Backyard Barbecue Season Is Here!

Newcomers to the desert may think there is something a little backwards about our announcement, as most places in the nation look at summer as barbecue season, but anyone who has spent more than a week in our southwestern paradise knows the truth! Summer is the season of scorch, and we do not want to add to the heat levels standing in front of a fiery and smoky barbecue! When the mercury finally drops below 100, the humidity of monsoon season fades away, and we do not burn our bare feet simply by walking on the deck, it is time to break out the barbecue and start grilling! This guide to backyard barbecue season will help you thoroughly enjoy the next half of the year.

So Many Options

The yards in our neighborhoods can vary quite a lot in size, from postage stamp varieties for townhomes and condos to spacious acreage in county island areas, and the size of your yard will determine how fancy you can get. Those who live in townhomes or condos will need to scale down for obvious reasons, but that does not mean your fun will be scaled down. There is nothing like hot barbecue enjoyed on a cool fall night, shared with your family, and you still have a host of options from which to choose. The tiny hibachi grill that burns charcoal and is perfectly designed for just one or two people, the egg-shaped grill that can be either propane or charcoal, and the fancy electric pellet grills that allow you to smoke your meats are some of your choices, and your barbecue season is guaranteed to be just as exciting as those with bigger homes or bigger yards! Bistro tables are great for dining al fresco and are absolutely perfect for smaller spaces. Hang some twinkle lights, light a couple of candles, and play some soft music as you chow down on your favorite cuts of beef or pork served with ice cold beer; these barbecue nights are definitely going to be memorable!

Built-in Grills for Your Backyard

Larger yards make room for barbecue nights that are a little larger in scale, and if you have the space, why not consider a built-in barbecue grill? Keep it simple with just space for a mini fridge (gotta keep those beers cold!), prep space, and of course the built-in grill. For those who believe it is not true barbecue without the charcoal, built-in grills come in a variety of shapes, sizes, and choices between charcoal and propane! The jury is still out on whether or not an electric grill can be built-in, but if you have an innovative and creative crew helping build the structure, (We at New Image Landscape and Pools have been known to get a little creative at times!) chances are they will be able to design something that you will fall in love with! So, go ahead, plan for a night of cool fun with your new built-ins, your favorite neighbors, and your kids’ best friends! Pulled pork sandwiches, homemade potato salad, and that delicious Texas sheet cake your wife is famous for will be on the menu tonight and when you choose the right grill, it will not seem like work at all!

Something Really Special

If you have ever flipped through a home and garden magazine, we are willing to bet that you have dog-eared the pages on fabulous outdoor kitchens more than once! Your yard has the space to create a gourmet area without cramping your pool, your garden, or the meditation shed you built to retreat to when real life gets too stressful, and now is the perfect season to build an outdoor kitchen. The choices are endless and include everything from a built-in grill to a real wood-burning pizza oven, ensuring that your outdoor events will be the talk of the neighborhood. Add a fireplace with bench seating, as Phoenix nights can be cool once the sun drops behind the mountains, create a cubby for the firewood that will be used for your pizza oven, and add a sink with running water for easy clean-up. Because you planned ahead by building in a fridge for beverages, drawers for supplies, and lighting that allows you to stay out late at night, you may not have to go back inside until your bed starts to call your name! Entertainment can be as simple as piped in music from your surround system, or for those who really know how to party, a flat-screen smart television tucked away under the eaves and turned to the big game! Add in a heated pool, a hot tub, and maybe a couple of beanbag games, and barbecue season promises to be a party that won’t end until the heat of summer comes knocking at your door once again.

Don’t Wait Too Long!

The older we get, the faster time flies by, and now is the perfect time to start working on your backyard party plans. Give us a call today!

Best Plants for an Arizona Herb Garden

There was once a time in which convenience ruled over all else. Carpeted floors, frozen dinners, and dried herbs were a necessity of life, as they were quick, easy, and comfortable. But as the years pass, we have begun to learn that quick is not always best, and comfortable has many different definitions. Wood floors offer a timeless beauty and are easier to keep clean, fresh meals made with all natural ingredients are healthy and delicious, and the taste of herbs clipped from your own personal garden add an intensity of flavors that the dried stuff you have laying around in your cupboards just can’t provide! This guide to the best plants for your Arizona herb garden will be your first step in ensuring that every meal you prepare is just bursting with flavor and taste.

Basil

Every Italian meal is made even tastier when you add your own homegrown basil, and this herb does surprisingly well in desert weather conditions. They thrive when planted in the months between late February to May but can survive no matter what the season if you bring them to the porch in a pot. Interestingly, basil becomes even more flavorful and grows better when planted near tomatoes.

