Why is Backflow Preventer Testing So Important?

If you just had a new sprinkler system installed you’re probably wondering, “what is a backflow preventer anyway?”

Simply put, it’s a device installed on your home’s water system that prevents your drinking water from being contaminated due to backflow. It allows water to flow in one direction, but never back in the opposite direction.

Think of it as a really important one-way gate that keeps your water safe, which means that making sure your backflow preventer is functioning properly is really important for your health, your family, and your community.

A properly maintained backflow preventer does the following:

  • Reduces the risk of contaminated water in your potable water supply
  • Ensures water is suitable for drinking and other uses
  • Maintains even water pressure to prevent backpressure in the irrigation system

What happens if the backflow preventer doesn’t work?

Backflow becomes a problem when there are cross connections within the water distribution system and you don’t have a backflow preventer installed.

Contaminants can enter an irrigation system from fertilizer or pesticides that are sprayed onto lawns. The backflow preventer prevents potentially contaminated backflow from entering the water supply.

In the event of a water-main break or a major power outage, a backflow condition can occur. Pressure is lost during such events, and water is no longer being pushed forward into your home and will flow backwards into the city water lines.

That means the impure water from your irrigation system and elsewhere in your home like sinks, showers, and dishwashers will be pulled into the potable side of your water supply and contaminate it. A backflow preventer is the key to keeping your family, community, and water supply safe.

Annual backflow testing is required in Missouri

To make sure the device is functioning properly, a certified backflow tester must test all backflow prevention devices annually.

State-certified backflow prevention assembly testers must perform the specific testing procedures required to verify the proper function of reduced pressure principle assemblies and double check valve assemblies.

The team at Pro Outdoor is certified for the entire state of Missouri for backflow preventer testing.

If you don’t have your backflow prevention device tested annually, the water supplier will disconnect the public water system from the customer service line, so you really do need to have it tested every year.

What is involved in a backflow preventer test?

The backflow preventer inspection is to make sure it provides protection against a contaminated water supply and the health hazards that go along with it. Professional Irrigation System’s backflow test service includes:

  • All paperwork and tagging
  • Test information filed with appropriate water purveyor or county
  • Testing the backflow preventer
  • An estimate for repairs if necessary


Backflow: The undesirable reversal of flow of a liquid, gas, or suspended solid in the potable water supply

Backflow Preventer: A device installed into your plumbing system to protect your drinking water and water supply from contaminants

Cross Connection: A physical link between a source of contamination or pollution with a potable water supply

Your backflow preventer is an extremely important device designed to keep you and your family safe. Call the experienced team at Pro Outdoor for your annual test, so you can have peace of mind.

How to Spot Over-Watered Grass in Your Lawn

Your lawn needs water to thrive, right? So that means you should water it every day, right?

Actually, no. You shouldn’t be watering it every day.

Too much of a good thing and all that.

Grass plants don’t need and can’t use that much water. When it rains, the porous spaces in the soil underneath your grass is filled with water, which doesn’t leave any space for the oxygen your plants need to survive.

Without oxygen, the roots will suffocate, leaving you with a lawn that has a very shallow root system.

Shallowly rooted plants are easily stressed and susceptible to disease and damage from insects. A minor disease could become a major lawn disaster if your lawn is shallowly rooted, so you need to be careful you’re watering the right amount.

Signs of Overwatering Your Lawn

A healthy lawn should be a little thirsty, always sending its roots deeper into the soil. If you’re overwatering your lawn, the root system will be shallow. The grass doesn’t have to work for its water, but it will be a host of many more problems. The deeper the root system, the healthier and more resilient your lawn will be. 


Thatch is a layer of partially decomposed plant material and shallow roots that form a dense mat on the soil surface. Too much watering prevents the thatch from breaking down naturally, and the shallow roots leads to thatch buildup.

Thatch that is more than ¾ inch thick prevents oxygen from reaching the grass roots and creates a habitat for fungal and insect pests.


