Atlanta Lawn Care – Should I Water My Lawn When It’s Raining?

I know this seems like a ridiculous questions but over the years I have been in the business, that would be over 20 for those that are counting, I have seen countless sprinklers going in the rain. 

In fact, just yesterday, I watched a homeowner stand in the road, watch his sprinklers running, admiring the fantastic coverage he was getting on all of his lawn and shrubs and listen to the cracking of thunder of the approaching death storm and go inside and close the door leaving his sprinklers running.   Ten minutes later it was a torential down pour for the next 30 minutes, the storm passed and homeowner genius is still running his sprinklers.  I honestly do not understand some people. 

Listen, we live in Atlanta, Georgia.  We are land locked with a small, nasty river running through our city.  Yes we have a gigantic, man made lake to our north but for the first time since I have lived in the south, the last 25 years, the lake is full.  That will not last long, I am thinking.  We spend most of the time in a drought and beyond all of that your lawn does not need to be saturated on a daily or even every other day basis to live.  In fact it produces more problems then it solves. 

We have a watering schedule in Fulton county and other counties around the city.  Find out what it is in your area.  That does not mean you water every day you get.  I would suggest that through rainy periods like we are in right now, spring 2013, you water once or twice a week for about 30 minutes each, in the morning.  That's it. 

When the weather gets hotter and dryer you can add a day, keep the watering times to 30 minutes and spread them out through the week as your watering schedule allows.  The fact is water cost's money.  Through the hot season, if we are not in a watering ban, you are just trying to keep your lawn alive.  If you are constantly trying to have Augusta National you should reevaluate your priorities.  Seriously. 

The other side of this equation is the organic lawn products we use at Arbor Turf creates a healthier and more drought resistant lawn.  If you are using a lawn care company in this day and age and they are not using some organic products you should switch, NOW.  The environment is a precious thing and using organic fertilizers helps the environment and produces fundamentally healthier lawns.  Why would you not be using organic lawn care fertilizers – they are available and affordable.  No Excuse.

Leave your comments below.  Thank you for reading and we would love the opportunity to give you an estimate for services.  Fill out the form on this page or give us a call. 

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Atlanta Lawn Care – 3 Questions To Ask Your Atlanta Lawn Care Service and Why We Do All Three.

Atlanta Lawn Care - Best Lawn Care Service In The City

The History – The Good, The Bad & The Ugly

I have been in the lawn care business over the past 25 years.  That is a long time to do anything but especially lawn care.  It's not easy, it is hard work and it is a grind every year.  The same things occur every year and I have battled them year after year for the last 25 seasons. 

It did not start out this way, lawn care as a profession.  I grew up in Northern Illinois and transplanted to Atlanta in 1987.  Like so many of you probably reading this, I had no idea about what the different grass types were and seasonal weed issues.   Where I grew up, it snowed and froze for 6 months out of the year and the summer did what summers do, hot and all I knew was one grass.  Kentucky Bluegrass. 

When the grass turned brown in the winter I just thought it looked a little bit like snow and really didn't pay much attention. Once I was in the business and learned all about it: grass types, cool season, warm season, summer weeds, winter weeds and all the different things going on, it was in my blood.  

I was working for Trugreen at the time and we were selling lawn care in the spring.  A whole room full of us twenty somethings, fresh out of college many of them.  I was one of the oldest at 28.  We would run leads all day long and pound the phones at night.  Selling the lawn care dream.  "We will take care of those problems, Mr Homeowner, and keep your lawn looking –  AWESOME – Just sign up with me tonight and I will have a truck out there, blah, blah, blah." 

You know, I didn't even know what we really did.  I had no clue.  I didn't know what the fertilizer looked like, I didn't know how we applied it, NOTHING.  Yet, I was going to be your personal service rep. 

I look back at those days and just shake my head.  Amazing really, we would sell so much in a week it would boggle your mind and none of us had a clue about lawn care. 