Bee Balm

Bee balm is not on any list of commonly planted herbs, but its health benefits make it popular for those looking for natural solutions for indigestion, bloating, or nausea. Best planted in February or March in spots that offer afternoon shade, the leaves can be harvested any time. It’s also great for the environment as it attracts bees and butterflies. This is another herb that does best when planted near tomatoes.

Cilantro

Whether you are native to our state or have only recently moved here, you probably already have strong feelings about this spicy herb. Most people either love it unconditionally or hate it with a passion, and if you fall in the latter category, you might want to scroll on by! This easy plant grows best from seed or by transplanting and is best planted in October through January. You’ll want to cut clippings from it on a regular basis, which helps keep the cilantro from flowering, as the flowers cause the leaves to lose its delicious taste.

Lavender

Lavender is more than just a pretty purple flower; it can be used in beverages and sweet snacks that include cakes and ice cream, and it also keeps mosquitos away. The lavender plant survives planting by seed, transplant, or by cutting and is best planted October through November and the end of February through April. Lavender loves the sun and thrives in soil that drains well.

Mint

A glass of Arizona sun tea garnished with a freshly picked mint leaf is one of life’s greatest pleasures, and this hardy plant grows profusely in spots that offer afternoon shade. Mint also has a split planting season, doing best when planted between February through April or October through November, and the leaves and stems taste best when plucked in their youth.

Oregano

We’re heading back to the old Italian kitchen with another popular spice that flavors old country dishes so very nicely! Oregano has a split planting season—February through April or October through November—and needs to be kept trimmed and flower-free. If you’re choosing to grow some oregano by transplanting existing herbs, you’ll want to rub the leaves between your fingers and plant the one that has the strongest scent.

Rosemary

This savory plant does exceedingly well in times of drought, making it the perfect Arizona herb for your garden! Surviving best when planted between October and January, the most flavorful stems will be the ones you pick right before the bush flowers. Plant in full sun with a soil that drains well. Rosemary isn’t just good for flavoring foods; it is known to keep away pesky insects that may spoil your garden.

Sage

Sage thrives in the desert and can be planted from February through April and October through November, allowing the cook to pick from its bush whenever needed. The soil sage is planted in needs to drain easily to avoid developing rot and this beautiful bush is also great for scaring away unwanted insects intent on devouring your garden! If cucumbers are a staple in your Arizona garden, you might want to plant the sage as far away as possible from the cucumbers, as the herb could interfere with their growth.

Thyme

We can all use a little more time on our hands, and when the thyme is a tasty herb, every meal shines! Plant this spidery plant from November through April and clip as needed. If your garden also contains a lemon tree, creating a creamy lemon thyme chicken dish will make your family love your cooking even more!

Give Us a Call Today

We love to make Arizona beautiful, and an herb garden is one of our favorite ways to do so. Contact us today!

Plants That Flower in the Fall

It may not feel like it when you walk out the door, but fall is just a few short weeks away. And even though there may not be that much difference in temperatures, the humidity levels drop and we can feel ourselves mentally beginning to relax as we realize we have almost made it through another summer! Before long we will resume hiking Camelback Mountain, eating dinner on the back patio, and watching the sunset from our covered porch. In any case, if you feel the need to celebrate, we are presenting this guide to plants that flower in the fall because every celebration needs flowers! If you’re planting them now, however, be sure to do so in the early morning hours, wearing a hat and drinking plenty of water while you do so!

Pelatoza

This flower is also called the Hoary Abutilon and is a perennial that blooms in the spring, summer, and fall which is an advantage for homeowners who don’t want the celebration to end. The blooms come in three different colors—white, pink, and yellow—and the leaves tend towards the silvery range of green.

Alkali Marsh Aster

This unique summer and fall blooming flower resembles a daisy on a diet! Featuring thin petals grouped around a yellow disk (again, think daisy), its blooms range from white to a delicate shade of purple and the leaves and stems are a bright green. Also known as a butterfly plant, it’s the perfect way to add some extra color to your garden in the form of butterflies!

Scarlet Spiderling

If you have a large bare spot in your desert landscaping, this flowering groundcover is the perfect solution! The blooms are tiny and range in color from a cheerful magenta to a rich and dark, wine-red shade, and the leaves are light green. This is another three-season bloomer, only staying dormant in the colder months of winter.

Firecracker Bush

For those of you who have lived in the desert before, chances are you have seen the firecracker bush in many places! Requiring low maintenance, this plant can grow in height to a leggy four feet high, and the rich red flowers contrast nicely with the dark green leaves and stems. A lovely bonus to this plant is the hummingbirds it attracts; just be sure to water it a little more and place it in partial shade to keep it growing year after year.

