Backyard Barbecue Season Is Almost Over!

As temperatures rise nearly to 100 degrees, you may be beginning to realize that your dreams of backyard barbecues enjoyed with family may have to wait another year to be realized. Summer comes fast and strong and hot, and we desert rats try to limit our outdoor activities during this season. And yet, the thought of perfectly grilled steaks, the taste of cold beer or soda, and the sound of laughter and good-natured arguments filling our backyards is still an irresistible one, and even though you have put it off many times over the years, perhaps this year it is finally time to go for broke! Backyard barbecue season may almost be over this year, but if you don’t build it know you may miss out on next year as well! This guide to completing your backyard oasis will help you figure out the finer points and start the process of finally having the Arizona yard of your dreams with the help of New Image Landscape and Pools!

Surveying the Land

Arizona yards come in a variety of shapes and sizes, so your first step will be deciding on placement. You don’t want to put your grill under your patio cover in case of errant flames, but you also don’t want to place it too far away from the back door. That portion of yard over in the corner just beyond the patio looks like it may be the perfect spot, so now let’s check out the available space. The barbecue grill is going to be a well-loved friend to the family, and if it’s too small, it won’t do the job; if it’s too large, it messes with the overall appeal of your backyard oasis. Just like Goldilocks, you want something that is just right!

Choosing the Grill

Now that you have an idea of where you are going to place your new toy, it’s time to decide on the grill. Obviously, the choices are almost limitless, and the options can be over the top. Choose a brand you know and love—Weber is the most common—or go with the thrill of owning something so spectacular your neighbors will be in awe. Once you decide on a brand, it becomes time to choose the options. Do you want propane? Do you want charcoal? Are you including a smoker? If so, do you want to go with the new electric smokers that have become so popular? Maybe you want to go all out and build an outdoor kitchen filled with every barbecue accessory known to man. Possibly you want to follow the kiss rule (Keep It Simple Silly!) and all you need is a stand-alone charcoal grill with smoker. As you can see, this part of the process can be quite involved as you try to determine the space, design, and budget for the yard of your dreams.

Outdoor Kitchens

If you have the space, an outdoor kitchen is the ultimate in luxury while being used quite often in the cooler months. The fully equipped kitchen involves not just a grill and smoker but can offer counter space on which you do the prep work, a small sink, refrigerator, and in some cases, a wood burning pizza oven! Add in some bar stools that allow your guests to keep you company while you create your masterpiece of charred meat, a table with umbrella to block the sun, and quite possibly an outdoor fireplace to keep warm by on the colder days of winter. Adding color and charm with cushions will make this space the most popular one on the property—unless you have a pool and it is summer, but that’s another story! Your time spent out in the kitchen with friends, family, neighbors, and with your favorite music playing on built in speakers are guaranteed to be the ones you remember for the rest of your life.

Small Can Be Just as Good for an Arizona Yard

Not every yard is large, and not every budget is grand, but that doesn’t mean you have to skip the grill altogether! Even a condo postage stamp sized concrete square can have room for a Big Green Egg grill and smoker, and the memories you make as you devour burgers and beer under the night sky will be just as memorable as ones you make in an outdoor kitchen. Even a hibachi grill—short, squat and made of indestructible metals—does the job quite well, and you can often find these cooking marvels at the local swap meet. It’s the heart behind the intent that will give your grilling moments the biggest impact, not the size of your budget!

Whichever Suits You Best

It doesn’t matter how large or how small, all that matters is that you stop dreaming about your backyard barbecue and get out there and start grilling! Give us a call today and let’s make your dreams come true.

Build Your Dream Pool in Time for Summer

The weather may not quite show how close we are coming to summer, but you know it is not far off as the sun stays up longer, the mornings begin to warm up before noon, and the walk from your office to your car is pleasant. These awesome days of spring will not last forever, and last year you swore you would not go another summer without a pool to help you cool off on those scorching days. Well, NOW is the time to make good on that promise to yourself, and if you begin now, the begin swim date will arrive at almost the same time as the 100-degree temperatures do! If you have not quite made the decision to build yours, this guide to all the fun you can have with a pool should be all you need to push you from the con side to the pro side this summer in Arizona.

Cool in the Pool

100 degrees in Arizona kind of feels like 85 degrees in other parts of the country; it is a dry heat after all, but when the temperatures rise over 110, it is just too hot, dry or not! You could sit in your air-conditioned house and only go outside to get to your air-conditioned car that will take you to air-conditioned restaurants, shops, and stores, but by the time evening arrives, all the in between moments build up to create one severely overheated desert dweller! With a pool, all you need to do is slip out of your sweaty street clothes and into the cool waters and feel your core temps drop. Even on the hottest days you may find your teeth chattering and your body shivering as you wrap yourself in an oversized beach towel and head back inside for a long night of deep and restful sleep!

