Tips & Tricks on how to maintain your recently installed outdoor living space!

Outdoor Makeover & Living Spaces encourages clients to read the articles below to better understand how to maintain the most recent investment into your home. Please reach out to us at 404-301-8319 or Send Email design@outdoormakeover.net with any questions you may have.

Bermuda/Centipede:

After install

  • Water 25-30 min per day (excluding days that rain/or on days where the temp is below 28F) for first 21 days
  • If temp is below 60F reduce to 15-20
  • If temp is over 85F increase to 40 min
  • Water 2 to 3 hrs. before sun is on grass
  • Do not water at night
  • You may put out a Broad spectrum Pesticide (as a preventative)
  • Do not add any fertilizers or weed killers for 45 days

Maintenance

  • Keep mowed to 1 to 1 ¼ inches
  • Water 1 ½ inch per week (as necessary)
  • Pre emergent in February
  • Aerate in March
  • Use standard weed and feed throughout the growing season (45-60 days) (if centipede only fertilize once per season, but standard weed treatment)
  • Use winterizer in the Fall (usually October but may be as late as December)
  • Regularly Blow leaves off sod.
  • We recommend using a chemical maintenance company to maintain the the feed and weeding of the your lawn.
Zoysia:

After install

  • Water 25-30 min per day (excluding days that rain/or on days where the temp is below 28F) for first 21 days
  • If temp is below 60F reduce to 15-20
  • If temp is over 85F increase to 40 min
  • Water 2 to 3 hrs. before sun is on grass
  • Do not water at night
  • You may put out a Broad spectrum Pesticide (as a preventative)
  • Do not add any fertilizers or weed killers for 45 day,
  • We recommend using  chemical maintenance company to maintain the the feed and weeding of the your lawn.

Maintenance

  • When it gets 2 inches or more, cut it to 1.5 inches
  • Water 1 inch per week as necessary in early morning. Especially during the warm season
  • Apply weed and feed early spring
  • Every year or every other year, dethatch or cut really low.

For hunter controller please click

Controller Frequently Asked Questions

For Rainbird controller

Rain Bird Support Center

  1. Find out how long it take for one inch of water come out. You could place cups on the lawn when you turn the system on and test it. This is important because most lawns only need one inch of water per week.
  2. Once in while, please check your system and make sure not to mow over the system, or check and make sure your drip irrigation is working if you have drip irrigation.
  3. For spray head, make sure the plants have not gotten too big for the space. If it has the system may need to adjusted or retrofitted.
  4. Replace any back-up battery in your irrigation controller so your system will maintain its memory in the event of a power failure.

If the irrigated area becomes saturated and water pools or runs off into the street, you are applying too much water at one time. Sloping landscapes or clay soils can make this problem worse. Consider more frequent, shorter-duration irrigation cycles that will allow the water to be absorbed.

  • For example, if you want to water for 30 minutes, you can set the controller to allow two rounds of 15 minutes.

Irrigate only in the late evening, night or early morning hours, generally between 6pm and 10am. Watering in the heat of the day is very inefficient. Much of the water is lost to evaporation before it hits the ground. Early morning is often the best time to irrigate, as winds are generally lower then as well.

Winterizing

Although in Atlanta, the ground does not freeze below the first inch. However, there are times that it exceeds the freeze penetration point. You must be prepared to avoid redoing your irrigation system.

  • Get most of the water out of the system before extreme cold temperatures arrive. First, turn off the water valve that supplies your system.
  • Locate your shut off valve, which is underground, close to the water meter.  Once you shut off the water to the irrigation. Via the controller, turn all your zones on.
  • Allow the system timer to run through all of its cycles in its normal manner.
  • Much of the water in your pipes will run out of the lowest irrigation heads. What water remains will not be under pressure. The system should be fine when you turn it on next year.

Another alternative is to purchase a maintenance contract from an irrigation contractor. They typically will check all of your heads before draining the system in winter and will check them again in spring. They may also want to shoot compressed air through the pipes to remove all remaining water.  This was paraphrased from Walter reeves website.

If you suspect a leak in your system, you can find out by going to main water meter, there is a very sensitive red triangle that rotates. The smallest movement in water will spin the triangle.

  1. Make sure every faucet is shut off in the house.
  2. Go check the water meter.
  3. Shut the irrigation system off at the shut off valve and see if it makes a difference.
  4. If the triangle is still  that mean there is no water movement through the meter.
  5. If you turn the shut off valve on, and the triangle starts moving, you have a leak in the irrigation.

Once you determine you have a leak, then you need to find the vicinity of the the leak.

