On a recent trip to Ojai, CA with family I noted something beautiful: desert landscaping in a raised planter bed lined with local boulders. The shopping center on West Ojai Ave., Hwy 150, incorporated the local horticulture as a design theme throughout the shopping center. It really worked for me.
The crisp green Agave plants arranged in a harmony outside the store, and a subtle winter rain brought out the scent of maple from the deciduous trees overhead. The sharp yellow leaves speckled the ground and I noticed inlaid cast-metal leaves in the pavers, to remind guests and residents of this most regal autumn season’s dressings. The drizzle of rain didn’t detract from the dessert plants as one might expect, as the darkened soil enhanced the Agave’s color. Continue reading “Xeriscape: Water-Defying Landscaping”
In the world of home investment, swimming pools are a questionable feature. While useful for family get-togethers and outdoor excursions, many consider pools to be a liability which lower the value of the property. Many home owners and property investors choose to fill swimming pools, eliminating the need for maintenance and liability concerns.
Crews can remove a pool using several different techniques including semi-permanent pool covers, partial removal, and complete removal of the concrete or fiberglass structure. Figure 1 shows a Genesis crewman filling a swimming pool with clean dirt, completing a partial pool removal.
Several factors to consider when deciding whether to fill an in-ground swimming pool:
Evaporation. Uncovered pools constantly lose water through evaporation, which increases the water bill.
Chemical Reduction. Most swimming pools require the use of hazardous chemicals (when concentrated) to keep the pool clean.
Injury Liability. If someone becomes injured in the pool, insurance companies usually hold the home owner responsible. Remove the pool, and remove the liability.
Leaks leading to failure or repairs. If the pool develops a crack and leaks into the subsoil, erosion could cause the pool to fail. If the leak is caught before an accident occurs, a repair can still be costly.
Partial removal, as in figure 1, means the demolition of the pool floor, while leaving the side walls intact. This allows water to pass freely to the water table and avoid flooding. If the home is sold after the pool filling project, the partial structure in the yard should be revealed to the buyers. Future construction and landscaping in the area may depend on the knowledge of buried structures.
Complete removals involve the demolition of the pool floor, side walls, plumbing, and pool motors. This most costly option takes the property back to square one. While the hole gets filled with clean dirt, also consider adding nutrients to the top soil. This aids in plant health for future landscaping. Starting from scratch (literally) allows home owners to create a landscape to match their tastes and styles, a genuine expression of pride in ownership.
Whether transformed into a Japanese garden, or play area for the grand-children, the gained square footage from filling a pool can add both monetary and intrinsic value to the home. We’re sure you’ll love the results.
Contact Genesis today for a free in-home consultation. We’d love to help you traverse this important decision which affects your property. Reach us toll free at 888.389.5533, or visit our free estimate page.
Families in the United states use about 400 million gallons of water a year, 30% of which goes towards outdoor uses. That’s about 120 million gallons of water a year that nobody drinks or showers with. (via EPA.gov) In another study sponsored by the California Department of Water Resources, data shows that 54% of California households use more than the theoretical irrigation requirement (view pdf). This monumental waste factor reduces the availability of drinking water and adds to California’s water sustainability problem. (Check out this article by Time U.S.)
California instituted several programs to curb urban and residential water usage, such as the “Flex Our Water” campaign http://www.saveourh2o.org/. Many of the tips and best practices include using localized plants, creating a water plan, and maintaining water systems.
Artificial Turf represents an alternative solution to curb outdoor water use and maintain the beautiful green lawn cherished by homeowners.
In the past, artificial turf found it’s home in sports arenas. Recent product advancements bring the synthetic ground-cover into residential spaces. Artificial turf used to create fake-looking lawns spotted from a mile away, and were not generally considered a wise design choice. Softer and more realistic than ever, it’s hard to tell the difference between artificial and real grass in a side by side comparison. For me the secret is in the thatch.
The term “thatch” describes the organic material in natural grass that builds up over time. Lawn clippings, dead grass, leaves, and sticks from nearby foliage make up this organic ground cover. Artificial turf generates no waste and requires no maintenance, but also contained no thatch. Until now.
Responding to market pressures, manufacturers began creating synthetic turf with thatch included (see figure 1). Coming in brown, green, or both, the thatch looks full and healthy.
The reader may ask, “Ok, so it looks alright. But how does it feel? Isn’t artificial turf plastic and hard?”
The reader would be right. Synthetic grass used to be hard. Advances in product manufacturing, however, make synthetic fibers softer than ever. An artificial lawn can actually be softer than a real lawn. Un-watered lawns become crispy, but artificial turf stays soft and green 365 days a year without pesticides, fertilizers, or water.
Environmental impacts of synthetic grass often concern home owners. Does this new style of turf hurt the planet?
Artificial turf excels in many areas of environmental sustainability including water runoff, protecting native soil bacterias, and recycle-ability.The perforated backing on artificial turf allows water and air to pass freely through the grass. This would sustains the natural organisms in the soil, and avoid flooding during rainy seasons. Also, the gravel and sand base which supports the grass helps maintain the flow of oxygen through air and water to the soil. The gravel absorbs water more quickly than native soil and helps reduce water runoff and flooding. Manufacturers often use recycled materials to make synthetic grass, and artificial turf can be recycled after it’s life in service. What a great list of features!
California offers big incentives for switching to artificial turf. The SoCal WaterSmart $1 /sq.ft. rebate for turf replacement includes artificial turf and permeable paver installations. Visit the site to learn about the rebate system and how to take advantage of it: socalwatersmart.com
If you’re interested in learning more about artificial turf, or want to install at your home, visit genesisturfworks.com or call 888.389.5533. We’d love to share our enthusiasm about this wonderful product!