No Pool Party without the Pool

One of the best parts of summer, spring, and early fall is the pool party, something you can’t enjoy if you don’t have a pool in your backyard! And while you could use the community pool to celebrate the weather or the holidays, do you really want a bunch of strangers doing a cannonball into the midst of your tanning friends? Yeah, we didn’t think so! The pool party is a tried-and-true rite of passage for most of the seasons in Arizona and being able to throw one whenever the mood strikes is one of our favorite perks of pool ownership. Turn up the music, light up the grill, and dive into the crystal clear waters in your backyard oasis; you will thank us for providing the gentle push when you do!

No Bland and Boring Yards for You This Summer in Arizona

You may be known as a style icon, starting all the latest trends and moving on when the fads become tired and overdone, but does your backyard show the same style as your house does? Look out the window at the expanse of desert landscaping, all boring and beige, and realize that with just a few tweaks—a tree here, a gazebo there, and a pool that can become the focal point—your yard will be where everyone wants to spend their off time! A pool can be as grand and elaborate or as small and simple as you want it, and the overall vibe of your yard will be changed whichever type you choose. Think of a pool as an accessory for your yard, and like that perfect gold bracelet you picked up on your travels to foreign lands, it will be the accessory that makes the outfit—er, we mean yard!

Choices Are Fun

The kidney or rectangle shaped pools are no longer your only choices, thank goodness! Go big with a pool that curves here and turns there, offering grottos and waterfalls and a slide for extra excitement. Keep it simple with a simple shape and a diving board from which you can practice your diving skills or get really creative and have a pool built that is like none other you have ever seen! Just remember that the more creative and elaborate you get with your pool, the longer the process to design and build will be, and you could possibly miss out on a lot of the season this year! The good news is pool season lasts about 9 months out of the year (longer if you add a heater), so before long the heat will creep back in and you will find yourself on a flamingo raft drinking frozen margaritas and living a life that makes your pre-pool life pale in comparison!

Convinced, Yet?

Let’s not put this off a minute longer than we have to. Give us a call today and begin work on the design for your brand-new pool!

Ideas for Desert Landscaping in the Backyard

As you drive through many of the neighborhoods in the Valley of the Sun, you often find yard after yard filled with lush green grass, making it difficult to believe you are actually in the desert. But during your travels, you may have discovered there are still quite a few houses that offer a desert landscape that is native to our state. Colorful, unique, and most importantly, using very little water for upkeep, desert landscaping is making a return in popularity and can even be found in the backyards of some of your more environmentally conscious neighbors. If you have been considering going back to our state’s roots in your own backyard, these ideas for desert landscaping will ensure that your oasis will be envied by all who visit!

The Bare Bones

The best way to start any landscaping project is from the ground up, and although you may not have much in your backyard at the moment, it will not be a detriment to your plans. As a matter of fact, it may even help as you can get a clearer picture of what needs to be done and what exactly is missing from your yard. Now that you are working with the bare bones, and before you start planting, start planning where your hardscape pieces should go. Not quite clear on what hardscape means? Basically, hardscape consists of gravel paths, stone walls, and other concrete structures designed to take your yard from woeful to wonderful!

Water Features

Yes, a desert landscape can offer water features, including a pool, but if you are trying to conserve our most precious resource, skipping a pool is wise. There are other options, however, that can add to the beauty and tranquility of your backyard oasis, including fountains that recirculate water and add a nice sound to the space. If you still want a pool or hot tub, we aren’t going to judge, we just suggest that you start your landscape with the pool and wait until it’s finished to start the rest of the desert process.

Adding Interest to Your Desert Landscaping

Most Arizona yards are quite small, but there is usually still enough room for a gazebo in the larger ones or a garden bench tucked away in the center of a field of wildflowers in the smaller ones. If you have the space, a pergola offers great shelter from the sun in the heat of the summer. Tuck away a small television under the eaves, add a patio table and chairs, and maybe place a small refrigerator in the corner. The options are endless when it comes to creating a desert landscape that is lush, charming, and offers refuge from the sun! If your yard is smaller, it doesn’t mean you can’t have something spectacular for a focal point; it just means you need to work on a smaller scale. Lay down some stamped concrete, leading to a park bench located in front of a raised planter filled with your favorite desert plants; small changes can be inexpensive and add a huge impact to your desert yard.

