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!

Advanced Pool Design Options

Planning a pool is one of the greater joys in life, even if you are just going for the basic options, because you know that at the end of construction, your ordinary backyard will turn into an oasis of cool—at least for most of the summer! Being able to swim under the night sky will cool your core temperature as it eases your mind. We firmly believe that many of our personal problems have been solved by a quick dip, and we often find our Zen moments as we strain the pool for leaves and debris; standing by the pool, mindlessly reaching out with net and pole is strangely calming! And because less is never more when it comes to pools, for those of you that are considering something more, these advanced pool design options are guaranteed to increase your delight; your backyard can be something all the neighbors will dream could be theirs.

Infinity Edge

When you want a touch of the dramatic, an infinity edge will make your pool stand out from all others. Offering a near-seamless view of the water, as you peer out into the landscape of your backyard, it appears to be one with the land and the views of beyond. An infinity edge also offers an easier way to keep the surface of your pool clean, as the entire edge of the pool acts as one big skimmer.

Negative Edge

A negative edge pool is similar to the infinity edge with the difference being that only one side, or a portion of the pool, drops off into an exterior trough. This particular option will take your breath away if you’re one of the fortunate owners of a home in the mountains; it gives your backyard a view of infinite distance, not unlike the ocean when you stare into the horizon!

Beach Entry

Also called a walk-in entry, the beach entry gradually slopes from the deck as it transitions into the cool blue water of your pool. Providing a safe play area for smaller children to play—while being supervised, of course—it’s also an ideal choice for those with disabilities or those who may have troubles with their knees and/or hips, allowing swimmers to walk into the water without having to manage the steps that are your traditional way of entering a pool. It’s also a great place to lounge in a lounge chair, staying cool as you soak in the rays of the desert sun, perhaps reading that summer bestseller you’ve had on your nightstand for far too long!

Choosing Your In-Pool Seating

In the early days of pool construction, a single bench (often called a loveseat) along one side of the pool was about as good as you could get, but today’s options are only limited by your imagination—and your budget, of course! For simplicity’s sake, today we often find more than one bench, placed in the deepest areas of the pool, giving swimmers a chance to rest, sunbathe, or read if you don’t have a pool float. These benches can also be used for placement of volleyball sleeves and pool lighting, adding more amenities and a luxurious appearance to the body of water in your backyard. Benches placed under grottos are fun, especially as the water tumbles over the side, giving pool occupants the feel of being in a cave behind a waterfall. Offering a touch of romance for young lovers and a touch of adventure for young children who like to pretend they are pirates at sea about to make their mortal enemies (younger siblings, perhaps?) walk the plank!

Other seating areas, however, include tables and chairs that can be built as a permanent structure. Best for larger pools, you can create swim-up bars or entire seating areas that stay dry even as they are surrounded by water. And because needs change, removeable table and chairs are also available.

Resort-Like Pools

We’ve all spent a weekend or more in a big resort, enjoying the amenities, including the waterpark-like pool areas, but did you know you can construct a pool with many of the same extras? Your version may be smaller, offering only one waterslide instead of six, but it can still offer a scaled down version of the fun! Include a lazy river and a romantic bridge, add a residential splash pad off to the side for younger children to enjoy, and of course, the grotto we mentioned before! Fire pits in the water create a much talked about addition, and the shape of your pool can be a conversation piece as well. Musicians have been known to create piano or even, in one particular case, a cello pool using LED lighting to create the frets!

Be It Grand or Simple

Building a pool in your backyard is one of those simple luxuries that fast becomes a necessity for Arizonans. Give us a call today and let’s discuss how we can turn your backyard into the oasis of your dreams!

Planting and Caring for Fruit Trees

If you’re not from Arizona originally, you may have been surprised by the prevalence of palm trees and fruit trees that dot our landscape, thinking as most people do that both belong in the tropics. After you’ve been here awhile, you get used to it, however, and may begin to consider that adding fruit trees to your home oasis is the one thing you need most! And because we want our clients to have everything they want and need, we at New Image Landscape and Pools are providing this thorough guide to planting and caring for fruit trees, ensuring that your table will be filled with your favorite fruit (during the season, of course) for years to come!