Arizona Beggarticks

Looking for a flowering plant to cheer up a dull corner of your yard? The Arizona Beggartick offers cheerful yellow blooms and bright green leaves and stems that will bring a smile to your face as it happily blooms in summer and fall.

Turpentine Bush

Attracting butterflies and bees, this bushy plant with dark green leaves and stems offers brilliant yellow blooms in the fall months only. Used as an unobtrusive shrub throughout most of the year, when its flowers blossom, it can become the star of your garden. The only con to this beautiful bush can be the smell; when the leaves are crushed, it smells like turpentine (hence the name.

Hummingbird Trumpet

We love a plant that performs more than one task, and the hummingbird trumpet fits the bill nicely. Offering reddish-orange blooms shaped like little trumpets and dark green leaves, this beautiful plant attracts butterflies and hummingbirds, creating a magical space filled with life and enchantment! Blooming from summer until the first hard frost, we can’t help but love everything about this exceptional desert plant.

Oleander

You’d have to be living under a rock not to spot this commonplace desert plant that blooms for three seasons out of every year, including the fall! Featuring blooms in shades of pink, white, red, and yellow, these bushes can grow up to 12 feet tall, making them the perfect privacy hedge. It is advised that you trim them periodically, or they can become leggy and unsightly, but in every other way they are extremely low maintenance. The leaves and stems are poisonous, however, so do not plant them where pets or young children may be tempted to taste the pretty flowers!

Violet Wild Petunia

This seemingly delicate plant produces blooms that range in color from light purple to violet after the summer monsoons have begun. Appreciating the rain and moisture-laden air, the violet wild petunia is a perennial whose leaves are light green and reaches a maximum height of 2 feet.

We Have Many More Ideas!

Our mission at New Image Landscape and Pools is to make the Phoenix metropolitan area look as beautiful as possible. Give us a call today and we can discuss what your yard needs to make it the oasis of your dreams!

Bushes and Hedges That Work Well in Arizona

Living in the desert is an experience that doesn’t appeal to everyone, but we couldn’t imagine living anywhere else! Offering sunrises and sunsets that never fail to take our breath away, mountain vistas that warm our hearts, and sunshine nearly every day of the year, there’s so much to love about desert life, we can’t understand why EVERYONE doesn’t want to live here as well. With that being said, we do understand there are some areas in which we have to make adjustments. Summer that days scorch with the fire of what seems like a million suns, monsoon storms that quickly show us when it’s time to re-shingle our roofs, and trying to find plants that thrive in full sun and total heat are just a few examples of what we desert dwellers have to deal with! When you are trying to turn your yard from an arid desert wasteland into a cozy and inviting oasis, choosing bushes or hedges for that extra bit of green can be one of the more difficult problems that will need to be dealt with. Fortunately, you have New Image Landscape and Pools on your side, and we love to share all the extra knowledge we’ve accumulated over our years in business in the desert. This guide will give you options you never dreamed existed!

Ficus Nitida

One of the more common hedges you will see in many yards isn’t really a hedge but is actually a series of trees planted close together. The ficus nitida offers dark green leaves, roots that go straight down (instead of sprawling outward and potentially causing problems with buried pipes), and a hardy disposition that thrives under the desert sun. Used as a landscaping hedge, a row of ficus trees will block sun, noise, and nosy neighbors. They do not handle extreme cold very well, however, and some care must be taken during those rare winter nights when Phoenix temperatures drop below freezing.

Oleander

Sometimes a bush is more than just a bush, and the beautiful oleander is the perfect example! Offering blooms in beautiful shades of white, red, and pink, this popular desert plant offers privacy, shade, and requires little to no maintenance! The leaves on the oleander bush are dark and beautiful, and don’t drop in the fall, while the flowers stay in bloom for far longer than most plants. The oleander is poisonous to animals, though, so if you have pets that like to chew, this may not be the plant you want for your yard.

Japanese and Wax Leaf Privet

Both types of privets are the darling of Arizona landscapes, featuring dark green leaves and requiring low maintenance. The Japanese privet is often used in smaller yards as a wind block, to provide shade, or simply to soften the harsh appearance of the block wall that surrounds your pool. This bush does not drop its leaves, maintaining a clean and lush appearance year-round. The difference between the Japanese and the wax leaf privet is apparent in the name; the wax leaf offers leaves that are thick and waxy! Used as a hedge, it can also thrive in containers, and the white flowers that bloom from this bush offer a beautiful aroma to your yard.

