your timer (but not in your timer).

P.S. If you have children or pets think carefully where and if you should use moth balls.

P.S.S: We’re aren’t sure if this works under your boss’ chair or not. Let us know :).

Rock Vs. Mulch

Posted by Landscaping, Irrigation and More On September 16, 2012

If you are installing new landscaping or refurbishing your existing landscaping there is one question that always gets asked: do I use rock or mulch for my landscape beds?

There are pros and cons to both.

The Pros of Installing Rock In Landscape Beds:
1. Only needs refreshed every several years
2. Doesn’t float or blow away
3. It’s bold and attractive

The Cons of Installing Rock in Landscape Beds:
1. The initial investment of rock is much more than that of mulch

The Pros of Installing Mulch in Landscape Beds:
1. It’s less expensive than rock
2. It retains natural moisture which can help the health of the surrounding landscaping.
3. It’s a softer look than rock

The Cons of Installing Mulch in Landscape Beds:
1. It will blow and float way
2. It will discolor and fade in the Florida sun and compacts with rain.
3. It needs refreshed 2-3 times a year.

When we quote a customer rock vs mulch in a landscape bed the initial sticker shock from the difference in price between the rock and the mulch is significant. However, remember that you will spend your mulch figure two to three times a year almost. Plus you have the additional time and labor to install it. In the end, the choice is going to be – which look do you like best.

R & R Sprinkler and Landscape is a full service landscape company able to advise you on all of your rock and mulch needs.

How Many Zones Should My Sprinkler Have At My Cape Coral Home?

Posted by Landscaping, Irrigation and More On September 13, 2012

A “zone” of an irrigation system is an area of the entire irrigation system that waters at one time. If you tried to irrigate your entire lawn at one time the water pressure would be low, the run off would be excessive and likely the flow of electricity would be high.

A good irrigation contractor will look at your property and design the best layout of a combination of rotor heads and spray heads to best provide the maximum amount of water to your yard in the minimum amount of time.

Rotor heads and spray heads are wired to an electric valve that the sprinkler timer tells to open and close allowing water to flow through the pipes and up through the rotor head and mist heads. Each valve is the brain of that “zone” of the sprinkler system.

A typical standard Cape Coral lot should have an irrigation system that has a minimum amount of 4 zones. Less than that means you probably do not have an adequate amount of rotor heads/spray heads which means insufficent watering.

In the early to mid 2000’s during the construction boom there were sprinkler contractors installing irrigation systems on large corner lots of Cape Coral with only 3 zones. There is no way a 3 zone sprinkler system can water that large of a lot. You’d likely need 7 or 8 zones for that.

If you are considering installing a new irrigation system ask the contractor how many zones he intends to install. If you need a second opinion or would like another price feel free to contact us.

Be sure you know how many zones, rotor heads and spray heads you are getting in your system first. If you think you need more zones added to the irrigation system you already have, we can help with that too.

Control The Foot Traffic Through Your Sanibel Property

Posted by Landscaping, Irrigation and More On September 12, 2012

Some Sanibel property owners are particular about where they want foot traffic through their property. It makes sense to avoid traffic in certain areas for security reasons, safety reasons, to avoid a wear pattern in the grass or to prevent damage to delicate landscaping. There are some easy ways to control foot traffic using a variety of methods and materials.

1. Stepping Stones
Install stepping stones along the path you’d like folks to travel. This is a great idea along the sides of a house. You will have higher traffic along the side of the house especially with maintenance contractors like pool technicians and pest service men.

2. Rows of Bushes
Installing small bushes or shrubs on either side of the area you want traffic in your yard is a natural way to keep people away from areas of the property. It’s like driving on the road, you have to stay in your lane.

3. Paver Walkways
Install a continuous walkway using pavers. This is popular choice for Sanibel properties for a pathway from the pool to the dock.

4. Wood decks
Construct an entire deck, just like in a preserve area. Make it so that stepping off the wood deck is uncomfortable and folks will keep their foot traffic exactly where it should be. This is especially helpful if you are trying to preserve the natural landscape of Sanibel beach or if you are concerned about turtle hatchlings.

5. Rock or Mulch Pathways
Build a path with landscape material such as mulch or rock making the intending path of visitors and family members obvious and expected.

There are many different and creative ways to control the foot traffic on your Sanibel property. Let R & R Sprinkler and Landscape know how we can help in constructing one that works for you.

We Kill Sod in Cape Coral and Fort Myers!

Posted by Landscaping, Irrigation and More On September 11, 2012

Doesn’t sound like a company you want to hire right off the bat does it? It’s a genuine proposal though. If you have bought a Cape Coral foreclosure or an old Fort Myers house and the property had been badly neglected for a long period of time then you may need to do an overhaul on the yard. In a lot of instances you can fertilize and irrigate the grass along with some tough weed control and get it to come back to a normal yard. However, in extreme cases you need to just start over.

