Family Affair - Controlled Rain grows beyond its irrigation-only roots

Posted by Libbie McClaflin on Tue, Mar 17, 2015 @ 33:11 AM

Controlled Rain featured in another magazine:

Brian and Libbie McClaflin grew Controlled Rain from a small irrigation business operated out of a garage into a full service landscape company. Read the Turf Magazine Article to find out more about Brian and Libbie McClaflin and how they have grown their business over 20 years in the industry.


Brian and Libbie McClaflin, owners of Controlled Rain, LLC

The article noted, "Brian McClaflin discovered that he needed to expand beyond irrigation and into landscaping to grow."



Having a clean slate to create and capture a beautiful landscape environment is rewarding.




Rooftop landscaping is becoming the NEW "normal" design in going GREEN with commercial landscaping.




Featured in 3 Magazines

Controlled Rain has been featured in 3 magazines. Click below to see the 3 magazines Controlled Rain has been featured in.  

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Brian McClaflin was published in Landscape Contractor Magazine in July 2001. The article featured Controlled Rain retrofitting an old, outdated irrigation system with a new system at Lake Cushman Golf Course. The article zoomed in on Controlled Rain installing a large Main Controller, converting the controller from hydraulic into electric, and having more than 20 additional controllers that had to be programmed Landscape_Contractor_Cover-resized-600individually to communicate with the Main Controller. Even though the system wasn’t a Central System, it was able to work with the various micro-climates that were presented on the course and would help with reducing wasted water. This is Libbie's favorite funny Brian quote from the article, “Everything was sequenced throughout the whole course, so you had tees and greens you had to separate, and everything had to be timed right down to the gnat’s ass.”

In September 2013 Turf Magazine contacted Libbie to see if they could re-publish her blog titled “9 Steps toTurf_Mag_Cover Winterize your Sprinkler System”.  She was of course thrilled to be published and felt all her studying, researching, and going to jobsites watching firsthand how the process was done had paid off.  Libbie even created a winterization video for Controlled Rain's customers so they could see the whole process from start to finish.  Libbie said, "Working with Turf Magazine was a very nice process and the magazine editor was a pleasure to work with."  This article was published in October 2013. 


Libbie was approached again by Turf Magazine to have Controlled Rain as a featured regional story. 


Since the previous article, the Turf Magazine company had been watching our blog articles and Facebook posts and were impressed with Controlled Rain's work on the Quixote Village Project. What an honor to be asked to do a full blown article interviewing the owner. The article, published in February of 2014, was named: “Family Affair, Controlled Rain grows beyond its irrigation-only roots”. Brian was interviewed over the phone and did an  outstanding job says Libbie. He really shared from his heart how Controlled Rain has had successes and failures but that in the end it’s about the relationships with your employees and customers. Libbie loves this quote in the article, “Being blessed with good quality employees – in fact the whole human side of owning a business is my greatest pleasure.  It’s seeing a whole team of people be successful. As I get older, I realize the relationships you have with your employees and your clients are so important. I have friendships that will last forever because of this business.

Tags: Sprinkler System, Community, Landscaping

Controlled Rain values its Customers over 21 Years

Posted by Libbie McClaflin on Mon, Sep 15, 2014 @ 25:11 AM


Controlled Rain has valued its customers for over 21 years, this month! 

Wow where does the time go?  I can’t be that old, can I?  I guess so. 

Brian and I started Controlled Rain in a garage like so many other successful businesses like Microsoft, Google, Apple, Amazon, Disney, etc.  When you think back at how far we have come, it gives me an overwhelming feeling of gratitude for our customers, employees, and suppliers.  The last four years have been especially hard with the economic hardships most businesses experienced.  We made it our mission to focus on retaining our skilled team members, being more efficient on commercial job sites and customer homes, as well as adding new ways to help our customers. 

