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What is the Right Way to Do Residential Pressure Washing?
When performing your regular home maintenance, consider when was the last time you cleaned the exterior of you home. As with any part of your home, proper upkeep is essential for longevity. Regular pressure washing is the best option for siding, driveways, sidewalks and more. Not only does it remove built-up dirt and grime that can be hazardous to your health, but it will boost curbside appeal of the property. Keep reading to learn how to properly power wash your home, including safety measures.
How to Protect Yourself
Improper use of a pressure washer puts you at risk for serious personal injury. Water at such a high pressure is powerful enough to tear off skin and even cause blindness. Playing with a pressure washer is no joke, and they should strictly be used for outdoor cleaning. Take the following precautions to avoid injuries.
- Wear proper protection - First and foremost, you need eye protection. High water pressure can fling dirt and debris in every direction, including your face. To prevent the washer from slipping out of your hands, you should also wear gloves that provide a solid grip.
- Take note of your surroundings - Any sources of electricity are a serious risk. Before you start pressure washing, close or cover outdoor outlets. Similarly, cover vents. Take stock of any overhead power lines. If you are using an extension wand, you should be very careful to avoid them.
- Never use a ladder - This common mistake can lead to injuries and fatalities. If you find it necessary to access a high area (as in the case of a two-story home), use scaffolding. Recoil from the washer is strong enough to pull you off a ladder, or pull a ladder over, even with someone holding the base. If you can’t rent scaffolding, hire a professional pressure washing service.
- Clean up the space - Any tripping hazards should be cleared prior to cleaning. This includes any toys, lawn furniture and/or vehicles.
- Check for lead and asbestos - Both of these materials can be found in homes built prior to the 1970s. Lead is a highly toxic metal that was used in paint. It can cause a range of health problems, such as damage to the brain and other vital organs, like the kidneys, nerves and blood. Exposure to asbestos can cause lung disease and lung cancer. Pressure washing can dislodge lead and asbestos, allowing them to be inhaled. If you are concerned that either may have been used in your home, contact a professional before power washing. Removing either substance is NOT a DIY job.
What You Will Need
There is nothing worse than starting a project, only to realize you have to run back to the store. Make sure you have all of the right tools and attachments to start pressure washing. To begin, you will have to choose a gas or electric powered pressure washer. Both will get the job done, but with a higher gallon per minute (GPM), gas will do the work faster.
For various tasks, you will also need a set of nozzles. One will be a soaping nozzle, used to apply a detergent. A detergent is necessary in order to remove dirt and grime without requiring excess water pressure that may cause damage. We recommend an environmentally safe option that is suited to the specific building materials of your home. The second nozzle should be a 24- or 45-degree tip for pressure washing. You can also purchase a brush attachment and extension wand. While these tools are not required, both can save you a little elbow grease.
When You Should Send in the Pros
An important part of home maintenance is knowing when to pass the job to a professional. One reason is when your safety is compromised. If you do not have all of the proper tools or equipment, you could easily cause injury or damage to your property. If you need more time to study up, our blog post – “Seven Mistakes to Avoid While Pressure Washing Your House” – covers the basics.
If you feel unsure of your DIY ability, call Daniel’s Lawn Service & Pressure Washing. From pressure washing to lawn service or maintenance, to landscape design, we handle it all! We have the experience and high-quality professional equipment, to ensure your home gets the proper attention it needs to hold up against the unpredictable Florida weather for years to come. Contact us today to schedule an appointment.
How to Add a Pond to Your Landscaping
There is something special about having a backyard pond, a sort of personal paradise. Whether you use your yard for entertaining or meditation, a pond only adds to the casual ambiance. Keep reading to learn about different types and how to DIY a pond in your garden. Hopefully, you will be inspired to bring your very own backyard pond ideas to life.
Why Would You Add a Pond?
Adding a pond provides many benefits to your property. The first being that it will decrease the amount of grass in your yard. This is a benefit when the maintenance necessary to upkeep a yard in Central Florida is relatively high. Whether you hire someone, or perform maintenance yourself, the cost or time required adds up quickly. A pond will also increase the appearance of your yard, and potentially your home’s value. Finally, a pond makes your yard an enjoyable place to spend time with friends and family. All in all, you have very little to lose, and a lot to gain!
Types of Landscaping Ponds
There are several types of landscaping ponds to choose from. Before selecting one, it is important that you understand the upkeep each type of pond requires. Then you can determine which type may best suit the size of your yard, as well as your personal style.
Natural Ponds - A pond formed by nature, and may or may not be home to fish and plants, is considered a natural pond. Natural ponds require little upkeep, and can be accentuated with fountains or aquatic plant life.
Plant Ponds - Instead of fish, some people prefer the color and lower maintenance of plants. Plant ponds provide a great way to add an eye-catching element to your landscape.
