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Fire Pits Add Enjoyment to Atlanta Fall Weather

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As the cooler weather is on it’s way in Atlanta, now is the perfect time to enhance your outdoor living space with a fire pit. Things to consider as you plan are materials, wood burning or gas and cost. While wood burning pits give you the more authentic experience of a fire with the crackling of wood and smokey smell, they require a bit more work. Most obviously, a constant supply of firewood! Wood burning fire pits come in a variety of shapes and sizes and are generally more cost efficient than gas burning. That said, gas fueled fire pits have become the more popular option for our outdoor enhancements. They too come in an endless variety of materials, shapes and sizes. From the height of the pit itself to the featured materials within it. At a North Atlanta home, we recently installed a raised rectangular fire pit and incorporated it with an existing pool deck while the job before that was a circular ground level pit with beautiful blue glass rocks. Adding a new seat wall and patio will complete your space and make it enjoyable for years to come!

A Tip from the Pros: Watering

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With spring’s temperatures climbing and summer on its heels, watering your landscape is an important issue.

Your goal is for the landscape to receive enough water to keep the soil moist. 1 inch per week is a good measurement for the amount of water needed

Lawns do best when they are soaked once per week and then allowed to dry between waterings. This allows grass roots to breathe. In the heat of summer, applying one inch of water per week, in one application, is good. Watering more often is a waste of water and may harm your lawn grass. Also, try to only water in the evening or early mornings. You do not want to extend the dew period of the turf otherwise you run the risk of encouraging disease in the turf.

Watering is only needed when the soil is dry. Remember: if the soil is moist, there is no need to irrigate.

Take into account recent rainfall when deciding how much to apply.

How to measure the amount of water applied by irrigation:

  1. Place six identical containers randomly in the area wetted by your sprinkler; plastic cups can be used but weight them down with a heavy washer in the bottom of each.
  2. Let your sprinkler run for an hour.
  3. Measure the depth of water that has accumulated in each cup.
  4. Calculate the average of the depths. This gives you the amount (in inches) that has been applied in an hour.
  5. Make a mental calculation of how long it will take to apply an inch of water.

NOTE: Heavy clay soil, like ours in Atlanta, absorbs water slowly. If water runs off before it is absorbed, split the irrigation into two sessions an hour apart. On the other hand, sandy soil absorbs water rapidly but dries out quickly. Consider splitting the recommended inch of water per week into two irrigations of one-half inch of water three days apart. 

A Tip from the Pros: Turf Care

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March is great time of year to get your yard ready for the spring. For warm season turf such as Bermuda and Zoysia, scalping the turf down as low as your mower will go is a great idea. The reasons for this are two-fold, one is to get rid of the excess thatch in the yard and the other is to allow the new grass to get more sunlight quicker and allow the green-up process to occur more rapidly. For fescue turf you can do a supplemental aeration and over seeding if your Fall one was not as successful as you would have liked or if you want to oxygenate the soil and relieve compaction.

All types of turf can be fertilized during March to enhance the green up as well as strengthen the root system. You may also start to see some of your shrubs blooming which is a sure sign that spring is almost here. Keep in mind though that “old man winter” usually has one last appearance before the spring temperatures are here for good. If we are going to get any temperatures below freezing, cover those flowers so you don’t lose them prematurely.

March is also a great time to freshen up your mulch. Whether you have mulch or pinestraw now is a great time to replenish the old with new. Fresh mulch not only beautifies your property it can also help keep weeds from germinating and also help retain moisture for your trees and shrubs which will cut down on how much you have to water.

Atlanta Home Show & Outdoor Living Expo

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Personal Touch Lawn Care Atlanta set up shop at our first Atlanta Home Show & Outdoor Living Expo at the Cobb Galleria during the October 4-6 weekend. We were very excited about this opportunity to meet new people and to let everyone know about the services we provide at Personal Touch. There were over 100 vendors at the show representing all aspects of home improvement and landscaping.

Two exciting events happened that weekend. First of all, our display was showcased on Fox 5 Atlanta to show the viewers what they could expect from the home show. This was very flattering as they had many displays to choose from and they selected ours. Secondly, SEMCO, who puts on the Atlanta Home Show selected Personal Touch’s display for the “BEST OF SHOW” award. We were very honored to win this award as it is very prestigious and to win it at our first Home Show truly was a tremendous honor. Here are some pictures of our display, which included a pergola, fire pit, patio, stacked stone and a water fountain, for those of you that did not make it out to the show.

Winter Thoughts

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Our winter here in Atlanta has been rather mild for the most part…..our low of 26 Saturday morning being the coldest this season. All over town I see Daffodils and Okame cherries bursting forth with blooms; Lenten roses and Mahonias and Camellias are brightening landscapes with color. If you have never enjoyed the heavenly fragrance of Winter Daphne, well…..put that on your garden bucket list; Daphne puts Gardenia and Magnolia to shame! Forsythia (yellow bells), flowering Quince, and Japanese Magnolia are full with swollen buds which should make an appearance with our next streak of 60 degree days.

All of this rambling to say that winter need not be a neglected season in your landscape. Natchez Crape Myrtle, with its cinnamon-hued bark, adds real beauty in a time when many trees and shrubs are gray and lifeless. Many of the Chinese hollies, especially Nellie Stevens and Emily Bruner, have outstanding foliage…..nearly black-green, shiny and dense….with abundant red berries that will feed ravenously-hungry birds on their northward journeys next month.

Please take a moment to notice these gems in the winter landscape near your home, office or school over the next weeks. If you long for some winter interest in your yard, give me a call and I will be happy to suggest ways to incorporate color and texture around your property.

Now is also the time to discuss and plan the next steps in the evolution of your landscape; a master plan can help us to identify the proper sequence of events to that end. If you want a better lawn, we may need to address drainage, irrigation and/or excessive shade before we can bring in topsoil and sod. If you long for an outdoor entertaining space, we might have to remove a few trees, install a wall, divert runoff from the downspouts, and install lighting wiring long before pavers or flagstone are installed. Here at Personal Touch, we have the experience and knowledge to help you achieve the outdoor look you desire; do not hesitate to call us for a free consultation.