During this time, we launched a big Sprinkler Service side to our business model.  Controlled Rain has always done repair work on sprinkler systems we have installed because it is easier to fix our own work. We create a drawing of each customer’s installation and know the system was installed correctly. Troubleshooting a sprinkler system is much easier on cta_3_web_smallyour own work verses others.  Because of our commercial background we tend to keep those industry standards on our residential work also. Maintaining high standards with proper piping depths protects our customer’s investment. Having staff members with proper knowledge to design each system using the correct hydraulics and using matched precipitation rates gives us an edge.  Without this attention to detail there are a whole host of things that can go wrong when installing a sprinkler system. Launching this side of the business has been a new and exciting adventure.  Controlled Rain has Rain Bird Certified Technicians as well as some of the best technicians in Washington State, if I don’t say so myself.  We have grown this side of the business since it started by 150%.  This year we will have helped so many more customers and are confident we will continue to grow providing this service. 

At Controlled Rain, we strive to make sure that we are well liked by our customers.   It is our goal to ensure that what begins as a purely professional relationship becomes a sense of community and friendship.   Over the last 21 years, we have been blessed by the good fortune of creating lasting friendships with many of our customers. 

Most of our team members have been with us well over 5 years.  I asked one of our senior David_2-resized-600technicians, David, if he could pick 3 of his most memorable customers, who would they be, and why? 

He said all of his customers have one thing in common.  They are all around, nice friendly people, but here are three at the top of his long list: 

  1. Gary A. Gary has been with us for a long time.  He’s a great guy and really easy to get a long with.
  2. Roy and Joanne S. – Roy and Joanne are another long time customer and are very sweet people.  They are one of our first customers when we started in 1993.
  3. Ric and Diane G. – Ric and Diane are one of our newest customers.  We just installed their new irrigation system earlier this year.  He and his wife recently moved to the area from Texas, and David said, “they are both really great to work with!” 





    Ric & Diane                                              Roy & Joanne

I then asked our office manager, Melissa.  She has the first impression with the customers on the phone and has developed amazing relationships with everyone. 

Melissa said, “In all honesty, most of my memorable customers were Controlled Rain’s Family before I was!  I feel a little bit like they have accepted ME into their family, instead of the other way around!  The relationship that I’ve been able to have with our customers over the last 12 years is one of the things that make Controlled Rain so great!  We care about our customers, and they care about us too!”  

Here’s who she chose and why: 

  1. Julie and Graham T. - Julie can put a smile on my face with just the sound of her voice.  Talking to her is like talking to a friend.  She makes it a point to connect with whomever she is speaking to on a personal level and takes the time to make sure that person knows that they are more than “the voice at the other end of the line”.  In the hustle and bustle of today’s busy world, she’s a breath of fresh air. 
  2. Richard and Beven W. I will never forget the very first time I talked to Richard on the phone.  It was a beautiful sunny day, and he was talking about taking a swim in his pool.  I told him that a swim sounded like a perfect idea on a day like today, and without hesitation he said “come on down!”  
    I never did take him up on the swim, but his open and honest nature stuck with me.  He’s always been quick to compliment, slow to complain, and fast with a joke. 
  3. Junetta and Joseph L. – Junetta is another one of those people who is just a joy to talk to.  She’s a fairly new member of the Controlled Rain family, but we love her all the same.  She moved into a home with a homeowner installed irrigation system that was not up to code or industry standards.  She trusted us with the task of upgrading her system in 2011, and we can’t begin to tell you how lucky we are to have her for a customer!  Her laugh is infectious, and I swear you can hear the smile in her voice! 
  4. Gary A. – Gary has been a customer of ours for almost 14 years!  Loyalty like that is not easy to find!  When the hedge by his driveway was damaged by a car last year, he knew exactly who he was going to call.   He even came to the office personally to deliver payment (and a latte! J).  

Evan_4-resized-600Finally, I asked the newest member of our Service Team, Evan, the same question, and he came up with: 

  1. Dale and Gail T. – Dale always has a lot of fun stories to share with me while I’m working.  I feel like I get to know Dale more by the stories he tells and really like his company while I maintain his sprinklers.  Dale and Gail are nice people and love to have a park-like yard.
  2. Steve and Cathy H. – These two ARE always a pleasure to work for and I especially love their poodle.  The poodle and I are buddies now.
  3. Tom S. – Tom understands irrigation and is always involved when I’m working on the homeowner’s association neighborhood that he is responsible for.  

We are having so much fun with the service side of our business; we may add lawn maintenance to our menu of service next year.  

