Heres whats going on in the world of Habiscapes
2015 Road Warriors
The Weiser Project
This spring, we have traveled all over southwestern Idaho installing our sustainable landscapes and outdoor living spaces. Specifically, we have been working in Weiser, Cambridge and Garden Valley. These projects have wracked up over 4500 miles! The driver behind the extensive mileage is sourcing materials for each location. For Weiser and Cambridge, in the western periphery of the state, materials were brought in from Ontario Oregon, Fruitland, Meridian and Caldwell… only the Ontario location was within a hour round trip from Weiser, but double that for Cambridge. The Garden Valley job was sourced a little closer as we could procure some materials in Garden Valley itself, but plant material still had to be brought in from Meridian… a three hour round trip alone.
We we have broken this springs work into three separate posts so you many enjoy the after pictures. The Weiser project (see below) involved renovating several portions of a large park like setting and installing multiple flagstone sitting areas, one with a fire pit overlooking the Weiser River valley, one with a dry creek running adjacent to it and one with a small water feature. In addition we created multiple drought tolerant planting areas with boulder accents all on timed drip systems. The end result of our labor was worth it.
Should you feed your backyard birds?
One of the best ways to enjoy wildlife in the comfort of your home is to watch birds at a feeder. You'll be amazed at the variety of birds that will come to your feeder throughout the year. Although, experts disagree about whether backyard bird feeding will significantly help bird populations, feeding certainly can help individual birds in your neighborhood. The general rule for feeding of any wild animal is: do not feed when it might cause harm. With birds there are few situations in which we can imagine harm being caused, so we say, go ahead! These answers to common questions will help you get started.
1. Where should I put bird feeders?
Birds are most likely to eat where they feel safe from predators, including free-roaming cats. Place feeders twelve feet from a brush pile, evergreen tree, or bush. Birds can quickly fly twelve feet to reach the safe cover, yet predators cannot use it to hide within striking range of the feeder. As further protection, place chicken wire or thorny branches around ground-level feeders.
2. How do I keep birds from colliding with windows?
Windows that reflect the sky and trees around them or that are very transparent can confuse birds, causing them to see a clear flight path, rather than an obstruction.
Prevent collisions by placing feeders either more than 30 feet from a window or closer than 3 feet. A feeder that is 30 feet or more from a window is a safe distance from confusing reflections, while one within 3 feet prevents a bird from building up enough momentum for a fatal collision.
Altering the appearance of your window helps, too. On the outside of the window, hang streamers, place static-cling bird strike prevention decals—especially those that reflect ultraviolet light that is visible to birds, but not to humans—about four inches apart—or paint a scene with soap. If collisions still occur, cover your windows with thin plastic garden netting, which will give a bird who still makes a wrong turn a better chance of surviving.
3. Are any human foods UNSAFE to feed birds?
Yes. Birds should not be offered many of the foods humans eat. Especially chocolate! Stick with bird food.
Create a Humane Backyard
A place that offers food, shelter, water, refuge from toxic sprays, and safety from mowers—it’s what every creature wants, right? They want a Humane Backyard. By making simple changes, you can create that haven of comfort and security for local wildlife. And you can do it anywhere: in the city, suburbs, or country. So look around--at your backyard, balcony, or the park down the street—then let us teach you how to make your own Humane Backyard. Once you’ve learned how, take our Humane Backyard pledge.
Landscape Planting and Maintenance:
It is very important to fully plan out any new planting plan as well as any modifications to the current landscaping. A well thought out plan will save you time and money in plant maintenance, water consumption and potential extractions caused by over planting. Knowing the mature height and width of any planting will assist you in avoiding removing a tree or shrub that you really love but was planted too close to the house or any any structure (including power lines) that it could impact. Also, it is beneficial to understand what, if any, pruning requirements your new plantings will be in need of. This is especially true of any fruit trees and ornamental shrubs.
Perennial flower and grass maintenance is a must if you wish to extend the blooming season. Most spring blooming perennials such as blanket flower, salvia and coneflower, can have multiple blooming sessions per season if you deadhead them after the first blooms fade. Grasses are typically left 'in seed' through winter for interest and then pruned in late winter for the next season's growth. The last bloom of the perennial flowers can also be left on in autumn as a food source for foraging songbirds that overwinter here. It is also a good idea to plant some fall blooming perennials such as goldenrod and aster to supplement the early season bloomers.
