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Mid Spring Checklist

Early spring was the time to prep, prune, and plant, so now is the time to sit back and enjoy the fruits of your labor, right? Well, maybe, but there’s still more to do to keep your lawn and garden ready for the hot summer months ahead. We’ve compiled a brief list for your use to stay on track and ensure the health and prosperity of your lovely buds and bulbs.

Succulent

Prep for new summer buds

A great way to guarantee constant color through the seasons is to introduce complementary shrubs that will bloom throughout the season. Work on learning a few new flowers a week until you’re comfortable introducing new flowers to your garden.

Put the bird feeders away

Take down the bird feeders and store them away until fall or even winter.  ”How heartless!” you might exclaim, but we advise this for good reason. Feeding birds is most helpful when natural sources of seed are scarce, such as late winter or early spring. Birds need most energy when they are migrating or during extreme temperatures.

Enjoy the spring show

Take a seat and enjoy either yours or your neighbor’s hard work when the buds bloom and blossom all around you. At the very least, resolve to plan ahead for next year’s show and map out those garden beds.

Plant hardy annuals

Although annuals don’t typically last more than 6 months, they are easy to grow and their aesthetic is very rewarding. You can start sowing these from late February to early April; they can survive a light frost, but anything lasting will do them in quickly. If you are planting them before April, it’s better to start them inside, and transplant them outside after germination. This will allow them to survive outside in the case of any unexpected frosts.

Apply mulch

Mulch has extensive benefits, but one of your favorites (just guessing here) is the almost-no-weeding aspect of it. Throw some weed barrier cloth under the mulch to hinder weed growth even more, and prevent decomposition of underlying mulch. Just think–less hours weeding means more hours swimming!

For the perfect garden bed, get your drainage and irrigation checked up by your local experts—Rainy Days! Be the envy of your neighbors.

 
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Your Lawn Isn’t Static–Why Should Your Lawn Maintenance Be?

Irrigation systems might seem like a ‘set it and forget it’ lawn accessory, but have you ever noticed how your yard shifts and changes through the seasons? After heavy rains, dry summers, icy winters, and even hosting events with street parking, there are all kinds of reasons your landscape will change over time. Plants grow, bed lines change and intentional changes to your property create changes to your irrigation system layout. We’ll update your system to operate like when it was new.

Irrigation products are improving on a regular basis. Rainy Days can upgrade your system to save water, reduce damp areas and hot spots, avoid fines from water departments and keep your landscape looking its best no matter what the weather conditions. Below is a list of typical upgrades for existing systems:

  1. Drip irrigation
  2. Check valves
  3. Water efficient multi-stream nozzles
  4. Sprinklers with integrated high flow shut down
  5. ET based controllers
  6. Soil moisture sensors
  7. Pressure compensating sprinkler heads
  8. Pressure regulation of the water supply

This especially applies to our commercial customers. Sport’s fields, worn walk-ways, disturbed landscaping–these are all elements of a neglected irrigation system that we can revive. Considering the onset of spring and sweltering summer months on the horizon, now is the ideal time to check up and maintain your irrigation systems for peak performance.

Contact us today to get your sprinkler system to 100%! >>

 
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Published on March 6, 2016, in Information & Tips.

Ready, Aim, Sprinkle!

Spring is fast approaching as forecasted by the revered groundhog, meaning your lawn may need some much needed attention after the months of winter neglect. A little maintenance up front may save you a significant wad of bills down the road.

Before you kick start your spring watering efforts to get the flawless green carpet you’ve been pining for, first spruce up your irrigation system to save more green—as in your dollars and your environment. If you have a clock timer, you may be using up to 50% more water than if you weren’t using an irrigation system. If it’s programmed incorrectly, a small leak mysteriously appears after the cold winter months, or your sprinkler head is pointed in the wrong direction, you may be wasting even more.

