IRRIGATION BMP...

Definition of BMP:

A Landscape Irrigation Best Management Practice is a voluntary irrigation practice that is designed to reduce water consumption and protect water quality. It is economical, practical and sustainable and will maintain a healthy, functional landscape without exceeding the water requirements of the landscape

Landscape Irrigation BMPs:

1. Assure Overall Quality of the Irrigation System

2. Design the Irrigation System for the Efficient and Uniform Distribution of Water

3. Install the Irrigation System to Meet the Design Criteria

4. Maintain the Irrigation System for Optimum Performance

5. Manage the Irrigation System to Respond to the Changing Need for Water

BMP 1 Assure Overall Quality of the Irrigation System The purpose of an irrigation system is to apply supplemental water that is needed by turf and landscape plants when natural moisture and rainfall are not sufficient. A quality irrigation system is required to effectively distribute this supplemental water in a way that maintains healthy turf and landscape plants while conserving and protecting water resources. The irrigation system shall be designed to be efficient and to uniformly distribute the water. The irrigation system shall be installed according to the irrigation design specifications, and in a way that results in an efficient and uniform distribution of water. The irrigation system shall be regularly maintained to keep the integrity of the design and to sustain the efficient and uniform distribution of water. Ultimately, it is the management of the system to deliver adequate water when needed, thus protecting and conserving water resources.

BMP 2 Design the Irrigation System for the Efficient and Uniform Distribution of Water The irrigation system shall be designed to be efficient and to uniformly distribute the water. Specific criteria that shall be considered in the design include soil type, slope, root depth, plant materials, microclimates, weather conditions, water source (e.g., quantity, quality and pressure), peak demand and watering windows. To conserve and protect water resources, the irrigation designer (or engineer) shall select appropriate equipment components that meet site and local code requirements and that result in an efficient and uniform distribution of the water.

BMP 3 Install the Irrigation System to Meet Design Criteria The irrigation system shall be installed according to the irrigation design specifications. To conserve and protect water resources, the installed components shall meet the irrigation design specifications, manufacturer’s specifications, and site and local code requirements. The installation shall result in an efficient and uniform distribution of the water. The irrigation contractor (or installer) shall be licensed, experienced, and reputable.

BMP 4 Maintain the Irrigation System for Optimum Performance The irrigation system shall be regularly maintained to keep the integrity of the design. To conserve and protect water resources, the serviced components shall meet the irrigation design specifications, manufacturer’s specifications, and site and local code requirements. The maintenance shall result in sustaining an efficient and uniform distribution of the water. The maintenance contractor (or owner, manager, or irrigation contractor) shall be licensed, experienced, and reputable.

BMP 5 Manage the Irrigation System to Respond to the Changing Need for Water To conserve and protect water resources, the irrigation schedule shall be changed or controlled as required to provide supplemental water for maintaining healthy plants and turfgrass without wasting water.

6 GREAT BACKYARD IDEAS...  

1. Create a private, outdoor spot for relaxing.

Design an appealing grown-up backyard oasis that's perfect for reading and sipping tea. Circle trees with delicate flowers and seed your lawn with fine-bladed grass that feels soft underfoot, as shown as Landscape Planet. Place a weather-resistant table and chairs under the shade of a tree or umbrella for quiet mornings. Hang outdoor-safe lanterns and string lights among branches and vegetation for evening hours. If neighborhood noise is a problem, consider the soothing nature of a trickling pond or other water feature to muffle outside sounds.

2. Simple or dramatic, design your back yard to fit your lifestyle.

When planning your backyard space, consider the way you intend to use it first. It's not all about plants and trees; it's also about creating a space that you will use and enjoy. Whether you want an environment for parties, children's play or an oasis from the busy world, plan your back yard to help you realize the lifestyle you want.

3. Fantasy World for Children

Encourage your child's inquisitive nature with an organic play space. Turn your back yard into a world of wonder for children with separate play spaces surrounded by tough grass and eye-catching plants. You should design your child's space with a child's eye level in mind. Install safe play equipment such as slides and swings, partially surrounding them with plants like elephant ears, which can grab your child's interest and inspire exploration. Build a sand box circled with smooth rocks for a more organic feel. Add a small wading pond with a locking hard cover and surround it with water-friendly plants. Your child can splash around when you are present and she will stay safe from accidentally falling in when the cover is in place and locked.

