Friday, April 30, 2010

Get Prepared for Fire Season

Don't be fooled into thinking that the prolonged rainy season we've had this year will be enough to protect your home from a wildfire. Fire officials have already begun planning for the 2010 fire season and according to the Daily Sound, they are warning the community against complacency. Now is the time to start planning for annual weed & brush clearing, get your trees trimmed away from the roof, make sure your house has 100 feet of defensible space, and order any firescape plant enhancements you may have been pondering. Give us a call today to let us know what we can do for you!

For more information on preparing for fire season, we recommend visiting the following links:

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

2010 is Water Wise & Sustainability Savvy

Ever since California passed Assembly Bill 1881 in 2006, Paysage has been working to anticipate and prepare for the needs of our customers and the general public whose landscapes would likely be affected by this Model Water Efficient Landscape Ordinance. (For a summary of the bill, go here.) The law went into effect January 1, 2010, officially marking a shift in landscaping needs and design trends. Every newly constructed or rehabilitated landscape project involving an irrigated area of 5,000 or more square feet as well as existing landscapes larger than 1 acre must meet its provisions for irrigation efficiency. Recently, while reading an article in the Los Altos Town Crier which nicely summarizes the benefits of the new law, I was reminded of how many ways Paysage can help homeowners meet the ordinance's new requirements and/or their personal water conservation goals.

Perhaps the most important item is to start with a well designed landscape which can support sustainable principles. Reducing the size of your lawn and using native and drought-tolerant plants are the most commonly sited recommendations. Both can make a huge difference in the amount of water your landscape consumes, however, we recognize that changing to buffalo grass or sedge lawn does not work for every situation, nor will every plant in your dream garden have sustainability superpower. We strive to help our customers find the perfect mix. Wide blade turf grasses when mowed higher can be a viable alternative due to their deep root structure and ability to minimize evapotranspiration, both of which make them more tolerant to drought spells. A mix of ornamental & native plants can be used effectively if all of the selected plants have similar watering & feeding requirements.

The second (and likely most valuable) way that Paysage can help homeowners meet the requirements of this new ordinance is through our newly launched Water Conservation Department. Paysage's owner and irrigation employees have been studying water wise irrigation and using smart irrigation products for quite some time, but now we are seeking official certification. In January 2010, two of our employees passed a written exam to become provisionally certified Water Managers through the California Landscpe Contractors Association. Paysage's Water Conservation Department can assess your current landscape irrigation or provide you with an irrigation plan for a landscape to-be-constructed. Using a weather based irrigation controller combined with water wise sprinklers and drip emitters can make a big difference all by itself. Simply having a skilled irrigation technician monitoring your system for leaks and inefficiencies can help as well.

And, if you're not ready for either a irrigation or landscape overhaul, there are even smaller treatments you may be interested in for your yard. Aerating your lawn can help the water infiltrate deeper into the soil. Mowing grass higher promotes deeper root growth and helps the soil retain moisture. Heavily mulching all flower and soil beds will also help keep water from evaporating so quickly. Finding an appropriate reduced watering schedule can also help reduce growth spurts and, in turn, your garden will produce less green waste. The eco-friendly changes you can make for your landscape are plentiful, and we believe now is the time to get started. Whether or not you are affected by the new law, why not make your landscape water-wise and sustainable? It's good for your wallet and good for the world.