Koi Ponds - One of the most popular and beautiful types of ponds, koi ponds require attentive care and the establishment of a specific ecosystem. If you choose to have a koi pond, you will need special equipment to ensure that these relatively expensive fish are able to survive year ‘round.
Wildlife Ponds - If you want low-maintenance landscaping, a wildlife pond is perfect. It is meant to attract natural wildlife, and operate without any filters or pumps. The only requirement is that it be placed to receive plenty of sunlight. If you choose to add fish, you will also need plants that will provide them with oxygen.
Fish Ponds - This type of pond is a created feature. As it contains fish, it requires regular cleaning. Without a natural ecosystem, it will also need an air pump and filter in order for the fish to survive. There are various fish species you may choose to place in your pond, but they should be able to thrive in the environment established.
DIY Backyard Pond
Ready to learn how to build a small pond for fish, plants or wildlife in your yard? Once you have selected a type of pond for your landscaping, you should select a location to place it in your yard.
There are two ways to DIY a backyard pond; installing a flexible liner or installing a shell liner. Note that prior to starting any excavations, you must check for underground utilities. You can do so by calling 811.
Installing a flexible liner is carried out in just four steps. First, a hole must be dug and the interior inspected for sharp rocks, roots or stones that could tear the liner. Second, carefully place the liner into the hole, and be sure the edges are weighted down. Third, materials of your choice are placed at the bottom or sides of the pond before filling with water. Finally, the edges are cut and nailed into place before being covered with stones or masonry, and mortared in place.
Installing a shell liner requires a few more steps and attention to detail. To start, the shell must be turned upside-down to mark an outline before digging the hole. It should be dug to the exact form of the shell – including any shelves – for full support. Any sharp objects should be removed, before the entire space is covered with two to three inches of damp soil. Next, the shell should be placed and checked to ensure that it is level. Once confirmed, it can be filled with water.
At the same time, the exterior of the shell needs to be backfilled to match the water level to prevent it from bulging outwards. Lastly, the edge can be covered with rocks or plants, but do not place them directly on the fragile rim of the shell.
Once your pond is installed and you have added fish or plants, take caution when using any maintenance chemicals. You should always ensure that they are safe for people, plants and pets, including any wildlife that may come into contact with your pond.
Do you plan on installing a pond in your yard this year? If so, take pictures and be sure to tag Daniels Lawn Service and Pressure Washing on Facebook. In the event that you would rather sit back and watch the work be done, contact us. We are proud to provide backyard landscape designs that are perfect for entertaining or relaxation. Learn more about our services today!
Tropical Plants Perfect for Your Florida Landscape
What is your first thought at the mention of our great state of Florida? For many, it is the acclaimed weather ‒ following Walt Disney World, that is. Known for abundant sunshine, and the less admired humidity, Central Florida is classified as a humid subtropical climate. South Florida is considered a true tropical climate, with vegetation that includes tropical rainforests, tropical monsoons and tropical savannas. The consistent weather pattern of wet and dry seasons is the reason our landscape consists of towering palm trees, and a variety of other tropical plants. Keep reading to learn which plants are suitable for a tropical climate, and how they can fit into your Florida landscape design.
What is a Tropical Plant?
To understand what plants will thrive in your Florida yard, you need to know what a tropical plant is. A tropical climate is typically hot and humid, with temperatures constantly exceeding 18 degrees Celsius, with zero frost days. A tropical plant is one that grows and thrives naturally in this climate, which resembles the environment of a region known as the tropics ‒ the region of the Earth surrounding the Equator. Contrary to what many people expect, these plants do not do well in direct sunlight. Whether blooming or foliage plants, they tend to fare better in shade.
Choosing Weather-Tolerant Plants
While susceptible to direct sunlight, tropical plants are surprisingly resilient against other extreme weather conditions. This is important for Florida homeowners during periods of extended drought, or the annual hurricane season. In rare scenarios, there may also be water-use restrictions in place. If you do not select weather-tolerant plants, you may find yourself investing in new landscaping on a yearly basis.
Consider the following plants for your Florida yard:
Firebush - This easy-to-grow shrub is extremely colorful and produces yellow and orange flowers. Popular among butterflies and hummingbirds, these plants thrive in garden beds or containers.
Beautyberry - Growing from 5- to 9-feet tall, beautyberry produces delicate lavender flowers and clusters of highly decorative purple berries in late summer and fall. This shrub prefers well-drained soil and full sun, or light shade.
Blanket Flower - A Florida native plant, blanket flowers are drought-resistant and salt-tolerant. These bright red and gold flowers bloom in the summer, and produce a nectar that attracts butterflies.
Buttonwood - A simple, leafy plant, buttonwood is often used as a hedge, an accent or a small tree.
