Author: Amanda Cox

Categories Irrigation & Drainage Landscaping Lawn Maintenance

Watering Guidelines for Katy/Cypress/Fulshear/Houston and Surrounding Areas

Lawn Watering Guidelines

Proper watering is critical to your lawn’s health and vigor. Deep and infrequent watering is the best practice. This means wetting the soil to a depth of 3‐5 inches per irrigation. This equates to ½” of irrigation at a time.

Water during the morning rather than in the afternoon or evening; this allows the leaf blades to dry and reduces the risk of disease.  Do not water every day or two. Frequent, short watering encourages shallow roots, unhealthy grass plants and turf susceptible to drought and disease.

Let the turf determine watering frequency. Since heat, humidity, and rainfall can vary, it’s best to water at the first signs of stress, not on a predetermined schedule. As a note,  St. Augustine turf has poor drought tolerance and requires irrigation to survive during our long hot summers where Bermuda grasses are very draught tolerant and require less frequent irrigation but much deeper irrigation cycles.

Here are some guidelines and general tips to keep in mind when preparing your watering schedule. Each lawn and landscape is different and you should always check local weather conditions when planning.

Summer Months / Dry Periods

(Normally June through mid to late September)

 Early morning (5am to 10am)

 It is best to water deeply, less frequently. Consult the temperature guide below.

 Most lawns require 1″ to 1.25″ of water per week, split over several days.

Winter Months / Rainy Periods

(Normally November to February and May to June)

Water only during the daytime hours. Avoid water overnight.

If there is no rain for weeks, use manual cycle and water as needed (no more than once every 1-2 weeks).

Your run times should be adjusted based on how dry your yard is. Winter watering should have run times 50% less than your summer run schedule.

Irrigation spray head averages
Head typeMinutes per weekAmount of water
Pop-up spray head25-35 minutes1″
Rotary spray head50-70 minutes1″
Overall Temperature Guide
TemperatureFrequency of water
60° FEvery 7 – 10 days
70° FEvery 6 days
80° FEvery 5 days
90° FEvery 4 days
Over 95° FEvery 3 days

General Watering Guidelines:

January & February

Late Winter/Early Spring – Rainfall is usually adequate. Water if no rainfall for four weeks.

March, April & May

Water only once per week in the spring, if less than one inch of rainfall occurs.

June – Early September

During the summer, water each section heavily at least twice a week if less than one inch rainfall.

Late September – October

Early Fall is Brown Patch Season and excess water triggers this disease. During September water only once per week if no rainfall and every two weeks in October if no rain.

November & December

In late fall/early winter, rainfall is usually adequate. Water if no rainfall for four weeks

Tip for New Flowers

Water newer flowers 3 to 4 times per week for no more than 5 minutes.

Tip for New Trees

Water newer trees using soaker hoses or direct hose drips once every couple of weeks.

Categories Landscaping Lawn Maintenance

Spring To-Do List For Maintaining A Lush, Healthy Lawn Year-Round

Prep Your Yard Now

Admit it — you have lawn envy. Everyone craves their own little patch of grassy paradise, whether it’s to boost their home’s curb appeal or to transform a boring backyard into a family-friendly oasis. Get our top steps to keep your yard healthy and lush 365 days a year.

Weed & Feed

Weed and feed is a spring ritual for many lawn enthusiasts but beware of overdoing it. Late spring is the best time to do this; just make sure you actually have a major weed problem before treating your entire lawn. Too many chemicals can stress the plant's roots, putting your lawn at risk during the intense heat of summer. Consider spot-spraying or pulling broadleaf weeds (dandelions) and applying slow-release fertilizer only if needed.

DEAL WITH BARE SPOTS

Once your lawn begins to green back up in the spring, you may notice a few dips or bare spots. Don't panic — you can deal with these areas by flushing the spot with water, raking out any dead grass, then leveling it out with sand and soil, as needed. Reseed with your grass variety and water regularly until the new grass is fully established.

