ABC Blog

Texas Landscaping Plants: Landscape Designer Picks

Texas landscaping plants

Depending on the source, Texas has either four, five or even seven geographical regions, each with its own distinct features and climatic conditions. Whatever the number, we can all agree that different areas of the state are host to varying plant species based on unique patterns of hot and cold weather, seasonal rainfall and other factors, all of which affect the types of Texas landscaping plants that gardeners can choose from to elevate the aesthetic of your outdoor spaces.

Soil composition also varies from one region of Texas to another. Many portions of the state feature rocky or sandy soil, which won’t support certain popular varieties of plants and trees without much careful intervention on the part of the gardener. Converting dry, well-draining soil into something that will support plants not well suited for the region involves complicated and expensive processes of soil building, heavy watering and more.

Instead of fighting against … Read Full Post »

The Most Comfortable Pool Temperature For Your Swimmers

Comfortable pool temperature

There’s nothing quite as refreshing as jumping into a pool on a hot summer day. Having your own swimming pool gives you a natural gathering place for friends and family, a perfect spot to relax and unwind and a nice return on investment if and when you decide to sell your home. 

Being a pool owner also means learning all about what makes for an ideal swim. If you are a new pool owner, or simply hadn’t given the matter much thought, you might not know what the most comfortable pool temperature is for your guests. In this post, we will explore what the experts consider the ideal temperatures for your pool, along with what the minimum swimming pool temperature is, what unheated pool temperatures hover around, what the ideal swimming pool temperature is for seniors and what the ideal outdoor pool temperature year round is. Ready to dive in (pun … Read Full Post »

How Long Do Termites Swarm? Protecting Your Home

how long do termites swarm

Termite swarms are a fast-paced phenomenon: One minute, there are no visible termites present. The next minute, several of these winged insects have emerged from their nest and are beginning to fly or crawl around. Within just another minute or so, hundreds or even thousands of termites are swarming out of their colony, ready to propagate their species.

An hour later, the termites are gone once again, receded back to their home within the walls of your house or inside a rotten log outdoors. But how long do termites swarm, and how can you defend your property against these invaders, which are blamed for damage that costs U.S. homeowners over $1 billion each year to mitigate?

The term “termite swarm” refers to the phenomenon within a termite colony when, each spring, reproductive termites leave the warmth and darkness of their nest and come out into the open air by the thousands in … Read Full Post »

Flying Termites: How To Keep These Pests Out Of Your Home

Flying termites

There are many benefits of being a homeowner: having a space to call your own, a financial investment, a place to create memories with your family. While the perks are numerous, we also recognize that there are a few headaches that present themselves as a homeowner. One of those annoyances is pests.

No matter which pest species decide to call your home theirs, homeowners often discover they have an infestation after they begin to notice an increased number of pests around their home, many times before it’s too late. Take flying termites, for example. Because termites live inside your home’s walls, many homeowners are unaware of their presence until they begin to see winged pests flying around inside or find shedded wings around doors and windows inside their home. If you’re curious to know if you have an infestation, flying termites are a key warning sign that can indicate you … Read Full Post »

How Long Do Mosquitoes Live Indoors?

How long do mosquitoes live indoors

Mosquitoes are ubiquitous during the warm summer months, and many regions of the U.S. stay temperate enough year-round to make mosquitoes a perennial problem. Thus, no matter where you live, it’s likely that you’ll encounter these annoying bloodsuckers at some point when you’re outside doing yard work or relaxing on your patio. Most people have a mosquito-repelling trick or two up their sleeves: They might spray themselves down with bug repellent, or light citronella candles or tiki torches to keep these insects and their itchy bites at bay. The associated smoke, chemicals and pungent scents are too harsh for indoors, however, so what to do when you find that mosquitoes have moved inside? The next question you might ask yourself is how long do mosquitoes live indoors, anyway?