Time for Some Color

Once the hardscape details have been decided, the water features have been completed, and the structures have been placed, it is finally time to start considering your softscape materials—in other words, the plants. Desert landscaping does not have to mean prickly cactus and beige plants; it can encompass an entire world of color and still remain water saving. Pick a bright gold desert marigold to add cheer to planters on the porch, add the elegance of a red bird of paradise to the bed in front of the house, and for a change, the crisp white of a desert lily can add contrast to your sea of color! The beautiful purple of the Ruellia looks rich against the dark green leaves and can be planted in pots or left to grow wild in a raised bed at the back of your yard. If you want more than the typical expanse of landscape gravel in your yard, there are all kinds of ground cover plants that will give your yard the lushness you desire!

Room for Trees?

Did you know that a tree planted near the house can save you up to 25% on your summer electric bills? And although most desert trees seem to be spindly and not offer much in the way of shade, the Tipuana Tipu, native to South America, DOES offer shade while thriving in the desert heat! They also burst forth with bright yellow flowers in the spring, creating a cheerful and colorful picture against the expanse of your stucco home! Citrus trees, particularly lemon, orange, and grapefruit, also thrive in our climate and provide a plentiful selection of juicy and delicious fruits during their season.

The Little Stuff

A brightly colored chair, a painted pot, even an umbrella placed at a jaunty angle over the edge of the pool can add warmth and style to your desert backyard, and they don’t cost much to add. Give us a call today and let’s work together on creating a yard that you will love coming home to every day!

Get Your Grass Yard Ready for Spring

Whether you are ready for it or not, spring is just around the corner, and we desert dwellers tend to have a love/hate relationship with the season. We love the warmer days, but we also know that the heat of summer is not far behind! But this season is still the season of growth and promise, and now is the perfect time to start preparing your grass yard to ensure that by summer’s beginning, it will be green, glossy, and a yard to be envied by all the neighbors. This guide to prepping your yard for spring will help.

Spring Cleaning Is Not Just for the Inside

As the days grow longer and the mercury rises, we often find ourselves cleaning closets and organizing the junk drawers under the guise of spring cleaning, but that habit should not be limited to the inside only. Your landscape has been neglected during the holidays and deserves a pick me up as well! Rake the leaves that may have fallen, pick up the broken branches from that last storm, and take the time to put away toys, bikes, or even gardening tools you absentmindedly set aside the last time you were piddling about. The best way to ensure a healthy summer lawn is to start with a clean slate.

Prepping Your Yard for Spring Is All About the Soil

Most of us don’t think about the dirt that lies underneath our bed of grass—unless the dog or kids track it in on a rainy day—but for healthy grass, the soil is extremely important! Purchase a soil test kit from your favorite home store and take this time to determine if your dirt is nutrient rich; if it’s not, the test will help you determine what is lacking and head back to your home store to find the additives you need. Following the directions on the bags will be easy, but if you are afraid you might mess something up, give us a call and let us help!

Time to Aerate?

Ask 50 landscapers when the perfect time to aerate is and chances are you will get 50 different answers, but our feeling is that there is no better time than in late spring. Of course, if you are new to grass landscape, you may wonder why it is important to put holes in the yard, especially when you spend most of your year trying to keep critters from making their own holes. Your grass, however, is dependent on air, and the holes created during aeration allow air, water, and other nutrients to reach the roots. Healthy roots will show in the rich dark greenness of the grass that has always been the envy of the neighborhood, and an aerator can be purchased rather inexpensively at a home and garden store!

Increase Your Watering Schedule

In the winter months we enjoy a break from crippling utility bills that accompany the summer’s heat, but when spring hits, it is time to start watering the grass once again—especially if the winter has been as dry as this one has! Your yard needs at least 1 to 1 ½ inches per week, and that number increases as the temperatures increase. Recent weeks in particular have already hit new highs, so you may want to increase the water to 2 inches. The best time to water your grass is in the early morning hours, and you do not need to do it every day. Break it down to 2 or 3 times a week and watch the winter brown start to change to a bright green! How do you know if you have watered too much? The first and most obvious sign will be the weeds sprouting up at an alarming pace. Other signs include the appearance of mushrooms, a musty smell in your yard, and a spongy feel when walking on the lawn. Scale back your watering schedule if any of these “events” begin to occur!