SEED THE LAWN

Whether you’re starting from scratch or nursing an existing lawn back to health, seeding is an important task you want to get right. Early spring is a good time to do this. Just keep in mind that colder soil conditions may slow growth down a bit. You can also seed in the fall if you miss the window!

WATER  IT WELL

 All grass needs water, and depending on the type of turf you have, that amount will vary. An in-ground irrigation system that operates off a timing system is best for helping to control how much water your yard is getting. Start giving it too much water too early and you could have a soppy mess of a yard.  Early spring, while the temperatures overnight are still cool in Houston you won't need to water anymore than 1 to maybe 2 days a week. If rain is in the forecast, turn off that sprinkler and let mother nature go to work.

BEGIN REGULAR MOWINGS

Your yard will need to start being mowed on a weekly basis once we get into mid-spring. The biggest reason mowing becomes so important is because this is when you will see the weeds start moving in. Regular cutting will help keep the weeds at bay.

LEAVE SOME CLIPPINGS

Your grass clippings are essentially a natural mulch for your lawn. Clippings are rich in organic compounds and will help feed your lawn, so don’t bother bagging them up. Just make sure you mow when the lawn is dry so the clippings don’t clump up.

ADD MULCH

Spring is an excellent time to top all beds with a heavy layer of mulch. It keeps the soil moist and cool, but it also blankets out any weed seeds thinking of getting a head start on your perennials.

CONTROLLING WEEDS

Spring is the best time to prevent weeds by using pre-emergent weed control, which work by preventing weed seeds from germinating. Your first application of a pre-emergent herbicide should occur just as the forsythia bushes finish blooming in spring – that should stop crabgrass and other weeds before they have a chance to grow.

FERTILIZE

Resist the urge to heavily fertilize your lawn in the spring. Spring feeding encourages rapid tender growth that will struggle to survive the heat of summer, particularly in drought-prone areas. Fertilize in late spring as soon as the lawn “greens up” and begins actively growing.

INSECT CONTROL

Spring is a good time to address problems with fire ants. Many other insects, such as grubs and mole crickets, may also cause damage to your lawn in spring but are more effectively controlled later in the summer.

It sounds like a lot to tackle on your own, but with a few weekends and a little bit of time, your yard will be looking it best year-round!  We also offer a variety of lawn maintenance programs to help the burden of maintaining your lawn off of you. Besides the basics (mowing, weeding, pruning) we also offer items like mulchings, annual color plantings, fertilizing, large plant and tree trimming, herbicides and insecticide treatments as well as landscaping overhauls and smaller cleanups. If you need some help in your yard, just give us a call at (281) 859-2122 or contact us.

Categories Irrigation & Drainage Landscaping Lawn Maintenance

How to Get Your Yard to Drain

If your yard looks like the below photos after a heavy rain or multiple uses of your irrigation system, your yard has a problem draining properly. Standing water in your yard is not only visually unappealing but can create the perfect environment for unwanted guests like mosquitos.

But How do you fix it?

Wet spots in your yard are a nuisance and an eyesore. Grass will die if it’s underwater for too long. You can’t mow over wet areas, and everyone tracks mud into the house. So what’s the fix? Here’s some tips to help your yard drain properly.

Extend the Downspout 

Landscaping near the house can create a basin for water. Extending the downspout usually solves the problem.

Gutters 

Roof gutters can divert water very efficiently. Make sure gutters are installed around the perimeter of your home to divert the water away from your yard and to the street.

Yard Reshaping

The slope of your yard should angle away from your home to keep water directed towards the street and not your foundation. If the grade of your yard is not going in the right direction, reshaping may be in order.

Top Dressing

Top dressing is a simple method to fix shallow depressions in your yard that collect water following a heavy rain. This method evens out low areas using layers of soil applied over existing grass. Apply a layer of soil to your lawn, 1/4 to 1/2 of inch thick, every eight to 12 weeks. Use dry soil and spread it evenly over the depression with a drop spreader or shovel.