The Changes Have Been Massive – Okay, Maybe Not Massive, But Huge.

Things have changed a little since then, but there is still the sales force from the various companies leaving estimates and telling the homeowner all of the awesome benefits of their service.  Don't get me wrong, there are good services out there, but many times the representative has no idea about what he is talking about.  Sometimes the technician doesn't either. 

So many things have changed in the world since the 1990's.  That is when we struck out on our own and created Arbor & Turf, 1992 to be exact.  Back then you could call people, there was no, "No Call List" so we had to come up with other ways to market our service.  The internet didn't really take off until later.  In the mid and late 1990's many people didn't even have an email address. 

The products have changed as well.  Some products have come off the market and new ones have entered to control different problems like weeds and fungicides to control diseases in turf.  Some work better then others and many times it boils down to the person mixing the products.  Are they putting enough in the tank? Is the tank mixed well? Are they applying it correctly to the specs of the label? All these factors need to come together for the treatment to be effective.

The Organic Shift

Another BIG thing has changed over the years.  Organic based fertilizers and Natural based fertilizers.  These are 1000 times better for the environment then the synthetic fertilizers and in many cases are more cost effective. 

Don't get me started on the cost of products and gas since the 1990's. 

Okay, I will say one thing about it, now that I am here.  The amount we charge the homeowner has not really gone up at all since the 1990's. However, everything we use in our business from products, to gas, to labor and everything in between sure has. 

Why? Because there are so many "Lawn Care" companies out there it's crazy.  So how do you find a good one? 

GREAT QUESTION!!!

Here are 3 things to look for when thinking about which one of the 7 +++ companies you might be considering for your $35 treatment.

1.  Has the representative ever actually treated lawns?

Have they done the work and how long did they do it?  If they only went out for a day or a week or even a month, they have not seen everything that happens in your lawn. 

It really takes a full year to learn and see everything that occurs in the Atlanta lawn care world.  It's extensive and if you are really basing your decision on whether you are getting a knowledgable service or not, this is where it starts.  Otherwise you are probably just basing your decision on price.

2.  Does the service use organic fertilizers or natural fertilizers in their regular service and not upcharge you because you want an organic program?

Why is this important?  Because they are available and effective and affordable.  Truthfully, I see no reason why a service would not be utilizing these to enhance and maximize their results as well as being conscious of the environment. 

Personally, at this point, I would not consider a service if they didn't use Organic based fertilizer products 90% of the time. 

Why would you use synthetics 10% of the time?, you might ask.  Because as a professional lawn service we have to keep up with the Joneses.  Sometimes the color is not as "GREEN" as your neighbors because of artificial fertilizer on your neighbors lawn so we have to apply some good old fashioned Nitrogen to beef up the color. 

Does that mean yours is not as healthy?  No, the exact opposite would be true, but that is another rant.

3.  Do you get to talk to the owners?

Hey, as a small business owner and one who has labored long and hard in this city and walked countless lawns and offered hours and hours of FREE advice over the years I am still accessible to my customers and non-customers, I might add,  and so is my partner. 

If you have a problem and need to talk to someone who can give you a straight answer or meet with you on the lawn and tell you "EVERYTHING YOU EVER WANTED TO KNOW" about your lawn, landscape, sprinkler system, drainage, stone work then you need to have a company that has been around for a while and is still owner operated.  There are plenty to choose from and we work hard for your business and don't hold nationally televised golf tournaments with your money. 

We struggle – look at our trucks. 

But we provide excellent service and use the best products available, ALL OF THE TIME, even when it cost us 5 times what it normally does to keep the weeds out of your lawns because what was working in the past doesn't work anymore.  We find a solution and use it and many times we absorb the cost because that is the nature of lawn care in Atlanta.  

If I have ranted on here, I apologize but there are some things that need to be addressed about lawn care in Atlanta.  It is a profession and there are some unprofessional companies promising everything and delivering very little.  There always has been but now with the economy south for the past 5 – 7 years there are even more.  