We usually don’t recommend sodding over sod unless you are just making a patch. If the Cape Coral or Fort Myers yard is in that bad of shape you don’t want to take the chance of the weed and pest problems of the old yard overtaking the new sod. That would be a horrible waste of your money.

We approach a sod replacement with a four step process:

1. Chemically kill the old yard using a professionally licensed pest control company.
2. Scrape out and properly dispose of the dead materials.
3. Re-grade the property so the new yard will be even and free of holes or lumps.
4. Install new sod.

Incidentally, if you don’t already have an automatic sprinkler system the best time to install it would be between steps 3 and 4. It’s always better to put a new irrigation system in during a construction process rather than disrupting the rooting of the new sod at a later date. If you are really dedicated to the restoration and rejuvenation of your Cape Coral or Fort Myers Home then you should ask us about our landscaping services as well.

Happy sod killing!

Add Sleeves For Irrigation System Under Your Estero Driveway BEFORE You Lay Paver Driveway

Posted by Landscaping, Irrigation and More On September 9, 2012

Adding a paver driveway will enhance the curb appeal of your Estero home. A good paver contractor will ask you about the plans for your irrigation system, sod installation, landscape installation and more before they begin the work. A bad paver contractor will just proceed with the work and let you worry about all the headaches that will occur after he’s done with his project. These are the contractors that give our industry a bad name. They are here to collect a paycheck and don’t care what the effect is on the homeowner.

If you plan to install a new irrigation system or will renovate the existing irrigation system you need to consider having sleeves for the sprinkler system installed under the driveway before the pavers are laid. Doing this will save a lot of time and money for you in the end. There’s significantly more labor involved in having to “jet” out to install a piping for an irrigation system once a driveway is already installed versus bringing a trencher out and digging the line with no construction interference.

So, before you decide to begin installation of the new paver driveway at your Estero property contact R & R Sprinkler and landscape first so we can install the sleeving for your sprinkler system.

Ants! Ants! Ants!

Posted by Landscaping, Irrigation and More On September 6, 2012

If you have intermittent power issues to the automatic timer to your sprinkler system there are a few things to check:

1. Is your irrigation timer plugged into a GFI?
2. Is your GFI working properly? Plug a small appliance to check.
3. Is your timer turned on? (Don’t roll your eyes, it happens!)
4. Is your timer set properly?
5. Are there any loose or cut wires?
6. Do you have ants?

Did that last question catch you off guard? Most homeowners we propose that question to look at us like we are crazy. Ants get inside the wiring of your sprinkler timer. They get in between the wires and the contactors and block the flow of electricity. Not a very smart move if you ask us. We first recommend you shut off the power to this circuit. Then take a screw driver or pair of pliers and gently tap the heads of the contactors. The ants will usually fall out pretty easily. You may need to loose the screw and tap again to make sure all of the ant carcasses are eradicated. Tighten everything back up. Turn the power back on and see if that solves the problem.

Ants are a common “interrupter” to electrical service for not only sprinkler timers but also well pumps. If this is a consistent problem consider pest control in the area. We have some great pest control companies we can recommend.

If ants weren’t causing the problem and the automatic timer to your irrigation system still isn’t working feel free to contact us. We are sure we can help!

Behind The Knee Wall Of The Front Of A Florida Home – A Maintenance Disater

Posted by Landscaping, Irrigation and More On September 5, 2012

In Florida a lot of the homes were built with a pretty little knee wall along the front of the house. Whoever thought of this concept had a great architectural mind but had no idea what a pain in the rear it would be to maintain landscaping behind that wall. It’s such an awkward space. To small to get the lawnmower in but too big to have to weed eat the entire area.

How do you maintain that awkward little area at the front of your Florida Home? We recommend you renovate it. Kill the sod (which by now is mostly weeds). Scrape the contents out so you can have a clean slate. Do not re-install grass, instead consider a rock bed or a mulch bed with some easy to maintain shrubs.

If you have your rock properly installed by a professional landscaping company they should lay a weed barrier down first which will help (not eliminate) the growth of weeds up through the rocks. Pick a rock that will compliment your home. Have the landscape estimator help you choose some plants that will be well suited to that area of the property. When choosing plants consider a plant that can tolerate shade and is low maintenance like cocoplums or podocarpus. Even consider a few hibiscus plants to add color to the front of your home.

Be sure to ask your landscaper about the necessary irrigation the plants will need. You may need to make a renovation to your sprinkler system to accommodate the new landscaping. It’s always better to have this done prior to the landscape addition and to have the landscaper and the irrigation company communicate the details of the project before anyone begins work. Your landscaper cannot perform irrigation services unless they have a specialty licensed to perform irrigation services.

You have just taken your out of control entrance of your Florida home from a pain in the rear to maintain issue to an eye appealing addition. R&R Sprinkler and Landscape is able to help you with a project like this from the sod kill all the way to the final landscape installation and sprinkler repair and all the steps in between. Call us today.