Too frequent watering keeps the grass wet and promotes fungal growth. If you’re seeing mushrooms in your yard, you might be overwatering. Irregular brown patches on your lawn might not mean it’s thirsty but that it is infected with anthracnose, which is another fungus that infects wet grass.


Some weeds like smooth crabgrass and yellow nutsedge thrive in areas too wet for healthy grass growth. Pull up the weeds and water less frequently with enough water to moisten the soil 5-8 inches deep.

Insect pests

In a waterlogged lawn, heavy thatch protects insects from insecticides, and they’ll attack your stressed-out lawn. They can create bare patches as they eat the grass blades and cause your grass to die.

Standing water or spongy feel

If the ground feels spongy when you walk on it, it probably has too much water in it. Standing water is also a clear visual sign because the grass isn’t absorbing all of the water you’re giving it.

How to Water Your Lawn Properly

The proper way to water your lawn is very simple: thoroughly but infrequently. Watering deep and infrequently, rather than shallow and often, mimics natural rainfall. One of the most important aspects of watering your lawn is knowing when to water it and how much.

The general rule of thumb is that your grass needs one inch of water a week.

But how do you know if you’re watering it that much?

1. Take the time to get acquainted with your new sprinkler system or lawn. How much water does the sprinkler apply in 30 minutes and how deep in the soil will the water go down?

2. Before turning on the sprinkler, see if the soil is dry to a depth of five inches. You can use a screwdriver or a garden trowel for this. Check several areas of your yard because there are usually differences in the amount of water each zone needs.

3. Then, turn on the sprinkler for 30 minutes.

4. Twelve hours after the watering is long enough to see how deep in the soil the water traveled. Check the areas you looked at earlier and see how deep the soil was watered.

If you want to set your sprinkler system on a schedule so you don’t have to worry about it, a rain sensor will help make sure you aren’t overwatering on rainy days.

You won’t need to water your entire lawn every day, especially if it rains regularly. You can water it any time of day, but it’s best to water it in the early morning so the ground has time to absorb it before the heat of the day evaporates the water.

Once you have your lawn and sprinkler system figured out, you’ll probably end up saving water if you have been overwatering your lawn. It’s a win for your lawn and a win for your wallet.

A brand-new sprinkler system will make it easy for you to maintain your lawn and make sure it’s being watered the right amount. The Pro Outdoor team will help you create zones in your yard so that each area gets the appropriate amount of water. Contact us today for a free consultation.

Summertime and the Growin’ is Easy

Gardening can be a great de-stressing activity that gives you something to be proud of. But when the heat of the St. Louis summer kicks in, you may find yourself more interested in a cold glass of lemonade and some air conditioning rather than digging in the sweaty sunshine.

Here are some easy plants to grow outside that we recommend to even the most novice gardener so you can sit back, relax, and bask in the glory of your garden without breaking a sweat.

Easy Care Outdoor Plants to Enjoy All Summer

These beautiful blooms continue to blossom throughout the warmer months, are impervious to drought, and can even handle areas of low sun. You can have your pick of colors—from vibrant oranges to sunny yellows—with very little effort and a whole lot of payoff.


If flowers aren’t your thing, hostas are incredibly easy plants to take care of. They’re a hearty plant that can cover a lot of area with their vibrancy. They’re typically green with white-edged leaves but come in lots of varieties of different colors, including a green gradient like that found in liberty hostas, or even a beautiful teal like with the colossal blue variety.

Bonus: Hostas are perennials, so you can really minimize your gardening work and maximize those lazy days of summer by setting up a drip irrigation system that gives them just enough water without drowning or damaging them.


These low-maintenance garden plants beauties pack a punch of purple along with a beautiful scent all summer long. They’re tough enough to withstand long periods without much rain or excessive watering and are also deer-resistant, so you won’t have to worry about them blooming and then disappearing right away. Just be sure to plant them in a pot with the lip above ground or they will take over the rest of your garden!

