ABC Blog

The Importance of Sectioning a Sprinkler System

A sprinkler system ensures a thriving lawn even as the neighbor’s yard turns parched under the Texas sun. However, sprinklers should be set up to deliver optimum water to ensure that turf grass and ornamentals get enough water to flourish. By redesigning the sprinkler system into sections, homeowners can adjust the amount, timing, and intensity of watering to support the landscaping properly.

Considerations for Sprinkler Sectioning

Different types of Houston landscaping materials will have different moisture requirements. Location in terms of sun and wind exposure will also affect watering needs. For instance, grass and ornamentals in a shady location will need less watering than plants in full sun and areas exposed to brisk winds.

Growth patterns affect the type of sprinkler system and the water needed. For efficient coverage, sprinklers should be positioned to water the designated area without being blocked by taller plants and thicker growth.

The slope of the land will have … Read Full Post »

Decrease Damages during Attempted Home Intrusions

Thieves can cause a great deal of damage and steal many valuables in a short period. The average burglary victim spends about $2,000 on repairs and replacement items, according to Bankrate.com. To reduce the cost of a break-in, detecting and reporting burglars as soon as possible is crucial. Modern security systems offer many ways to do so! They often notify the authorities and sound an alarm before criminals succeed in entering the home.

A glass breakage detector triggers a siren if it “hears” the sound of a window shattering. When this happens, some burglars give up and flee the area. This technology allows security systems to detect burglars when they break glass instead of attempting to open doors and windows. It also alerts police to vandals who have no intention of entering the home. Criminals find many different ways to break in, so using various detection methods is essential.

Motion detectors help … Read Full Post »

Landscape Lighting Meets Efficiency and Practicality

Landscape lighting can add an elegant touch to an outdoor space, but many homeowners are unaware that this aesthetic feature can also offer functional benefits. Choosing lighting with high-tech features can boost the practicality of lighting and offer energy efficiency.

Energy Sources

Homeowners have a variety of lighting sources to choose from when shopping for outdoor lighting that can highlight beautiful landscaping. Buildipedia.com explains that there are three primary energy sources when it comes to outdoor lighting: solar power, electricity, and gas.

  • Solar power is energy-efficient because it uses the sun’s power instead of requiring a homeowner to pay for a power source. However, solar power is only reliable in areas that regularly receive a lot of sun during the day.
  • Electricity is hard-wired to the home to provide reliable power, but this option can be expensive.
  • Gas is reliable and provides an aesthetic bonus by making outdoor lighting appear old-fashioned. However, homeowners who would … Read Full Post »

How to Keep Brown Recluse Spiders at Bay

It’s a fact that all Houston homes and businesses have spiders lurking in their walls, attics, and other hiding places—even in winter when they tend to seek shelter indoors. Most of them are harmless, and their presence is helpful because they keep insect populations under control. However, one spider, in particular, can be very dangerous when it comes into contact with humans: the brown recluse.

Identifying the Brown Recluse

These non-hairy spiders range in color from tan to dark brown and, once they reach adulthood, are usually the size of a quarter with their legs extended. The brown recluse’s most distinctive feature is a violin-shaped marking on its back. Brown recluse spiders can be found outdoors under piles of wood or debris and indoors in cluttered, dark places such as garages and attics.

The Dangers of Brown Recluse Spiders

Brown recluse spiders rarely wander out into the open unless searching for food so these … Read Full Post »

The Benefits of Lawn Aeration

If you’re living in Houston and are not taking advantage of lawn aeration, it’s time to contact a Houston lawn care specialist at ABC. The soil in our region benefits from aeration and can help create a beautiful, healthy lawn.

The benefits of lawn aeration include:

• A reduction in the level of compaction occurring in the soil. If you do not have your lawn aerated regularly, the soil will become compact and challenging to work with in the future. Compacted soil may also cause problems with plants that are already present because of the difficulty that plants may have with growing roots down into heavily compacted soil.

• The primary purpose of lawn aeration is to allow the soil to access the air. Soil needs to be able to access the air in the surrounding atmosphere to remain healthy and in prime condition for growing plants.

• Creating a point where air can … Read Full Post »

Give Your Pool a Makeover in Time for Spring

Are you planning to leave a pool remodel project until warmer weather? Consider getting your pool makeover finished now to have your pool ready to go when warm weather returns.

