Our Yards: the Newest Component of Modern Life to Go Smart

By Matt Keppel

April is the perfect time to begin tackling those landscape projects that will yield finished outdoor spaces with plenty of time to enjoy them.  We are so lucky here to have the kind of climate that affords us ample opportunity to update the old and install the new for months of outdoor pleasure.

There are, however, a few constants for those of us living in the Prescott area, not the least of which is a proliferation of weed life that often inspires thoughts of machetes in the Amazon. Nevertheless, if we tackle them with courage and a plan, victory can be had.  Weed abatement requires a regimen of treatment and a fierce dedication toward winning the war.  In fighting the weed battle starting now, you’ll create a manageable environment and be able to implement the updates in your landscape and maybe even employ some of the trends forecasted for 2019.

Here are a few I thought worth mentioning, partly because Guardian Landscape can do them, and partly because some of it is just cool.

Low Maintenance Landscapes

I’m knocking about four different trends for 2019 off the list with my next words of wisdom.

Smart Planning, Smart Choices

Low-key, less-stressful landscaping plans that yield low-maintenance hardscapes and vegetation. Planting more perennials (because they come back each year) and drought tolerant native plants means less care is required.

Irrigation system installation (flowers, plants, shrubs, trees and lawn can be scheduled to water so you can program it and go). Smart planning like this will give you not only beautiful front and back yards, but the freedom to get up and go without worrying about yard care.

Garden Color

According to the NALP (National Association of Landscape Professionals) prediction, shades of pink will be popping up in gardens, due in part to “Living Coral” being named the Color of the Year by Pantone, a leading provider of color systems and an influencer on interior and exterior design. I’m just reporting what they said here – you all do what makes you happy.

Artificial Turf

One of the most common, unfulfilled wishes I hear from homeowners, is the desire for green grass. It cools, it adds color, it softens our Arizona desert landscape, and really makes a statement as part of a home’s appearance. Artificial turf has come a long way and looks like the real thing.  It is a smart substitute in several respects: Zero maintenance. Water Conservation. Beautiful looks year-round.

New Technology

I’m talking about increasingly better tools (battery powered), automation, and amazing new innovations that will help you (and even myself as a professional) get those landscaping jobs done.  We can also look forward to continuing development of some great apps that can assist with landscaping jobs, give you remote systems control, and even help in planning your gardens.

For the Prescott area, the new programmable “smart” irrigation/sprinkler controllers and advanced lighting systems will be improvements and upgrades employed by homeowners as they make landscapes an extension of their smart homes.  For example, with smart irrigation/sprinkler system installations and upgrades, you’ll be able to decrease water use and remotely monitor and control zones from your Android or iOS phone using Wifi or Ethernet Connectivity.

Now I just have to mention this futuristic robot lawn mower by Husqvarna* that not only mows your lawn for you, but also can get to work when you tell it to, while you’re kicking back on the patio with a cup of coffee, saying, “Alexa, ask Automower® to start,” and so on.

*Please note that I have never used the robot mower and am not endorsing it. I’m just mentioning it because I thought it looked like it might belong to Batman.

Now we can add landscapes to the “smart” world. So that means we have smart phones, smart TV’s, smart homes, smart yards. I can’t help but wonder when they’ll make something smart enough to know when it’s broken AND capable of fixing itself too. We’ll all be obsolete, then who will be left to admire it all?