In addition to our new Service Department, the Commercial side of Controlled Rain21_yrs_in_businesslogo continues to grow, and with 21 years of experience we often get asked to bid on private bid lists, which is always an honor.  We feel very fortunate over the last 21 years to have had so many opportunities to work in our area of Thurston County as well as to travel to King, Pierce, Lewis, Mason, and Grays Harbor Counties.  

I asked Brian what his favorite commercial jobs were and he said, “We have done so many projects that it’s hard to narrow it down, but here it goes!” 

  1. After the earthquake of 2001, we got the opportunity to restore the landscape around Capital Lake along Deschutes Parkway. I always feel that sense of community and pride knowing we have planted and irrigated most all the trees around Capital Lake.
  2. I also enjoyed being a part of the Heritage Recreation Center in South Hill. This was the biggest irrigation system we have installed with central controls, multiple pump stations with over 128 zones.  Plus we had to install it from GPS coordinates instead of hard surfaces – that was a first. 

Controlled Rain’s employees often comment that they like being on larger projects so they can have a jobsite to call home for a month or two while they work their magic.  We love working on schools and colleges, road projects, parks, and high profile projects such as Governor’s mansion, Legislative Buildings, Deschutes Parkway, Heritage Park, and Heritage Fountain. Controlled Rain has received quite a few contracts installing “Green Roofs” and it has become somewhat of a niche for us.  So far, we have installed green roofs at the American Lake VA Hospital, a Seattle high rise – John Street Apartments, Olympia Watershed Facility, and we are going to be doing another green roof at the Grays Harbor Community College and Green Lake School later this year.  

Again we value our customers and employees and feel very blessed to have made it to our 21 year mark.  We are dedicated to providing excellent customer service and moving forward in this industry that we love. 

Contact Controlled Rain Today


Written by Libbie McClaflin, co-owner


Tags: Sprinkler System, Community, Events, Landscaping

What is the difference between Mulch, Compost, and Bark?

Posted by Libbie McClaflin on Fri, Aug 29, 2014 @ 00:04 AM

Mulch is the term for any organic material used as top dressings on your garden beds.  The top dressing could be compost mulch, bark mulch, sawdust, shredded leaves, pine needles, grass clippings, straw hay, etc.

 Mulches resized 600

Landscapers use mulches for several reasons:


  1. During the growing season mulch discourages weeds to grow, conserves moisture in the soil, and helps maintain soil temperatures.

  2. During the winter mulch provides protection for perennials, roses and other sensitive plant material.

  3. Mulches enhance the beauty of garden beds with texture and color to complement the plant material.


Compost Mulch is made out of organic material.  Use 1 to 3 inches of compost in vegetable gardens, flower and shrub beds. At the end of a growing season, compost can also be added to annual flowerbeds to improve the soil for future growth.


Bark Mulch is made out of tree bark shredded into fine, medium, and large pieces for top dressing your beds.  Use 2 to 3 inches around trees and shrubs. Keep bark a few inches away from the base of a tree trunk to prevent rot or rodent damage. Bark decomposes slowly and can attract carpenter ants.


Sawdust Mulch is debris left from milling lumber.  Use 2 to 3 inches of sawdust in vegetable and small fruit gardens, flowerbeds and in pathways. Be prepared to add fertilizer with a high nitrogen content if plants become sick looking.  Sawdust is not very expensive and is available at most nurseries or soil stores. 


Shredded Leaf Mulch is fallen leaves shredded with a leaf shredder or lawn mower. Use 2 to 3 inches around flower, vegetable or shrub beds. Do not use leaves that have diseases or insect problems or black walnut leaves that can be toxic.  Leaves are readily available in your own yard and can be chopped up easily making this one of the least expensive mulches.


Pine Needle Mulch is fallen needles from a pine tree that have started turning brown.  Needles take decades to decompose. Rake up the needles in your yard and apply 3 to 4 inches or more of pine needles to shrub areas and flowerbeds. Shredded pine needles work well in pathways. Pine needles are light and airy and can be used as winter mulches in rose and perennial beds. Pine Needles are also readily available in your own yard making this another least expensive mulch.


