ABC Blog

Backyard Beauty – Landscaping Ideas for Austinites

austin landscaping

Here at ABC Austin, we love the summer time. We’re suckers for a good backyard BBQ, weekend swims at Barton Springs, and of course, spotting the weird bugs that make their presence known around the city when the mercury is high.

But with the kids heading back to school and cooler temperatures (and evidently this year, lots of rain?) around the corner now is the perfect time to focus on a backyard redesign.

We’re ready to roll up our sleeves, be creative, and—finally—start working on a new backyard we’ve been dreaming of all summer long.

So whether you have a large yard or just a small space to work with, we have a list of ideas that are sure to get your green thumb moving. Here are a few of our favorites ideas.

Plant Local Varieties

Shopping local has become quite the fad in recent years—and why shouldn’t it be? Choosing local products is an excellent … Read Full Post »

How to Aerate Your Lawn for Happy Green Grass

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Beautiful, healthy grass makes a great yard for play, right? While this is something many of us would love to have, it’s easy to overlook some of the factors involved in having such a luxury – including the soil below the lawn.

In many ways, the soil underneath your lawn is like the foundation of your house. The key function of the foundation is to provide a stable base, so your house doesn’t shift.

Similarly, the soil beneath your lawn must be healthy and nutrient-rich for your lawn to thrive. The best way to keep the soil beneath your lawn healthy is to aerate your lawn.

Aeration provides important benefits to any lawn

The process of aeration removes small plugs of dirt and help to break up compacted soil, where it can be difficult for plants to grow. There’s less space for roots to spread out in compacted soil. That means those roots can … Read Full Post »

5 Bugs That Help Austin Stay Weird

bugs are keeping Austin weird too

It’s that time of year again: the days are long, the sun is hot (or just hotter), and it seems that everyone is enjoying the great outdoors from sun-up to sundown. Whether you’re standing by the grill in your backyard or cooling off at the local watering hole, we Austinites know how to get the full summer experience.

While you might have adjusted to the Texas summer heat, so too have the insects that occupy the city each summer—and not just the pesky bugs you’re accustomed to seeing around your home either. Sure, the constant buzzing of a mosquito is easily identified, but the Austin area is home to some pretty weird bugs too.

Let’s explore a few of these summer pests.

The Africanized Killer Bees (Apis mellifera scutella)

Jeffrey W. Lotz, Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, Bugwood.org

You’re probably thinking, “bees aren’t weird,” and we won’t argue with that. But bee-ware, Africanized … Read Full Post »

Embracing New Technology: Pay For Services Without Picking Up The Phone

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Austin is a city that has always embraced technology. With industry giants like Apple, Dell, and IBM in town, it is easy to understand why talented people want to live and build their lives in Austin. Austinites also have emerging expectations for business in the city, including ABC Home & Commercial Services.

Our number one priority is appeasing the needs of our customers. That’s why we have adopted new and better ways of doing business to match new and better expectations.

Introducing ABC’s New Online Appointment Scheduling & Payment System

We have heard you loud and clear. Getting on the phone can be tiresome and inconvenient. And when you’re dealing with something pressing like a pest problem, you may be feeling a little impatient.

We built our new online appointment scheduling system to make your life just a little bit easier. And we also know that this is what consumers expect to see in … Read Full Post »

HVAC Innovation: Transforming the world one air conditioner at a time.

air conditioners in china

We take Air Conditioning For Granted. (Sometimes)

When it comes to purchasing your first home, there are many factors to consider. There’s adjusting your finances, finding the perfect location, selecting the right number of bedrooms for your home. Most first-time homebuyers know these are obvious questions which need to be answered. But what about home features that are often taken for granted?

Living in the United States, many couples shopping for a new home often overlook the comfort of central air conditioning. Especially in cities with scalding summers like Austin, efficient air conditioners are not seen as a luxury, but rather a requirement when purchasing a new home. And though something as common as air conditioning efficiency might not seem like an important factor to consider, it should be.

