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.

That’s right: ONE station.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

Cacti Landscapes TV Commercial

The latest Cacti Landscapes TV commercial – airing on local TV stations here in Las Vegas.

Dump Trash For Free!

Dump Trash For Free!

If you decide to do your yard yourself you can dump at the local dump for free. Just take your monthly home bill with your load of trash and it will be free. Do not use a company vehicle.

Hiring A Contractor? This is what you need to know

[highlight_one] When hiring a contractor you need to ask questions. [/highlight_one]
The more you ask, the more (and better!) information you will gather. Also, if the contractor doesn’t seem too confident or seems vague in his answers you know that he is the wrong choice.

– Many contractors hire sales people and many of these sales people really don’t know how a landscape project work. Therefore, a lot of the information you give them can get lost before it even gets to the installation crew.

– Contractors must be licensed, bonded, insured AND be current with all licenses and licensing conditions in order to be able to give you an estimate or a proposal. You can search the Nevada State Contractors’ Board by clicking here.

– If a contractor’s ad or flyer does not contain the NV State Contractors’ Board License Number, they are probably NOT licensed.

– You should always hire the contractor you feel most comfortable with.

– Prices for the same project are literally “all over the place“. Shop around, get a second or third opinion.

– If a contractor is not paid in full within a certain time frame, he is legally allowed to put a “Mechanic’s Lien” on your home. He can also foreclose on the home (in certain cases).

– Many contractors use cheaper materials to save a few bucks. We would rather spend the extra $20, ensuring quality of work.

– There generally is no reason to ask for a deposit for a project that costs less than $5000, unless unless sub contractors need to be paid or synthetic turf needs to be purchased.

– I have spoken with owners of other landscape companies and the number one thing that I can’t stand is “extras”.
Many owners just love the extras. They will charge for every little thing. We try – to the best of our ability – NOT to charge for extras. If you want to add plants or trees that is certainly an extra we will charge you for, but for the most part we do not charge for the little things.

Maintain Your Landscape To Make It Last

As long as you maintain your property your landscape should be in good condition for 5-10 years – depending on certain factors, e.g. the way you maintain your property, your chosen style and if you have animals or kids using the landscape.

If you get landscaping done and don’t maintain it, it will not last for a long time. Plants die for no reason, water must be changed once per quarter, and the weather does a number on the plants and trees. Cacti Landscaping will help you with your maintenance to ensure you know how to do these things.

The second thing is the style you like and you chose for your landscaping. A lot of people love their landscaping when it is new and looks fresh; but remember that after 5 years certain things might have to be replaced. Keeping your landscape up-to-date will only improve the value of your home.

Thirdly, there is the wear and tear of the property. If you have children or animals they can be pretty hard on your landscape. Most people with dogs do not understand how much grass is needed for just one small dog, let alone 2 large dogs. Take this into consideration when budgeting your landscape and that sooner or later certain items need to be replaced.

One more thing to consider are tree roots, as they can hinder grass from growing and grass may have to be repaired approximately around the 10 year mark.

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!

Cacti Landscapes

New Cacti Landscapes Website

We felt it was time to redesign our website to give our current and future customers a much better experience!

We added previous projects, an image gallery, an online estimate request form, and much, much more. Browse our site and see what Cacti Landscapes & Cacti Grounds Management can do for you!


Types Of Irrigation And Sprinkler Systems We Install

In Las Vegas we install 2 different types of irrigation systems in the residential market

Pop up sprinkler system Drip irrigation Las Vegas systemFirst are the popup sprinklers used for grass and flower areas.
Next is the drip system which is very popular in the desert areas of the Western US.
The drip system can be used for plants, trees, flowers and gardens.

There are many different types of drip irrigation. We use the same type that is used in the commercial field. Our experience has shown us that our Vegas sprinkler system lasts longer and works more efficiently than any other.

Many homeowners and contractors utilize the adjustable head: This type of head we only use when absolutely necessary. The problem with this type of drip is the alkaline level here in Nevada and that it will eventually clog the heads, which forces you, the homeowner, to keep adjusting until the head pops off and gets lost or it simply quits working all together.

When you hire Cacti Landscapes Inc., you get the best installation in town. We use better piping and swing joints on all heads and overall better parts than most contractors. This eliminates many problems like cracked pipes and broken sprinklers that can happen right after the other guys leave.
We also install taller popup heads; so when your grass grows to full height the sprinklers still operate properly. Many competitors dig shallow trenches and use shorter heads with hardly any topsoil. This saves them a lot of time and money but gives you an inferior product which will cause you problems right from the start.

Our credo is: We do it right and we do it for a reasonable price.

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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