Grass Clipping Mulch is an easy way to mulch your beds. After you mow your yard spread the clippings out to dry for a day or two (to avoid wet smelly grass) and apply to your garden beds.  Use 2 to 3 inches around vegetables, berries and flowers. Don't use grass clippings from lawns that have been treated with a weed killer. This also is inexpensive and readily available.


Straw Hay Mulch can be applied up to 6-8 inches in vegetable gardens, around strawberries and other small fruits. Straw can be a fire hazard and/or a source of weed seeds in the garden. Chopping the straw up will make it more attractive in your beds. This also is inexpensive and readily available especially if you have cattle.


In general: 

  • Mulch can be applied any time of year; however, the best time is mid-spring when the soil has warmed. If applied earlier, the soil temperature will stay low and plant growth might be delayed.

  • Typically mulch should be applied 2 to 4 inches deep over relatively clean, weed-free soils. Covering existing weeds will not control them.  If you have a weed problem, you can install weed barriers such as newspaper, weed fabric, or black plastic before applying mulches.

  • Water soil deeply before applying mulch; never apply mulches to dry soil.

  • When selecting mulch, think about availability, affordability, appearance and simplicity of maintenance.


The benefits of mulching with these organic materials discourages weeds and garden pests, conserves moisture in the soil, keeps dust from blowing around, dresses up the beds with texture and color, improves topsoil as it breaks down, and it is a layer of protection for plants against weather.


Remember you can always call Controlled Rain at 360-456-7578 to install your mulch.


Contact Controlled Rain Today

Tags: Water Conservation, landcape

I want grass! Which one is better? Sod, Hydroseed, or Grass Seed

Posted by Libbie McClaflin on Fri, Aug 15, 2014 @ 30:01 PM

I WANT GRASS.  Should I install grass seed, sod, or hydroseed in my yard?  This is a common question for homeowners trying to decide how to get a green yard quickly, efficiently, and the most cost effective way. 


 Grass Seed hydroseed sod

The first question you need to ask is what will your budget allow? 
  • Sod is normally more expensive to buy and install. Sod can be installed by the homeowner or you can hire a contractor.
  • Hydroseed comes in second. Hydroseed needs to be done by a contractor who has the special truck with the mixture to spray on your prepared areas. 
  • Grass Seed is the cheapest to buy and install.  Grass seed can be installed by the homeowner to keep the costs down.
The second question is when will you be installing the yard? 
  • Grass seed needs to be installed in the Fall (#1 choice), Spring (#2), or Summer months (#3). Make sure you have a watering source like a sprinkler system and maybe a few scarecrow birds to keep the birds from eating your seed. 
  • In our area, hydroseed has a warranty window of installation from March to October.  That is the best time to install so you can take advantage of the warranty if the seed doesn’t take. Also hydroseed needs to have a regular watering schedule preferably an irrigation system that can water more frequently especially when you are at work or not at home. 
  • Sod can be installed year round but also needs to be watered frequently, especially in the summer months, to avoid shrinking at the seams.

The third question is how fast do you want to have green grass to play on?  

  • Grass Seed will take several months to see a full yard of green grass and you will need to be very patient as you watch it grow.  You will need to take great care by making sure it is watered properly as well as overseeding areas where the wind or birds may have displaced your seeds. 
  • Hydroseed will take less time then Grass Seed because it has a blanket with a fertilizer mix that holds the seed in place.  But again, hydroseed needs a lot of water, but you should be able to mow the grass 4-6 weeks after seeding. 
  • Sod is the quickest way to receive an instant lawn.  With proper watering and a glass of lemonade, you’ll be sitting on the porch looking at a plush green yard instantly. 

Summary of Benefits of all three:

Grass Seed:

  • Lowest pricedseed
  • Easy to install – can do it yourself
  • Slowest to see green grass
  • Plant from April to September
  • Beware of birds and wind
  • Needs a lot of water
  • Can’t play on grass seed for months



  • Medium pricedhydroseed
  • Hire a contractor to install
  • Grows pretty quick, will see green yard in 4-6 weeks
  • Plant from March to October
  • Needs a lot of water
  • Can’t play on grass for 3 months to prevent damage to root structure


  • Highest pricedsod
  • Hire a contractor to install or do it yourself
  • Instant grass
  • Plant anytime
  • Needs a lot of water, especially in summer
  • Play on it right away

Here's a small tidbit - you are also helping the envionrment when planting grass, not only does it help with erosion control, but it also produces oxygen.  It is estimated that a 50 by 50 foot lawn (2,500 square feet), releases enough oxygen for a family of four. 