Cape Honeysuckle

Another of our favorite bushes is the cape honeysuckle, and if you have lived in the desert for any length of time, chances are you have seen this beautiful bush gracing the yards of neighbors or friends. The blooms on this flowering plant are distinctive, shaped like a trumpet and colored a bright, bold, and beautiful orange. Plant a row of them on the borders of your lawn, creating a friendly boundary between you and your neighbor’s home, or use them as a vine along the back wall of your home. The block walls that surround our backyards in the Phoenix Metropolitan area can appear a little harsh and prison-like, but the cape honeysuckle softens the harshness, giving your eyes a soft place to land!

Bougainvillea

The final bush we have to mention is yet another one you’ve probably seen thousands of times before. Featuring bright green leaves and boldly colored blooms, the bougainvillea is a striking plant that can be shaped into a hedge for privacy. Hearty and low maintenance, it’s almost the perfect hedge for the desert, with a few exceptions. First, it is slightly poisonous, and if a pet ingests a large amount of its sap, it will get ill but most likely won’t die. Secondly, the branches are filled with large thorns that hurt when they poke you and can cause a rash. Finally, the flowers that bring the plant such beauty easily fall off, making a mess of a pool, so keeping this hedge in the front yard is your best option.

Desert Living is Different

Desert landscapes don’t have to be arid and sparse. Give us a call today and we’ll work on a plan to help give your yard the inviting presence you’ve always wanted it to have!

Low Water Plants for Your Desert Yard

As beautifully lush as a yard covered in green grass and beds of flowers can be, we do live in the desert, and this type of yard could be considered an irresponsible waste of our most precious resource. We all love the look of a home set in a verdant landscape, and we at New Image Landscape and Pools are here to tell you that you can have that look recreated with desert plants that require very little water to maintain! Choosing ground cover that flowers and beautiful bushes in a variety of colors can give your yard a breathtaking appearance that rivals the landscapes of our eastern roots. This guide to low-water plants will make it easy to create a desert oasis!

A Desert Yard a Blank Slate

Most desert landscapes feature a rocky expanse of ground dotted with a cactus or two and possibly a spindly mesquite tree that offers no shade. If we have just described your yard, never fear—look at it as a blank slate you can build upon! Ground cover is the easiest way to soften the harshness of the rocks, and there are a large number of flowering ground cover plants that require very little water to survive. Choose a Rocky Point ice plant whose dark green stems are thick and beautiful. Offering blooms in the summer in shades of yellow and red, the ice plant does best in full sun and high heat but can survive in temperatures between 20 and 30 degrees. (Covering on the coldest days of winter is recommended.) The colorful blooms of verbena is another popular desert ground covering with blooms that come in a variety of colors, including purple, pink, and white. Another popular flowering ground cover in the desert is the beautiful lantana. The blooms on this fast-growing plant come in a huge selection of colors, with the most striking being a dark orange surrounded by gold; this one promises to be the center of attraction in your garden!

Creating Interest

A yard that demands interest needs a variety of plantings in all sizes, and now that we have the lower spreading plants figured out, you’ll want to bring the eye up a few feet by planting some bushes. Lining a driveway with red yucca or Mexican bird of paradise is often a popular choice, but one of the most common appearing bushes found in desert landscaping is the sage plant. Offering leaves of silvery gray and growing up to almost five feet in height, the purple or yellow blooms are a delicious delight to bees, and if you can save the bees while saving water, that makes you a hero in our books! These bushes are not completely maintenance free, however, as they do need some tending to avoid becoming unruly and out of control. Many people love to shape them, giving them the appearance of an English hedge, but of course, that depends on your taste.

A Little Bit of Whimsy

So far, all the plants and bushes we have discussed are perennials; you plant them once, and they are there forever. But if you have ever driven by a neighbor’s yard in the spring and found it awash in a sea of colorful blooms, you may be interested in some desert wildflowers! Planted in early spring or late winter, they require very little upkeep, and if you toss a handful of different seeds into the soil, once spring hits, it will be a surprise as to what pops up where—which is the point of wildflowers, don’t you think? Wildflowers come in a range of colors that include red, yellow, orange, and purple, and many will be self-seeding, meaning they may reappear in the next year. The California poppy is easily one of our favorite wildflowers, only needing spring or winter rains to appear and thrive. Their cheerful blooms add a happy glow to any yard in which they are planted, and although they are known to have pain-reducing properties, you won’t have to worry about falling asleep in the garden as poor Dorothy and friends suffered through in a much-loved movie!

What About Trees?