In fact, there is your bonus question.  How long have you been in business?  If they started in the past 5 years, be leery. 

As always, we would love the opportunity to work for you and provide you with a FREE estimate & AWESOME service.  Yes is the answer to all of the questions except the bonus one.  You already know the answer to that if you made it through this article.  Just fill out the form on this page or call us at 404.806.6263. 

 

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6 Sure Fire Ways To Bring The Fire Element Into Your Atlanta Landscape Design

Atlanta Outdoor FireplaceWhen I was a kid living in the farmlands of Illinois everyone had a fire pit.  A simple ring of rocks to build a fire and sit around with friends and family outside and relax, roast marshmallows and sing.  Yes my family loved to sing old songs with Grandpa strumming the Ukulele, days gone by. 

Today, it may not be feasible to dig a hole in your Atlanta backyard and build a campfire, but with some creativity the element of fire can easily be incorporated into your landscape design.  Let's look at a few interesting new ways to add a fire feature to your yard:

  1. Wood Fire Pit – If possible, the traditional campfire ring may be just the thing for you.  The kids love it, it’s simple and has worked for centuries.  There are some upgrades you will need to do to it to add the element of safety to the fire pit.  There are plenty of DIY videos to give you all of the tips and material list you need to put it together. Before you begin, be sure to check if your municipality or homeowner's association allows an open fire.
  1. Lava Stones * Glass Chips * Ceramic Beads-Glass –  These fire pits are of the modern age and continuing to be more popular every year.  You can have different colors of glass to accent your outdoor colors and countless containers are available to hold the colorful coals.
  1. Pots of Flame – You will see these like running lights along the walkway or around a pool or pond.  These small fire elements create a warm and cozy feeling as the dusk turns to dark and the night sets in.  Again the popularity has brought with it a variety of options in sizes and shapes of containers and even flame colors.  The liquid or gel fuel is designed to minimize smoke and smudging.  Have fun with these.
  1. Tiki Torches – I personally love these and the designs and options are vast as well.  You can still get the traditional bamboo torches but they come in metal designs as well to provide a more permanent option.  The fuel can also be a mosquito barrier so they can serve dual purposes.  This option also allows you to have different levels of the fire element and provide lighting.  This is a must have for any outdoor gathering.
  1. The Fireplace – These have become very popular in Atlanta over the years and add a much more permanent fire aspect and hardscape design to the property.  In many cases this can be the anchor to a very functional extension of the house and create and outdoor living room with this feature.  There is an affordability factor with this option but there is a lot of value and permanence that comes with it.
  1. Table of Fire – The designers just keep giving.  With so many people wanting to add the element of fire they are now designing outdoor tables with fire pits in the center.  Just like some of the options above the possibilities are almost endless as new designs are hitting the market all of the time.  Search and you will find the perfect fit for you. 

Fire is still the same as it was a billion years ago but the possibilities to bring it into your Atlanta Landscape are endless.  If you do not have the element of fire and have been thinking about how you could do something besides a candle, it’s easy and affordable. 

There is something primal and incredible soothing about watching a fire, the relaxation you will gain from it will be well worth the effort it takes to find a fit for whatever extensive or limited your landscape options might be. 

We would love to hear your campfire stories.  Leave comments below.

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7 Water Feature Ideas For Your Atlanta Backyard

Image By Georgia Payne   (License)

Not everyone wants a swimming pool in their backyard, but most everyone enjoys a water feature. Water is relaxing and such a desirable part of an overall backyard oasis. But, aside from a pool, what are the ways to enjoy the soothing sounds of water without a swimming pool?  Let's take a look at several ways to add water to your own oasis:

 

  1. Koi Pond – This centuries old water feature may seem exotic, but is becoming more and more available to the homeowner. The new trend of koi ponds currently feature things like an amazing vanishing edge that makes the pond look like it's suspended in mid-air. The koi can be trained to eat out of your hand and make incredible pets; some living for as much as 70 years. In fact, the oldest living koi is said to have lived to the ripe old age of 276.
  1. Man-Made River – Take a look at some of the beautiful rivers that landscape contractors can design in your backyard. The sight and sound of the babbling brook is so relaxing after a long day at work. An added bonus is that the noise produced from the running water can help cover noisy traffic and neighbors.