Say Goodbye to Winter Rye

That dark green hue of winter rye is a delight to be seen, but when night temperatures stay above 77 degrees, it will be time to say goodbye to the rye! Scalp your lawn as low as you can and start watering heavily (If you can irrigate, this is the perfect time!) and soon you will see your Bermuda grass peeking through the remaining rye. And although you do not want to overwater, in these early weeks of growth it is important that you water a bit more than normal to ensure that your summer lawn makes a strong appearance.

Every Yard Is Different

Your yard may be showing issues that we haven’t listed on here. Don’t be worried, though, just give us a call at New Image Landscape and Pools and we can work together to figure out the issue!

How Much Watering Should You Do in Winter?

In many areas of the country, the winter months offer a respite from the gardening chores that take up so much of our time in summer, spring, and fall, and as the snow falls gently to the ground, blanketing our yards and gardens in white, we watch warm and happy from the window in our living rooms. In Arizona, however, winter is not the break we may think we deserve! Mild temperatures and semi-frequent rainfalls make this season the one where a majority of the work on our gardens is done, but don’t worry; you will still get a break when summer rolls around again and scorching temperatures have you watching the world go by your window as you stay cool, comfortable, and happy inside your home sweet home! This guide to watering in the winter, will help keep your plants, trees, and flowers strong and healthy enough to endure the summer heat that you try to avoid.

We Don’t Water Trees, Do We?

This is a big misconception that many transplants from other states often share, especially if their home state is lush, verdant, and features frequent rainfalls. If you have spent at least one full year here, however, you probably have seen the results of not watering far too often as you drive by neighbors homes that are newly “decorated” with fallen trees and roots that are above the ground instead of under where they belong. It is important to water your trees, and most trees should be watered every two weeks during the drier winters and every four weeks during the wetter ones. Desert trees, such as palo verdes and mesquites, are drought tolerant will thrive with watering every four weeks—possibly five if the season has been especially rainy!

What About the Grass?

There are two schools of thought when it comes to winter grass in Arizona, and the answer on whether to water or not depends on which school you fall under. Those who want the lush and verdant green of winter rye grass will obviously have to water it to keep its rich emerald color; the question they may have is how OFTEN should the grass be watered? The answer changes with the amount of rain we have during the winter. In a rainy year, lawn caretakers can get away with watering every seven days, but if it is dryer than normal, watering every three days is recommended. If you belong to the group that prefers letting their Bermuda grass go dormant during the cooler months, no watering is necessary, as seasonal rain offers enough moisture to keep the grass alive.

Vegetable Gardens Require Less Watering in the Winter

There are a large variety of vegetables that do well in the desert, especially in the winter, including (but not limited to) the ABCs of vegetables—arugula, broccoli, and cauliflower. Watering needs do change when the mercury drops, and we at New Image Landscape and Pools have the info you need to keep your winter vegetable garden alive and thriving. The general rule is that one inch of water per week is the acceptable amount (and this includes when it rains), but if the season is especially dry, you should double the amount of water provided. As the temperatures rise over 60 degrees, consider watering an extra half inch for every 10 degrees of rise in temperature.

And Bushes?

As you may expect, nearly all plants, trees, grass, and yes, bushes, need water in the winter to survive, but for your bushes and hedges, they will need less than what you give them in the summer. As a matter of fact, they may do ok without water if the Phoenix area is experiencing a wetter winter, such as the one we lived through in 2018. There was so much rain that year, it often felt like we were living in the tropics, NOT the desert, and the wildflowers that bloomed that spring were spectacular! But fast forward to the winter of 2020-2021, and except for a few sprinkles interspersed throughout the weeks, it has been extremely dry, making it necessary to water regularly. Once a week should do it, but if the dry trend continues, you may want to up the watering schedule to twice a week.

The Beauty of Wildflowers in the Spring

Yes, wildflowers grow in the spring, and this article is about winter watering, but for dormant seeds to sprout, the more water they get, the better. Of course, if the season is a wet one, you can plan on watering less—about once every three to four weeks. In dry winters, however, the lack of moisture may signify a dull spring, as the wildflowers fail to bloom, but there’s always the hope that next winter will be wetter and your seeds will blossom fully!

Who Knew?

You may be surprised there is so much to think about when it comes to watering your plants, but we’re not! We make our living by ensuring we know all there is to know about landscapes and pools. Give us a call today and let’s get your yard in tip top condition!