If you have tried the above recommendations and are still having wet spots or standing water, you may need to look at a drainage system including box drains. Box drains are placed in low areas of your yard to help pull water out of your lawn and direct it to the street.

Still having issues getting your yard to drain? Give us a call!
Categories Customer Projects Remodeling A Swimming Pool

Correcting a Poorly Built Pool With a Pool Remodel

What Happened To Your Pool?

Finding a pool contractor to build your dream pool is not always an easy task. Doing research about the company you intend to hire is a vital part of the process. So you vetted a contractor, entered in the contractor, and the pool was built. But what if it wasn’t what you expected? What if the contractor never came back to address concerns and provide warranty on problems that arose only months after install?

Believe it or not, this DOES happen! And it happens more frequently than  it should. One of our now clients happened to be put right in the middle of a situation just like this. Instead of receiving the pool he had been dreaming of, he received something much less that lacked on quality and wasn’t a representation of his vision.

Below are some videos outlining some items that you shouldn’t see in a pool build, and things that we here at Suncor Outdoors have set out to repair, replace and correct as necessary to make our customers vision come to life the way it was intended to be.

Categories Irrigation & Drainage Landscaping Lawn Maintenance

Prepare Your PVB and Pipes For A Freeze

Cold weather is on the way! Freezing temperatures don’t happen too often in Houston, but when they do, it’s important to prepare! Taking the time to prepare your yard for the freeze could save you hundreds of dollars on burst pipes and plant replacement.

PREPARE YOUR SPRINKLER SYSTEM

Our irrigation systems are simply not made to withstand multiple days below freezing-however by properly draining your back flow and depressurizing the sprinkler lines, we can limit the damage. There are so many variables that can cause one residents irrigation to freeze and the next door neighbors not to freeze, the biggest being is your backflow preventer (the bell on the side of your home) being exposed to the north.

Take these steps to properly winterize your irrigation system: 

Turn off the shut-off valve

On most residential backflow devices, there are two shut-off valves. These are typically covered in blue rubber and are located before and after the actual backflow device.

Release the water pressure

Now that you have shut off the water valve, you must release the water that is in the device so that it doesn’t expand when it freezes and crack the device. With a flat head screwdriver, loosen the two bleeder valves (#3 and #4 as illustrated). The bleeder valves are usually located just under the plastic top of the backflow. Sometimes, they have rubber inserts you have to remove before you can see the flathead screw. When opening these, be aware that the water will spew out for a few seconds and your hands will get wet.  NOTE: If the water doesn’t stop spitting out after a couple minutes, you haven’t fully turned off the water in step 1.

Leave the smaller bleeder valves open

This will allow the water to expand and freeze without being hindered and causing damage.

Insulate your Backflow

At almost all home improvements stores, they carry backflow preventer insulation materials.
WRAP YOUR EXPOSED HOSE BIBS & PIPES

Frozen pipes are one of the biggest property damage risks when the temperature drops. When water freezes inside a pipe, it expands and can burst pipes and cause extensive damage.

Use these tips to prevent your pipes from freezing:

Drain water from garden hoses

The water inside a garden hose can freeze and back up into the spigot until it reaches your pipes.

Protect Hose Bibs

Wrap exposed hose bibs (or pipe) with insulators like a foam pipe sleeve or a outdoor sock faucet cover.
Categories Pool Maintenance

Follow These Tips to Prevent Debris from Entering the Pool

Follow These Tips to Prevent Debris from Entering the Pool
Maintaining a backyard pool is often a lot more work than people realize. One key part of pool maintenance is scooping out the leaves and other debris that get into the water—something that many pool owners find themselves doing on a daily basis. If you’re tired of skimming your pool, follow these tips to keep the debris from entering your pool in the first place.