So whether you install grass seed, hydroseed, or sod you will be making an investment in your home, beautifying your property, and helping the environment.   

Remember you can always call Controlled Rain at 360-456-7578 to install your grass seed, hydroseed, or sod.

Contact Controlled Rain Today




Tags: landcape

The Color Purple – What does it mean in the Landscape World

Posted by Libbie McClaflin on Thu, Jul 24, 2014 @ 00:07 AM

Don't DrinkWhen you see the color purple used in sprinkler systems, it means that the water is being reused and is not fit to drink (non-potable). 

The color purple can show up on:

  1. The valve boxes which are normally green;
  2. The irrigation pipe which are normally white;
  3. The nozzles that are placed in the head of a sprinkler or rotor which are normally black.  The sprinkler head may have a purple wrap.
  4. The valve covers which are normally black;
  5. The quick coupler valve which are normally metallic.

A lot of local, state, and federal governments and schools are implementing recycling the water to help save water, money, and the environment.  Every gallon of recycled water used for these purposes saves a gallon of drinking water. 

The use of purple piping has become the international symbol for recycled water.  The recycled water is delivered completely separate from the drinking water infrastructure.  This is to prevent recycled water from getting into the public distribution systems.

Some people ask what the difference is between recycled water and grey water.  Recycled water is wastewater that has been treated for reuse for approved non-potable uses which are primarily landscape irrigation.  Grey water includes untreated wastewater from bathtubs, showers, washing machines, etc.  Grey water normally is only used to irrigate landscapes at the site at which the grey water was generated and the irrigation is an underground system. 

Purple ExamplesIf you see purple valve boxes or sprinklers that have any purple on them, don't drink the water.  

Don't drink the Water

Also even if it is really hot out and your children beg you to run through the sprinklers, take the time to educate them on recycled water and if they were to get the water on them, they would need to wash off with clear water right away.  

No Kid sprinkler

If you have more questions regarding reclaimed water in your area, please contact your local water jurisdiction.  If you have general questions on landscaping and irrigation, contact Controlled Rain, LLC at 360-456-7578.  

Tags: Water Conservation, Sprinkler System, Environment, Green

Outdoor Irrigation Restrictions, Incentives, and Rebates

Posted by Libbie McClaflin on Thu, May 29, 2014 @ 07:10 AM

Outdoor Watering Programs in Lacey, Olympia, and Tumwater

Water Restrictions:

City of Lacey's outdoor water restrictions are set up to help reduce peak demand during the summer months and it starts on June 1 through Sept. 30.


Lacey Watering Schedule

Exemptions to the watering guidelines include outdoor potted plants, hanging baskets, greenhouse plants, public-owned athletic fields and water used to wash cars. Residents who planted a new lawn or landscape can ask for temporary exemptions. 

City of Olympia and Tumwater do not have outdoor water restrictions; however, they do recommend that customers conserve what they can and have offered some water incentives and rebates to their residential customers.


Outside Water Conservation Incentives and Rebates: 

Water use frequently doubles or triples during the summer months largely because of outdoor watering. In most cases homeowners overwater their landscape by failing to utilize irrigation components that take into consideration site conditions, weather patterns, and specific plant needs. The City of Lacey, Olympia, and Tumwater have put together an incentive water conservation package to encourage water reduction and to save money on utility bills. 


City of Lacey Residential Kits: 

  1. Free Outdoor Water Saving Kit which includes 3 hose screens, 2 hose repair ends, 1 heavy-duty adjustable spray nozzle.  This can save up to 7,300 gallons of water per year.

  2. Free Auto Shut-off Hose Sprinkler Timer. The timer connects to your hose bib and sprinkler and will automatically shut off after the desired set time. This can save up to 2,500 gallons of water per year.