Choose Your Fruit

Obviously, not all fruit trees do well in our desert climate, and even if your neighbor with the dark green thumb manages to grow EVERYTHING, you might want to stick with the ones that are guaranteed to do ok when you first start out. This means that citrus is where you want to start. Lemons, limes, and grapefruits do amazingly well in our desert clime, so well you may find yourself with bags and bags to give away after they have matured. Other trees that thrive include different varieties of golden apple, pears, peaches, apricots, and plums. Some fruit trees need a male and a female to be planted near each other, but citrus trees are self-fruitful, and you can get away with planting just one—a perfect choice in the somewhat smaller standard Phoenix backyards!

Seeds or Seedlings

We find planting bare root trees much easier than pushing a seed in the ground and waiting, especially if you seek instant gratification! Local nurseries offer a variety of sizes with a variety of prices guaranteed to fit any budget. A 24-inch box is generally not that expensive and provides an instant difference for those who just can’t wait! Remember, if you’re planting this tree yourself, you’ll need to make the hole twice the depth and width of the roots, so you might want to stick with a smaller 10 gallon tree and save yourself some work.

Find the Perfect Spot

Fruit trees require lots of sun (something we have no shortage of here in the desert) and soil that drains well. Planting a lemon tree in the shade of your two-story home is not a good idea, obviously, and one of the best places we have found in our own yards is out by the pool, far enough away that you don’t have to worry about skimming pears out of the water or roots bursting through your pool wall, but close enough to enjoy the rays of sun you enjoy yourself while floating around the pool. Fruit trees grow large, so be sure to plant away from power lines or sidewalks. They need plenty of space to grow tall and strong!

When to Plant

If it’s 115 degrees outside and candy bars melt in your hand before you get to open their packaging, you might want to wait a few months to purchase and plant your fruit tree. We’re lucky in Arizona, we actually have two planting seasons, spring and fall, with the fall having the most benefits. With that being said, spring is just a whisper away, and fruit trees do well when planted in the spring, so if you’re excited about the idea, you won’t have to wait much longer!

Juicy Fruits Need Lots of Water

In the beginning, as can be expected, you will need to water frequently; the rule of thumb is whenever the first two inches of soil have dried out. As the tree matures, you can lessen the watering times, but will still need to deep soak them periodically; a drip watering system can be your best friend!

Time to Fertilize

If your tree is growing taller every year, you may not need to add any fertilizer, but if its not thriving, very late winter or early spring is when you can add fertilizer safely; high nitrogen fertilizer is the best type to choose. Mixing a root stimulator in with the loose dirt you pulled from the ground when you dug the hole will help ensure its growth follows the generally accepted schedule!

What About Pests?

All gardeners have to fight the occasional invasion of pests, and that includes those planting fruit trees, but in Arizona we have it a little easier than other states. If you are finding yourself victim to pests, however, you really don’t want to use chemicals to chase them away; that fruit is eventually going to end up in your child’s mouth, and if you don’t want to eat the poison from the bottle, why would you add it to your fruits? Farming science has determined there are a variety of methods of controlling bugs organically, generally by introducing insects that are beneficial to the environment. Ladybugs, parasitic wasps, and lacewings have proven to work best!

Now It’s Time to Enjoy!

As you can see, there’s not a lot of work that needs to go into the planting and care of fruit trees, but if it seems like more than you are interested in taking on, give us a call today! Our knowledgeable landscapers can do all the hard work, leaving you to do nothing more than enjoy the fruits of our labor!

End of Winter Tasks – Getting Your Yard Ready for Spring

When you notice that you are no longer driving to and from work under the cloak of darkness, it quickly becomes apparent that winter in Arizona (such as it is) is ending and spring is quietly waiting in the wings for her turn to shine. And although we know that spring won’t last for long—the bold and brash summer is tapping her toes impatiently—now is the perfect time to start preparing your yard for spring’s promise. We’ve provided the following guide for tasks that will help get your yard ready for Spring before the temps rise any higher, ensuring your yard will continue to be the showcase it has always been.

Time to Deal with the Weeds

Although spring is when weeds typically take off with a vengeance, our milder temps in the winter can lead to early weed growth. You can use chemicals to spray the rogue greenery, purchased from your local home improvement store, but if adding poison to your environment is not something that interests you, using a garden weasel to pop them out works just as well. A homemade weed killer made with a gallon of vinegar, a cup of salt (or borax) and a tablespoon of dish soap has also proven to have great results.