 

  1. Waterfall – Similar to a river, a waterfall’s sounds can be melodic to a tired, overworked ear. Combine a river with a waterfall and you'll create a backyard oasis that is sure to lull you and your guests into a very peaceful evening. Underground components are built into the structure to make it easy to enjoy. The water recirculates and is filtered so you don't have to fret about it too much.  Just routine maintenance will keep it flowing.

 

  1. Fountains – Here's where you can go crazy. This water feature encompasses so many options. Traditional sculptural fountains, modern orbs and classical niche fountains built into the wall are just a few to consider. The options are only limited by your design tastes. You can display a large fountain as a centerpiece to your garden or tuck a smaller one away in an undiscovered corner.

 

  1. Bubbling Water Pots – A modern twist on water features, these stone orbs usually have one or two small spigots at the top. The water bubbles or gurgles out the spigot and cascades down the surface of the orb, is captured in a pool at the bottom and recirculated. The soft shimmering appearance is different from the splashing effect of a fountain.

 

  1. Stairway Fountain – Sloped lots naturally lend themselves to the use of a stairway fountain. These Zen-like water features involve steps with a wide tread; the water slowly moves down the side of the staircase, dropping from step to step. This can be purchased as a unit or built in out of cement, stones, rocks, or metal.

 

  1. Niche Pond – Smaller backyards or garden areas often don't have room for a full-scaled water feature or pond.  Instead, choose a niche pond. This little mini can be tucked into a corner, built into a wall, or even inserted into an attractive container. They are meant to surprise and amuse, and to sooth with their little water sounds.

 

You don't have to install a big swimming pool or even a big pond in your backyard to enjoy the sounds and sights of water.  Water cascading, bubbling, or sliding down a hill will give you a pleasant oasis feeling.

Call us at 404.806.6263 or fill out the form on this page to schedule a FREE consultation about your landscape project or to get a quote on your lawn care.

 

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9 Components To Building Your Incredible Atlanta Outdoor Living Space

atlanta outdoor living spaceWe spend a lot of time outside in our Atlanta lawns throughout the seasons, it's a big reason Atlanta has grown so fast over the past 20 years.  Many people want to live in the south and get out of the winter weather, I know it is one of the main reason's I moved here.

Atlanta Housing Market Changes

People use to move here, buy a starter house and then upgrade after 3 or 4 years. The housing market has changed with the down turn of the economy and more people are staying in their homes longer and looking for ways to improve and upgrade their living spaces.  One of the best and most affordable ways of increasing the living space of your homes is to add an outside living space.  This has been a really popular trend over the past five to ten years and the designers and stores have brought some really cool outdoor decor pieces to the market. 

Easy & Affordable To Create New Outdoor Living Space

It is relatively easy to create these spaces but many times people attempt to create an outdoor living space and miss or fall short of a few important parts necessary to make it a truly liveable space.  This tends to detract from the house instead of add to it and because it is missing some of the important pieces, it doesn't get used at all and becomes a dead space instead of a living space.  Fortunately if you pay attention to these vital areas and components you will end up with an attractive and very functional living space you will be able to enjoy, entertain and realize as a very functional area of your house.