  3. Free Soil Moisture Sensor. Overwatering your lawn not only wastes water, it can also cause disease.  A soil moisture sensor is a device that will show you when the soil is ready to be watered to prevent overwatering and wasting money. This can save up to 2,500 gallons of water per year. 

City of Lacey residents should keep their eyes open for the annual water report which will contain coupons for indoor and outdoor water saving kits as well as coupons. The water savings supplies are given out on a first come first serve basis.


For more information, contact or visit


City of Olympia Residential Kits and Rebates:

  1. Free Outdoor Water Saving Kit - This kit includes a rain gauge (your lawn only needs about one inch of water per week), a hose repair kit to fix leaks, and an adjustable spray nozzle for your hose. 

  1. Free Rain Sensor - Rain sensors turn off automatic irrigation systems when it is raining. They are easy to install and adjust, and will fit all irrigation controllers. 

  1. Free Hose Watering Timer - If you use a hose-end sprinkler to water your lawn and garden, a timer is a great way to prevent overwatering. Turn it on and forget it, watering only as long as you need to. 

  1. Rain Barrel Rebates $20-60 - A rain barrel collects rain water from your roof and stores it for later uses like watering your garden.  You can collect about 55 gallons of rain water with each barrel.  City of Olympia water customers can receive a $20 rebate on the purchase of each rain barrel, up to 3, for a total rebate of $60. Purchase a rain barrel, install the barrel, and submit your rebate form with a copy of your dated receipt before Dec. 31, 2014. 

  1. Smart Irrigation Controller 50% up to $200 Rebate - Smart irrigation controllers automatically adjust watering times based on weather conditions to provide optimal moisture for healthy plants and conserve water. If you have an irrigation system with a standard controller, you could see water savings of up to 30% by upgrading to an approved smart controller! 

  1. Pressure Reducing Valve 50% up to $125 RebateCity of Olympia offers a limited number of rebates to customers who live in a high pressure zone. If you are experiencing high water pressure in your home, you can receive rebates for up to 50% of the installed cost of a Pressure Reducing Valve at your home.  Pick up your free items in person at Olympia City Hall (with a copy of your utility bill) or request a kit via mail by calling 360.753.8271 or emailing 


For more information visit


City of Tumwater Residential Kits and Rebates:

Save water and money this summer by using these outdoor water saving devices: 

  1. Free Shut-off Spray Hose Nozzles – Automatically shut off the water when you are not actively using your hose; great for car washing and watering the lawn.

  2. Free Rain/Irrigation Gauges – Your lawn needs an average 1” of rain each week, and this is the perfect way for you to measure how much water your landscape is receiving.

  3. Rain Barrel Rebates up to $60 - If you purchase a rain barrel to collect rain water during the rainy months for use in the spring and summer, you may be eligible to receive a $10 rebate for each barrel up to 6 barrels you purchased.

 NOTE: Rebates are given on a first-come first-served basis until rebate funds are  exhausted.  

  1. Receive up to $200 Rebate to install a weather-based irrigation device if you are planning a new or upgrading an existing automatic irrigation system:

    • When you install an evapotranspiration (ET) controller, OR
    • When you install a conservation controller with a rain sensor, OR 
    • Purchase a soil moisture sensor with a new or existing irrigation system

Note: New and upgraded devices must be inspected and verified by a licensed landscape irrigation contractor. The inspector's signature on the rebate application form is required. Controlled Rain, LLC would be happy to assist you with this process.  


For more information on the City of Tumwater visit:

Controlled Rain, LLC is ready to help you make sure your sprinklers are ready for Summer; to give you an estimate to install a new system or modify an existing system; and/or to assist you with the city rebates. Click below to get on our calendar.  

Spring Start Up



Tags: Rain Sensor, Environment, Community

Tips to Conserve Water in your Landscape

Posted by Libbie McClaflin on Mon, May 12, 2014 @ 00:10 AM

Here are some practical tips that will help you efficiently accomplish a beautiful yard while being water-use minded.

Nice HouseWater Wisely:  The efficient way to water is a few times for a shorter amount of time, with 15 minute breaks in between.  This allows water enough time to soak into the soil.

