Essential Advice for Henderson Landscaping

The second most populous city in Nevada, Henderson is located in the southeastern end of the Las Vegas Valley. While it shares many similarities with it’s larger neighbor, the city has distinct differences in climate and elevation. These differences are important to understand in order to properly manage yard maintenance in Henderson. Don’t settle for a landscaping company that applies a one size fits all approach to all yards in Southern Nevada. Choose a company with experience in the unique differences required to keep landscaping healthy and lush in Henderson.

Since it’s incorporation over 60 years ago, Henderson has grown right up to the boundaries of Las Vegas. It is difficult to tell where one city ends and the other starts. As a result, Henderson is usually lumped together with larger Las Vegas. It is however, its own unique city with a local government and separate police department.

Volcanoes and Lakes in the Desert of Henderson

Henderson’s average elevation is higher than the city of Las Vegas. This comes from a landscape that includes more hills and mountains. Henderson also includes extinct volcanoes which erupted millions of years ago. This gives some areas black rocks and volcanic soil. When maintaining landscaping in areas with a high concentration of volcanic rock, it is important to understand the benefits and disadvantages for plants in this type of soil.

Desert landscaping in Henderson

Despite it’s name, Lake Las Vegas is located within the city of Henderson. The 320 acre man-made lake is the centerpiece of a nearly 4,000 acre master planned community. This large body of water has a transformative effect on the climate of the community. Henderson landscape architects are able to take full advantage of the water’s stabilizing effects on the temperature and increased air humidity in this neighborhood.

Like the rest of Clark County, Henderson has a hot and arid desert climate. Keeping yards healthy requires the proper balance of efficient irrigation systems and well designed shade. Many Henderson residents chose low or zero water landscapes to reduce their dependence on irrigation during the hottest months of the year. Creating beautiful and lush xeriscapes requires experience and skill in the specific needs of Henderson landscaping.

Rabbit Colonies in Henderson

South of Henderson is hundreds of miles of undeveloped land between Las Vegas and the California border. As the city has expanded, wildlife has increasingly been found in residential areas. Henderson contains several areas within the Las Vegas Valley where rabbits are a common sight in home and commercial landscaping. Populations of rabbits also live in many of older parks in the area. If you have noticed rabbits in your yard, make sure to alert your landscaping company. Depending on the type of foliage you have, it may be necessary to “rabbit proof” some of the plants.

If you have more questions about maintaining green and lush landscaping in Henderson please don’t hesitate to contact us.

Check Your Irrigation System Before Spring Hits

Irrigation GraphicIt’s starting to warm up a bit here in the Las Vegas Valley. If you’re as excited about spring as we are at Cacti Landscapes, then we know you’re looking for what to do next with your lawn as everything starts to blossom. Before spring goes into full effect, it’s important that you take the time to consider a few very factors for your lawn health: your watering patterns and your Las Vegas irrigation system. Hopefully you adjusted your timer this past season to water less in the cooler months. Now that the sun is shining for extended hours in the day, it’s time to again consider what the right amount of water is for your lawn for the season that’s soon to be upon us.

Check Your Timer Settings

Ever walked by a house in your neighborhood that had sprinklers going off in the mid-days sun? Let’s not be that neighbor, they probably forgot to check their irrigation system. Preserving water in our community is beneficial for everyone. Watering at the ideal time of day, not only preserves water, but helps your plants absorb the proper amounts necessary. Since all lawns vary in size, sun exposure, and types of plant varieties, be sure that your timer is set for the right time of day for your yard, and is in code with the Las Vegas Valley Water District’s water schedule for your neighborhood.

Las Vegas lawn and sprinkler system

If you don’t have an irrigation system and prefer to water by hand, that’s great too. You’ll still benefit from checking with your favorite professional at Cacti Landscapes; to make sure that you’re watering habits are in alignment with what you need.

Checking Your Sprinklers and Irrigation System

A lot of stuff happens in the ground during the winter months, giving your irrigation system a tune up before its busiest season will reassure that you’re able to relax and enjoy your yard during this beautiful time of year. Luckily we don’t get much snow here in Las Vegas, but the temperatures still got pretty low during some of our colder months, which brings up the pesky factor of possible frozen pipelines or damaged sprinklers.

