Licensed Contractors, Uncategorized

A Must For Your Next Home Renovation

We recently came across a home owner who had an awful experience with an unlicensed contractor.  The work was not up to code, the workmanship was poor, and most importantly they wasted their money. When we asked the home owner, why didn’t they hire a licensed contractor in the first place, they said “We wanted to save on cost”.  Though it may seem less expensive at the time, hiring unlicensed individuals can be very costly.  There is a reason, why they are unlicensed, most of the time is due to lack of experience in the field.

Hiring unlicensed individuals can be less expensive, if you get lucky.  However, there are many cons to this.  For one, as a homeowner, if an unlicensed individual gets hurt, you are completely liable and responsible for any personal injuries.  On the upside, a licensed contractor is required by law to carry workers compensation.  Second, your property is not protected.  You ever wonder why contractors always say, “Bonded and Insured”.  We’ll it is because insurance protects your property from damages up to whatever insurance coverage that contractor carries (most contractors carry up to $1,000,000).  The bond protects you, as a homeowner, from bad workmanship.  Now let’s say you happen to get unlucky with a licensed contractor and the work was not up to code or per industry standard, then that is when the bond comes into play.

Moreover, there have been several cases on which consumers gets scammed by unlicensed individuals.  We recently also met with a customer that engaged with an unlicensed contractor.  The unlicensed individual asked for a 50% deposit, but did you know that by law, a contractor can only charge a deposit of up to 10% or $1000.00, whichever one is less.  On one occasion, we heard of a homeowner who paid an unlicensed individual money and was never heard of again.

To qualify as a licensed contractor, one must have a minimum of 4 years’ experience in the field.  Licensed contractors also must go through background checks and pass a written exam by the State Licensing Board.  In fact, you can always check on the State website if a contractor is licensed or not.  It may seem a bit more expensive to hire a licensed contractor, but that is due to the overhead of purchasing the workers compensation, insurance, and bond for your protection.

Next time you are shopping around for work in your home, we suggest hiring a licensed contractor.  Make sure you check their license, make sure that their insurance can cover your property, and make sure they are bonded.

For more information about licensing visit the California State Licensing Board site

 

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D-Day June 6, 1944

As a veteran owned and operated business, we take pride on our military history.  Truly because with out the occurrence of the events in the past we would not find ourselves here today.  Therefore, we honor and thank the service members that went before us during WWII.  To paint the picture better, if you ever seen the movie “Saving Private Ryan”, these are the events we are talking about. D Day

The important things to take home is that D-day was a turning point during the war at the cost of many American, British, and Canadian lives.  On June 6, 1944 troops landed along a 50-mile stretch of beach in Normandy, a coast of France.  The landing is also known as the Battle of Normandy, Code-named Operation Overlord which lasted from June 1944 to August 1944, resulted in the Allied liberation of Western Europe from Nazi Germany’s control.

According to History Channel  (2017), “The invasion was one of the largest amphibious military assaults in history and required extensive planning. Prior to D-Day, the Allies conducted a large-scale deception campaign designed to mislead the Germans about the intended invasion target. By late August 1944, all of northern France had been liberated, and by the following spring the Allies had defeated the Germans. The Normandy landings have been called the beginning of the end of war in Europe.”

By the end of August, Allied forces reached Seine River, and made German forces retreat from the northwestern part of France, causing Paris to be liberated.   After the conclusion of the battle, troops prepared to enter Germany and met up with Soviet troops.  The events were remarkable and turned over the War.  This is why Pacific Breeze Landscape takes pride on today’s history.  Hoorah!

History Channel. (2017). D-Day. Retrieved from http://www.history.com/topics/world-war-ii/d-day

 

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SOD Installation 


In recent years, having grass has been a debatable topic for homeowners in California.  Thus, why many have been switching to drought tolerant landscapes.  On the other hand, those who love their lawn, have been making every effort to keep it alive.  Although there are a few who successfully been maintaining their yard, there are still a those who haven’t.  Therefore, some homeowners rather Re-SOD than turn to a drought tolerant landscapes.  If you are the whom is seeking for a DIY project below are some helpful steps: 

1) Kill old lawn. Usually 2 cycles of watering and spraying three weeks apart will usually completely kill your old lawn and weeds

2) Remove dead lawn using a Sod cutter.

3) Rototill soil & install or repair sprinklers. 

4) Rake and fine grade. Rake to break up large clods and remove any remaining debris. Fine grade by scraping across the surface to smooth uneven areas.

5) Install Sprinkler System. Heads should be spaced to have full head to head overlap to avoid having dry patches and to promote even growth.

6) Finish Grade. After installing irrigation, finish grade to 1/2″ below walkways. SOD is uniformly machine cut and will conform to any irregularities.

7) Apply SOD.

8) Roll soil. Roll soil to settle and firm the surface. Fine grade again if necessary. 