We mentioned the mesquite tree earlier, and although they are not good shade trees, they do require little water and add interest, but they aren’t the only desert trees available. Palm trees and palo verdes can often be found in Southwest yards, as can the gorgeous ironwood tree. This tree is only found in the Sonoran Desert and can grow up to 45 feet tall, providing a twisted beauty to any yard it graces. Its blooms during the early months of summer, offering up beautiful purple, pink, and white flowers that wither away to become silvery gray leaves; the ironwood is basically never without leaves.

This is Just the Beginning!

The options for creating a lush landscape that is both colorful and drought tolerant are endless. Give us a call today and let’s work on bringing your yard to its full potential!

Beat the Summer Heat with These Yard Features

We hate to be the bearers of bad news, but if you haven’t stepped outside lately, you may not have realized that summer has arrived in full force! Temperatures are expected to rise up to 116 degrees, and if that isn’t bad enough, the monsoon has been taking a peek at the desert landscape, wondering if now is the time it should make its appearance! Fortunately, this is not our first Arizona summer at New Image Landscape and Pools, and we’ve learned a few things on how to stay cool over the last few years, even if we are outside hanging out under the desert sun! And because we don’t hoard our secrets like misers do their gold, here is our guide to how you can beat the summer heat with these yard features, you will thrive in your own backyard, no matter how high the mercury rises.

Sometimes Simple is Best

The sun is a merciless opponent for the balance of the summer season, but sometimes, the simplest solutions will be all you need to feel cool. Misting systems are one of our favorite ways to beat the heat and can range in price from less than $500 to just over $2000. Sending a fine mist of water into the air that chills the space around you, they work best when the dew point is lower; once monsoon hits, you may have to turn to other methods.

Throw Some Shade on It

Have you ever noticed how everyone always gravitates to the shady part of your yard, even on warm days? From caveman days to the high-tech world, we instinctively understand that less light causes less heat, and you can add shade to your yard in a variety of ways! And because you don’t always want to wait a few years for the saplings you planted to mature and shade the yard, you can start with something as small as an umbrella for your patio table. Sun sails that tie on to available corners are another popular option, much loved due to their low cost, but when you really want to do it right, building a shade structure may be what works best! Gazebos, pagodas, even pergolas are all examples of how to keep cool while maintaining the beauty of your yard, and your neighbors are bound to be jealous!

Splash Pads to the Rescue

We know that water cools, but families with young children are often hesitant to add a potentially dangerous pool to their yard; the cost can also be prohibitive. The good news is that the splash pads your children play in at the park have now gone residential, allowing you to bring water fun into your lives without having to break the bank! In addition, many of your favorite discount stores offer portable versions cost that very little and will be fine in a pinch, but the temporary nature of these items will have you purchasing them again and again. Permanent versions start at approximately $2000 and increase in price from there, depending on the complexity and size of the one you build. In any case, because there is little to no standing water (you may end up with puddles in the grass beyond the splash pad), parents won’t have to worry about a tragic accident occurring!

Pool Parties Are the Reason for This Season

Of course, nothing cools off your core body temperature than doing a cannonball into the deep end of your private pool! Available in a variety of sizes, shapes, and designs, these bodies of water are the best part of summer as you swim at all hours of the day and night and throw pool parties with the neighbors! Turning your yard into the one where all the kids want to be, you will become the family hero when you choose to make the decision to dig!

An Oasis of Chill with Our Yard Features

Finally, for those who believe you have to go big or go home, you can turn your entire yard into an oasis of chill by combining ALL the items listed! Plant trees with shallow roots, build a gazebo with a built-in misting system, combine a splash pad and pool, and feel the goosebumps rise on your skin during the hottest days of the years! If this sounds like a lot more effort than you are willing to put forth, never fear! These moments are what we at New Image Landscape and Pools live for. Give us a call today and we will set up a time to determine what items your yard simply can’t live without. The only limits are the boundaries of your imagination!

Your Guide to a Spectacular Splash Pad

You don’t need to look at your calendar to determine that yes, summer has arrived in the desert and boy is it HOT! It doesn’t matter if it’s a dry heat either, no matter what they say, because once the mercury rises over the 100 degree mark, there is no getting comfortable without a sturdy air conditioning unit or some kind of water play in your backyard, but are you really ready for the commitment of a pool? Your children are young, your yard is too small, and maybe you just aren’t ready for the financial impact on your bank account that building a pool may cause. We get it, a pool isn’t the right answer for everyone, but there’s still that sticky issue of the heat that could be forcing you to stay inside for the next four or five months, unless you consider constructing a spectacular splash pad for your private oasis at home! Once relegated to shopping centers and parks, today’s splash pads can be as small and simple as you want or as large and elaborate as you wish and are specifically designed with the needs of a residential property in mind. This guide will help you find the splash pad that will change your life for the better.