Avoid these small yet costly missteps with these quick steps:

  1. Inspect: Take a preliminary look at your system for sprinkler heads that may be broken, clogged, or missing. Then call a professional to ensure everything is tip-top and ready to relieve your parched lawn in even the worst summer heat.
  2. Connect: Take a careful look at the points where the sprinkler heads connect to pipes or hoses. If you notice large pools or wet areas in your lawn, this could potentially be a leak rather than a drainage issue. Did you know? A leak as small as 1/32 inch (that’s about the size of the tips of a ballpoint pen) could cause you to waste around 6300 gallons of water per month. It wasn’t your tears drowning you, it was your insane water bill!
  3. Direct: Check each sprinkler head to ensure you aren’t watering your driveway or passing cars. The most efficient direction to point your grass is somewhere in the vicinity of the actual grass–don’t cheat it by watering weeds or pinestraw.
  4. Set it: Have you updated your scheduled irrigation controller lately? This isn’t a product where you can “set it and forget it.” Forgetting to change it with the seasons will create big bills later on. Update it to align with the changing seasons or purchase a timer tool that will do this automatically for you.
  5. E: All of the above: You could do all these things by yourself, but your eye is most likely not trained to see the hidden flaws or potential future problems that are not yet so obvious. Hire a professional to maintain your irrigation system to save you the most money long term.


Rainy Days Irrigation, Inc. | 115 Sigma Dr. | Garner, NC
(919) 779-9285 | Irrigation | Drainage | Backflow | Landscape Lighting

 
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Take Control of Your Home’s Lighting

It’s cold! It’s dark! Winter is officially here in less than a month, but it feels like the deep throws of the dark and cold already. Thankfully, there are solutions! First, you have the option of moving somewhere that has more daylight. Or, to avoid uprooting your life, you could consider a simpler solution—landscape lighting.

Why come home to a dark driveway, dark lawn, and dark house? There’s nothing inviting or safe about unlocking your door in the pitch black.

There are several options when it comes to landscape lighting.

  1. You can go the simple route by adding solar lamps to frame your driveway and some column lights to illuminate parts of your lawn.
  2. Or, you can get a little more fancy with some uplighting to your home to accentuate the architectural details of the front exterior.
  3. You also have the ability to extend your living space by adding lighting your back exterior with down lights mounted on deck posts and step lights set in the riser of the steps to provide light on the deck.
  4. Path lighting also reduces the risk of tripping or falling.

With the cold weather on the rise, now is the perfect time to set up your exterior lighting to make the most use of your fire pit and outdoor space while staying safe. Take advantage of the perks of landscape lighting, such as automatic lights, energy efficiency, and remote applications that allow you to control your lighting system from your cell phone.

Call Rainy Days today for an evaluation of your home and suggestions on how best to utilize landscape lighting for the benefit of your home.

Request Landscape Lighting Service Right Now »


Rainy Days Irrigation, Inc. | 115 Sigma Dr. | Garner, NC | (919) 779-9285
Irrigation | Drainage | Backflow | Landscape Lighting

 
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Farmer's AlmanacHow the Forecast Affects NC

This winter is looking pretty, well…average. According to the Farmer’s Almanac, this coming winter season is looking very similar to last winter. Texas and Southern Central States will be seeing a cooler winter, but nothing they aren’t used to. As for us, it’s looking pretty consistent, so we won’t be blindsided by any crazy snow…who wants any of that anyways…snowmen are lame… *sigh*

According to the Almanac’s editor, Peter Geiger,

“It’s like Winter Déjà vu, [...] last year our bitterly cold, shivery forecasts came true in many states including the 23 eastern states that experienced one of their top-ten coldest Februarys on record. This year many of these same states may want to get a jump start now and stock up on lots of winter survival gear: sweaters, long johns, and plenty of firewood.”

According to the Farmers’ Almanac, the winter of 2015–2016 is looking familiar, meaning don’t get too hyped up about the possibility of a white Christmas. If you’re out looking to live the snow life, head to New England, the North Central States, or Ohio, where you’ll find plenty of snow to satisfy your snowboarding, skiing, and sledding needs. Before you go, however, make sure you gear up your home by winterizing your irrigation systems and prepping your home and lawn for the coming winter (since it seems to last forever!). 

We’ve talked about winterizing plenty before, so here’s some resources to refresh yourself  on what has to be done, and what could be done to make your life easier come springtime:

From our partner, Rain Bird:


Rainy Days Irrigation, Inc. | 115 Sigma Dr. | Garner, NC
(919) 779-9285 | Irrigation | Drainage | Backflow | Landscape Lighting

 
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Using Autumn to Prepare for Spring

We’re commonly tricked into thinking that autumn is the perfect time to stop paying attention to our yards. WHOA! Not true. This is the BEST time to prepare your lawn for next spring. Right now, your lawn is absorbing nutrients and water to prepare itself for winter. If you put work into it now, you’ll be much happier to welcome spring as you watch your lawn flourish with little help.