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Irrigation Show 2016

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In an effort to stay on top of innovation, Pacific Breeze Landscape attended the 2016 Irrigation Show at the Las Vegas Convention Center.  Over 600 exhibitors attended and displayed the latest technology for irrigation systems.  Some of the most interesting products found at the exhibition were the self-sustainable water fountains and basins by AquaescapeInc.  This year we partnered up with Aquaescape to install their latest products and give our customers the opportunity to try out something new.

The Irrigation Association also hosted an education conference that focused on some of the best irrigation practices.  Some of the training included proper irrigation installation and water management procedures. Since Pacific Breeze Landscape primarily works with residential and commercial properties, having an efficient irrigation system saves time and money.  Therefore, we continuously conduct training to enhance our practices as your service provider.

Furthermore, the Irrigation Association held a drought tolerant summit that touched based on the current drought conditions within the state of California.  Our current drought has hit a peak in the California’ heat record.  Increased temperatures in the climate systems has many consequences.  The last four years have set a record for the driest water conditions. These conditions affect water supplies for human uses and an all-time high risk for wildfires, especially in Southern California.  Hence, why the state is now offering up to $2000.00 rebate to remove and replace turfs at your place of residence.

Pacific Breeze Landscape intends to using the latest technology and enhance its irrigation practices.

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Winter is Coming!

Unlike the TV Series Game of Thrones, Winter is literally around the corner.  In certain regions of the US, the climate change, especially winter, could be very rigorous on your garden and lawn.  In the state of California, we have the privilege to enjoy weather where the climate transition is not too rough.  Nevertheless, there are some lawn care measures to consider now that winter is right around the corner.

The first step into prepping for winter is to comply with your local city water restrictions.  During winter, landscapes require less water.  Therefore, to conserve water, some cities have limited watering to one or two days per week.  Most cities have shifted to this schedule as of November 1st.  For example, the city of Buena Park only allows home owners to water one day out of the week; this day is split between Monday or Thursday, depending on your street number.  The city of Huntington Beach allows up to two days of watering; Monday and Friday.  For further information about your city watering schedule, simply go online and review the schedule.

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Check your local water restrictions
Once you’ve complied with your watering schedule, it is time to act on your lawn and garden.  It is recommended to winterize your lawn early winter.  Most lawns are required to be fertilized during the cool season.  This is also the time to reduce the height of your lawn so that it is ready to sprout as spring comes along.  Moreover, keep in mind, winter is the dormant season for plants, so because of the low temperature, the chemical activity slows down, therefore, slowing down the plants metabolism.  In California, depending on the plant or flower species, this is a good season to plant.

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Plant the right species
Finally, remember to keep up with regular maintenance.  Adhere to a professional to help maintain your garden during this season.  And remember, as John Snow once said…

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“Winter is Coming!”
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Saving Water is an Incentive

The state of California has been working to counter the issues of the current drought.  In recent years, water efficiency programs have been established to support the cause.  One, in particular, the water sense program, is designed to protect the future of the U.S. water supply by offering people a simple way to use less water with water-efficient products and services. ca-drought

The Program:

  • Promotes the value of water efficiency.
  • Provides consumers with easy ways to save water
  • Encourages innovation in manufacturing.
  • Decrease water use and reduce strain on water resources and infrastructure.

The program is also intended to assist homeowners in saving water by providing them with incentives. For example, in collaboration with the local water agency, the Municipal Water District of Orange County offers rebates on the following outdoor water-saving devices:

  • Smart Irrigation timer
  • Soil moisture sensors
  • Sprinkler Nozzles
  • Rain Barrels
  • Drip Irrigation
  • Turf Removalswater-efficient-agriculture-istock-standard-license-credit-31

Besides, participating landscape contractors are offering a 10% discount to new customers for Smart Irrigation.

Since the launch of the program ten years ago and, in partnership with the EPA, the water sense program has helped manage water conservation in response to the severe California drought.  The program has been able to:

  • Save $32.6 billion in water and energy costs.
  • Help save 1.5 trillion gallons of water in California for a year.
  • Encouraged more than 350 utilities, local governments, manufacturers, retailers, distributors, builders, and other organizations have partnered with EPA to produce and promote water-efficient products, programs, and homes.
  • Added more than 16,000 items to the program, including products for residential and commercial bathrooms, commercial kitchens, and outdoor irrigation.

For more information about the “Watersense Program” see the links below.

Resources:

EPA. (2016). Water Sense. Retrieved from https://www3.epa.gov/watersense/about_us/what_is_ws.html

The Metropolitan Water District of Southern California. (2016). Financial Information. Retrieved from http://www.mwdh2o.com/WhoWeAre/Management/Financial-Information/Pages/default.aspx

 

 

 

Uncategorized

Tree’s and Potential Hazards

Studies have shown that besides trees delivering the daily oxygen we seek to survive, it raises property value drastically.  The U.S. Forrest Service estimates that home market values are 7-20% higher in value, and commercial areas, where businesses have trees, have found to have 20% higher income streams than those without trees.  The city also plants trees to provide safe and pleasant pedestrian environments, cool the urban landscape, improve storm water management, provide wildlife habitat, and mitigate climate change.

