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Maintenance Tips to Help You Enjoy Your Landscape

Your landscaping, whether a do-it-yourself project or done by a professional landscaper, should be done in a manner that ensures proper drainage so that your property, as well as your neighbors’, is protected from surface water.

Maintain drainage from the rear yard through the side yard to the street, utilizing drainage pipes, rock, groundcovers, or grasses to prevent erosion along the side yard “swales”.

Swales that have been graded around your home or on the lot pad, should not be blocked. These shallow ditches have been put there for the purpose of quickly removing water toward the driveway, street, or another positive outlet.

Do not let water gather against foundations, privacy, and retaining walls. These walls are built to withstand the ordinary moisture in the ground. If water is permitted to the pond against them, it may cause structural damage due to erosion or expansion.

Do not create depressed planter boxes or areas next to foundations such that irrigation or rainwater collects in them.

Avoid planting shrubbery or lawns too close to your foundation – three feet is a good minimum. When preparing flower beds or planting areas adjacent to foundations, make sure that the ground surface slopes away from the foundation.

Never water toward the foundation of your house or water more than is necessary for the growth and maintenance of lawns, flowers, shrubs, or trees. Remember, less water is more desirable than too much.

Sometimes it is desirable to install concrete patios at the rear, sides, or front of the house. In order that such installations do not have a detrimental effect on your house, the following rules should be observed:

Patio slabs should be poured up to house foundations, wherever possible, and a planting strip between the patio slab and foundation should not be left unless proper under-slab drainage away from the foundation is provided.

Since patio slabs are usually much larger than sidewalks, there is more chance that drainage patterns will be obstructed, particularly at the rear or the house. It is therefore emphasized that positive drainage be restored around the perimeter of the slab by constructing drainage swales to other means. It is extremely important that this be done in the event patio slabs are covered.

By observing the above rules, the patio slabs can be constructed as desired and yet preserve the integrity of the drainage pattern of the lot.

If you should be considering any additions or improvements to your home, we wish to advise you as follows: Your lot has been designed and graded according to plans and specifications prepared by licensed soils and civil engineers. The grading has been inspected and approved by these engineers as well as the government entity (city, county, etc.) in which your lot is located. In cases where special soil conditions may dictate, that area of the lot supporting your home has been graded according to a special structural section designed by the engineers. In such cases, the concrete foundation and floors of your home may also have been specially designed by the engineers with additional steel reinforcements and other measures where required.

Additionally, your lot has been carefully finished and graded to drain. This grading has been inspected and approved by the civil engineer, building inspector, and, where applicable, V.A. or F.H.A.

If you should decide to install patios, fences, swimming pools, walks, landscaping, or additions to your home properly, it is imperative that you:

Maintain the integrity of the drainage system installed for your lot. Improper drainage or standing water next to your home can cause serious damage to the foundation or structure. Your grading was a minimum of 6 to 8 inches below the wood sills when the home was completed. Maintain this grade as it will help keep insects out and prevent water from entering your home.

Consult a competent engineer to determine if any special measures might be required for structural soundness. A copy of the soil report covering your property can be obtained upon request.

Obtain necessary building permits as required.

Plants, Protection from Frost & Irrigation


All new plant materials, including native trees, plants, and cacti require some care in order to survive. All new plant materials, with the exception of certain cacti, require extensive watering when first planted. New plant material should be watered a minimum of 30 minutes every day. Water on this schedule for about 3 weeks during the spring and fall months, and about 1 week during the winter months. After this period, cut the watering back to twice a week, except during December and January, when once a week is sufficient. Total watering in the summer is usually 4-6 hours per week, or longer if wilting occurs.

Investigate the watering conditions of your new plant material, using a probe-type instrument such as a screwdriver. Probe the soil near the plant, taking precautions not to damage the roots. The soil should be moist 4 to 6 inches into the sub-surface. An indicator of too little water is wilting and curling of the leaves of the plant materials. This will be followed by the dieback of the small branches. Often the edges of the leaves will turn yellow color and in some cases appear to be dried. Too much water damages roots by removing oxygen from the soil and it will cause some types of root rot. Watering conditions will vary depending on plant locations and exposure to the elements.


A large number of landscape plants and trees are susceptible to frost damage in the colder locations in the valley or on abnormally cold evenings. This damage can be fatal to plant material depending on temperature, time of the year, length of cold, age, and strength of the plant material, as well as other factors, such as wind, moisture, and location. The deadliest condition is a cold frost following a warming trend in and around January and February. Do not trim frost-damaged portions from trees and shrubs until all danger from frost has passed, as the damaged plant material protects the plant from more serious frost damage. Do not fertilize during the frost months. It is suggested you protect your plants and trees from frost. There are many methods of protection from which to choose. The simplest is to cover your plant material. Plastic is not recommended for covering plant materials.


Your irrigation system products are manufactured by “Rainbird”, in the event of a failure to your controller or control valve, you may contact Rainbird @ 1-800-247-3782 for technical service.