Water On Time:  The best time to water is in the morning between 5 and 10 a.m.  Watering during the day is wasted due to the wind and evaporation; at night grass can remain wet allowing fungus to grow.

Water at the Roots:  Drip irrigation is recommended to get water directly to the roots.  Drip irrigation enables a low volume of water to be dispersed right at the root system of the plant.  This is recommended when wanting to water individual trees, flowerbeds, potted containers or other non-grass areas.  This efficient method reduces water waste due to evaporation and runoff.

Water by Zones:  Divide your landscape into separate irrigation zones.  This way grass can be watered separately and more frequently than groundcover plants, shrubs, and trees.

Water what Grows:  If you have an automatic sprinkler system, make sure the sprinklers are adjusted properly to avoid the wasteful watering of sidewalks and driveways.

Make Inspections:  Routinely check your sprinklers to make sure everything is working properly; a clogged sprinkler or a torn line doesn't benefit your landscape or your water bill.

Be Flexible:  Adjust your automatic sprinkler system as the weather and seasons change.  Or better yet, install a shut-off device that automatically detects rain, whcih allows you to take advantage of the water nature provides without having to pay for it.

To see a short video on How-To and Watering Tips, click HERE.

Tags: Water Conservation, Sprinkler System

Meet David, Our Irrigation Service Manager

Posted by Libbie McClaflin on Wed, May 07, 2014 @ 00:10 AM

DavidDavid has been a big part of Controlled Rain's success and I would have to say he is one of the best irrigation troubleshooters in Washington State!  He can fix anything and prides himself in doing so.  We call him "MacGyver" around here.

At Controlled Rain, we are vigilant about building a personal relationship with our customers. We do whatever it takes to achieve complete customer satisfaction. To us, our customers are much more than just another job; they are an extension of our friends and family. Because we are striving to build a connection with our customers, we would like to share with you a more personal look at one of our employees.  Meet David


Q:  How did you get started in the irrigation industry and how long have you been servicing your customers?

A:  I like working outdoors.  I like the small family oriented business atmosphere of Controlled Rain.  I took a chance and knocked on a home office door to inquire if they were hiring and well over 10 plus years later I’m still here.

Q:  What is the best part of being an irrigation technician?

A:  I get to play in puddles!

Q:  Do you have a story to share about helping a customer?

A:  One of our customers has a chocolate lab and I was working in a hole and the dog kept dropping a toy in my hole so that I would throw it for him.  And of course, he would fetch it and drop it back in my hole.  I had to start throwing it farther and farther each time so that I had enough time to get a portion of my project completed.  It was quite comical.  This occurred the whole time I was there.

Q:  What kind of hobbies do you like?

A:  I love anything that involves motors or competition such as RC’s, Quads, paintball.

Q:  What are some fun facts about you?

A:  I like to have fun. 


A little bit about Controlled Rain, LLC:

At Controlled Rain, your service experience is our highest priorities.  Because of that, we offer:

  • A Better Business Bureau A+ rating.

  • Highly-trained, extensive background checked and drug-free technicians.

  • We are constantly mindful of your valuable time.

  • The peace of mind that comes from a knowledgeable technician who will be able to diagnose and fix your problem to your satisfaction.

  • Absolute 100% Customer Satisfaction

  • And much, much more

In summary, there is no company better geared to helping your family and landscape needs than Controlled Rain. We're proud to serve you.

If you want to meet our irrigation team in person and have us do a Spring Start Up on your system, click here and sign up.


Spring Start Up

Tags: Sprinkler System, Community, Spring Sprinkler Start Up

What is a Sprinkler Spring Start Up?

Posted by Libbie McClaflin on Fri, Apr 25, 2014 @ 00:10 AM

In the Winter, the sprinkler system is turned off and winterized removing all water from pipes to avoid freezing and breakage.  So in the Spring, the system needs to be turned back on. 

A Spring Start Up refers to recharging your sprinkler system with water. 