4. Maintenance and Safety

Keep safety and maintenance in mind when planning. No matter how you design your back yard, make sure you incorporate safety and low maintenance to keep your area pleasant. Check all electrical items to make sure they are safe outdoors in all weather situations. Choose furniture that can withstand rain, heat and even snow. Install railing on decks for the safety of family and guests and watch closely for potential fire hazards from open flames. Make sure all play areas are safe for children.

5. Peaceful Seclusion for Relaxing

Create a private, outdoor spot for relaxing. Design an appealing grown-up backyard oasis that's perfect for reading and sipping tea. Circle trees with delicate flowers and seed your lawn with fine-bladed grass that feels soft underfoot, as shown as Landscape Planet. Place a weather-resistant table and chairs under the shade of a tree or umbrella for quiet mornings. Hang outdoor-safe lanterns and string lights among branches and vegetation for evening hours. If neighborhood noise is a problem, consider the soothing nature of a trickling pond or other water feature to muffle outside sounds.

6. Entertaining Space for Parties

Backyard entertaining is more convenient with an outdoor kitchen. Multitier decks bring visual interest and can increase your available space. A covered outdoor kitchen keeps the heat of cooking outside. With a set-up as simple as a grill or as elaborate as a full, weather-safe set of appliances, guests serve themselves without trekking back and forth through the house with food and drinks, according to This Old House. Create individual dining areas to encourage small groups and intimate conversations or keep it open for grand-scale parties. Make sure lighting is sturdy and well-placed and keep tall or bushy plants far from open flames like torches or fire pits.

RETAINING WALLS MADE EASY...

Step 1-Determine Area for Retaining Wall

Determine the area where the retaining wall will be put up. Mark the outline with the use of stakes and string.

Step 2-Blocks Selection

The blocks to be used for the wall should be selected. Determine first the size of blocks needed for the project so that the number of blocks to purchase will be known.

Step 3-Necessary Permits

Since diggings will be done for the installation of the retaining wall, the city or state may require a permit to dig and a permit to build so complete all these requirements prior to the work.

Step 4-Creating a Dug-out as Base

Wear all of your protective gear. Make a dug-out in the ground that is a bit bigger than the size of the block and is four to six inches deep. The foundation should go below the ground level. Pack up the area and flatten the bottom area. Place in sand or paver base onto the flattened area and compress it down.

Step 5-Laying the Blocks

The initial block can now be placed. Confirm its position with a level. If the block is not even, use a hammer to make the adjustment. Keep going with the block laying making sure that the blocks placed are even and make adjustments if it is not.

Step 6-Setting down Blocks

Make a mark on the mid-section of the block where to drive the chisel and hammer to cut it halfway. This will be the initial stone of the next pack. Cutting it in half will give the staggered look. Position the stones in place by the borders of the second pack. Create an interlocking look with the base layer.

Step 7-Working the Other End

Work on the other end of the pack and put another block by the base layer. Connect a string on the two blocks and determine the evenness of the line with a level. Make adjustment if line is uneven.

Step 8-Setting Second Course of Blocks

Make another interlocking block with the first pack by laying blocks for the second course. Check for evenness. The last block in the row should be cut in half.

Step 9-Filling the Dug-out

The dug-out by the base should be filled with soil and compressed well.

Step 10-Finishing the Interlocking Blocks

Keep putting in the blocks in rows. The first and last blocks must be cut in half on every row to create the staggered look.

 

PLANTING TREES...

Planting trees is an easy and effective way to beautify your property, provide shade in summer and wind protection in winter and enhance privacy all while increasing real estate values at the same time. Since a tree is such a visible part of the landscape care must be taken to ensure proper growth conditions are maintained.  A tree is far more difficult - and expensive - to replace, once mature in the landscape, than most shrubs.  However, with some advance planning, trees too can be easily maintained.

While planting each of these different types of trees differs in the details, all trees eventually end up in a hole. But not any old hole will do.

DIGGING THE HOLE...

The most common mistake when planting a tree is a digging hole, which is both too deep and too narrow.  Too deep and the roots don’t have access to sufficient oxygen to ensure proper growth.  Too narrow and the root structure can’t expand sufficiently to nourish and properly anchor the tree.