  1. Use a pool cover – When you’re not using your pool, consider putting a pool cover over it to keep debris out. Motorized, retractable pool covers can be built into your pool’s design to make covering it easier.
  2. Trim back trees – Leaves are the most common source of debris in a pool. Trim back branches of nearby trees so they don’t hang over the water and drop their leaves straight in.
  3. Toss in a tennis ball – Some pool debris comes in the form of oily films caused by body oils and sunscreens from swimmers. You can combat this oiliness by tossing in some unused tennis balls. The fuzzy surface attracts these oils and pulls them out of the water.
  4. Maintain proper water levels – While the right water level won’t prevent debris from entering your pool, it does enable your skimmer to work more efficiently, and that means less time with the net for you.
  5. Use a retaining wall – If leaves are blowing into your pool from your lawn, consider putting a retaining wall, fence, or line of shrubs around your pool to help catch the debris before it gets in the water.

Categories Building A Swimming Pool Pool Construction

Fall/Winter Is the Best Time to Design New Pool for Next Summer

Many people start thinking about whether or not they want a pool when the weather starts to warm up. Come springtime, people are dreaming of summer, and the idea of having their own pool can start to sound really appealing. But spring actually isn’t the right time to start thinking about pool installation in Katy, TX. Believe it or not, you should start thinking about installing your own swimming pool when the weather starts to cool down, not when it’s starting to heat up. Keep reading to find out why fall and winter are the best times for this kind of work.

Take Time to Get It Right

Sticking a prefabricated pool in the ground can be done quickly. But if you want a custom pool that works perfectly with your landscape, creating that design takes time. It involves a full redesign of all of your landscape—one that doesn’t just find the most convenient place for your pool, but the best place for it. Then, the rest of the yard can be designed around your new pool to create a beautiful finished product.

If custom is something you’re interested in, starting earlier is always better. This gives you the time to get it right, to work out all the little details that will make your new pool truly perfect. An investment this big deserves the time it takes to create exactly what you’re looking for.

Take Advantage of the Slow Season

Like we said, a lot of people start thinking about pool installation in the spring. This means we start to get very busy with the warmer weather. Things slow down significantly in the fall and winter, making it a great time to sit down with a pool designer and get started on creating your pool. While we strive to give every client the attention they need, no matter how busy we are, you can meet with us more frequently and more easily on your schedule in the fall and winter.

And we’re not the only ones who slow down in fall and winter. Permit offices get less busy, too, since many people focus on renovations and upgrades of all kinds in the spring and summer. By applying for construction permits in fall and winter, you can likely get them cleared much faster than you would in spring and summer.

Enjoy It for Longer

When you start building a pool in the spring, odds are, you’re going to miss out on many months where the weather is warm enough to use your pool. Here in Texas, pool season starts fairly early. If you start on your pool design now and get into our schedule, your pool will most likely be finished early on in the warmer season. This gives you many more months to enjoy that new pool, instead of only getting to use it for a month or so before the weather gets too cold.

If custom swimming pools in Katy, TX, are appealing to you, then don’t wait too long to start working on your pool design. Fall and winter are the ideal time to get started, so contact one of our pool designers today to start creating your custom swimming pool.

Categories Building A Swimming Pool Landscaping Outdoor Living Pool Construction

Guide to Building the Perfect Backyard Oasis

 

A pool is little more than a water-filled hole in the ground—until you add the right accessories. With the right design and features, a swimming pool can become a perfect backyard retreat. But designing the ideal private getaway requires careful planning and a skilled swimming pool builder in Katy, TX, that can create an ideal pool space for your backyard. Keep reading to get a few tips on how to design the perfect backyard oasis.

Add Water Features

Few things can upgrade a backyard pool as quickly as adding a few water features. The look and sound of moving water is incredibly soothing, making your pool into a relaxing space almost instantly. There are countless water feature options out there, so it’s easy to find something that fits your space, pool design, and personal preferences.

Do you want a natural-looking pool that resembles a private jungle getaway? You can include cascading waterfalls over natural stones that tumble beautifully into your pool, or a higher waterfall with a hidden cave behind it. Looking for something with a more modern design? Add a water spout that appears to send water leaping around your pool, or a sheer sheet of water that drops dramatically into your pool like liquid glass. With the right designer, the possibilities are endless.