Although Irrigation systems freezing hopefully isn’t an issue here for you in town, it’s still something you’ll want to keep in mind as you get your system ready for spring. A cracked or damaged sprinkler or pipe can cause disrupt and a change of pressure in the connecting system. First you’ll want to check all of your sprinkler heads, valves, and nozzles to make sure they are free of debris and that nothing is obstructing the waterlines. Overgrowth around the water head of a sprinkler can limit the pathway of the sprinkler, so you’ll want to trim or remove any excess growth while you’re checking. Next, you can do a trial run of your system to make sure water is being disbursed properly from all of your sprinklers and that everything is flowing as it should.

Spring Forward

We hope this has helped provide some important tips on getting your irrigation system ready for spring. As always, don’t hesitate to reach out to one of our irrigation specialists if you have any questions or are looking for further irrigation tips. Thanks for making Cacti Landscapes your preferred Las Vegas landscaper.

Tips to a Greener Las Vegas Lawn with Less Water

It’s no wonder we love the look and feel of grass; a lawn provides an area to relax and play as well as aesthetic variety to front or backyard landscaping. Unfortunately, keeping your grass green and lush can be a challenge in our Las Vegas Valley desert climate. But you don’t have to choose between a nice looking lawn and an outrageous water bill. There are a few key ways to cultivate a healthy lawn while being efficient with your water usage.

1. Proper Mowing

Grass that is cut too short will need more water. For most grass types if you are mowing once a week you should not cut more than 1.5-2 inches off at a time. Keep your mower blades sharp and switch up your mowing pattern for the best results. View the video below for some more good tips on mowing your lawn:

2. Fertilizing

If you want good color and lush growth than fertilizing is a must, especially during the growing season. On the flip side of the coin, too much of a good thing can be bad. If you over fertilize, your lawn will need more water and require mowing more often, so don’t overdo it. Your fertilizer should be equipped with directions right on the bag, but a few general rules of thumb apply:

  • Apply approximately ½ lb of nitrogen per 1,000 square feet every month from April to September
  • Stay away from nitrogen fertilizers at the end of the growing season
  • Time release fertilizers are worth the extra expense (they save you time and are more efficient)
  • Fertilize early morning or late evening and water well right after
  • For the late summer/fall use formulas with iron to increase green color

 3. Proper Watering

Irrigation Sprinkler System

How and when you water is vital to saving water and increasing proper absorption. Watering in the early morning when temperatures are cooler or at night will improve efficiency by cutting down on water lost to evaporation. Most grass types should not be watered more than every three days. A few tips to maximizing water usage:

  • Make sure your sprinklers are positioned so they don’t waste water spraying walkways, driveways or sidewalks.
  • If one area needs more water, water it by hand instead of increasing the water on the entire area.
  • Cut down water by a minimum of 30% in shady areas
  • If you notice water runoff, then water more often for less time
  • Replace broken sprinklers right away
  • Check for signs you are under watering: Hard soil you can’t push a screwdriver through, soil that is warm to the touch after the sun has gone down
  • Check for signs you are over watering and need to cut back: soft, mushy soil or consistent water puddles

4. Aerating

Tough and compact soil will prevent water from being absorbed efficiently by the roots and cause water to run off or puddle, wasting it even more. By core aerating, which means plugs of earth are pulled out of the ground so water can seep deep into it, you will vastly improve root growth and maximize water efficiency. Spring is an ideal time to aerate, when grass is growing steadily. For best results, aerate after watering or rain so the ground is softer. A manual machine is sufficient for a small lawn. If you have a large lawn you may want to rent a mechanical machine.

5. Cut down lawn size

You can have your cake and eat it too, by decreasing the amount of your yard allotted to grass. Keep enough grass to enjoy and to give you the look you want but switch some of your grass for a rock and cacti garden or other desert plants and shrubs, cutting down on the high water usage a lawn requires. You don’t have to give up your lawn, but by cutting down the size just a bit you can save water, effort and time.

Many people are unaware of the steps to properly care for their Las Vegas Valley lawn. But as the saying goes, “Knowing is half the battle.” Now all you have to do is implement the tips above and watch your lawn become healthier and more attractive. Our landscape professionals at Cacti Landscapes are happy to answer questions about how to improve your lawn and are available to help get your lawn in its best shape, and keep it that way, all year long.