Keep it Simple

Arizona may have miles of mountain and desert landscapes, but what we don’t have is acres of yard space. Many homes are built on what are called keyhole lots in a move that allows builders to build a lot of homes on tiny plots of land. If your backyard is practically non-existent, you’ll want to start looking at the smaller, simpler splash pad kits, consisting of a few nozzles and a drain. These smaller pads are a more elegant option than a sprinkler and hose and can be far cheaper than the larger, more elaborate kits!

Safety Matters

Of course, if you have a little more room and a little larger budget, you can move up to the next size and include a safety surface that helps prevent the nasty scrapes and bumps that can accompany a concrete version of a splash pad. Coming in a variety of colors, it is designed to keep your child from skidding on the slippery base and can add a cheerful look to your backyard—especially if you choose the more popular blues and greens for the color! For more elaborate setups, fun designs can be added to the surface, and for the hot desert days, it is recommended homeowners stick with a lighter color to avoid burning sensitive feet.

Add a Little Shade and More Nozzles

Now that we’ve covered the basics, it’s time to venture into the creative by adding structures to your splash pad. A tall “tree,” a giant mushroom, or maybe just a sunshade strung from colorful poles built into the sides of your pad can turn a day of fun in the sun into a shady adventure! The trees and mushrooms do have the added benefit of coming with their own nozzles for more water fun, of course, but the sunshade and pole option can be less expensive.

Go All Out!

If you have seen the splash sections of water parks and thought how cool they were, you’ll be happy to know that even the most elaborate of designs can be constructed in your own backyard! Add slides and buckets that fill with water, dumping onto unsuspecting and giggling children’s heads when they least expect it, put in a giant “fire hydrant” with nozzles coming out from every angle, or stick with the desert theme of your backyard and add a gigantic “palm tree” with water falling out of the center of its fronds! The only limit to the fun accessories you can add will be the size of your yard and the depth of your pocketbook; prices do go up with each new toy added, of course!

But What If You Already Have a Pool?

The good news is you don’t have to nix the splash pad if you already have a pool. If your yard is large enough, go ahead and invest in both! Pools are great for exercise and keeping cool on hot summer nights, but splash pads can be the perfect addition for families with younger children; just set them up away from the pool and prepare for your little ones to have the greatest time of their lives!

The Options for Your Splash Pad Are Endless

Whether you choose the simple fountain type splash pad or the more elaborate water park type with all the bells and whistles, choosing New Image Landscape and Pools to help with the install will ensure you enjoy the new addition to your at home oasis for years to come. Give us a call today!

Fountains and Waterfalls for Your Pool

The average pool has come a long way since it’s invention all the way back in 2600 B.C.E. and even further since they became popular with homeowners in the mid-19th century. From its basic rectangular shape to the equipment and add-ons which increase the fun levels, today’s pools are a one stop shop for entertainment, and adding fountains and waterfalls to the pool will heighten its star power! We at New Image Landscape and Pools love the summer, no matter how hot it gets, because we love our pools and we love creating a watery oasis for our clients. This guide to fountains and waterfalls for your pool will help you add a little extra sparkle to the most important element in your backyard!

Fountains of Fun

The huge variety of fountains available for your pool may make the decision of which one to choose a little difficult, but we urge you to stick with your decision; a fountain is definitely worth it in the long run! Offering both form and function, these stylish additions to your pool can be as large or as small and as intricate or simple as you desire. Choose a simple stream of water splashing into the side of your pool or a bubbling fountain in the center and remember, keeping the water moving in your pool also works to keep the waters cooler in the hottest days of summer! For more dramatic changes, pool fountains can take the shape of lions “spitting” streams of water into the pool or for a more breathtaking look, mix fire and water in a huge copper bowl and be prepared to stun the neighbors with the dramatic beauty of your pool at night! Your pool parties will be the talk of the town as fire and water (and multicolored LED lights, if you want to go all out!) light up your backyard, creating a magical ambience that will be the envy of all. Build a seating area surrounding a fiery fountain and enjoy summer beverages and simple conversations with friends and family, doing your best to keep cool as the mercury rises to scorching levels. Some of these ideas may be best for new pools, but the simpler options can be added at any time and if small enough, your existing pool pump could be all that is needed to operate them. In the cases of more elaborate fountains, separate equipment should be used, including the pump, valving, and plumbing for full effect.

