Three things that will make your yard a bird sanctuary

Nothing adds more value, joy and beauty to your yard than having birds fluttering about. Their mellifluous morning song, bright colors and playful behavior transform yards into vibrant and active places.

However, getting birds to your yard isn’t always as simple as having a yard. Fortunately, with the addition of three simple items, your backyard can easily become a bird sanctuary.

Bird Feeder

The presence of a bird feeder will greatly increase the visitation to your yard from a variety of birds. If you’re just starting out, you should get a standard seed bird feeder and fill it with black oil sunflower seeds. This type of bird seed—rather than the cheap mixed seed bags—will attract more species, leave less of a mess and give more nutrition to the birds.

After you’re comfortable with maintaining one feeder, consider getting other types of bird feeders, including suet feeders, ground feeders, hopper feeders and others. These will draw in birds that aren’t strictly seed-eating birds, such as woodpeckers.

Bird Bath

Food and water are the two basic things every animal needs to survive. After you have a bird feeder in your yard, add a bird bath to the mix. Birds don’t just use the water to drink, but they also use water to preen their feathers. This means bird baths will bring in species that don’t eat from bird feeders like insectivores because all birds need water.

Bird baths come in a variety of styles and sizes, so you can get the one that accentuates your yard. Solar-powered bird baths make sure the water is constantly moving, so there’s never a risk of having stagnant water on your property. Other bird baths emanate the relaxing sound of flowing water.


The final basic need that will transform your backyard into a bird sanctuary is a birdhouse. By putting up several birdhouses and nesting boxes around your property, you’ll provide birds with a place to roost during the night and nest in nesting season.

Tim Martinez is an avid bird and nature lover. When he’s not out birdwatching, he is writing for the official blog of Camping Gear Outlet.

Posted: July 18th, 2012 | Permalink

Why every home should have a sprinkler system

One of the most important things to do in order to cultivate a strong, healthy lawn that’s the envy of your neighborhood is consistent watering. For those who are busy or would simply like to relax on a hard day’s night, the last thing you want to do is stand outside, spray your lawn and get wet from some splashback.

That’s why every home should have a sprinkler system to water the lawn. But, the advantages don’t stop there. Read on to see the benefits of having a home sprinkler system.

Waters your lawn consistently

Whether you’re going on vacation or simply leaving town for a day or two, having an automated sprinkler system ensures your lawn gets the water needed to keep the grass hydrated and healthy.

Doesn’t use more water than you do

A common critique of sprinklers is that they waste a lot of water, but that’s just not true. The systems use the same amount of water as you do, and if it’s the rainy season, you can even adjust how many times a week the sprinklers go on.

Tailors to your needs

If you have an awkwardly shaped lawn or live somewhere that receives a lot of snow, there are systems tailored to your lawn. That way, you never have to worry about something freezing over or not watering your entire lawn.

Things to beware of

While all these things are reasons to have sprinkler systems for your yard, there are some criticisms of sprinkler systems. For example, sprinkler systems make lawns more susceptible to overwatering and runoff. To counter that risk, simply monitor it carefully and never forget when you have it on. Also, if you already don’t have a drainage system, watering the lawn yourself is likewise susceptible to runoff.

For more information on drainage systems, talk a look at our services section.

Posted: July 6th, 2012 | Permalink

How to Care For Your Lawn in the Summer Heat

It’s been a brutal few weeks and the first day of summer was only a week ago. While you can head indoors to take refuge in a cool air-conditioned room, your lawn has to stay outside in the direct sunlight. If you want to maintain a strong and healthy lawn throughout the summer, here are some tips you should follow.

Water your lawn in the morning or night

Just like how you need water to be healthy, your lawn requires regular watering to stay strong. Watering your lawn in the cooler times of the day enables the water to better soak into the deeper roots. Your lawn should receive about an inch of water every week from rain or an irrigation system.

Allow the grass to grow longer

Although you might think having nice trim grass is visually appealing, it’s not always the best way to maintain a healthy lawn. As the temperatures begin to rise, allow your grass to grow longer because this will provide shade and keep the roots at a cooler temperature. A good summer length is about three inches tall.

Don’t cut off too much grass at one time

You shouldn’t cut more than a third of the grass at any time, so you should mow the lawn frequently. Also, remember to raise the cutting height of your mower. Mowing off too much could leave your lawn more vulnerable to the heat, and potentially cause trauma to the grass.

Use a reduced fertilizing regimen

Since the summer heat causes high stress for your lawn, it’s important to give it nutrients. Ideally, you would prepare your lawn before the summer and then reduce the amount of fertilization your lawn receives before temperatures soar. However, if your grass is handling the summer poorly and is falling victim to insects, a solid fertilizing regimen is recommended.