Consider Outdoor Living

Your backyard shouldn’t be something you think of as separate from your home. It’s another part of your house, another living space that you can transform for your use. Once you install a pool in your backyard, you’re bound to spend a lot more time in this outdoor “room” of yours, so make sure that you design a comfortable outdoor living area.

This should include some kind of comfortable seating in a clearly established gathering area. Just as you would group seating in a living room, you should group seating on your pool deck as well, encouraging conversation when you enjoy the pool with family and friends. To further improve the usability of your outdoor space, consider other outdoor living features like a built-in grill, fire pit, or even a full outdoor kitchen. When your outdoor space has everything you need, you’ll never want to go back inside again!

Add Plenty of Shade

It’s important to think about just how much shade your backyard design is going to have. With all the time you’ll be spending outside, it’s important that you have enough shade to take a break from the sun every once in a while. You can add a shade to your deck—either permanent or retractable—or simply install a few large umbrellas around the pool. While not required, you may also want to think about having a portion of your pool shaded as well, so you can enjoy the water while avoiding direct sunlight, if you wish.

Keep Upkeep in Mind

When designing your swimming pool, consider just how much upkeep the design is going to require. Certain features are easier to maintain than others, but as a general rule, more features mean more things that can break. Pools require a significant amount of maintenance as it is, even with a very basic design. Be sure to ask your designer about the upkeep requirements of various features as you create the design together, so you know what to expect.

And remember that even the features out of our pool, in the surrounding decking and design, will require some upkeep. Outdoor kitchens need to be cleaned. Upholstery and some other outdoor furniture materials should be covered when not in use to prevent them from becoming brittle in the sunlight. Consider the maintenance of every aspect of your design and decide if you’re able to commit to that amount of work. Odds are, you’re not going to enjoy your pool if you simply resent the amount of work it requires.

Luxury Pool Builders Katy TX

Make It Functional for You

No matter how beautiful a design is, a pool or outdoor living area is useless if it doesn’t meet your needs. Make sure that the design you create is functional for you and your family. It’s always a good idea to discuss how you want to use your pool before you even begin to talk about the design.

Will you be entertaining in this space a lot? Do you have young kids? Do you want to use the pool to exercise, or just for casual swimming and relaxation? How many people do you anticipate using your backyard space at once? Answering these kinds of questions can help you begin designing your pool with your needs in mind so that the space is more functional for you.

If you’re ready to start creating your own perfect backyard retreat, contact Suncor Outdoors. We’re one of the best pool builders in Katy, TX, and we can help you design a swimming pool and outdoor living space that you love. Contact us to get started today.

Categories Building A Swimming Pool Pool Construction

How to Build a Luxury Pool to Complete Your Backyard

A swimming pool is a wonderful backyard upgrade. But if you truly want to transform your backyard, then you need more than a swimming pool—you need a luxury pool. Yes, there is a difference between swimming pools and luxury pools in Katy, TX. But what is it? What sets a regular pool apart from a luxury one? Keep reading to learn how to build a true luxury pool in your own backyard.

The Right Material

There are generally three options to choose from for building an in-ground pool: vinyl liner, fiberglass, and concrete (also called gunite). Vinyl liners and fiberglass pool shells are typically cheaper than gunite; however, they also wear out more quickly and are prone to cracking and tearing. Additionally, they often come premade, which means you can’t truly customize your pool.

A luxury pool maintains its beauty for years and is designed and installed to blend well with your backyard; this requires customization and durability that the previous two options don’t offer. This means that the only choice for a true luxury pool is gunite.

The Right Design

As we already mentioned, a luxury pool isn’t a cookie-cutter, premade form you set into the ground. It’s custom-designed to fit your home’s aesthetic and the space requirements of your landscaping. This, of course, means that there’s no booklet of designs that qualify as being luxury pools. Rather, the right design for a luxury pool is one that complements your home’s façade, your other landscaping features, and your personal lifestyle and design preferences. In other words, a luxury pool is designed exclusively for you.