Lastly, keep an eye on your watering schedules...too much promotes weeds and is wasteful and too little leaves perennials and shrubs to weak to flower and sustain themselves... trees should be given deep intermittent watering... spraying daily only encourages shallow root growth in turf and trees.
As usual, Habiscapes can help you with both the planting schemes and watering issues. Following these tips will allow you to enjoy your landscape for many years!!!
Thanks to a much needed wet spring, most folks have just gotten around to turning on their irrigation systems. Just like automobiles, irrigation systems need periodic maintenance and tune ups. On the maintenance side, check all drip line filters and for those on community irrigation systems, check your master filter. Most filters should be checked at least at the beginning and end of each irrigation season. Check your spray zones to ensure nothing is broken or misaligned.
Replace the battery in your timer annually and make sure the timer is surge protected. Check your watering schemes...a regimen of Mon/Wed/Fri for each zone should suffice in spring and fall... and Sunday in summer. Pop up spray zones should run between 10-15 minutes depending on soil types and shade. Rotary spray zone between 35-45 minutes again depending on soil and shade types. Drip zones should run between 45-60 minutes. And most importantly do not mix spray zone types within a zone or mix spray with drip... the durations of one type or another will be compromised and something will suffer.
If you are finding dry spots in your turf, your coverage or spray type device may not be adequate or your durations are too minimal. There are new spray devices out there that are more effective and also variably adjustable nozzles that help with coverage on curves and/or irregularly shaped beds. If you are putting in new turf try one of the new drought tolerant turfs such as Turf Co's Xerilawn.
And lastly, override your system when it rains...we need to conserve that precious resource which we often take for granted.
Paver Patio Maintenance:
Most high grade (Belgard) patios need minimum maintenance if the pavers are kept free of grease spills from barbecuing, skidding of patio furniture, persistent snow or ice coverage in winter or excessive moisture from sprinkler systems in summer. Paver patios can be sealed immediately after install but are subject to aging that requires more cleaning and maintenance in the long run than patios that are left in their natural setting. If you are experiencing excessive joint sand loss due to overhead moisture issues (coming off of roofs without gutters) we can add a joint stabilizing sealer that will combat that problem. Pergolas over patios can lead to that condition also just by how water is directed off of the overhead structure. The joint stabilizing sealer works well in those situations. In case of large downpours from thunderstorms just adding a thin layer of very fine sand and sweeping it into the joints followed by a light misting of the entire patio will settle everything back into its proper condition!
If your patio ever begins to fade, efflorescence or create unsightly blotches we can clean and reseal the patio returning it to its former luster! Most of the patios we install are relatively moisture free, outside of winter, and need very little ongoing care. We are here to help if you do encounter any reduction in the quality of the product that we do install. Belgard warranties their products for two years and we stand behind that!
Angie's List Super Service Award 4 YEARS in a row!
We're proud to announce that Habiscapes has won the 2013 Angie’s List Super Service Award! This honor is earned by only about 5 percent of all companies on Angie’s List.
"We are very proud to receive the Angie's List Super Service Award for the fourth year in a row!" said Habiscapes' owner and founder Michael Wiegand. "This is a tribute to the whole Habiscapes team for their daily commitment to be the best in the Treasure Valley and to exceed our client's expectations every visit."
Angie’s List Super Service Award 2013 winners have met strict eligibility requirements, which include an “A” rating in overall grade, recent grade, and review period grade; the company must be in good standing with Angie’s List, have a fully complete profile, pass a background check and abide by Angie’s List operational guidelines.
Jim & Traci Montgomery reached out to Habiscapes from their northwest Boise foothills home in December 2012...wanting to be our first customer in the spring of 2013...they accomplished that and more as we reviewed their homesite and aspirations for improving their very xeric hilltop location high above the Treasure Valley. Jim & Traci both wanted to tie their new landscaping to the environment (a Habiscapes staple) and reduce both the maintenance of the nearly dead lawn and the water consumption... we collectively devised a plan that would remove all of the turf on the west (hot & dry) facing side of their home and install a new xeriscape, complete with new and beautiful drought tolerant plantings, a drip irrigation system and stylish walkways with the focal point being a complete renovation of their paver patio gas fire pit centerpiece....the ensuing project accomplished all of those goals, within budget, and continually provides the Montgomery family with a source of beauty and family entertainment without a lot of expense or maintenance!