Focus on the neediest areas

If a rationing of water is recommended, you should target the neediest areas of the lawn — such as the places where people walk the most. Also, if some of the weaker parts of the lawn begin to show signs of faltering, it’s important to give those portions extra attention.

Posted: June 27th, 2012 | Permalink

Why Gardens Are Good For Your Health

If the idea of heading outdoors and getting closer to nature fills you with dread, you might be doing yourself a disservice. While you might have heard about the benefits of gardening for the environment, there are actually a variety of health benefits to your physical and mental health. If you weren’t already convinced you needed to reconnect with the outdoors by starting a garden, let this list of reasons why gardens are great for your health be a gentle encouragement.

Gardens provide you with exercise that’s actually fun

In an era plagued by inertness, getting outdoors to exercise is becoming increasingly important. Fortunately, gardening is a great way to work out different parts of your body while having fun. Gardening requires movement from all the major muscle groups, such as the arms, legs, back, stomach and shoulders. According to the National Health Institute, getting your knees dirty in the garden for about 30 minutes a day is considered a moderate-intensity activity that’s key in weight management.

It’s so good for you, doctors are prescribing it for depression

According to a recent paper, doctors in the UK have been given the go-ahead to start prescribing gardening to patients suffering from depression. Instead of being given drug therapy, which could be costly with brutal side effects, patients now have the ability to take up spades. The reasoning for trying out new methods to fight depression stem from gardening’s ability to provide exercise and a hobby to keep people focused.

Although it wasn’t mentioned in the paper, gardening has another weapon to fight depression: the sun. Being exposed to sunlight for portions throughout the day increases serotonin levels, which in turn makes people happier.

Reconnects you with nature

Due to an increase in technology and workload, that sensation of being at one with nature is fleeting. Having an accessible garden encourages people to get outside more and observe the nuances of nature. Fewer people are able to identify different rose species or tell the difference between native and non-native plants. Allow yourself to feel the earth in your hand, the sun on your face and the wind in your hair.

Just being around a garden is beneficial to your health

Have you ever wondered why hospitals usually have amazingly beautiful gardens full of colorful flowers? Studies have shown that simply looking at a garden has therapeutic and healthful benefits. Enjoying scenery filled with greenery reduces stress and blood pressure levels while improving the overall mood.

So, if you look out to your backyard and see a desolate wasteland of weeds and dirt, it’s time to put in a garden. It’s not just for the environment, it’s for your health.

Posted: June 21st, 2012 | Permalink

7 Features That Will Make Your Pool More Exciting

If you think all pools have to be boring rectangles with no personality, think again. Even though one of the primary functions of a pool is to swim and have fun, that doesn’t mean it can’t be unique or exciting. Fortunately, transforming a boring pool design into something your friends will gawk at is as simple as adding on a feature.

Here are 7 features that will make your pool design unique.

Black-Bottom Pool

A black-bottom pool is an excellent way to give your pool that extra kick to make it stand out from others. Black bottoms change the aesthetic look of your entire pool and better coordinates with a range of landscapes. An added benefit of black-bottom pools, besides the classy look it creates, is that some people claim it makes the water warmer. Although it might only be nominally noticeable, black absorbs heat better than lighter colors.


A waterfall in your swimming pool immediately transforms your still and silent pool into a vibrant and lively hub of excitement. Waterfalls give an otherwise bland pool some personality that most people will remember. It also makes it more fun when kids are around or more soothing when you’re alone.

Lap Pool

If you’re the kind of person who has limited space on your property or doesn’t plan on hosting extravagant pool parties, a lap pool is a great way to spice up your yard. Lap pools provide unique shapes and offer a range of possibilities.

Infinity (or Negative) Edge

Fewer features turn a pool so drastically from bland to awe-inspiring. Infinity edge, also known as negative edge, pools produce the effect that the water drops off the horizon or goes on forever. Instead of having a pool that dips into the ground, an infinity edge gives a modern and consistent look to your yard, especially if you have a great view.

Lagoon-Shaped Pool

If you have an oddly-shaped yard, a lagoon-shaped pool allows your landscape to shine through. Instead of working against your yard with a typical rectangular pool, giving a pool the qualities of a lagoon lets it blend with your landscape.

Jacuzzi Overflow

Having a jacuzzi near your pool always adds value to your yard, but having a jacuzzi interacting with your pool is a feature your guests will always remember. Jacuzzi overflow combo pools work together as a single unit. The jacuzzi is usually perched up higher than the pool, and if the jacuzzi overflows from someone getting in it, the warm water trickles into the pool. This is a great way to enhance your pool design.


Probably the simplest way to inject some personality and pizzazz to your pool is to add lighting. Using a mixture of colors, designs and angles gives life to your pool that a dark or blandly lit pool cannot provide.

If you’re interested in building a pool for your yard that features these designs, contact Grandview Outdoor today.

Posted: June 14th, 2012 | Permalink