As a general rule, trees should be transplanted no deeper than the soil in which they were originally grown.  The width of the hole should be at least 3 times the diameter of the root ball or container or the spread of the roots in the case of bare root trees.  This will provide the tree with enough worked earth for its root structure to establish itself.

When digging in poorly drained clay soil, it is important to avoid ‘glazing’.  Glazing occurs when the sides and bottom of a hole become smoothed forming a barrier, through which water has difficulty passing.  To break up the glaze, use a fork to work the bottom and drag the points along the sides of the completed hole. Also, raising the centre bottom of the hole slightly higher than the surrounding area.  This allows water to disperse, reducing the possibility of water pooling in the planting zone.

PLANTING BALLED AND BURLAPPED TREES.

Balled and burlapped (B & B) trees, although best planted as soon as possible, can be stored for some time after purchase as long as the ball is kept moist and the tree stored in a shady area.  B & B trees should always be lifted by the ball, never by the trunk.  The burlap surrounding the ball of earth and roots should either be cut away completely (mandatory, in the case of synthetic or plastic burlap) or at least pulled back from the top third of the ball (in the case of natural burlap).  Any string or twine should also be removed.  Backfill soil (combinations of peat moss, composted manure, topsoil, etc.) is then placed in the hole surrounding the tree just to the height of the ball or slightly lower to allow for some settling.  Be careful not to compress the back fill soil as this may prevent water from reaching the roots and the roots from expanding beyond the ball.

PLANTING CONTAINER TREES.

Container trees (though subject to greater heat and drying conditions than B and B) can also be stored for a brief period of time after purchase as long as the soil in the container is kept moist and the tree stored in a shady spot.  The procedure for planting container trees is similar to that for B & B trees.  In the case of metal or plastic containers, remove the container completely.  In the case of fibre containers, tear the sides away.

Once carefully removed from the container, check the roots.  If they are tightly compressed or ‘potbound’, use your fingers or a blunt instrument (to minimize root tearing) to carefully tease the fine roots away from the tight mass and then spread the roots prior to planting.  In the case of extremely woody compacted roots, it may be necessary to use a spade to open up the bottom half of the root system.  The root system is then pulled apart or ‘butterflied’ prior to planting.  Loosening the root structure in this way is extremely important in the case of container plants.  Failure to do so may result in the roots ‘girdling’ and killing the tree. At the very least, the roots will have difficulty expanding beyond the dimensions of the original container.  To further assist this, lightly break up even the soil outside the planting zone.  This allows roots that quickly move out of the planting zone to be more resilient as they anchor into existing surrounding soil conditions.

Once the tree is seated in the hole, the original soil is then back-filled into the hole to the soil level of the container.  Again, remember not to overly compress the back-filled soil especially by tramping it with your feet.  Compress gently using your hands instead.

PLANTING BARE-ROOTED TREES.

Planting bare-rooted trees is a little different as there is no soil surrounding the roots.  Most importantly, the time between purchase and planting is a more critical issue.  Plant as soon as possible.  When purchasing bare-rooted trees, inspect the roots to ensure that they are moist and have numerous lengths of fine root hairs (healthy).  Care should be taken to ensure that the roots are kept moist in the period between purchase and planting.  Prune broken or damaged roots but save as much of the root structure as you can.

To plant, first build a cone of earth in the centre of the hole around which to splay the roots.  Make sure that when properly seated on this cone the tree is planted so that the ‘trunk flare’ is clearly visible and the ‘crown’, where the roots and top meet, is about two inches above the soil level.  This is to allow for natural settling.

STAKING AND GUY-WIRING

Young trees should be able to support their own weight, but when they are transplanted, they often need time to reestablish themselves.  Also, many nurseries plant their trees very close together to maximize use of space and stake them to promote height growth at the expense of trunk strength.  When shopping for trees, look for trees with branches all along the trunk - not just at the top.

Once a tree is planted, it will concentrate its energy on standing upright.  If it is unable to do so, try thinning out the upper branches to reduce wind resistance.  If that is not enough and you find you have to stake a tree, remember the following"

1. Only stake the tree long enough for it to be able stand on its own. 

2.  Stakes should not be too tight - there should be room for the tree to sway in the wind.

3. Stakes should not be too loose - the tree should not rub against the stakes.

4. Stakes should be buried at least 1.5 feet underground to provide ample support.

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