The short answer to the second question is that the average mosquito lifespan lasts between four days and a month, although most … Read Full Post »

Tiny Bugs in Pool: What Are They And What Can I Do?

tiny bugs in pool

Last year you finally bit the bullet and did it: you got a backyard pool as a way to beat the Southern heat. And boy, were you glad you did. Few things are better when the summer sun is beating down than cooling off in your own pool.

Recently, you decided to take a late afternoon dip. But within a few moments of you settling down into the water and closing your eyes to relax, you feel a tiny pinprick. Then another. Could that have been another?

You open your eyes to find tiny bugs crawling on you and quickly race to the shower to rinse off.

What was that? Probably thrips. And they might not be the only bugs lurking in or around your pool.

Having tiny bugs in your pool can become a major annoyance, especially when you look forward to spending time relaxing poolside. Below, we will go over several different … Read Full Post »

Dust Mites In Bed: Protecting Yourself From These Allergens

Dust Mites In Bed

Imagine your bed and pillows being infested with tiny bugs measuring less than half a millimeter in length that feed off the skin cells you slough off in your sleep. Sound like a horror movie? If the very thought of such a thing makes your skin crawl, you aren’t alone. Unfortunately, these little creatures aren’t something out of a sci-fi flick. They are dust mites, and dust mites in bed are a very normal and common occurrence in many homes.

It’s natural, of course, to feel a bit horrified by the idea of harboring dust mites in bed, especially if you’re among the many folks who are allergic to these creatures. But barring a dust mite allergy, are dust mites in bed really something you need to worry about? Many people have heard they should replace pillows, linens and even mattresses on a regular basis to keep dust mites at bay. … Read Full Post »

Hummingbirds in Texas: How To Welcome Them To Your Yard

Hummingbirds in Texas

You are sitting on your porch, reading a book, when it happens: a hummingbird pays you a visit. The impossibly tiny bird flits from flower to flower. Then it hovers. Its wings are a blur of frantic activity while the head barely moves. After a moment it’s gone, zipping off in search of greener pastures.

The experience is a bit of everyday magic, and it leaves you with a happy, contented feeling. I wish they’d come by more often, you think.

Seeing hummingbirds in Texas isn’t an everyday occurrence, but there are several things you can do to make your yard friendlier to them and encourage them to stop by more frequently.

It starts with knowing which hummingbirds can be found in Texas–and when.

Hummingbird Migration: Texas

You might not know this, but there are somewhere in the neighborhood of 300 different species of hummingbirds in the world. Most of those, however, never make it anywhere … Read Full Post »

What Do Baby Termites Look Like?

what do baby termites look like

Any homeowner who has seen small, winged, ant-like insects in or around their home has probably wondered, What do baby termites look like? It’s smart to worry about a possible termite infestation, as these insects are a serious problem if they infest your home, garage or other structure. They can cause thousands of dollars’ worth of damage to your property.

In fact, Americans reportedly spend $1 billion each year on termite control and repairs to correct damage caused by these small but powerful pests. Clearly, a savvy homeowner should know how to identify termites. Telling these creatures apart from winged ants, for example, or any other look-alike insect species, however, can be tough. Many of us are familiar with what these insects look like in their adult form, but what about termite larvae? Read on to learn more about baby termites, the termite life cycle, swarming season and how to … Read Full Post »

Purple Texas Wildflowers: How To Add Color To Your Landscape

Purple Texas wildflowers

A rite of passage here in Texas is taking the family for the annual bluebonnet photo. Did you know that these plants are just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to wildflowers in Texas? And that you can actually grow these flowers in your own back (or front) yard?

Whether you’re tired of the usual suspects in your home garden or you’re considering wildflowers as another way to use native plants in your landscaping, wildflowers are a gorgeous option that can add a nice splash of color to any property.

Below, we will suggest different types of purple Texas wildflowers you might consider incorporating in your lawn, as well as answer common questions homeowners have about adding these plants to your outdoor spaces.

Different Types of Purple Wildflowers You Can Find in Texas

Bluebonnets and Indian paintbrushes get the lion’s share of attention when it comes to Texas wildflowers, but they’ve got nothing … Read Full Post »