Organization

The odds of you having spent any time cleaning or organizing your yard over the last few months are probably slim to none, but that’s ok. Use the quiet days at the end of winter to clear away the clutter. Removing broken branches that have fallen from the trees, old toys the dogs have chewed to an unrecognizable mass, and sweeping and spraying off sidewalks, patios, and driveways will create a blank slate for the beauty of spring.

Preparation

This might be a good time to check out your gardening tools from previous years. Did you loan some to friends? Seek them out and try to get them back or plan on purchasing new ones. Broken rakes can be replaced, dull lawnmower blades can be taken to the shop to sharpen, and if you don’t have that garden weasel we mentioned earlier, it might be time to add it to your collection! They will save both your back and hands and are reasonably priced. Head to the home improvement store now with your list!

What’s Missing? – Getting Your Yard Ready for Spring

Now that your yard is neat and in order, it’s the perfect time to decide what is missing from your yard. Maybe a gazebo to shield you from the summer sun? A pool for cooling off during those same sizzling summer days? It’s not too late to have either of those things built before the weather takes a turn for the torturous! Give us a call at New Image Landscape & Pools today and let’s start planning your home oasis together!

Rockscaping Options for Your Yard

There are so many imaginative and creative ways to design a landscape, but sometimes it’s the simplest designs that can create the largest impact. A desert landscape, a garden of wildflowers, or a rockscape that is earthy, natural, and offers a modern twist can be all you need to create a yard that all the neighbors will envy. And when it’s time to create your own showpiece, this guide to rockscaping options will ensure that you do it right!

A Garden Path

Not every rockscape is designed with massive boulders in mind. Sometimes an uncomplicated rocky garden path is all you need to create the yard of your dreams. Let it meander aimlessly around your yard and line the path with solar lanterns or use it to direct guests to the spots with the best views and garden benches. Smaller rocks and pebbles can be used for this purpose, or, if you are looking for drama, larger pieces of flat and colorful flagstones will offer all the drama you need!

Create Levels

Although most of our desert homes are located on flat pieces of land, there are some built into the mountains that surround the valley and those yards can be steep and not feasible for use. Retaining walls, however, can be made from rocks and boulders, holding back the soil and creating flat spaces for all to enjoy. Creating a low wall around flower beds or vegetable gardens will also give your boring yard a vertical lift that is pleasing to the eye.

Accentuate a Boring Corner

Now is the time that the larger boulders can be put to good use. Accentuate a boring corner with one giant boulder surrounded by plants and smaller rocks. Place a strategic stone or two to be used as borders on the edge of concrete stairs, in the corner of your yard, or anywhere you think needs something to punctuate its beauty!

Use Gravel to Create Separation

Build a pergola and fill in the ground space with small pebbles, creating a space for a patio table or a garden bench. Build a river of stone, creating areas of interest—a play area on one side, a dining area on another, and a place to sit in still others! Build a firepit and have a gathering spot on cooler nights or use different sizes and colors of stones throughout the yard, eliminating the need for sprinklers.

So Many Rockscaping Ideas

There is so much you can do with a rockscape in your backyard. Give us a call today and let us help you discover which design will work best for you!

How to Update Your Landscaping to a More Modern Style

Even the best of yards can appear to be outdated and lackluster after a time. What is popular today doesn’t always stand the test of time! Of course, there’s something to be said for the timeless beauty of an old English garden, complete with hedges and garden benches, but we live in the desert, and what works for the queen probably wouldn’t last here! This guide to update your landscape will erase the unfashionable and give your yard the modern edge you’ve always dreamed it could have!

Step 1: Remove What’s Broken or Dilapidated

The surest way to give your yard a modern update is by removing the ugly parts. Broken garden walls, wood benches that are dried out and disintegrating, and sad gravel areas that are faded and filled with weeds all add to the outmoded look you and your neighbors are growing to despise.

Step 2: Those Plants Have to Go

Leggy bushes with most of their leaves gone, overgrown shrubs that are blocking the view of the home from the street and are dead in the middle, or any plants that no longer please you are the next thing to ditch. Planting flowering bushes that are cheerful and attract bees and butterflies will bring a smile to your face every time you drive into your driveway or walk out onto your porch! Browse your local nursery and talk to the workers to find out which plants work best in our dry and arid soil; research will help keep you from having to revamp anytime soon!