Your irrigation controller located in your garage is set up to water your yard from 1 to 3 times a day.

To set the clock you must enter:

  • Year, Month, Day, Time
  • Select program A, B, or C
  • Set watering day cycle
  • Set watering days
  • Set program start time(s)
  • Set station run times
  • Auto Mode

Refer to the clock instructions for any other information and remember that between May and October, you cannot water from 12:00 PM and 7:00 PM, except for 30 days on new sod. Valve assembly – See detail sheet DS1

Sprinklers are adjustable, after your lawn is established it is your responsibility to ensure that your sprinklers are properly adjusted so that they are not spraying on your house, concrete, and block walls. When cutting your grass be familiar with where your sprinklers are so you don’t hit them with the mower and break the riser under the ground. This will cause an unnoticed leak and a lack of pressure on the system. Risers and sprinklers are not covered under warranty.

Frost Protection & Warranty


Frost damage to irrigation systems is extremely unusual. However, frost damage can occur to the vacuum breaker in the colder sections of the valley on unusually cold nights. Pressure Vacuum Breakers are installed to keep the non-potable water from returning to the potable water. These valves are insulated to protect from freezing. This is not always the case as exposure is different where the valves are located. If you know it’s going to freeze the best thing to do is shut the valve off to keep it from getting damaged. You can also wrap the valve with a blanket or towel, and place a cardboard box or styrofoam cooler over it. If the valve freezes and breaks it is your responsibility for replacement. See detail sheet – DS2


Your sprinkler irrigation system is guaranteed against workmanship and material defects. Please check with your service manager for the length of the warranty. It does not include damage done by the owner or his agent, or from vandalism, storm damage, lightning, or other abuses such as driving over sprinkler heads with a lawn mower or automobile. It is suggested the owner check the system periodically and make adjustments as needed. It is your responsibility to maintain your yard and your irrigation system. Keep your grass cut and sprinklers trimmed around to allow proper coverage for water conservation. Trees and shrubs should be checked weekly for proper irrigation. Trees are properly staked and are sometimes subjected to high winds. This is out of our control and cannot be replaced if broken. Emitter heads may clog and can be unclogged by the owner without the use of tools. If you have an automatic irrigation system you will be given a sprinkler controller operation booklet. Please use this book to operate your system correctly. It is very important that you take the time to read your manual on your time clock. It will be set properly when your landscaping is complete. Changing your timer without understanding what you are doing can void your warranty on plants, trees, and sod. If you have any questions about your irrigation system, please call the landscape contractor.

Fertilization of Lawns & Sod


To keep a green healthy lawn throughout the year you should fertilize your lawn approximately every 6 weeks. Cool season fertilizer commonly known as Nitrogen can be obtained from your local nursery.

The best types to use are Ammonium Nitrate 34-0-0, or Ammonium Phosphate 21-0-0. Apply at the rate schedule on the bag and you will have a healthy green lawn throughout the cool season.

Note: Never use Nitrogen in the hot months, it will burn your lawn.

For warm-season fertilizer follow this simple schedule:

  • January – March 34-0-0 Ammonium Nitrate
  • April- September 16-6-8 with Iron & Micro Nutrients
  • October- December Turf Supreme with Iron

Applications should be made every 45 days


Do not fertilize new shrubs and trees for 30 to 60 days after planting as nurseries have been applying maximum amounts of fertilizer. Soil amendments and root stimulators, however, can be added and may be useful in encouraging new plant growth. Most fertilizing is done from early March through October. Frost-tender plants should not be fertilized after July as this will encourage new growth and can cause the plant to be killed by frost.


Sodded lawns are Tall Fescue and can go dormant in the winter. Sodded lawns may be over-seeded with rye by approximately October 1, if you wish a winter lawn. New winter lawns, October 1 to April 1, are seeded with rye. Rye grasses will not survive the summer heat in Las Vegas and must be re-seeded each fall.

Watering Lawns, Decomposed Granite, & Tree Staking


New sod lawns require deep watering every day for approximately 2 weeks until rooting occurs. Water 2 or 3 times per day 5 to 10 minutes each time. In fall and winter, the hybrid sod is over-seeded with rye grasses when installed. All lawns require seeding in the fall if you wish for a winter lawn.

Tall Fescue grasses require approximately 2 inches of water per week. Winter rye grasses require about half this amount of water. Your sprinkler system will apply approximately one inch of water each hour of operation. Please note: that shade, soil conditions, wind temperature, type of sod, as well as sod conditions, play a major role in how much water your lawn will require. Fertilizers really don’t reduce the amount of water a plant will use.


Granite is mined and is natural in color. Some colors may not be acceptable in certain subdivisions due to design restrictions of the subdivisions. Granite colors are not 100% consistent. There will be variations in the shades of colors, the amount of color or colors, and the darkness of color. Granite will also darken some as it ages.