The Right Equipment

All swimming pools require some kind of equipment to keep the water clean and usable, so it’s not something unique to luxury pools. But a pool sure feels a lot less luxurious if you’re sweating in the hot sun with a skimmer every day, trying to clean it out.

If you want to take your pool to the next level, get the right maintenance equipment to make cleaning and maintaining your pool easier. For starters, make sure you have the right filter for your pool system. You can usually choose between paper cartridge filters and DE filters; consult with your pool builder to determine which works best for your pool, as well as the right size and capacity.

Additionally, talk about add-on equipment, like automatic pool covers, automatic refillers, and robotic pool cleaners to minimize the effort it takes to keep your pool sparkling clean all year long.

Luxury Pool Builders Katy TXThe Right Decking

No pool design is complete without a deck and other surrounding features. These should be just as luxurious in their design as the pool itself. The deck and landscaping should complement the pool in every way, turning it into a perfect oasis in your backyard. Depending on your pool design, your deck might use natural-looking stones for the decking or sleek, white slabs; the surrounding features might include waterfalls or bubble fountains. Again, it’s all about creating a design unique to you.

If you’re ready to build a luxury pool, contact Suncor Outdoors. We’re one of the top pool builders in Katy, TX, and we can help you design the perfect pool from scratch. Call us today!

Categories Building A Swimming Pool Pool Construction

Tips on Choosing the Right Custom Pool Design

If you’ve been considering installing a new pool for a while, and you’ve finally decided to move ahead with the project, you’re probably eager to start with construction. But if you want a pool that you know you’re going to love for years to come, it’s important to slow down and make sure that you’re choosing a design that’s perfect for you. When designing custom swimming pools in Katy, TX, you’re essentially given a blank template on which to create your ideal swimming pool—a thrilling, but often overwhelming concept. Where do you even begin? Well, we have the answer. Keep reading for tips on choosing the perfect pool design for your home.

Start with a Property Assessment

Before you start considering what features and design you want for your pool, it’s a good idea to begin with a professional assessment of your property. Have your pool builder come out and take a look at your backyard. We’ll measure available space, make note of backyard landscaping features and structures, and get an idea of what kind of space we’re working with. Your yard has a large impact on what your options are, so get this done first, before you fall in love with a design or an idea that just won’t work in your space.

Talk about Your Budget

Next, you should sit down with one of our designers and talk about your budget. We take your budget very seriously, and we’ll work to find a design you love that fits your financial constraints. But it is important to keep in mind that your budget is another factor that largely impacts the options available to you. If you have a large budget, you might have a long list of material options and add-on features to choose from; smaller budgets will have fewer choices, but we can still find something that works beautifully in your yard.

Explore Trends and Past Projects

Now that we’ve addressed the factors that will impact your pool design, it’s time to get inspired. We encourage you to look at photos of our past projects to see pools we’ve built before. You should also explore current trends in pool design, water features, and decking to see what the latest styles are for this type of project.

You might find that you love certain elements of one design, but don’t love everything about it. That’s perfectly fine! Those photos are not a catalog you have to choose from. Make notes about the things you love and the things you hate, and we can help you blend those elements together into one perfect design for you.

Swimming Pool Remodeling Katy TXStart Designing Your Pool

Once you have an idea of what you’re looking for, you can work with one of our custom pool builders to start on the actual design! This is a very exciting step in the process for most of our clients, as you get to see your vision mapped out right in front of you. Our pool designers are some of the best in the business, and they can continue working with you and tweaking your design until it’s absolutely perfect. We’ll also talk to you about other elements of your pool not related to the design—the type of pool you want (saltwater or chlorinated), the pump system, filter systems, and so on.

And once that design is something you truly love, we’ll get to work constructing it in your yard. We are experts in new pool construction in Katy, TX, and our contractors can bring that design you created to life. If you’re ready to get started on designing your new pool, contact Suncor Outdoors today and speak to one of our professional pool designers!