Here are 9 Components To Building Incredible Outdoor Atlanta Living Spaces

  1. Furniture – The most obvious, and easiest, ways to turn your exterior space into a living room is to use furniture.  Choose pieces that are similar to what you would find indoors but that have weatherproof fabric and finishes.  Comfortable sofas and chairs encourage people to sit and stay for a while, just like they do in your living room.
  1. Television – If your idea of entertainment is having a television in every room, who says you have to stop at the patio door? With the new weather resistant televisions, you can view your favorite shows under the stars.
  1. Fireplace – If you have been enjoying an old fire pit, you know how much ambiance flames add to an outdoor seating area.  But wouldn't a regular fireplace make that outdoors seem even more like your living room? Pull some comfy chairs up close, just like you do in your living room.
  1. Shade – Think about how you provide shade from the sun streaming into the house through your windows and replicate the feeling and the look.  Hanging drapes, sheers, or blinds will give the area a cozy living room feeling.  Of course, you'll want to use weather resistant fabrics. This strategy can also be used to create "walls" around your seating areas, giving your outdoors a real indoors look and feel. Match the treatment you use to what you have inside the house and your living room will appear to move or float right outside.
  1. Natural Walls – You can also place plants, shrubs, and trees around in such a way as to form more "walls" in your outdoor living room. Talk to a landscape designer for ideas of what sort of greenery will do well in your area. Even though plants would seem to be an outdoor element, when placed just right, they become part of your structured living room.
  1. Floor – Landscape pavers, stone or even decking can further define and separate your outdoor living room from the rest of the backyard. Create an interesting pattern to form your living room "floor" outside just as you would inside. Varying the direction or color of the materials can further enhance the floor and make it a unique design feature. 
  1. Area Rug – It's amazing how the addition of a rug can change the whole feeling; turning a patio into a living room in the blink of an eye. Your goal is to create a relaxing, welcoming outdoor living room, and rugs are the perfect way to soften the hard edges. Look for sturdy weatherproof rugs that have an plush indoor quality and look to get the ultimate in comfort.
  1. Music – When you entertain indoors, you usually play soft music to set the tone of the evening. You can continue this idea outdoors with a sound system designed for the outdoors. They even have speakers disguised as rocks. This feature has seen an incredible improvement since the days when a boombox would be hauled outside.
  1. Indoor Standard Design – Choosing a design that says "inside" instead of "outside" is part of the trick of turning your patio into a living room.  Instead of the standard wicker or beach themes, choose something more traditional, heavier, more upholstered.  Try ornate mirrors, tables, and other accessories that scream "parlor" to get a very cozy feel.

Once you have these things in place for your Atlanta outdoor living space the next thing you need to do is minimize the mosquito issue in your Atlanta lawns.  Mosquitos are always a problem here in the South with our warmer winters and humid summers. 

We provide mosquito treatments to help minimize the activity through the summer months and we recommend incorporating various citronella and other mosquito control options to help keep them under control.  This will give you a better experience in your outdoor living space and allow you to use it more. 

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6 Ways To Improve Your Atlanta Home’s Entrance And Create A Great First Impression

I spend a lot of time in Atlanta neighborhoods, they are endless.  I have honestly been to thousands of Atlanta homes over the years and walked around the yards and experienced the property as a visitor, even though I was there for the lawn care service or to offer a free estimate of our lawn care services.  You might say I am a property visiting expert.  What I mean by that is over the years and the thousands of properties I have visited I evaluate them from an avid landscapers view and consider whether the property has an inviting impressionistic feel to it or not.  The fact is there are a lot of attempts at giving the inviting feel but usually there are a few missing pieces to bring it all together. 

In most cases those missing pieces are easy to put in place and many times don't cost a lot to put the finishing touches needed to really make an impact.  The properties that do it right truly leave a lasting impression and make you just want to sit down and take it all in. 

I have put together a list of 6 easy to create and implement components to create a lasting impression to the entrance of your property.