Hardy Hibiscus

If you want florals that pack a punch, these are it! With blooms as big as dinner plates, these will make a big, beautiful statement in your yard or garden and will bloom well into the colder months. They’re also known to attract butterflies (and not deer), making them doubly beautiful.

Wood Fern

Wood Ferns are an excellent way to create a lush-looking garden with minimal effort. Their bright green color and dynamic leaves create volume and height, and they can thrive in complete shade or full sun. They require moist soil, but little maintenance, all of which can easily  be achieved with an automated sprinkler system. Use wood ferns to fill empty spots in your garden, create borders, or highlight bright florals.

Little Bluestem

These gorgeous grasses bring color and privacy to any garden. These easy-to-grow outdoor plants boast a unique bronze and blue color combination that shines throughout the warmer months and turns to a lighter tan (while still standing tall) throughout winter.


Stonecrop is a beautiful flowering plant that works well for garden borders because of its durability against the elements. Stonecrop, also known as sedums, come in both tall and creeping varieties, so you can use them to create any shape you can imagine. Another perk of these tolerant, tough plants is that they come in a huge variety of colors, from copper to deep purple. An automated, climate-controlled irrigation system like Solar Sync will help maintain these foolproof plants and make use of every drop of water without any waste.

Want to see how you can enjoy your garden without having to spend a ton of time working on it? Contact Pro Outdoor at (636) 692-4441 or fill out a service request form here to learn how to save water and money and have the most beautiful lawn on the block.

Informational sources:

8 Best Gardening Apps to Make Your Life Easier

Who doesn’t love gardening? It’s such a relaxing, fulfilling activity that lets you enjoy the fruits of your labor (and show it off to the rest of the neighborhood too).

But as the summer months heat up, getting out there and mulching, digging, planting, and pruning can be a sweaty and daunting task that’s more work than fun.

With the help of a few top gardening apps, you can spend much more time enjoying your garden than stressing over it. 

These apps are designed to make your life easier while keeping your garden healthier. What’s the best gardening app for your needs? Curious about what time-savers could be hiding in your phone? Read on!

Getting Started with Gardening Apps

1. My Garden (Formerly GRO), Free (iPhone/Android): This is an excellent app for the gardening rookie. Although it’s created and sponsored by Scotts Miracle-Gro, there are tons of helpful gardening tips for beginners and instructions for every step of the gardening process. They’ll help you pick your plants, monitor their upkeep, and provide specific articles on tricky topics like plants that can resist drought or when to plant tomatoes to prevent frostbite

2. Perennial Match, $4.99 (iPhone): This is basically the dating version of the garden planner app. Perennial Match will tell you if your favorite plants can grow happily together (also known as companion gardening) or if their relationship will end in heartache. The app also takes your sunlight, climate type, and aesthetic preferences into consideration as it gives you recommendations.

You put in basic information like your weather and climate, and Perennial Match will provide you with perfectly-coupled plants that will make even the pickiest homeowner happy—down to the maximum height of the shrubs and color of their blooms. 

Planning Your Garden Landscape

3. iScape, Free (iPhone/Android): This awesome garden planning app lets you create the layout and details of your ideal garden or yard digitally, saving you lots of time and work by letting you visualize your space before you shovel a single scoop of dirt.

You can customize your garden’s square footage, choose your favorite plants, and even buy the supplies and plants you decide on directly through the app. There is a paid version, but the free trial will get you plenty of access to game-changing gardening tools.

4. GrowSquared, Free (iPhone): GS is a simplified garden planning app. In contrast to the hyper-realistic images in iScape, GrowSquared uses a very basic lawn app that allows you to create garden bed sizes and choose types of plants for your space with the ease of dragging and dropping.

One feature of GrowSquared that iScape doesn’t offer is a calendar option, which helps you create a planting and watering schedule, as well as harvesting guidelines.