Granite comes in various sizes and grades – 1/4, 1/2, 3/4 inch minus, 3/8, 1/2, inch screened. 1/2, 3/4, sized. Fines exist in all grades even sized. Fines have the appearance of dirt, and when first dumped the fines will be on top of the pile. Part of the installation procedure is to wash the fines down after the installation of the granite. The normal amount of fines found in granite is as follows.

  • Minus = 60% to 70 % crushed fines
  • Screened = 20% to 40% crushed fines
  • Sized = 10% to 20% crushed fines


Tree staking is usually done with the nursery stake that comes with your tree from the wholesale nursery. As your tree grows you may have to retie with nursery tape. Retying may be required two or more times a year. In the time it may be necessary to replace the nursery stake with a larger, stronger stake such as a lodge pole. Trees are properly staked and are sometimes subjected to high winds. This is out of our control and cannot be replaced if broken. Lodge poles are readily available at most nurseries. See detail sheet – DS4.

Review or Inspect Your Landscape

In the summertime, we recommend you inspect your landscaping once a week for signs of stress. Signs of stress are wilting or curling of leaves. Other things to look for are yellowing or browning of leaves and damage from insects and bugs. Also, make sure each plant is receiving adequate water. During the winter months, we recommend you inspect your landscaping a minimum of twice a month. Check your landscaping after storms for wind or rain damage, and re-stake or retie trees, if necessary. Retying of trees is required periodically, and larger, stronger tree stakes may be required as growth occurs.

Plant death can be caused by insecticide or herbicide sprays, either yours or your neighbors. Plants can also be killed by improper fertilizing, bugs, and insects, fungi, root rot, parasites such as nematodes, weather conditions, and from damage to root balls by children playing or by lightning. The effects of lightning can come later after the storm. Damage in this case is to the roots of the tree and may not show above ground on the trunk. Lightning does not have to strike the tree directly to cause damage.

Take care of your investment and inspect your yard at least once a week. Any questions about your landscape you can contact your local nursery or your landscaper contractor.


List of Problems & Solutions

The following list is problems that can occur, along with corrective actions.

If the drip system is not working please try the following actions:

  • Check clock is operating and programmed
  • Check pressure vacuum breaker (PVB) is turned on
  • Check power source

If you have dead plants or dead sod:

  • Check clock is operating
  • Check (PVB) is on
  • Inspect that drip emitters are not clogged or sprinklers not broken
  • Check that all wires are connected to valves and clock
  • Check power source

If you have a broken sprinkler or a broken emitter:

  • Replace sprinkler
  • Replace the riser at the base of the sprinkler
  • Ensure that emitters are not clogged

If you have broken tree stakes or broken ties:

  • Install new ties or new stakes

If you are missing your instruction manual for your timer, need irrigation solutions or technical support:

(800) 247-3782

12 Month Landscape Checklist


  • Ensure that timer is set correctly for the time of year
  • Replace battery backup annually
  • Pressure Vacuum Breaker (PVB)
  • Check for corrosion
  • Check for leaks
  • Ensure insulation secure


  • Open the valve box and insure there are no leaks
  • Bleed valves secure
  • Solenoids not corroded


  • Ensure they are properly adjusted and in working condition


  • Insure ties are secured
  • Inspect for proper watering/health or condition of the tree
  • Trim if necessary


  • Ensure proper watering, inspect emitters for proper distribution
  • Trim if necessary


  • Ensure drainage swales are not blocked and water will flow in the event of rain
  • Keep swale areas clean of debris

Grading & Draining Acknowledgement

Address: _____________________________________

Community: __________________________________

Lot: _________________________________________

The buyer understands that there has been a final grading inspection on the above-mentioned lot: and that it is graded in accordance with the grading plan provided by the responsible city or county agency, and certified by a civil engineer. Other than the “pad area” directly beneath the house, grading includes any swales, slopes, and berms as described and shown on the plot plan for the above-mentioned community.

Buyer acknowledges that the Buyer has walked the entire area of the subject lot prior to the close of escrow and reviewed the existing locations of the swales, slopes, berms, and easements reserved for the utilities and drainage. The buyer also understands it is the buyer’s responsibility to maintain the approved drainage plan for their lot. It is recommended that the Buyer, upon completion of installing a pool or backyard landscaping, would need to have the backyard grading recertified in order to ensure proper drainage has been maintained.

Buyers are required to maintain a minimum three (3) foot separation from perimeter walls and house foundation to any turf being installed. Drip lines are only allowed in a 3-foot perimeter area, spray heads must remain 3 feet from all property line walls and house foundation. This helps to reduce, and possibly avoid, water damage to walls shared by neighbors or the Association.

Buyer needs to ensure that when installing any future landscape the final grade does not extend above any retainer wall and that a 1% slope must be maintained away from all perimeter walls and house foundation. All trees, shrubs, and grass provided by Builder are warranted for 90 days after the close of escrow or the installation of the landscaping, whichever date is the latest.



Buyer Date



Builder Representative Date

Watering Guide

Click to enlarge for more detailed information.

Timer Manual

Click to review the Rain Bird installation, programming & operation guide.

Timer Manual