Step 3: Follow the Trends

Just as fashion and home interiors change frequently, landscape design regularly follows new trends, and the word for 2020 landscape design is geometric for hardscape additions. Reuse the brick in your walkways by incorporating a design; chevron and basket weave are predicted to be popular this year!

Step 4: Trending Colors

Gray and white are on their way out and shades of blue that bring about the feeling of the ocean are in! Plant flowers with blue blooms, paint the gazebo a daring shade of aqua, or go an entirely different direction by bringing in a water feature, such as a pool, hot tub, or fountain!

Sometimes You Just Have to Ask the Experts – Update Your Landscaping

Give us a call today and discover all the ways you can make your lawn the envy of the neighborhood!

Common Mistakes Made by Novice Gardeners

There are many things in life that only improve with practice: driving, cooking, and although it looks easy, gardening. A beautiful garden is a sight to behold, overflowing with beautiful flowers, plants, and the occasional vegetable. We see them in the yards of our friends, our family, our neighbors, and we rush out to replicate their stunning presence in our own yards, but much to the dismay of novice gardeners from all over the world, it may take many do-overs to get the desired results, and in Arizona, our special weather conditions can add to the errors committed. This guide to common mistakes made by novice gardeners, however, is our way of helping you suffer less errors and show more successes!

Watering

We live in the desert, and the summer temperatures are scorching, so of course you want to make sure they get plenty of water. But did you know that overwatering can be just as destructive as underwatering? Too much water can cause rot to occur in the roots, killing the plants, leaving you with a soggy and occasionally smelly mess. Following the instructions for watering is of paramount importance. In the desert, sticking with native plants is equally important; water is a precious resource, and the less we use the better it is for everyone!

Soil Preparation

You may think dirt is dirt, but the reality is soil is different everywhere you go, and the difference between a flourishing garden and one that is straggly and withering can often be linked to the dirt. Arizona is known for having clay soil that is very alkaline, and if you’re determined to create a fabulous garden, you can actually have your soil tested for a more complete picture of what you’re dealing with. Using soil amendments (compost or manure are popular choices) and fertilizer to mix in with your dirt will often solve your problem, and as each plant requires something a little different, reading or depending on the advice of experts is key!

Timing

Planting anything in the wrong season is the surest way to fail, and here in Arizona we follow a little different schedule than other places, so consultation is important! We here at New Image Landscape have made our living growing plants, so we are always happy to be of help. Saving plants and flowers from too much heat or cold makes us very happy!

The Easiest Way to Avoid Mistakes as a Novice Gardener

If you’re still worried you won’t get it right the first time, give us a call today and let our knowledgeable staff help give you the garden of your dreams!

3 Arizona Winter Plants to Brighten Your Yard

Winter in Arizona can be the most beautiful time of the year, with the sun shining brightly and the daytime temperatures hovering in the high 60s, low 70s, or it can be a never-ending succession of storms, gray skies, and temperatures that are a tad chillier than we are used to! Fortunately, our bipolar weather tends to stay on the mild side most winters, but you may still feel that your yard needs a little brightening up, no matter how sunny the day. Maybe you decided to let your grass stay dormant this winter, or maybe you just love the look of plants. In either case, these three Arizona winter plants are just what you need to brighten your yard this winter!

Valentine’s Bush

Red is the color of romance, and this desert dwelling flowering plant is all about the romance; it starts blooming the end of December and comes to a full and brilliant appearance right around Valentine’s Day. Offering a touch of summer passion in the cooler days of winter, the dark green foliage is striking even without blooms, and being a desert plant, it does best when planted in full sun.

Pansy

Coming in a variety of colors, it’s impossible not to smile when you catch sight of its blooms swaying in the gentle desert breeze. Your local garden store will more than likely sell bowls that are already blooming, which you can hang from the rafters of your porch or sit on the rail. This is a perfect winter plant for those whose thumbs are less than green! This annual is a popular plant for porches and window gardens but will die out at the end of the season, so if you’re looking for something you only have to plant once, stick to the perennials like the Valentine’s Bush we mentioned above.

Feathery Cassia

Hailing from Australia, the Feathery Cassia has adapted to our similar climate and produces brilliant yellow blooms from mid-winter to early spring, making it a popular plant for those who are worried about the bee population; bees love this plant and so do we! Plant in full sun, perhaps next to your Valentine’s Bush, and enjoy the contrast of fiery red and sunny yellow on the gray and chilly days of winter. This desert plant (and the Valentine’s Bush) requires little watering, so you’re doing a favor for the environment as well!