  1. Make sure you irrigation system is not gong to come on for couple of days, and there is not rain in the forecast.
  2. Then you can go out and look for wet spots.
  3. The most likely areas for leaks are the irrigation valves or main shut off area. Start there.
  4. If you see water at a low point, you’ll need to see exactly where the water is coming from. It ended up at the low point, but it probably comes from anther point.

Your home is magnificent at night. But to keep it that way, please spend time, once in a while, checking your system.

  • Lighting systems should evolve with the landscaping. It is also under a lot of external forces.  One of the biggest differences you can make is cleaning the lenses once a year.

You should watch out for the following:

  • Shifting light position and performance due to tree growth, trim the vegetation or re-shift as plant mature.
  • Damaged bulbs, cut lines, or broken fixtures as a result of yard maintenance. Most bulbs are warrantied for 5 years. We use a unique product. You can contact us or contact the manufacture to handle replacement bulbs.
  • If a wire is cut, and you are aware of it, please mark the cut line. The system is low voltage and as long as the lights are off you can personally splice with low voltage wire, 12-16 gauge wire.
  • We usually leave slack in the wire so you can find more wire if it is brown wire. If it is black wire, you’ll have to purchase new wire.

Most likely, if only one light bulb is out. Either the bulb is bad, or the wire for that bulb is cut.

If a series of lights go out, then possibly one of the home run wires are cut. This is the wire that runs from the transformer to the junction box. You should also check the fuse on the junction box under ground.

If the whole system is off, then you should check the gfi status on the plug, or check the timer or photo cell. The fuse could also have gone bad.

Remember your transformers are warrantied through the manufacture for life.

  1. Fill the cracks between pavers with polymeric sand, which hardens when moistened. This special sand helps hold the pavers in place and prevents weeds from growing between the bricks.
  2. Sweep debris and dirt from the pavers. Removing nature’s debris from the bricks keeps them clean and reduces the risk of staining to the brick surface. You also reduce the chance of slipping on wet leaves.
  3. Wash away grime by spraying the pavers with a hose. Avoid directing the water spray straight into the joints, as it can disrupt the sand, particularly if you use regular sand.
  4. Scrub stains using a mild detergent mixed with water. Use a wire brush to remove the stain. Test out the wire brush and detergent in a hidden area to test for damage to the pavers before using it in a highly visible area. Wash away the detergent completely after cleaning.
  5. Seal the pavers every two or three years using a sealant designed for pavers. Apply the sealant evenly according to the product’s directions. Sealing protects the pavers from environmental factors and prevents stains from setting into the bricks.

How to clean out a pond

Disappearing Waterfall FAQs

How to clean out a fountain

Maintain Outdoor Fountains

How to maintain a drainage system

  • Allow rain to help settle the loose soil before working the field.
  • Do not use equipment to pack the heaved soil over the tile runs. Driving directly over tile runs can crush the pipe.
  • Straddle tile runs with equipment or work across them when working the land in the first year after installation.
  • Backfill the open trenches carefully, so as not to damage the pipe.
  • Do not use the open trench for garbage disposal.
  • Clean up unused pieces of pipe promptly.
  • Avoid working the land before the tile drainage system has had an opportunity to drain the excess water; do not work wet land.
  • Avoid crossing a tile repeatedly with heavy equipment.

If drainage boxes are present clean them up once a month by removing the lid and taking out all the silt. Drainage boxes are design to trap sediments. That is why the hole is few inches above the bottom. 

What should be considered a “new” plant?

“New” will vary according to the type and size of plants. Generally, our goal is to be sure any plant is getting what it needs until it has developed a new root system and foliage that is extensive enough to let it gather what it needs from its surroundings.

How long will new plants need special attention?

With fast growing plants such as annual flowers and vegetables, new plants will only need extra attention the first two or three weeks. Because they are genetically programmed to complete their life cycle within a growing season, they very quickly develop the needed roots and foliage. Perennials are a little slower to establish and may require special attention for a month or two. Woody plants such as trees and shrubs are much slower growing and are usually larger to start with, so they will require extra attention throughout their first growing season. If they are planted late in the season, they may need some help early the next season too. If you are planting very large plants of any type, they will need even more care because they have much more plant material to support right away. Bulbs are the exception. Because they have their own fleshy storage system (i.e. a bulb, corm, rhizome, etc.), they are a little bit more tolerant of adverse conditions.

At the end of that period of time, can I just let the plants rely on nature? 

Yes and no. After going through the initial period of time when you have babied them, plants will develop extra strength by going through slight periods of drought or other stress. But you certainly don’t want to push them too far. In the wild, it isn’t too crucial if a few trees out of a hundred die from some stress, but losing just one tree can be very important to the home landscape.

What are their basic needs?

