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Contact: Cassie Carver , (651) 633-4987

Protect and Secure your Landscape Investment

For many families, the investment in landscaping their home can exceed 10% of the value of the property. The Minnesota Nursery & Landscape Association (MNLA) recommends a well-designed and installed landscape irrigation system and carefully selected landscape lighting to protect this investment and enhance your property value and security. (Please note that any company installing the electrical components of a landscape irrigation or lighting system should be a Technology System Contractor licensed by the Minnesota State Board of Electricity.)

Why should you irrigate?

Haphazard watering with a garden hose almost always results in over-watering some areas at the expense of others. Sprinklers attached to hoses may water the area intended but also those areas not intended, such as the house, street, driveway, etc. And how often do you forget to turn off or reposition the hose at the proper time? A well-designed landscape irrigation system will deliver the correct amount of water to the proper area of your landscape and supplement that which nature provides.

Hiring a Professional Irrigation Contractor

Professional contractors have made a commitment to the enhancement of the irrigation industry. These contractors understand that you are one of their most valuable assets and will do a great deal to ensure your satisfaction. When choosing an irrigation contractor, be wary of those who offer to charge you significantly less than others. ‘Low bidders' may not be licensed or insured and often use cost-cutting techniques that can harm your landscape.

Watch out for these commonly used tricks:

  • Not including a pressure backflow preventor which is required by State Plumbing Codes to protect your drinking water.
  • Not including a rain sensing device. Minnesota law requires that all new sprinkler systems include a rain sensing device which will automatically interrupt the system's regular schedule when adequate rainfall has been received. Plus you're being a friend to the environment and saving money on your water bill!
  • Installing sprinklers too far apart, which makes it impossible for certain areas to receive enough water and causes brown spots during the hot summer months.
  • Mixing sprinklers with different application rates on the same zone. This causes one area to be overwatered in order to sufficiently water another.
  • Not using proper watertight wire connectors and a protective valve box to safeguard the electrical elements and guard against short circuits.

Irrigation Warranty and Maintenance Services

One key to a long lasting irrigation system is a good maintenance program. Most well-installed systems need little more than “seasonal maintenance.” However, on those occasions when repairs are necessary, the best service firms will not only use professional quality parts but also assure the system continues to operate in an efficient, water conserving manner. The promised warranty will ultimately be only as good as the firm behind it. Expect the contractor you select to provide a written warranty before you buy. Verify the promise by checking references or the Better Business Bureau.

Why use Landscape Lighting?

In daylight hours, a well-designed landscape is full of color, texture, and form. But as night falls, the gnarly trees turn to shadows looming over the grass. The flower beds and pathways are lost in the darkness.

Properly designed and installed outdoor lighting can bring back this lost beauty. It illuminates the best features of your landscape, while leaving dark those areas you wish to conceal in the shadows. Now, not only have you created an aesthetically pleasing environment, but you have also added safety and security to your home.

A variety of lighting concepts make up an overall design. The basic concepts are:

  • Pathway Lighting: Pathlights are designed to add general illumination for pathways, patio, steps and garden areas. They add drama and safety to your landscape. The wide variety of fixtures allows the homeowner to express his/her style preference.
  • Moonlighting: With the use of mature trees, one can add illumination from above to different areas of the landscape. By placing accent fixtures high in the trees, you can add either general illumination or pinpoint lighting to accent features in the landscape.
  • Uplighting: Illumination from below. This concept brings life to the dramatic features within the landscape. The focal points are generally trees, shrubs, statues, fountains and unique structures.
  • Wall Washing: Also referred to as “grazing,” this concept uses a flood-light fixture to cast light across surfaces. It accentuates shadows and textures to add drama on boulder stone and architectural walls.

A good designer will use a combination of these concepts to create a style and mood of his/her own.

Hiring a Landscape Lighting Professional

Start by viewing places that have outdoor lighting for ideas; visit lighting showrooms and outdoor lighting studios. Then, contact your landscape lighting professional to discuss and choose a design and fixture style. They will be able to help you understand the many capabilities of these products.

Products used by professional installers are designed by companies with years of experience and craftsmanship. Fixtures are developed with creative intent, function and light intensity in mind. Professional fixtures are generally constructed of durable materials such as Aluminum, Bronze, Copper, or Stainless Steel for long life expectancy.


To find a landscape contractor or irrigation contractor in your area, visit Minnesota's on-line gardening resource, GardenMinnesota.com.

The Minnesota Nursery & Landscape Association is the state's largest green industry trade association with more than 1,500 member businesses including garden centers; landscape contractors and designers; tree and flower growers; irrigation contractors; and lawn, tree, and garden services.

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