The front entrance to your home is the first impression that your guests get of you and your home. You never get a second chance to make a good first impression, so start out right where it counts; at your front door. Here are some ways to put a welcoming look on your home's entrance:

 

  1. Courtyard – Think of cool, cozy areas deep within adobe houses and you have an idea of what a courtyard could be. Another example is a New Orlean's style iron gated entrance complete with climbing vines and bubbling fountains. If you don't have a large entrance, borrow some square footage from the front yard and draw the eye into your entrance. Create interest with arches, greens, seating, and anything else you can imagine in the interior courtyard of perhaps a Spanish villa. Then scale it to fit your entrance and enjoy. You may want to hire a landscape designer to create an enclosed courtyard to suit your particular style.

 

  1. Fireplace – Nothing says high style like a niche fireplace in your front entrance. A warm, welcoming fire behind a glass wall is one very upscale style.  Depending on your climate, of course, there are many options for installing a fireplace that can be enjoyed right there in your front entry.  If you plan it right, you can use this feature to your advantage as an overflow area for parties. Guests may stay out of the kitchen if they can linger in your beautiful entry staying cozy next to the fireplace. 

 

  1. Water Feature – From traditional to Gothic to modern, a water feature of some sort improves any entrance. The sound of trickling or bubbling water is instantly relaxing and calming. You'll find many variations, some free-standing and some that are built into a niche. Even a small tabletop water fountain can add a relaxing, inviting feeling.

 

  1. Container Gardens – This feature can be used as a continuation of the landscaping in your front yard or you can create an entirely new color scheme and design on a smaller scale. Filling a variety of containers to overflowing with lush flowers and greens is a gorgeous look for any front entrance. Choose a cool monochromatic look or go for a riotous display of color. Either way, it will give your entrance the attention it deserves.

 

  1. Seating Area – Choose a cozy seating area much like the front porches we remember from years gone by. Welcoming porches often included roomy sofa and chairs, or swings to sit and visit.  If you don't have the room for this type of arrangement, try borrowing extra square footage from the adjoining lawn and walkway. A small bistro set placed strategically at the bottom step beacons the visitor to stop and sit a spell.

 

  1. Rugs – Outdoor rugs, whether one big one or several small ones, make the entry feel more like the interior of the home. Choose rugs that are weatherproof and suit your decor.  Don't just get out a simple rubber “Welcome” mat. It may say “Welcome” but it won't feel very welcoming at all.  Choose a rug that begs your guests to kick off their shoes and stay a while.

 

Hopefully, these tips helped inspire you to give your front entrance a make-over that can't help but say "Welcome." The possibilities to create a wonderful first impression are endless when you use a bit of imagination.

We love to do small landscape projects and have been creating outstanding entrances and outdoor spaces in Atlanta for the past 20 years.  If you would like to schedule an appointment to discuss your project please call us at 404.806.6263 or fill out the form to the right. 

 

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The Changing Lawn Care Technology Improves Atlanta Lawn Care Results

atlanta lawn care technologyOver the past 20 years I have been involved in Atlanta Lawn care and have seen so many changes in this relatively short amount of time it is amazing when I stop and think about it.  Many of the products we used 20 years ago are not even on the market any more.  Other products have taken their place and now a whole new category of products has been making a dynamic impact on the industry as a whole.  Organic – Natural based fertilizers. 

Unfortunately there is still not an efficient and cost effective way to control the weeds of this region from a natural – organic basis but the fertilizers and technology around these products has really started to take a hold and a position in the marketplace and in the lawn care programs of most companies, large and small. 

I personally have been searching for a solution for some years and not until I accidentally ran into Bobby Wallace of Going Green Organics a couple of years ago did I even know these level of products existed.   I have experimented with various forms of the natural based fertilizers Bobby has in his product line and together we have developed a very effective program to maximize the growth, stamina and cosmetic look of the turf.  

I am really excited about this very environmentally sound shift in this industry and am proud to be a part of the GREEN Movement. 

To request a FREE quote for your property please fill out the information in the quote request box or call 404.806.6263 and we will be out to leave that information for you.  

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