A plant’s needs can be divided into two categories: what plants need before they are planted and what they will need after planting. Before a plant is introduced, you need to determine if the site is right. Does it provide the level of light this specific plant will need to thrive? Is the soil type compatible with this plant? Is the pH of the soil acceptable? Is there good air circulation? Once you have matched the plant to the site (or made any necessary adjustments to the site), the plant will require water and nutrition.

What is the most critical period of time? 

Of course, the most critical time is going to be right after it is planted. Again, this critical time period will vary according to the type of plant. You are moving a plant from one environment into another and it will help to take a few moments and note just how much of a change might be taking place. The plant may be going from a sheltered area where it was kept consistently moist to an exposed spot in your yard. The more drastic the change, the more careful you will need to be. During and immediately after the move, you will need to watch for signs of water stress. Newly planted plants may also develop signs of sunburn or windburn.

If the plant is being moved into a drastically different environment, is there anything I can do to help before I plant it?

Yes. If you have time, introduce the plant to its new environment gradually. If the plant is coming straight out of a warm greenhouse, let it spend a few days in a cooler area before planting. And if it is going from shade to sun, let it spend a few days where it will get lots of sun, but be shaded from the more intense direct afternoon sun. Letting the plant acclimate to its new surroundings gradually will make your job easier in the long run.

Is there a single element that is the most crucial?

Absolutely. It’s water. All plants need water and plants gather water principally by absorbing it with their roots from the soil. While a new plant has limited roots reaching into the surrounding soil, it is important to keep that area consistently moist, but not wet. How much water you will need to provide depends on the soil type, ground temperature, air temperature, how windy it is and the type of plant. Because so many factors can influence the amount or frequency of watering, there is no magic formula. You will have to judge your own situation.

How will I know if I am giving the new plants what they need?

The most common and obvious sign of trouble with a plant is wilting. The confusing part is that while plants most often wilt from lack of water, they can also wilt from too much water. Check the soil by digging down a few inches and feeling it before adding water. If it is still moist, lack of water is not the problem. Watering when plants have wilted from lack of water is easy. Drying out a plant that is too wet is difficult, especially since we don’t have control of the rain.

When will I need to feed the new plant, and with what?

Plants should be allowed to rely on the nutrients already in the soil when they are first planted. The general rule is related to the guideline you use for providing extra care. Annual flowers and vegetables can be fertilized after the first two or three weeks. Perennials can be fed after the first month or two. And woodies can be fertilized after their first season. Of course, all the basic rules for when to fertilize and what formulas to use should be followed.

What about products such as Start-Up?

These are some very gentle starter solutions and may be used to help give your plants a jump-start. They are nutritionally very dilute and often contain a rooting hormone such as IBA (indole butyric acid) and might also contain some vitamins.

Are there any plants that need less care?

There are plants that are considered low maintenance, easy-to-grow or drought tolerant. But even they need some extra attention to get established. Once they have settled in, they can require much less ongoing care, but not at first. You can make your job easier by working with nature. Avoid planting during the warmer, drier parts of the season and try to match the plant carefully to the site. For instance, if you don’t have time to baby plants, avoid planting something that needs constantly moist shade in a sunny, dry site.

(Heavy Soil)

Watering 

Add water at a trickle to soak the original root ball, but do not flood the hole to overflowing. Understand the soil moisture. Dig a 6-inch deep hole near the root ball of a newly planted plant. Feel the soil-it should never be soggy and should be almost dry to just slightly damp before watering..

Weather Conditions Daytime Highs Watering Guide
Wet Temps not applicable Avoid watering.
Cool Temps under 60 degrees F
  • Little watering needed.
  • Water every 6th day at most.
Warm Temps 60-80 degrees F
  • Water every 4th day during the first month after planting.
  • Water every 6th day after the first month.
Hot Temps above 80 degrees F
  • Water every 2nd day during the first month after planting.
  • Water every 6th day after the first month.

 

Caring for Your Landscape the First Year (Light Soil)

Watering 

Water thoroughly; watering for longer with a slow trickle will provide the deep watering needed. Normal lawn sprinkling will not provide adequate water for your new landscape plants. Use the following guide for your landscape watering needs.

Weather Conditions Daytime Highs Watering Guide
Wet Temps not applicable Some watering may be needed unless rains have been slow, soaking and at least 1 inch per week.
Cool Temps under 60 degrees F
  • Water every 4th day during the first month after planting.
  • Water every 8th day after the first month.
Warm Temps 60-80 degrees F
  • Water every other day during the first month after planting.
  • Water every 6th day after the first month.
Hot Temps above 80 degrees F
  • Water every day during the first month after planting.
  • Water every 4th day after the first month.

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