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YOUR HOME   -   EXTERIOR LOOKS
The Backyard Trifecta
March, 2016 - Issue #137
Per our entirely unofficial polling of friends, neighbors and passerby, we've come to the conclusion that the three most essential yard elements for maximum enjoyment are a pool, outdoor fireplace and garden. Lucky for you, now is the time to plan and build all three.

courtesy of Shutterstock
courtesy of Shutterstock
Build your Greatest Gathering Spot
An outdoor fireplace entertainment area isn't just where you sit when you want to warm up on a cool spring night. It's where you tell stories, roast marshmallows, sip wine with friends, unwind from the day and serve lazy Sunday brunch. This space easily becomes the heart of the home three seasons a year - and on warm winter days, too. Pair it with stamped concrete and deep-seated outdoor furniture for the best in style and comfort.
NV Landscape 286-8888

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strong>On Trend: Pools that Pair Organic & Modern Elements
Modern pool designs paired with drought-friendly plants and in-ground fire pits are a timeless trend. Building yours now means it can be ready by late spring, too. What to consider? Start with primary uses. For adults and older kids, a heated spa is a must for relaxing and entertaining. For families with young children, a more-expansive place to play - perhaps with a beach-style graduated entry - will keep the "littles" doing laps from morning until night. Something to think about: Even small yards can have big, bold pool designs like this one. You don't need an Olympic-sized monstrosity to make a statement and benefit from recreational fun in your own backyard.
California Pools & Spas 702-8500

Conservation Mandates
still in Place Despite Anticipation of a Wet Winter
Despite projections of a wet El Nino-driven winter, the water supply picture remains gloomy with just 10 percent of contracted supplies initially projected to be delivered to the Castaic Lake Water Agency in the coming year. The conservation mandates set by the State Water Resources Control Board are still in place and the governor extended his drought order through October 2016. SCV residents did their part this past summer to exceed the state-imposed conservation goals; however, conservation percentages dipped below the targets in October, November and December.

Since we are expecting some rain in the coming months, the most important restriction to remember is that no irrigation is allowed during and 48 hours after it rains. In anticipation of wet weather, turn your irrigation system off if the weekly weather forecast calls for rain. And if we do get rain, that's the natural time to conserve. After all, you don't need to irrigate your landscape if Mother Nature is raining "free water" from the sky. And while it may feel like a good rainstorm will end the drought, one series of storms - or even one extremely-wet winter - will not rescue California from this multi-year drought.

Watering schedules are also still in place and vary by retailer, so be sure to follow the schedule set by your water company. And when you do water your landscaping, make sure the water doesn't run off onto the sidewalk. Below is a quick recap of all activities restricted by the State Water Resources Control Board as it applies to homeowners:

• No washing down sidewalks and driveways
• No washing a motor vehicle with a hose, unless the hose is fitted with a shut-off nozzle
• No run-off from over-irrigation
• No irrigating turf or ornamental landscapes during and 48 hours following measurable precipitation
• No operating a fountain or decorative water feature, unless the water is part of a recirculating system

Log on for more information on the drought and what you can do to save water. www.clwa.org/drought-info/mandatory-measures

courtesy of Shutterstock
courtesy of Shutterstock
Put in that Pool for Endless Summer Fun Year Round
Here's our dreamy summer to-do list: hide in a water cave; sail down a slide into the pool; blow bubbles under colored lights; stretch out on an underwater bench; shoot a three pointer from the spa; soak in a hot spa with Twirly Bird jets; relax on a Baja step with an umbrella overhead; go for a night swim while listening to shooting deck jets playfully dancing while colored lights sparkle in the moonlight; and smile as the sun gleams on gorgeously-colored glass pool tiles. It's all possible - and now's the time to create a custom pool that matches your budget.
Thomas Pools 810-2333

courtesy of Shutterstock
courtesy of Shutterstock
Get Growing with a Simple Garden
Now is the time to get your garden planning started. You can begin sowing some of your cool-weather vegetable seeds outdoors and starting warm-weather seedlings, like tomatoes and peppers, inside under a light or in a sunny windowsill.
What to Plant Now
Broccoli Find a quick-growing broccoli variety for direct sow and harvest until it starts bolting in the SCV summer sun.

Herbs Plant heat-loving herbs like basil, oregano, thyme and sage indoors to start. Use emptied eggshells as containers that can be direct-planted after risk of frost has passed.

Lettuce Start a crop of salad mix greens outdoors now; choose a spot that gets bright sun - but not all day.

Tomatoes Growing tomatoes is not only fun but treats you to some of the best tasting fruits in the world. Start seeds indoors six to eight weeks before your last frost date for best results.
Green Thumb 259-1072
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