Arizona Winter Plants are Our Passion

Give us a call today and we can help you turn your bland backyard into a flowering oasis of fun!

It’s Never Too Soon to Break Ground on Your New Arizona Pool!

This time of year, when the mercury drops and the rain starts falling, we tend to forget all about the broiling days of summer. Call it our brain’s way of protecting us to ensure that we don’t pack up and move away, but we begin to feel the chill will last forever. Which, of course, it won’t. In a few short weeks, the days will be longer, the nights will be shorter, and the golden orb that is perpetually hanging around the desert sky will bring broiling temps. And depending on what you do in the next month or so, you could be spending your summer days chilling in your new Arizona pool, or you could be doing the same thing you did last year: hanging your heaviest blackout curtains on the windows, turning the AC down, and wishing you could get out for a minute or two without self-combusting into a pile of charred embers! The choice is yours, and we’re here to help show you that it’s never too soon to break ground on your new pool!

The First Step is Choosing New Image Landscape and Pools

You’ve seen the images of our work in our gallery, and now that you’ve chosen us to build your own dream pool, it is time draw up the proper plans. The more detailed the plans, the less chance for mistakes, which is why you chose us in the first place! Your land will need to be blue staked next; this service is free and will help you avoid the deadly error of destroying any utility lines or gas pipes hidden under the surface. These beginning stages can be boring, but they are important to the integrity of the pool build, and before long, the fun begins!

From excavation, where we take your well-manicured backyard and turn it into a construction zone, to plumbing, rebar, and electrical work, you can follow the process daily from the windows of your home. Each day brings about a new and exciting aspect to your pool and soon, after inspection, it will be time for shotcrete, decking, and the waterline tile. The final step (before filling it with water) is shooting the interior. Today’s options are plentiful, and you can choose the color and the materials to make this pool look even better than you dreamed. Filling, then preparing the start-up is the final step, which as you can see, has been quite lengthy!

Arizona Pools – Now You Know

It generally takes a couple of months or more from the planning stage to floating on your flamingo raft with a tropical drink in hand, and if you don’t want to start pool season locked away in your home, calling us today is essential! Let’s make your summer dreams come true!

Is Your Home Drainage Up to Snuff?

When you live in the desert, chances are you aren’t considering whether or not the home drainage system in your home is doing what it is supposed to be doing. We worry about sun damage, the air conditioner breaking, and if you have enough salt for your margaritas, certainly, but drainage systems? Never! Or at least until the first monsoon storm hits and the water starts heading towards your front door instead of receding towards the street the way it should! This is when you start to worry and check out the water damage clause in your home insurance plan, which is why we at New Image Landscape and Pools have developed this guide to determining if your home drainage system is up to snuff and what you can do about it BEFORE the next big storm hits!

Pooled Water

Even a small rain shower can help you see the signs of poor drainage, as puddles and pools of water will show up in the same spots every storm. Our monsoon storms hit hard and fast, so there may be times when your entire yard is a puddle, but as it starts to drain, if you see pools form in the same areas, there’s a chance your drainage system is not working as it should. Also, as stated earlier, if the water starts coming in the house, instead of draining into the greenbelt next to your home, this isn’t just a painted sign; it’s one with flashing red lights and warning sirens, telling you to get this matter taken care of NOW!

Cracks in the Foundation

If you notice cracks in the foundation that weren’t there before the last rain shower, they could be the result of improper drainage and may cause damage if the matter is not addressed. Depending on your home’s location, building a retaining wall could be an attractive solution to the nuisance of a problem.

Dampness in the Basement

It’s true, there aren’t very many valley homes with basements, but there are pockets of subdivisions with basement homes scattered around the valley. If you’re one of the lucky few whose home has subterranean living space, you may also be one of the UNLUCKY few who have water issues. Puddles in the basement can sometimes be solved with a moisture barrier paint job, but they can also be a sign of something more severe, and it is recommended that you seek out the services of a professional at the first sign of damp.

Keep the Water in the Pool

Give New Image Landscape and Pools a call today if you suspect you have drainage problems! Our experts can help you redesign your yard to keep the water where it belongs—in your beautifully designed backyard pool! Contact us today.