Waterfalls of Wonder

If you have ever witnessed the majestic beauty of a natural waterfall in real life, you already know the sense of peace and tranquility it can give a person and while a waterfall for a pool won’t be equally impressive, it still imparts the same emotions as it also helps keep the waters cooler. And as technology grows smarter, the size and intricacy of available waterfalls grows as well; as with a fountain, narrowing down your choices can be the most difficult part of your decision to add a waterfall. Simple scuppers allow water to cascade into the pools and can be all you want, especially if your pool is of more diminutive proportions, costing less than a full blown waterfall built to resemble one you will find in nature. Sitting on the patio at night, listening to the water as it streams out of the scupper can be the most relaxing part of your day.

For those with larger pools, however, a waterfall built of stones (fake or real) can add a dramatic charm that will impress visitors and increase your peaceful tranquility. Swim behind the waterfall on the hottest day of the year and feel the immediate change in temperature; some waterfalls are built with large shelves behind them, allowing swimmers to sit and enjoy the loveliness of a perfect summer day in the valley. Some waterfalls offer built-in slides, others include grottos that can provide cover for a swim up bar and still others can tower high, providing additional shade for cooling purposes.

Be Creative with Fountains and Waterfalls

It turns out that after centuries of following the same simple pool design, the pool industry is actually quite creative and the only limit to what you can do with your pool is your own imagination (and your budget, of course!). You work hard and deserve to play equally hard, so what are you waiting for? New Image Landscape and Pools wants to help you create an oasis of calm, peace, and beauty in your backyard! And although summer has already started our Arizona summers last twice as long as everywhere else, so if you start soon it’s possible you can be enjoying the fruits of our labors before summer ends! Give us a call today!

Summer Pool Maintenance Tips

For those of you who rely on calendars to inform you of the changing of the seasons, you may be a little surprised when you step outside your Phoenix abode and are hit in the face by extreme heat. In Arizona, we use calendars as ways of marking off the days until the cool weather returns, and we know summer officially arrived back in April with the advent of temperatures that reached the century mark! Because of the extreme summer temps, many Arizonans also know how to extend their outdoor play time as they spend hours hanging out by the pool. Unfortunately, the higher utilization of our watery playgrounds also means more pool maintenance. New Image Landscape and Pools knows your pain, and as such, we have created this guide to summer pool maintenance tips in order to help you spend more time in the water and less time hanging out by the equipment trying to keep the pool clean and safe!

A Little Extra Effort

Summer swim season is one of our favorite times of the year, but as we stated earlier, more use leads to more effort in keeping our pools swim ready! The warmer water is a perfect environment for algae and bacteria growth, so running the pool pump and filter helps to continuously turn the water over during the heat of the day to keep it from getting stagnant. You’ll know if you aren’t running the equipment long enough by the appearance of algae growth in the top 8 to 10 inches from the surface. Another thing to look out for is sun exposure; just as moss grows on the north side of a tree, algae will makes its appearance on the south side of the pool.

The More you Swim the More Pool Maintenance

Socializing with pool parties is very popular in the desert, but this activity comes with one major drawback. A heavy swim load can be the biggest element affecting your pool’s cleanliness and beauty. More bodies in the pool will cause a serious strain on your sanitizing chemicals as the body oils, sweat, and more will affect the chemistry of the pool. Many people believe that the problem can be solved by just dumping some extra chlorine in the water, but there’s more that needs to be done. Using more chlorine in you pool more often causes larger swings in the balance of other chemicals in the pool, such as the pH and alkalinity of the water. A happy pool requires a balance of chemicals, and if you overload one it will quickly be evident by the appearance of the water. Testing kits make it easier to determine which chemicals are lacking and of which there is an abundance; these are sold at most pool and home improvement stores.

Plant Growth is Only Pretty on Land

Everyone loves a beautiful garden, but vegetation growth is of a huge concern for pool water health. When plants and flowers are in bloom, winds pick up pollen, dust, and grass clippings from your yard and your neighbor’s yard and quickly deposit them where you really don’t want them to be—in your pool. It’s important to be mindful of what plants you put in your yard, or more specifically the pool area. Things that drop or shed a lot of debris or pollen can be counterintuitive to a healthy pool, because these particles supply the unwanted algae with a food source, turning your pool a most unlovely shade of green, yellow, or in worst case scenarios, black.

Phosphates can be chemically and safely removed from your pool water with a bottle of phosphate removal, such as Orenda Pr-10,000 Phosphate Remover Concentrate For Swimming Pools or Natural Chemistry Phosfree Extra Strength Phosphate Remover For Pools, both of which can be ordered online. These chemicals are relatively inexpensive and are imperative to keeping your pool sanitized, healthy, and swim-ready as we delve deeper into the hotter months of summer!