Saw Palmetto - Especially great for areas that are exposed to high levels of salt, this palm grows 4- to 12-feet tall, with fan-shaped leaves that may be 1½ - to 2-feet across. It can thrive in both sun or shade.
Tropical Landscape Design
While the most obvious perk of featuring tropical plants in your landscape design is the casual atmosphere, there are numerous advantages ‒ one being the reduction in lawn size and grass. Less grass means less space to maintain, and a cutback on water usage. It will also produce less waste, and reduces air and noise pollution. Unsure of where to start? Check out the Florida-friendly Plant Database for landscape plant ideas. It will assist you in narrowing down specific types of plants suited to your region, while taking your personal preferences into account.
Prefer an experienced landscaper who knows the lay of the land? Call Daniels Lawn Service and Pressure Washing. We can design the optimal space for entertaining your friends and family, customized to your lifestyle and interests ‒ such as a lush garden that attracts birds, butterflies and other beneficial insects ‒ and allows you to relax and reflect.
Utilizing native plants is a fantastic way to enhance the natural beauty of your Florida lawn, as well as increase its property value. Contact us today to learn more, or to schedule an appointment.
As spring approaches and the weather warms back up, Central Floridians look forward to spending more time outdoors. However, with the springtime rainfall comes a rise in the mosquito population. Learn how to modify your landscape to prevent these pesky insects, with natural and beneficial alternatives to harsh chemicals.
Mosquito Season in Florida
Just as people flock to Florida for its year-round temperate weather, there is a pest that enjoys the warmth and mild moisture as much as we do. Mosquitos are present throughout the year, but they thrive during the spring and summer. Mosquitos rely and two main factors present in our ecosystem: temperatures consistently above 50 degrees, and a significant rainfall.
In the state of Florida, there are around 80 species of mosquitoes. Of these, 33 species are known to be a nuisance to humans and pets. Worse, 13 species can carry more serious, even fatal diseases, such as Zika or West Nile. Two of the most common mosquito species in Florida are the Asian tiger mosquito (Aedes albopictus) and the gallinipper (Psorophora ciliata). While both have the potential to carry a number of dangerous viruses or diseases, they can be deterred with insect repellents.
Mosquito Repellent Plants for Your Yard
It is common knowledge that many pest repellents present significant risks to our health, and the health of our pets. To avoid contact with chemicals altogether, there are several plants that can naturally repel vexing mosquitoes.
Utilizing these natural plants will also add to your landscape by making it more lush and fragrant.
1- Marigolds - A beautiful and vibrant orange flower, marigolds have a very distinct smell. They can be purchased as seeds, or a starter plant. They perform well around entry points such as doors or windows, as well as around patios and other areas for outdoor entertaining.
2- Citronella - You have likely heard of this plant in the context of the popular mosquito deterrent candle we all know and love. This perennial grass grows in tall clumps up to six feet tall, and has a strong scent. It performs best in large pots with adequate drainage and sunlight.
3- Catnip - We hope you enjoy some feline company! Catnip is an easy-to-grow herb that your cats will love and mosquitos will hate. You can even crush the leaves to release an added boost of the repellent scent.
4- Lavender - A scent you most likely enjoy in candles and soaps, lavender has a relaxing aroma. It can be placed in a variety of areas, from entryways to entertainment areas. The bright purple bloom is an appealing addition to most gardens.
5- Basil - While this plant repels mosquitoes, you can also enjoy it on a delicious pizza or pasta dish. It is one of the few plants you do not have to crush to enjoy the benefits of, so it can sit happily on your windowsill.
6- Lemon balm - Lemon balm is a vibrant leafy plant that attracts pollinators, and wards off pests. It is however fast-growing, so it should be contained in a pot rather than planted in an open garden.
To avoid attracting insect pests, particularly mosquitoes, be sure to turn unused plant pots upside down. Standing water is a breeding ground for mosquitoes, as well as other unwanted bugs. When you are outside, wear adequate clothing and use your choice of mosquito repellent. Any extra measures you take will decrease the likelihood that you are bitten.
Enjoying your yard should not be a territory battle! At Daniels Lawn Service & Pressure Washing, we can help design a landscape with plants that are ideal for repelling mosquitoes. And, with regular maintenance, the space will always be prepared for you to enjoy with friends and family. Contact us today to learn more about our services, or to schedule an appointment!
About UsDaniels Lawn Service and Pressure Washing Inc. is a landscaping company located in Lake Mary, Florida right outside of Orlando. We specialize in Lawn Care, Tree Services, Pressure Washing, Bush Hogging, Land Clearing and Clean up services in Lake Mary FL, Sanford FL, Longwood FL and surrounding areas. We are completely licensed and insured for our services. If you have any questions about the services we provide, please don't hesitate to contact us at (321)282-9731 or visit the contact page and send an email.
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