Choosing the right tree to plant and proper maintenance are critical to conserving water.  Planting a tree correctly, at grade, and with no organic material in the backfill will enable a healthy growth.  Some species adapt well to the surrounding environment.  Also, one must consider the ultimate height and spread of the tree.

In urban landscape areas, the presence of trees conflicts with overhead power lines. Electricity is conveyed through power lines at high voltages.  The high voltage electric current can arc out if grounded by a tree, resulting in a possible interruption of service or a potential fire.  Usually, trees that are located near power lines or other obstructions tend to be more expensive to maintain.

When trees are not properly maintained, they can become a liability to property owners.  However, the costs for the maintenance of a tree cannot compare to the imminent hazards to a person or property.  Property owners would have a much greater incentive not to plant trees directly under power lines or plant shorter trees that are less likely to cause problems.  Thus, maintaining your tree is crucial to prevent potential hazards and higher expenses.

fire_treePalm tree maintenance

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Prevent Lawn Disease and Burnt Spots

Research shows that the lack of or improper method of maintenance increases the chances disease outbreak on your lawn.  Proper watering, fertilizing, aerating, and the right mowing schedule will reduce the chance of disease.  There are three factors that must be present for disease to arise and spread.  These are the right host, pathogen, and right environment.

According to the University of California Agriculture and Natural resource, “Even if a disease-causing pathogen is present, infection won’t occur unless the environment (i.e., temperature, quantity of water, etc.) is conducive to disease development and susceptible grass is available. “(Lawn Diseases: Prevention and Management).  Therefore, selecting the proper turf grass type that acclimates to the local environment will help lessen sever lawn disease.

Moreover, diseases aren’t always the primary cause of lawn damage.  Irrigation problems are the most common cause of discolored lawns.  Conducting preventive maintenance on irrigation systems will ensure a healthy lawn.  No amount of fungicide will control lawn damages that result from poor watering practices.  Experts recommend to monitor and perform preventative maintenance at least once a week.

For the most part, California has Mediterranean weather, this means, lawns require irrigation.  It is vital to implement sound watering practices—whether watering by hand or using an automated system. Applying too much or insufficient water can end in an unhealthy, slow-growing grass that is susceptible to pathogens.  Also, maintaining a lawn at the recommended mowing height will improve its ability to resist diseases and give it greater aesthetic appeal. Improper mowing, increases the chance of disease.

When a disease outburst in a home lawn is suspected, the best course of action may be to seek the professional services of a plant disease diagnostic laboratory. Accurately identifying the problem before symptoms become severe allows for corrective action to be taken before there is an unnecessary loss of large lawn areas.  Speak to your landscaping professionals to learn more about a diagnostic laboratory near you.

References:

Agriculture and Natural Resources, University of California. (2016). Pests in Gardens and Landscapes. Retrieved from http://ipm.ucanr.edu/PMG/PESTNOTES/pn7497.html

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How succulents can help during the drought

According to the USGS, California has been in a drought over the last five years.  We all have seen the impacts of the drought, dryer landscapes and the decline of our streams and rivers.  As drought persists, longer-term impacts can emerge, such seawater intrusion and damages to our ecosystems.

Currently, the state has implemented water restrictions on business as well as home owners.  The state has prohibited irrigating within 48 hours of rain to certain districts.  Water restrictions can cause damages to vegetation and landscape.

As a community, there are several things that we can do to support the drought concerns.  For one, we can turn to plants that are more drought tolerant, such as, succulents.  Succulents offer easy care and they are very low maintenance.  Because succulents are not required to be watered consistently, they are cost effective.  Also, they offer an array of colors which can complement any garden.   

At Pacific Breeze Landscape, we want to serve our community and be able to help our environment by promoting a more drought tolerant garden. 

Resources:

http://ca.water.usgs.gov/data/drought/

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Succulent Garden
Succulent
Colorful Succulents
Uncategorized

Drought Contingency Plan

The State of California has extended and modified the emergency drought regulations. The modified regulations took effect June 1, 2016 and have been extended through January 2017.

Effective July 5, 2016, the City of Huntington Beach adopted

Level 1 Water Restrictions.

  • Use of automated irrigation is limited to Monday, Wednesday, and Friday.
  • Irrigation is prohibited between 9 am and 5 pm.
  • Irrigation is limited to no more than 10 minutes per day per station.
  • No excessive water runoff from irrigation onto sidewalks or streets.
  • No watering during or 48 hours after measurable rainfall.
  • Washing down hard or paved surfaces is prohibited.
  • Leaks must be repaired within 72 hours of notification.

– See more at: http://surfcity-hb.org/hbwater/#sthash.PiiBCUWV.dpuf