Getting the Deck or Patio Prepared

Not all of the action is in the water, so anyone who wants to lounge poolside without swimming needs a relaxing patio or deck space to unwind.

Getting the deck or patio ready adjacent to the pool doesn’t necessarily require renovation. Consider purchasing some outdoor furniture that’s modern, sleek, and high-quality to achieve a relaxing and attractive atmosphere without construction.

Popular outdoor furniture that is functional and beautiful includes hardwood and wicker dark-colored furniture. Real Simple Magazine suggests looking for furniture pieces that are easy to move for convenience, and that can also withstand the local climate.

Pool Re-Tiling

Tiles can get worn out and damaged over time. If you’ve been putting off a pool re-tiling, consider getting it done … Read Full Post »

Stink Bugs Cause a Stink for Gardeners

Most gardeners are eager to share a bountiful harvest with friends and neighbors. There is usually enough to go around, but a few greedy stink bugs can destroy an entire crop in a few short weeks. Take precautions now to deter these hungry bugs from devouring the spoils of your hard labor—even in winter.

Identify the Enemy

Stink bugs are easily recognized due to their brown or green shield-shaped bodies. Their markings vary in color, and triangles on their backs are called scutellum.

Stink bugs leave blemishes the size of pinheads on fruits and vegetables, including winter veggies such as kale and spinach. Sometimes excrement is also present. The damage is more than cosmetic—the area underneath the depression or blemish may not ripen. Some fruits will turn brown underneath the blemish.

Take Precautions

Take steps before the growing season begins to deter stink bugs from settling into the garden. Our Houston lawn care and landscaping … Read Full Post »

Handling Firewood Improperly Can Cause Pest Problems

Heating your Houston home with firewood is cozy, romantic, and environmentally friendly. Unfortunately, if your wood isn’t handled and stored correctly, it can harbor unwanted pests. These insects pose no serious threat to your home in most cases, but a few species could be problematic.

A variety of insects infest wood. The list includes bark lice, millipedes, centipedes, pill bugs, sowbugs, springtails, termites, beetles, carpenter ants, carpenter bees, and wasps. Termites are the biggest threat to your home’s structure, but they’re not usually a problem unless you bring firewood into a moist environment and store the logs against your home. If you find live termites in a wood pile, move the wood as far away from your home as possible.

Wood-boring beetles can be a nuisance if they create noise or wood dust. Bark beetles live inside a tree’s bark or between the bark and heartwood. If infested wood is stacked against … Read Full Post »

Smoke Alarms 101

Smoke alarms are essential for your and your family’s safety. Do you know what kind of smoke alarm you have, and are you aware of how your alarm is powered?

Types of Smoke Alarms

The U.S. Fire Administration explains that two types of smoke alarms are available.

An ion smoke alarm is a less expensive option and most beneficial in open flames. The quick reaction that an ion type of alarm has makes it ideal in the case of a kitchen fire that has been caused by cooking.

A photoelectric type of smoke alarm is more sensitive to fires that involve smolders instead of open flames.

While the two types of alarms have different reactions to fires, both are effective for helping people stay informed during a fire.

There are also different methods for powering a smoke alarm:

9-volt batteries are the most common power source for smoke alarms. These batteries should be changed at least once … Read Full Post »

Houston is a Prime Target for Solar Power

During the summer, Houston can hit triple-digit temperatures. Homeowners spend hundreds each month cranking up their air conditioners. Instead of purchasing electricity from the power company, homeowners can eliminate their utility bills by switching to solar power and upgrading their homes with energy-efficient upgrades.

Cheaper Prices and Bigger Savings

Manufacturing costs associated with solar panels are dropping fast, and homeowners are reaping the rewards. Adjusted for inflation, solar panels in 1989 cost $8.78 per watt in 2010 dollars, but the average price per solar panel in 2010 dropped to just $2.79, its lowest price ever. In that same period, photovoltaic panel shipments increased 100-fold.

Photovoltaic technologies offer a reliable and future-proof energy source compared to fossil fuels. Since 2002, coal has nearly doubled in price, while petroleum costs five times as much. If current trends continue, solar panels will cost about $1.00 per watt by the decade’s end, but coal and oil will … Read Full Post »