5. Garden Plan Pro, $7.99 (iPhone): While some gardening apps focus on the layout of your lawn, Garden Plan Pro tells you what will thrive and what may suffer in your area. The app uses your phone or tablet’s location services to determine a very nuanced climate report, helping you choose your desired plants and estimate their productivity based on the exact location of your greenery.

Troubleshooting and Showing Off

6. Garden Compass – Plant and Disease Identifier, Free (iPhone/Android): There are several plant-identifying apps out there, but this app sets itself apart because of its diagnostic qualities. If you see something funky growing on a leaf, notice a sudden change in one of your crops, or see patchiness in a particular spot of grass, just snap a photo of the problem area on your phone or tablet and upload it to the app.

Plant pros receive your picture and give you a full assessment of the issue, along with solutions they suggest to get things growing in the right direction. It’s like WebMD but much less scary.

7. GrowIt!, Free (iPhone/Android): This app is perfect for someone interested in growing an incredible garden and showing it off. GrowIt! boasts an extremely comprehensive glossary of plant types which you can filter by your location and preferences to find out exactly what will work for you.

Once you’ve created an enviable garden, you can use the app’s social networking feature to share photos of your handiwork and offer tips on how you made it happen and to offer help with gardening to other aspiring gardeners.

Bonus Gardening App

8. BeeSmart, Free(iPhone/Android): Want to grow a beautiful garden that also helps the environment? Why not, right? BeeSmart is an app created by Pollinator Partners that helps you choose the best plants for bees that can thrive in your specific location. Win-win.

Curious about how Pro Outdoorrigation can help your garden bloom? Call us today at (636) 692-4441 or contact us online and we’ll set up a free consultation to get things growing.

Informational sources:

5 Reasons To Get A New Irrigation System Installed Now

You still have time left in the season to get a new irrigation system. Schedule online or call us at (636) 692-4441 to book your appointment now through the end of the month! A new irrigation system is a great way to invest in your home. Why should you get an irrigation system now?

  1. You’ll save time this spring. Get a new system installed now, and you’ll be able to check something off your to-do list come spring. Your lawn will be in great shape in no time with our sprinkler system.
  2. It only takes one day. The team at Pro Outdoorrigation has mastered the one-day install. With all the time and money you’ll save, you won’t believe it only took us one day. And you won’t believe you didn’t call sooner.
  3. You’re still reeling from this summer’s water bill. Every summer homeowners struggle to keep their lawns healthy in the St. Louis heat. Don’t throw away any more time or money. Irrigation systems are water-efficient ways to keep your lawn beautiful. Our systems make for happy homeowners and happy wallets.
  4. You’ll have ultimate control over your lawn. You won’t have to ask a neighbor to water your lawn while you’re on that vacation you’re planning. Our sprinkler systems run on a schedule, so you can be sure you’ll come home to a well-watered lawn at the end of your trip.
  5. The weather is ideal: Installations should be done when the ground isn’t frozen or too wet, so the fair weather makes it a perfect time to get a new system. Call now before it gets too cold!

Leaving Winterization To The Pros

Now that the weather has started to get colder, you’re probably thinking about prepping your home for winter. On your list of things to do, you likely have things like: get the heater checked, stock up on rock salt, clean out the fireplace, and put plastic on the windows. Although all of these things are important, your sprinkler system needs to be prepped, too.

Pro Outdoor’s winterization service includes the blowout of all pipes and associated components with an air compressor. It’s important to let the professionals handle the service because you could find yourself in some cold water this winter if it’s not done right.

During the service, our trained professionals check for any repairs that need to be done to complete the service. These repairs might not be obvious to the untrained eye. Our highly skilled professionals carry a variety of repair parts with them, so if need be, your repair can likely be done on-site in the same appointment.

Save yourself headaches and trips to the hardware store this winter. Your irrigation system is an investment, so treat it like one. Let the professionals at Pro-Irrigation handle your winterization service. This is a service all clients need to have done.

Fall is also the perfect time to install a new sprinkler system. Schedule the service now and have one less thing to do come spring.

Call (636) 692-4441 or schedule your service online today.

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