Spring Start UpIndustry standard recommends that in the Spring, you have a licensed professional turn back on your system and recharge it with water.  A Controlled Rain Sprinkler Spring Start Up consists of a trained technician:

  1. Recharging your system with water by turning the water on at the main valve.
  2. Turning your controller on and manually turning on each zone.
  3. Going through each zone to make sure there aren't any breaks or debris in the pipes, valves, sprinkler heads, or nozzles.
  4. Cleaning out valve boxes due to critters kicking up the dirt or knawing on the wires.
  5. Clearing away grass from sprinkler heads so they can pop up correctly.
  6. Making sure the controller is operating and programmed properly.
After the Spring Start Up, the technician will:
  • Perform any repairs with customer permission.
  • Make recommendations for sprinkler system: for instance, your shrub sprinklers may need to be resized due to plant growth or add some drip irrigation, etc.
  • Educate customer on water efficient strategies to help save time, money, and water.
  • Create a diagram of your system with products used for future repairs. We can come to your home prepared with the correct brands, sizes, etc.
If you are interested, want more information, and would like to see our Spring Start Up video, click on the link below:
Spring Start Up



Tags: Sprinkler System, Spring Sprinkler Start Up, Sprinkler Repair

Controlled Rain Celebrates Giving Tuesday

Posted by Libbie McClaflin on Tue, Dec 03, 2013 @ 27:08 AM

Now that Cyber Monday is over, it is time to focus on Giving Tuesday!

Controlled Rain is landscaping the New Quixote Village (Homeless Shelter) and there is several opportunities to give.  It Takes a Village to Build a Village!  Every year during this time, my family plans to give in some way by donating money, time, food, toys, and clothing to either our church, the homeless, or somebody we know in need.

Homeless City    Homeless City Freezing

Have you heard about the tent city that has to move every so often to keep the city of Olympia happy?  Well, somebody had a dream to create a community for these people and more. The new community is called Quixote Village and is located in Olympia, in an industrial area, near South Puget Sound Community College.

This year, Controlled Rain gets the opportunity to do the landscape work at the new Quixote Village which will provide homeless neighbors with secure and dry places to live while they turn their energies towards improving their lives.

Cottages all in a Row        Community Building

This village has 30 small cottages and a community building that will include a shared kitchen, dining room, living room, library, restroom, showers, and laundry facilities.  This village also will have a common grassy area, BBQ area, and will have areas to grow gardens and a basketball court too.

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I thought I would give my time and help advertise for this cause because it really does take a village to build a village!  There will be 30 residents in 30 cottages so they need a lot of items not only for the cottages but the common areas too.  Help support this new homeless community by donating items on their needs list: 

  • Basic cleaning supplies
  • Light bulbs
  • Toilet paper
  • 4′x6′ (approximately) area rugs
  • wastebaskets &/or small garbage cans
  • twin bed sheets and pillowcases
  • throw pillows (no bed pillows needed)
  • bedside lamps
  • brooms and dustpans


  • Dish towels, hand towels, washcloths for the kitchen
  • Pot scrubbers
  • Green Kitchen cleaning supplies
  • Green dishwasher detergent
  • Green shower cleaning supplies
  • Light bulbs
  • Pots and pans of all shapes and sizes
  • Coffee mugs
  • Drinking glasses
  • Flatware for at least 30 people
  • Cooking utensils: spatula, wooden spoons, slotted spoon, cheese grater, etc.
  • Blender
  • Large rice cooker
  • Toasters
  • Optional but welcome: Popcorn maker, food processor, canning equipment
  • Spices
  • Pantry items: sugar, flour, canned goods, coffee, tea, beans, rice
  • Mixing bowls
  • Serving bowls and platters
  • Serving spoons
  • Salt and pepper shakers
  • Flower vases
  • Iron
  • Bathmats or small rugs for shower rooms
  • Toilet paper
  • Flat screen TV for living room
  • DVD player
  • Dry firewood for wood stove

Since the Village isn't quite finished, please call Jill at 360-753-2095 to make arrangements to drop off your donations.  You can find out a lot more information on the Quixote Village history and other ways to donate your time and money.  Check the village out at

So Celebrate Giving Tuesday by helping the Quixote Village in Olympia. Thank you for your generosity to the future residents of Quixote Village!  The residents will be moving in the month of December, early January.
KIMG0107 2    KIMG0108 2

Tags: Landscaping Olympia, Community