1. Continue giving your grass a haircut | If you thought your days of mowing have come to an end until spring, I have bad news for you. Mow as needed until the end of fall, which is when you should drop the mower’s blades to its lowest settings for the last 2 times you mow. Don’t trim off more than 1/3 of the grass blades at any time though! The trick is to gradually lower the blades until the final 2 cuttings. By mowing this way, you’re letting more sunlight reach the crown of the grass, which makes your lawn less brown during the winter.

2. Let that soil breathe | This is the time to aerate your lawn to get oxygen, water, and fertilizer down into the roots of the grass. If you’re willing to do it yourself, you can rent a self-propelled machine that will aerate your soil and extract plugs of dirt. If you have a large lawn, you might want to hire a landscaping contractor.

3. Pull out the rake | When you let leaves pile up on your lawn, they will become wet, matted, and create a layer that will suffocate your grass and breed diseases (we’ve talked about these diseases before). Don’t wait for all of your leaves to finish falling before you start raking. If you absolutely detest raking, you can collect leaves using a lawnmower with a collection bag. This is most effective with a large yard with deciduous trees.

4. Fertilize | Listen: If you only fertilize your lawn once a year, do it in the FALL. Apply a dry lawn fertilizer in mid-to-late fall. For a more comprehensive guide based on your type of grass and climate, here’s a good resource. The fall is a great time to fertilize because while grass leaves grow slowly, the roots and rhizomes grow quickly regardless. Fertilizing now will deliver essential nutrients for growing deep roots and reserve those nutrients for a healthy spring.

5. Rogaine those bare spots | Nothing sticks out worse than bald spots on a lawn. The best way to fix this is with an all-in-one lawn repair mixture that has grass seed, special lawn fertilizer, and organic mulch. Loosen the soil in the bald spots before spreading a thick layer of the mixture over it. Lightly compact, water thoroughly, and continue watering every other day for a fortnight (ahem, 2 weeks).

6. Weed control | If you’re completely over weeding all those pesky little dandelions and thorny monsters, now is the time to solve your problem. Like all other plants at this time, weeds are absorbing everything that comes their way, including poison. If you apply weed killer now, you won’t worry about weeds in the spring. When you purchase your herbicide, make sure to read the instructions. Most commonly, it’s suggested that you apply during early-to-mid autumn when it’s consistently above 60 degrees F.


Rainy Days Irrigation, Inc. | 115 Sigma Dr. | Garner, NC | (919) 779-9285
Irrigation | Drainage | Backflow | Landscape Lighting

 
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Illuminate Your Home

Yes it’s still summer, but autumn is quickly approaching and those dark winter nights will be here shortly. Now is the time to start considering incorporating landscape lighting to your exterior to illuminate your home when the nights get longer and the daylight passes quickly. Here are 5 important reasons to have landscape lighting installed around your house:

 5. Decor | Your home is your sanctuary from work and you spend a lot of time making it look presentable. Why not showcase your landscaping and highlight the architecture of your home to highlight attractive areas? Decor is a great asset of landscape lighting, allowing you to experiment with illuminating your home in the most attractive way possible. Mood lighting will romanticize your exterior and welcome you home, while low-voltage exterior lights will showcase your plants and gardening for you to enjoy 24 hours a day. Don’t let darkness hide your house, allow your taste to shine through with tasteful landscape lighting.

4. Curb Appeal | We’ve all heard ‘curb appeal’ and houses used in conjunction and landscape lighting can be a huge benefit in increasing that appeal. A well-lit house displays a warm and inviting home that welcomes family, friends, and visitors. It shows that the lawn and house are cared for and well-maintained by the owner, which increases property value in the long run. It also helps visitors find your house in the darkness and makes them feel invited. The value of curb appeal also lies in the possibility of your home being listed for sale in the future. The exterior is the first impression, and it takes 8 following instances to change that impression. Make it stellar by setting it apart from the surrounding houses.

 

 3. Comfort | By expanding light outside of the confines of your home, you can extend your living space into the outdoors. Maybe you invest in a screened-in porch or a fire pit, any way you use exterior lighting can benefit your family, friends, and guests when hosting parties, dinners, or simply relaxing outside on a warm summer night. Use uplights and install lights on outdoor structures to illuminate your home farther.

