Happy, Happy, Joy, Joy
November, 2013 - Issue #109
courtesy of Shutterstock
courtesy of Shutterstock

Remember last year, when you made the grave mistake of trying to drive north on Copperhill in Valencia the week before Christmas? You grunted and ho-hummed and fumed at the nearly-stopped traffic in front of you until you finally inched forward enough to see what all the fuss was about.

Christmas lights. Lots of them.

And then, like magic, your shoulders let go of their tension. Your heart stopped racing. You, too, slowed down - despite knowing that there were plenty of cars behind you - to take in the glory of it all.

You smiled.

You weren't the only one. Thousands of people - your neighbors, your friends, your family - drove past those lights, always with the same result.

For just a little while - no matter if you were sick, or tired, or stressed, or sad or mad - life was magical.

Not all lights can conjure this feeling, of course. The obligatory single string of bulbs that many put up each year don't really do much, though they are certainly better than nothing.

The lights that can turn an 80-year-old man into a wonderstruck child in a mere instant, though, are different. They are creative and clever in their placement. They are bright and beautiful. They can be whimsical or classic; it doesn't matter. What matters is that it's obvious that someone put a great deal of thought and effort into a communal gift that gets to be unwrapped nightly over and over again until New Year's.

With today's bold and sturdy LED lights, the gift of merriment need not come at the expense of a giant electric bill.

If you love lights but aren't enamored with the thought of putting them up, let the professionals do it for you safely. Many offer early-booking discounts as incentives, so don't wait to schedule a date. You can usually rent the lights from the company or ask them to use your own. Two local, reputable companies offer this service in the SCV.
Christmas Lights Installation 297-7013
Landscape Pros 510-8867

Fall in Love
Seasonal Outdoor Improvements
Improve your Curb Appeal before the Holidays
Formal Front Entrances
When your guests park on the street, are they forced to navigate between cars as they hike up your driveway? Offer your guests the warmest of welcomes with columns, lighting, and steps, custom concrete or pavers that keep them off the driveway and provide high style to your front yard at the same time.

Stacked Stone
Retaining walls may be essential but they don't have to be bland. Stacked stone and limestone walls offer unlimited texture and a sense of history to your space.

Uplighting for plants and trees and path lighting have been made more energy efficient, maintenance free and attractive with the influx of new, natural-colored LED lighting. You won't find yourself changing bulbs for a good five to seven years, on average.

Front Porches
As living spaces continue to move outside, front porches are becoming incredibly popular. Sitting areas, courtyards and decorative gates finish the scene and make it even easier to entertain larger groups of family and friends.
MHB Landscape Construction 297-5169

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courtesy of Shutterstock
Give your Plants a Head Start and Plant in the Fall
Q: Why is fall a good time to plant?
A: When the warm weather arrives, many people get excited about planting a new garden or refreshing their existing garden. Actually, the right time to think about spring gardens is the fall. As the days begin to get cooler, the soil temperature is still warm - and certainly warmer than in the spring. Putting your plants in the ground now will allow them to develop healthy root systems. During the fall and winter, they can acclimate and take advantage of the seasonal rains. By spring, their roots are established and ready for the vigorous spring growth period. Plants planted in the spring are often stressed by their transplant and then by the dry, hot weather of the summer. Fall planting gives your plants a better chance of success.

Q: When should I plant?
A: Generally early October to mid-December are fall planting times.

Q: Is there anything I can do to prevent weed growth in the spring?
When you plant in the fall, the growing season is coming to an end - for your plants and for potential weeds. If you take the time in the fall to clear weed seed from your soil, you'll have fewer weeds to fight next spring and summer.

Q: What should be on our fall planting list?
Of course, fall is when you plant spring-blooming bulbs. But for many parts of California, fall is also a good time to plant spring-blooming perennials.

Other reasons the fall is a great time to plant include:
• The weather is more even and yields more
"good" days to work outside.
• Fall is the best time to choose trees and
shrubs with fall color; you can see the plant
as it will look in your yard.
• The prices are right; you can take advantage
of the fall sales most nurseries and home
garden centers offer.
• If you typically plant fall bulbs, you're out in
the garden anyway.
• You'll have one less task to do next spring!
• Fall is a great time to do a landscape clean up
and evaluate your garden. Deadhead, mulch,
prune, pull weeds and divide plants as
needed. All of this work will pay off come
spring. For water-wise landscaping ideas and
inspiration, request a free consultation.
NV Landscape 286-8888

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courtesy of Shutterstock
Don't let the Sun Go to Waste
Each hour, enough sunlight hits the earth to power the world for year. That's 400 trillion gigawatts per second and enough to power 400 quintillion homes. Putting the sun to work reduces the amount of coal and nuclear energy needed to power your home, which helps preserve the earth's supply of non-renewable resources.

Solar's the right call for the environment, for your budget and, when you purchase or lease through Pacific Blue Solar, it's also right for the American economy. The company is a proud supplier of Solarworld energy solutions, which are produced in the USA.

Find out if solar is right for you (Mother Earth's already a fan!) by scheduling a free estimate.
Pacific Blue Solar 259-1004

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courtesy of Shutterstock
Build it and they will Come
Based on our not-so-scientific calculations, summer in the SCV lasted for a total of seven months this year, not including the unseasonably warm days we had not-so-sporadically through winter and spring. Using these same totally-not-high-tech measurements, the remaining "slightly chilly" days would have been perfect had we been in possession of an in-ground spa.

Summary of findings: We need a pool. And a spa. Now.

Fall is one of the best times to get them, too. The winter rains have yet to arrive, so there's rarely a day of work lost to inclimate weather. It'll be ready to go with plenty of time to enjoy the warmth of a spa and heated pools can be enjoyed any day of the year.

Once you realize that your backyard escape is here to stay - and is primed and ready for the busy season - your friends and family will, too. You'll be ready to entertain come spring! (And the seven months of SCV's summer!).
Valencia Pool Designs 406-2267

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courtesy of Shutterstock

The Seasons are Changing
Time for an Irrigation Inspection
• Periodically review your irrigation system for leaks and
broken heads. Adjust sprinkler heads so they don't spray
walls, sidewalks or driveways.
• Water during the early morning hours between 2am and
6am to minimize evaporation and interference from wind.
• Most importantly, adjust your watering seasonally
or install a "smart" controller (Available free at!) that will automatically
calculate the amount of water needed.
Castaic Lake Water Agency
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