New technology advances have the ability to provide air conditioning to more individuals around the world. And they can also reduce the costs of … Read Full Post »

Ladybugs: Your Backyard’s Best Friend (And Foe!)

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What’s the first image that comes to mind when thinking of a ladybug? If your answer involves a picture of a grandchild dressing up as one for Halloween, or making a wish on one as a child, you’re not alone.

Ladybugs, unlike other pests, are often paired with positive memories, and typically thought of as harmless creatures. And with their delicate wings and beautiful black-spotted backs, it’s hard to image them as anything other than a pretty creature.

But when it comes to your backyard, these gentle critters can offer more than just good luck. They can help combat destructive pests like aphids, mites, and scale. Here are a few ways you can attract (and keep!) ladybugs in your backyard.

Plenty of Pollen

Like all pests, ladybugs need to eat, and they have their favorite meals. To attract ladybugs to your backyard or garden, consider including a few pollen plants in the area. These … Read Full Post »

What To Do When Your Air Conditioner Freezes Up

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On a hot 95+ degree day, no one wants to deal with melted ice cream. That’s why we have air conditioning!

Hot weather here in Austin means trips to Barton Springs, bike rides, and cookouts on the patio with tall iced beverages. It’s all fun in the sun until your air conditioning goes out.

Below we’ll take a look at some of the most common AC problems and offer some tips for basic air conditioner troubleshooting.

How air conditioners work

Air conditioning systems cool air using an evaporator coil within your inside AC unit. Inside the coil is a refrigerant such as Freon that cools down the coil. The AC unit draws in warm air and blows it over the coil, where the refrigerant absorbs the heat and the newly chilled air is sent back into your home. The hot refrigerant is cycled outside your home to the compressor unit where it transfers the … Read Full Post »

How to handle your neighbor’s overgrown trees

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Large, established trees are a fixture in many older neighborhoods. Think about the new home developments you’ve visited, and they all likely have one thing in common: no established trees! These older trees provide shade on hot summer days, a home and food source for animals, play areas for children, and can even provide energy savings when blocking sunlight from entering a home.

With all of these benefits come several challenges. Property lines in neighborhoods exist in fixed areas, and tree growth of both roots and branches do not conform to any set location. Homeowners commonly run into situations where a tree sits on a property line, or a tree trunk grows in one yard with its branches hanging into another yard.

As a homeowner, what is the best way to deal with a shared tree that requires maintenance?

First, understand that this is a very common issue. The root systems of trees … Read Full Post »

Who Invented the Air Conditioner?

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It’s getting hot in Central Texas.

We’ve been lucky this year in Austin. Due to all the rain, temperatures are still slightly below sweltering!

Now that the warmer temperatures have arrived, everyone is thankful for the modern marvel of air conditioning. It is now possible to be burning up one moment and freezing the next as you move between the outdoors and heavily air conditioned spaces.

Air conditioning is such a part of modern life that we take it for granted.

Until it breaks down and wreaks havoc.

Here’s a little history lesson that will give you an understanding of the myriad ways people attempted to cool down before air conditioners arrived on the market.

Given that the modern air conditioner was not invented until the early 20th century, humans have been experimenting with ways to cool down for centuries.

  • The ancient Egyptians hung reeds in their windows and wet them with a stream of water. Air … Read Full Post »

Why The City of Austin Still Has Water Restrictions

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It seems like Austin has switched places with Portland or Seattle this year. We’ve received record amounts of rainfall. And along with the rains, we’ve enjoyed cooler temperatures and a later summer than normal. You’ve heard it on the news – the lakes are full, hurray!

Despite the rain, the City of Austin is still enforcing water restrictions, and has made some long-term changes to reduce water use in the Central Texas area. So if the lakes are full and our water supply is back to previous levels, why are we still operating under water restrictions?

How Austin-Area Water Sources Work Today

Our primary water source in Austin comes from the Colorado River and the system of Highland Lakes along the river. The Lower Colorado River Authority (LCRA) manages this water source, and the City of Austin is its customer.

There are five dams along the river and six lakes created by those dams.

Lake … Read Full Post »