Backyard Las Vegas Desert Landscaping on a Budget

When done cleverly, backyard landscaping in Las Vegas and Henderson is a great way to create a nice-looking, low-maintenance yard suitable for our Southern Nevada desert climate. Avoiding lawns is key since the water and upkeep required to maintain a grass lawn can be costly. There are plenty of unique and beautiful DIY ideas to landscape your backyard on a reasonable budget.

Here are a few tips on backyard landscaping without breaking the bank:

1. Use Plants Local to the Area

Backyard Landscaping PlantsPlants native to the desert Southwest will look best because they will be in their ideal growing conditions. They will also be cost effective since you won’t need to purchase expensive fertilizers. Choose plants that do not require a large amount of water, and plant them in thick bunches to create a lush feeling.

Common desert plants include: sage, mesquite, yucca, bottle brush, aloe and agave. Ask at your local nursery about plants that will grow easily in your area, they are always happy to help.

2. Cactus Garden

A classic desert cacti scene in the Southern Nevada region is an economical landscaping idea. First, lay a foundation of sand-colored pebbles. These are only to form a base, so you can buy the cheapest ones. On top of the pebbles, plant several types of cacti scattered throughout the yard. To add flair and character to your yard, add a few finishing touches—a small Western sculpture, a few desert animal figures or perhaps a wood carving.

Rock Art Landscaping

 3. Rock Art

If you want to reduce costs and maintenance even further, rocks are an inexpensive, desert-friendly landscaping option. Start with two colors of small pebbles. Next, map out a design in your yard using chalk. If you are not the creative type, Pinterest has tons of Las Vegas desert landscaping and gardening ideas. Finish by scattering large boulders around the yard, having a couple cross the boundaries between the colored areas for visual variation.

4. Dry Stream

A dry stream bed will not require much modification or many supplies. Map out a spot on your yard for a small twisting stream—giving it beginning and end points. Fill out the area with river rocks or, any type of medium-sized rock if they are too costly. Finish with a couple of large boulders on the stream banks and a small bush next to each rock.

Whether you just moved into a new home and need to decorate on a budget or if your yard needs a facelift, there are a number of ways to landscape your backyard with limited funds. Our backyard landscaping Las Vegas design and maintenance professionals at Cacti Landscaping are happy to answer your questions or assist with designing and creating landscapes for your yard that will complement our climate and your lifestyle.

Weeds, Weeds, Weeds!

Since we have had so much rain this summer the weeds have started to pop up. Here are a couple of ideas:

1) Call us to pick them, spray or cut them down.

2) Do it yourself, which is time consuming.

I would go with #1!

Don’t hire a bad landscaper

Welcome home or to your new home in Las Vegas!

You look at your yard (or lack of a yard) and think” it is time to fix things up. Or even better – you have just bought a new home and you have 90 days to finish the backyard or you are getting penalized. After the stress and cost of moving into your new home you need blinds, furniture, and now landscaping. And landscaping is not cheap in most cases.

Here at Cacti Landscapes, we want to make your life a little easier.
Cacti Landscapes’ owner Bret J Utter has been doing landscaping or maintenance in Las Vegas for more than 20 years. He started mowing lawns when Las Vegas used to have a lot of grass back in 1992. He has learned over the years the right and wrong ways of doing things.

Cacti Landscapes - Don't hire a bad landscaper

People believe that landscaping is an easy thing to do; and can be – in other parts of the country – but not here.
Las Vegas has harsh climates and really bad soil. Our climate changes from cold to windy in the spring, too hot in the summer, and back to windy and then cold in the fall. The ideal time for plant “growth” is a very short window in the spring and fall. Another problem is the soil: it is the worst you will find anywhere. About 60% of the plants and trees in the local nurseries will not even survive in this area.
Does anyone tell you this? Well, they should.

And that leads me to the landscapers in Las Vegas.
You need to be very careful when hiring any contractor in Las Vegas, but especially the landscapers. People think they can get some tools and some labor and start landscaping. I have seen it time and again – they last a season or two and they are gone.
Or, better yet, they just change the name of the company and keep going. Especially after the recession of 2008 many of the companies you see are the same guys with different names.

We take great pride in our company and take nothing for granted. We made it through the downturn and are going strong.

