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Working With Sprinkler Valves Helpful Hints

The purpose of having a yard sprinkler system is to make less work for you. It makes the task of keeping the lawn watered totally automated. When your sprinklers are working, they really do save you a lot of time. All you have to think about is how good your green grass is looking! However, what happens when something goes wrong? You will then have the tricky task of locating, cleaning, and fixing the sprinkler valves.

To locate these valves, your first step is to start back at the beginning. Find the main sprinkler system's supply line. This waterline can sometimes be located in your house, and sometimes it may be located at its own separate pump and well that supplies the water for the system. Once you have found that main line, you just follow it until you get to the area where it splits and you see multiple waterlines. The sprinkler valves usually lie just beyond this split, and can be easy to locate. Sometimes, however, they can be buried underground.

If the valves are indeed buried underground, you can start by looking for green or black valve boxes in your yard. These are often located in flowerbeds or near the sprinkler controller so it may be best to start looking in those spots. If you cannot locate a box, you can contact your sprinkler installer, or even get out your old trusty metal detector to sweep the ground looking for the buried sprinkler valves.

Once you finally locate your valves it is time to get to work. Valves issues usually present in a few recognizable ways. They either get stuck, thus allowing the water to run non-stop until it is manually shut off; or, they end up doing the opposite and do not turn on at all, block any water flow. They can also simply "weep", which is a small but never ending leak that can do some serious damage. If weeping is the case it might be time to call in a professional to fix your sprinkler valves.

If the valve is not turning on or is not shutting off then it is very likely that some debris has gotten lodged in it. You will need to take it apart carefully and clean each piece. Start by removing the solenoid (usually a black box with wires sticking out) and then check the plunger beneath it. It should move easily and be springy; if it is not, it may need to be replaced. Clean all parts of the valve thoroughly removing any bugs or dirt you see and then put it back together. If you have cleaned every part of the sprinkler valves and they are still not working properly, it may be a bad solenoid, bad wiring or even a ruined diaphragm. You can choose to read up on how to fix these matters yourself, or you can save yourself some time and call in the pros.

There are options you can try to fix sprinkler valves. With a little hard work, you can get your sprinklers back up and running again!


Ideas For Yards: 5 Inexpensive Ways to Improve Your Yard

Ask anybody who does not have their own yard and they'll tell you that having a yard is a privilege. That's true - if you spend the time to properly take care of it, that is. On the other hand, if you have let your yard go to pot, it can quickly become a curse. Let's face it: without the proper upkeep and care, having a eyesore of a yard is much worse than having no yard at all.

If you are ready to get back out there and enjoy your yard again the way it was meant to be enjoyed, here are 5 ideas for yards. These are all inexpensive and fun ways to make your yard more beautiful, more livable, and more enjoyable:

1. Make a walk out of stepping stones:

A great way to spruce things up in your yard is to create a nice-looking walk out of stepping stones. This can actually be a very inexpensive idea to improve your yard because you can create your own stepping stones from scratch. All you need is a mold, some concrete, and something with which to decorate your new stepping stones. Done right, you can get the cost down to around $3.00 per stone.

2. Create your own rose garden:

Recall any classic photos of beautiful gardens you have seen over the years and one thing comes to mind more readily than any other: roses. If you think having a rose garden of your own is too costly, think again. To create your own rose garden, start by picking a spot in your yard that you tend to walk by frequently and that is near a spigot. Outline the rose bed with native rock or landscape timbers, and make sure that you expose your roses to the best possible conditions by buying some garden soil.

3. Make a butterfly garden:

Yes, you can create a patch of garden in your yard that actually attracts enough butterflies to call it a butterfly garden. Hint: different species of butterflies prefer different types of nectar, so try planting in an alternating pattern both wild and cultivated plants. Note that groups of the same plants will easier for butterflies to see than singly planted flowers.

4. Aerate your lawn regularly:

Aerating your lawn is a smart way to keep it looking its best all year 'round. Some master gardeners call aeration your secret weapon for keeping your lawn looking healthy. Benefits to aeration include: allowing your lawn to breathe, helping organic fertilizers and nutrients to get more direct access to your lawn's roots, helping break up thatch (that matted layer just above the soil), and allowing more water to get to your lawn's roots. A fun and inexpensive way to aerate your lawn is with special cleats available from your local lawn and garden center: just walk around and aerate as you go!

5. Build your own garden shed:

Finally, one thing you can do for your yard to give it a cleaner, better-organized look in a very short period of time is through having garden shed. With a shed, you can organize your tools, garden supplies, miscellaneous building materials, and just about anything else currently laying around in your yard. The least expensive way to acquire a new garden shed that also affords you the most design options is to build your own. You can find master carpenter-quality plans right on the Internet, download them, and then build the shed yourself with your existing tools.

Take advantage of these ideas and tips for making your yard a much more organized, beautiful, and fun place to spend time for you, your family, and friends.


Lawn Mower Madness - Can The Right Brand Stop The Insanity

The two main types of lawn mowers are the push mower and the riding lawn mower. Lets look at the push mower first. There are three main categories to look into when choosing a push mower. They are gas powered, electric, and non-powered. Each has their own advantages and disadvantages. Looking at the riding lawn mower, these are generally chosen for larger yards that would take hours to cut with a push mower.

The brands of lawn mowers are as extensive as automobiles. It is almost like choosing a car really. You can pick out the horsepower, color and options just like an automobile. Some even cost as much. There are some men who really do not care what type of mower they get as long as it cuts the grass. Others are as particular as making sure it is bigger and better than the guy next door. Some men take so much pride in their lawn mowers that you would think they are comparing baby picture of their children.

Practicality and ease of use are two main keys on deciding what lawn best suits you. Of course you need to be practical when choosing a lawn mower. Yard size is very important thing to consider when purchasing your lawn mower. You certainly do not want to choose the model currently on sale when it would not be best lawn mower for the job. If a riding lawn mower is on sale for $250.00 less than the standard push mower next to it, you may look twice at the riding lawn mower.

If your yard size is 10 feet by 10 fen and you have five trees, maybe the riding lawn mower is not the best choice. If when looking at all of the models of lawn mowers at your disposal and some look like you need to take a two week study course on how to operate it, then maybe that lawn mower is not the best choice either. Price is also a huge factor when choosing a lawn mower. Some are priced very reasonable while others can be as expensive as the car in your driveway.

The thing to keep in mind is that this is a long-term purchase. With proper care and regular cleaning, your lawn mower can last your years and years. A little blade sharpening here and a hose off there can greatly extend the life of your lawn mower, therefore making your time spent with your lawn mower more rewarding.


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