2. Safety | The safety of your family, guests, and pets can depend on the lighting available outdoors. Use walkway lamps to light paths, and illuminate your pool, patio, deck area, and any steps that could be tripped over. This will ensure the safety of any activities you may host, and may prevent accidents.

1. Security | Exterior lighting offers many security factors including motion activated lights and remote control from your smart phone. Burglaries and break-ins are significantly reduced when the front door and windows shed light on anyone attempting to cause harm to your property. Talk to your neighbors about keeping an eye on your house when you are out of town, and leave your home illuminated especially when you are away for long periods. Motion activated lights are highly effective as well in keeping criminals away from your home.

LED Lighting Choices

There are more lighting choices available than ever before. Even with all the new choices, it’s still simple to recognize LED lights as having the best advantage. Because of their small size, LEDs are now being incorporated into bulbs and fixtures for general lighting applications and provide unique design opportunities especially for landscape lighting fixtures.

It’s Easy to Get Started! Want to upgrade to LED lighting? Need a landscape lighting design from scratch? Discover the difference LED lighting can make. Let Rainy Days Irrigation provide a consultation to find the right solution for your home. Rainy Days will create a custom design and perform proper installation of your new LED system so you can enjoy all the benefits for years to come.

We at Rainy Days Irrigation keep your best interests in mind first and foremost. Now is the perfect time to consider installing exterior lighting on your home. With summer ending and winter creeping around the corner, you can beat the early sunset by installing soon. Call today for an estimate or request landscape lighting service now! (919) 779-9285


Rainy Days Irrigation, Inc. | 115 Sigma Dr. | Garner, NC | (919) 779-9285
Irrigation | Drainage | Backflow | Landscape Lighting

 
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Published on July 24, 2015, in Information & Tips.

Have you considered making your own compost pile, but aren’t really sure where to start?

Good news—it’s simple. All you need is a large drum container or small fenced-in bin to get started. Start a routine and turn what you may think of as useless organic material into nutrient-rich soil. This not only provides healthy soil for gardeners and farmers, but it also reduces the amount of waste we put in landfills. Be careful though! You can’t throw just anything into a compost pile and let nature do its thing. When you’re unsure about an item to be composted, check before you chuck. You want to enhance your soil, not detract from it!

Here’s a list of interesting items that you may not have thought of composting.

 

  1. Freezer-burned fruits and vegetables. If you’re like me, you can’t handle that freezer-burned taste. Don’t throw your money down the drain, throw it in your pile!
  2. Algae and aquarium plants. You can add extra nitrogen to the soil by composting material from freshwater tanks.
  3. Dryer lint. It’s easy to toss aside, but it’s smarter to toss it outside.
  4. Human hair. Clean out your brushes, make a hair stylist friend, and throw that fringe in the pile.
  5. Tea bags. Don’t let your tea bag’s journey end in the trash, give it a new life in the ground!
  6. Coffee grounds. From cup to compost, let that caffeine give the soil a boost too. Don’t be selfish.
  7. Old bills. Bills, receipts, coupons—protect your information and enrich the soil, it makes great fodder!
  8. Pet bedding. Don’t bag it and trash it, use that expensive hamster, rabbit, guinea pig bedding for something useful.
  9. Graded homework. Doesn’t matter if it’s an A or an F when it’s deteriorating in the soil!
  10. Wool fabric. Be sneaky and throw out your husband’s old holey socks into the compost bin. He won’t check there!
  11. Seaweed. If you live near water, wash and dry the seaweed and let your soil soak in the nutrients.
  12. Pet hair. Go ahead and brush your best friend, then toss it in the pile (the hair…obviously).

Maybe more importantly, here’s some things to NEVER compost!

 

  1. Human and animal feces. If it’s from a meat-consuming creature, DO NOT put it in the compost pile.
  2. Glossy pages. Heavily printed or metallic paper (i.e. magazine or catalog pages) don’t break down easily and the chemicals can contaminate organic crops.
  3. Dead plants. If the plant died from bacteria or fungal issues, it could hurt your healthy plants.
  4. Used cooking oil, pasta & baked goods, milk products. These will attract unwanted Jumanji-like attention from birds, rodents, and insects.
  5. Rice. Raw rice will not only attract unwanted pests, but cooked rice will almost always breed bacteria.
  6. Walnuts. This nut contains juglone, which is toxic to some plants.

Could our services be the answer to your lawn problems? Call Rainy Days Irrigation today at (919) 779-9285 and one of our trained technicians can advise you on the best solution for your drainage and irrigation issues.