Just the other day I went to a home for an irrigation check. We advertise that we will evaluate your irrigation system or drip system for only $40. We will let you know what the cost of repairs will be in the future and the timeline for your drip system or plants will be down the road. I went to this home and went around the property checking the drip and even repairing another landscapers mistakes from a week ago. The homeowner was so happy and could not believe that the other guy had put the valve back together wrong. He then starts to complain about the $40 charge and says how could you charge me $40 for only 20 minutes of work. I tried to explain to him that first it is in all of our ads, we clearly fixed what the last guy couldn’t fix and left you with the future costs that we know are coming. If you would have called on one of our competitors it would have been $40 to come to your door and then another $40 for the first half hour and maybe they might have fixed it but they would have never told you the future expenses you will be looking at down the road.

The moral of this story is: When you hire someone who doesn’t know what they are doing it will cost you so much more in the long run.

Here’s another story (because I like to tell these stories and hopefully you like to read them and learn something new).
A man calls me to do an estimate for him because he is out of state. So I go to his home on the set time and day we agreed on. Once I arrived I found another guy – an unlicensed contractor with a shovel and a truck – doing the project already. I called the owner to ask why he had not at least called me to cancel the appointment so I didn’t waste a trip in coming out to his property. He didn’t seem to care and said he hired the guy 3 days prior.
The moral of the story is he should have done some more homework instead of going with the first or cheapest guy he could find.
I am not exaggerating when I say the front yard was the worst I have seen in a long time. The worst materials and the worst workmanship I have ever seen were being installed to his property.
Just think of how much money he wasted and how long it will last. Probably not very long.

So what do you look for when you hire a landscaper? I would look for honesty, creativeness and promptness. Are they on time? Do they have the same ideas as you? Ask them many questions to feel them out.

Cacti Landscapes - Don't hire a bad landscaper

[alert color=”white”]They should be able to tell you which plants do well and which do not.
Almost all landscapers will try to get you to install Carolina Cherry, Queen Palms, Australian Bottles, Japanese Blueberry, Cypress and my favorite Japanese Privets. They all look great at the nursery and do well in California, but will not do well in Las Vegas.

Also, a lot of plants in Las Vegas will not tolerate the heat and will not flower that much. Unless you want to stick with real desert or cactus looks you need someone who knows what flowers a lot or uses a contrast in colors so that the landscape is vibrant.

One plant landscapers love to use is the Iris or Day Lilly. They just don’t flower a lot here unless you have large shade areas under trees for them. You must substitute for better things that adapt.[/alert]

[alert color=”blue”]

When you get an estimate the bids should be about the same price. Also, never give large deposits.
We ask for a $100 deposit to schedule or do a 3d drawing; unless the project is large in which case we don’t ask for much more. If a landscaper is asking for any more than $500 deposit there is already a problem. Is he new or does he have no money to fund the project?

When we do your project we get in and get it done. Some companies that are not well run might start it one day, come back 3 days later and so on. This only starts the ball rolling with problems. The only way in this business to turn a profit and finish a job in a professional manner is to get in and get it done.


[alert color=”green”] Finally when choosing a contractor please be careful. It is an investment and large one in fact. It should enhance your property. If you don’t have the funds to get something done correctly then save your money until you are ready. And maintain it. Too many jobs we do, are destroyed by pets just after we leave. Enjoy your yard and have a great time in it. [/alert]

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Why You Should Check Your Sprinklers Now

Welcome to Las Vegas and our extreme landscape!

Here in Vegas we use sprinkler systems in the grass areas and drip systems in most planter areas.
The drip systems are more efficient and use much less water. If they are installed properly, they can do a great job and last for up to 10 years or more. The one thing I noticed in Las Vegas is that the quality of sprinklers and drip systems (that are installed) are usually under par. People either do not know what they are doing or try to go cheap and just properly install them.
If a drip system is installed properly you can have hundreds of plants on one station.
[highlight_one]That’s right: ONE station.[/highlight_one]

Las Vegas Sprinkler RepairThe problem is that most people do not know what they are doing. Another thing people or the competition does wrong is that they will install the thinner or cheaper pipe in for the lawn sprinklers. This will cause you a lot of headaches down the road. One little thing that we have always done to insure a better install for our lawn sprinklers is we always use the thicker pipe, and we always install larger or taller popup heads in the lawn area and finally we always choose swing joints to the sprinkler heads.