Dust Storms Can Wreak Havoc

That wall of dust you see rolling towards the valley on the news in July and August isn’t just dangerous to drive in; it can seriously wreak havoc with the cleanliness of your pool. Although there’s no way to prevent the storms, your quick response to the weather will help keep your pool in tip top shape. As soon as it’s safe to go out to the pool after a big storm, manually skimming the pool with a net and telescoping pole will be the biggest thing you can do to save your equipment and keep the green from developing.

So What Have We Learned?

As fun as having your own pool can be, responsible pool ownership involves a certain amount of maintenance, especially during the summer months. Warm stagnant water, sun exposure, improperly balanced water, bodies swimming and vegetation can all make an impact on having a clean and safe swimming environment for you and your family. If you’re still having problems keeping your pool swim-ready, give us a call today and we can work together to fix all your summer maintenance issues!

 

 

5 Water Features to Transform Your Yard

Not every yard can grace the cover of our favorite home and garden magazine, but we would all love to have an outdoor space that others would consider cover-worthy. As you stare out onto the barren landscape that surrounds your home, you can quickly become discouraged. You don’t deserve this desolate yard, but you may be unaware of how to change it. Fortunately, we at New Image Landscape and Pools don’t see things in quite the same way as many of our clients; that barren and desolate yard you see is something we consider a blank slate, full of possibilities! From adding secret gardens and constructing hardscape items such as pergolas or sheds to using any or all five of the water features listed below, we have the ideas and the knowledge to transform your yard!

A Fountain Fits Everywhere

Sometimes the smaller things can make the largest impact in your life, in your job, and of course, in your yard. Fountains come in a variety of styles and sizes, allowing even those with compact outdoor spaces to enjoy the peace and serenity of a water feature. And because unlike many of the ideas you will read about here, they can also be used in the front yard, giving your home some extra curb appeal, a fountain could be considered the unicorn of water features! Hang a small one on the wall of your condo patio or build an entire landscape designed around a three-tier one located in the center of your yard—the only limit is your imagination!

Hot Tubs Offer Romance

Even in the desert, a hot tub is one of the more popular water feature choices. Offering the perfect blend of form and function, owners can say goodbye to aching muscles and stress headaches as they enjoy the romance of the night sky on a quiet desert night. Built into the ground, they become a permanent part of your private oasis, while stand-alone units can be uprooted every time you move; both can be a spectacular addition to your not-so-desolate landscape! Your youngest swimmers may also enjoy swimming in the hot tub (under close supervision and without the bubbles, of course!) when its not heated up; it makes them feel as if they have their own private pool!

Construct a Koi Pond

Koi can be delicate creatures, preferring more moderate climates, but by adding a little shade to your yard, they can thrive. There’s just something peaceful about watching the brightly colored fish swim in the pond as you sit under the shade, feeling the stress leave your shoulders and neck. Feeding them can be the best part of your day—just be sure to only feed them once a day—and if you keep the temperatures of the pond between 34 and 90 degrees, they will survive for years to come. Making the pond deep and replacing evaporated water with cool water and even adding ice can help create a paradise for your koi, even on the hottest days of the year.

No Need to Chase These Waterfalls

A waterfall isn’t just for pools, and if your yard is large enough, we can create a small stream topped with waterfalls for a dramatic look that no one would expect from a desert yard! Best for yards built on an incline—a mountain hideaway, for example—a pond that starts at the top of the hill and stairsteps down to another pond far below offers hours of serene enjoyment. Add a meandering stream and lots of foliage in varying shades of green and watch your neighbors turn their own shades of green as envy shines brightly in their eyes! The secret to getting the water back to the top is simple and inexpensive, involving nothing more than a fountain pump!

You Knew We Couldn’t End This Without Mentioning a Pool

We live in the desert, and summers aren’t just hot, they are SCORCHING, making a pool the perfect addition to your Arizona oasis. Pool technology advances allow pool owners to display a variety of colors with LED and fiber optic lighting, and for the bold and the exciting, fire can be blended with water, creating a show at night that is absolutely spectacular! Swim-up pool bars, built-in loungers, and of course, grottos and waterfalls offer perfect ways to show your friends and family that this isn’t your grandma’s pool! Your yard will be the “coolest” on the block, even if you decide to skip some of the more extravagant extras and stick with a play pool; sometimes the basics are all you need!

Transform Your Yard – The Options Are Endless

We could go on and on about the benefits and beauty of water features in your desert landscape, but if any of these sound like something your yard could use, give us a call! We’re here to help you create the perfect backyard oasis!