Rainy Days Irrigation, Inc. | 115 Sigma Dr. | Garner, NC | (919) 779-9285
Irrigation | Drainage | Backflow | Landscape Lighting

 
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Published on July 17, 2015, in Information & Tips.

Rainy Days National Irrigation Month 2015

How are you going to celebrate National Irrigation Month? You can start by checking up on your irrigation system to make sure it’s running at peak efficiency, or have one installed! No matter what you do to celebrate, you can always find more ways to conserve water. Here are 3 tips to help you start on the right foot!

Perform Proper System Maintenance

When you first turn your system on after installation or a winter, as well as throughout the season, check for any broken sprinkler heads and leaks and repair immediately. Adjust the heads to be straight at ground level and ensure they are not leaning or being block, as this can deflect and waste water. It is best to install pressure-regulated devices that prevent misting & fogging, which indicate high water pressure. An inexpensive way to save water is to replace mismatched nozzles and install high-efficiency nozzles.

Program Your System Correctly

Don’t ever set the timer and forget it. Consider the time of year, precipitation, and plant needs, then adjust accordingly. For example, shady areas will require less water than a sun-exposed area, same with spring and fall as opposed to summer. When your plants become established is another good time to adjust the timer since they require less water. You can check your soil by inserting a screwdriver into the soil–the easier it is to push, the more water the soil already has. In the summer heat, it is best to cycle and soak to allow the ground to absorb the water without puddling.

Consider ‘Smart’ Technology

You can easily save water by eliminating human error and installing a smart controller, such as evapotranspiration (ET) technology. This technology uses weather data to determine the best times to water based on scientific information. Another technology, rain sensors, eliminate watering before and after a rainstorm. You can check your water provider’s website to see if they offer rebates or discounts on smart controllers and shut-off devices.


Could our services be the answer to your lawn problems? Call Rainy Days Irrigation today at (919) 779-9285 and one of our trained technicians can advise you on the  best solution for your drainage and irrigation issues.


Rainy Days Irrigation, Inc. | 115 Sigma Dr. | Garner, NC | (919) 779-9285
Irrigation | Drainage | Backflow | Landscape Lighting

 
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Published on July 10, 2015, in Information & Tips.

Typical cool season grass types include:

Bentgrass was originally cultivated for use on golf course greens. An important advantage it has is that it tolerates extremely close mowing very well. In fact, if you don’t mow this grass close enough and allow it to grow to a normal height, it will take on an shaggy appearance.

Kentucky Bluegrass  is the most common cool season grass and probably the best known. The grass will go dormant in hot, dry weather as well as during the cold winter months common in North America. It does poorly in extremely shady areas and is not recommended for extremely hot climates. This grass will require supplemental irrigation during hot, dry periods.

Rough Bluegrass  is a yellowish-green grass with soft leaf blades which are glossy beneath and have a narrow boat-shaped tip. It spreads by stolons and forms dense, thick patches. The leaf blades are upright at first, but tend to lay down and mat as the patches become older. Because the root system is shallow, the patches are easily pulled up in tufts or clumps. This grass thrives when cool, moist conditions prevail, and when management is high.

Red Fescue is used in northern and temperate areas. This is a cool-season grass used in cool, shaded, mountain sites, such as camps, resorts, and cabins where low-input of mowing, fertilization, and irrigation is desired. Red fescue prefers shadier and cooler areas than most other cool season grasses.  It has non-aggressive tendencies and looks good in un-mown conditions such as along roadways.

Annual (Italian) Ryegrass is often found in low priced grass seed. This grass germinates quickly and can be used as a temporary ground cover while the slower growing bluegrass plants take hold. This grass is used mostly as a forage plant for animals. DON’T plant grasses intended for home use in pasture areas, as certain toxins could be harmful to grazing animals.

Perennial Ryegrass  is used as an overseed to maintain winter green in the lawn after the warm season grasses go dormant. However, it will not survive the summer heat. The ryegrasses are best adapted to moist, cool environments where temperatures are not extreme in the winter or summer.


Could our services be the answer to your lawn problems? Call Rainy Days Irrigation today at (919) 779-9285 and one of our trained technicians can advise you on the  best solution for your drainage and irrigation issues.


Rainy Days Irrigation, Inc. | 115 Sigma Dr. | Garner, NC | (919) 779-9285
Irrigation | Drainage | Backflow | Landscape Lighting