These 3 things will guarantee we do not have to come back to a job for years. The reason our drip systems can handle so many plants on them is that we use low pressure emitters which eliminates the problem of the first plant and the last plant on the line getting different amounts of water. They will all get the same water at the same time and the main line for the drip will last longer as the piping is under less stress.
So as you can see if you do the project right the first time it will last you much longer with less hassles.

[highlight_one] Irrigation and sprinkler repair is critical this time of year. People are very busy and do not do the proper checks and maintenance on their sprinkler systems. [/highlight_one]

Las Vegas is the type of environment that is very harsh and things need to be checked from April through October.
When checking your sprinkler system you want to check from the timer/clock (which is usually located in the garage and sometime outside on the side of your home). When you check the irrigation you want to turn on each valve or station on one by one and check the operation of each one.
I recommend that for grass you need to check the system weekly and with the plants or drip system you can check the system monthly. If you take the time to do it now before it gets hot it most likely will work throughout the summer.

The reason you check from the timer is that if it doesn’t come on or doesn’t come on at the normal rate then most likely the valve is going bad or there is a break in the line.

[alert color=”white”] When you have Cacti Grounds Management maintain you yard we do this for you. If you are not yet a Cacti customer, call us at 370-5000 and for only $40 we can evaluate the entire yard, not just the sprinkler system. [/alert]

Remember that if you take care of your sprinkler system and watch the plants for stress, this will help you 80% of the time. When you don’t pay attention to the yard you will pay for this in the long run…

Spring Irrigation Cleaning

It’s spring time again and the plants are ready to go.

They are starting to bloom and need the sunlight and water to help them grow. But don’t panic, you have the month of April to get it all ready.

We recommend to start each station at the timer and make sure that all plants and grass are getting proper coverage:
– You need to check station by station to make sure that every single one is actually coming on and running for the proper amount of time.
– Then go out to the plant and make sure that there is a good ring of moisture around each plant.
– In Las Vegas, you also should cut the lawn and adjust ALL sprinkler heads after the lawn is cut. You really should do this after each cutting, each week. This is the best time to check the system and get the grass some water before it starts growing again.

[alert color=”green”] When you are a customer of Cacti Grounds Management, we check for leaks in your irrigation system and the whole system’s proper operation as good as possible. [/alert]
May is the month in which we normally set the clocks and make sure things are working properly. We adjust the timers in peparation for the upcoming heat.

Las Vegas sprinkler repair workerIf you are not a monthly customer, we offer a great deal for only $40. For only $40 we inspect your irrigation system, check the entire landscape and review with you what needs to be repaired and what your budget should be for your landscape over the next few years.
It is very important to plan for instead of waiting until the last minute or getting a nasty note from the HOA.

So give us a call for any of your irrigation needs at 702-370-5000.

One day of work in January

Many customers ask if they can cancel their maintenance service over the winter. We generally don’t let them – simply because there is still lots of work to do. Just check out photos of our truck after only one day of service in January!

Why We Don’t Plant Certain Trees in Las Vegas

Here are some reasons we don’t plant certain trees or plants in Southern Nevada:

Century Plant Desert

Century Plant

I personally love Agave plants but only one seems to do well in the Las Vegas Valley: the Century Plant. The Agave plants attract a beetle that will kill them within a year or two of planting.

The Purple Plum Tree you see all over the valley, but what you don’t know is that they do fine when there is grass around them, but if you remove the grass or put in rocks they will get bores.
The same thing will happen to the Mimosa Tree and and the Japanese Blueberry Tree.

Another “favorite” is the Italian Cypress Tree: they get spider mites and will die one by one. You can try to prevent this by applying herbicides every 6 months, but I like to simply enjoy my backyard landscaping without spraying a bunch of herbicides.

Most Las Vegas and Henderson landscapers don’t really follow the diseases, hence we recommend calling your local Arborist to be sure before planting. Of course, the experienced green thumbs at Cacti Landscaping are always ready to help out too.

Please contact us if you need any help or advice!

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Planting Palm Trees

Try not to plant palm trees between the months of November and March. They will not do well and may take a couple of years to even get started.

When planting palms the SECRET is to always backfill with concrete sand. If you see your landscapers backfilling with soil they are not doing a good job.