Plants That Add Color to Your Desert Landscape

Do you remember your first glimpse of a desert landscape when you first moved to the valley? Chances are, if not done right, you might have set there for a minute or two feeling the disappointment in your soul as you wondered if you had made a massive mistake! Having come here from the verdant eastern hometown of your youth, the almost stingy look of a desert landscape can be difficult to get used to if you do not know all the secrets, including adding these Arizona plants for the pops of color your oasis needs. This guide will help you save precious resources and create an oasis at home that neighbors, friends, and strangers driving down your street will find breathtaking and beautiful!

Indian Paintbrush

The bright green of this leggy desert plant may actually be enough color on its own, but it is the feathery red flowers that will capture your eye and your heart the first time you see it! Blooming from early spring until the first frost of winter, they prefer full sun, need very little water, and attract color to your garden in the form of hummingbirds.

Yellow Columbine

Yellow is the most cheerful color, and this beautiful perennial will bring a smile to your face each time you pull into your driveway! Flowering from late spring through summer, it does prefer moister soil conditions to grow to its full height of four feet and attracts hummingbirds and butterflies to your garden.

Bunny Ears Cactus

Yes, we are suggesting adding a cactus to your desert garden! This special plant partial to full sun prefers to have its soil dry out completely before you add more water and offers large flowers that bloom through the spring and the summer. It can be mildly irritating to the skin if your precious fur baby comes in contract with it, but is not poisonous and rarely has spines, so it is 100% safe for children and animals!

Bougainvillea

This vibrant plant originates from Eastern South America but does amazingly well in our desert climes. Offering dark green leaves and flowers of purple, pink, and red, it flowers more with less water, making it the perfect plant for our arid region! Fast growers, the bougainvillea blooms year-round with the only downside being the large thorns that can cut into your skin if you aren’t careful. The good news is this plant is not poisonous to kids and animals, allowing parents to feel safe adding it to their yard!

Hibiscus

This gorgeous flowering bush does require weekly watering, but the dark green leaves and vibrantly colored blooms make it a fantastic addition to your garden landscape! Flowers bloom in shades of yellow, pink, and red, adding a tropical look to your desert garden. Although they require more watering in the hottest days of summer, once you figure out the perfect spot, they are hardy enough to last forever!

Cape Honeysuckle

Offering vibrant orange blooms that contrast nicely with the evergreen branches from which they sprout, the Cape Honeysuckle is the perfect desert plant. Doing well in full sun to partial shade, if the space you plant them in is smaller, watering the plant less will ensure it does not grow to full size, which can be as tall as 8 feet and as wide 6 feet. If you have the room, though, regular watering can help this plant create a dramatic impact in your front or backyard oasis! Unlike its counterpart, the English honeysuckle, this colorful plant does not have a scent, but it does attract bees, butterflies, and hummingbirds.

Roses

Surprisingly, this perennial English favorite flower does wonderfully well in the desert, as our dry climate helps to eliminate diseases and fungus that can harm the flower in other parts of the country. Coming in a variety of shapes, sizes, and colors, even the scent of the roses vary, so be sure that the scent pleases you when choosing your plant; rose bushes can last for decades if cared for correctly! Hybrid tea, old garden roses, and large flowered climbers are the roses that do best in our desert heat, but if you are sure to mix in compost with the dirt when planting, pretty much every rose will do well!

Citrus Trees

Any tree planted close enough to the house can help save on utility costs in the summer, but if you want to add dramatic impact and beautiful color to your desert landscape, citrus trees offer the perfect opportunity to do so! Featuring non-deciduous leaves that stay dark green all year round, the flowers that bloom in mid-winter are especially fragrant, and although the blooms are white, once the lemon, limes, oranges, or grapefruits begin to be more obvious, their colors add a serene beauty to your yard!

New Image Landscape and Pools Holds All the Answers to Your Arizona Plants Question

Gardening in the desert can be difficult if you don’t know what you are doing. Give us a call today and let’s work together to create the desert garden of your dreams!

How to Keep Your Trees Alive Through a Dry Winter

Yes, we live in a desert, and yes we know that desert living does not include a lot of rain, but this year has definitely been drier than most! In our household, we can only remember one good storm over the summer, and many of our neighbors in other parts of the valley are wishing they could claim that! And although we really do not want to say the drought word, it is quite possible that is the direction in which we are heading, which might make you start wondering: Will your Arizona trees survive a long, dry winter after a long, super-hot, and dry summer? The loss of any greenery in the desert is a painful experience, so we at New Image Landscape and Pools have created this guide to keeping your trees alive through a dry winter!

We’ve Said It Before

The best way to ensure your trees survive any dry period, no matter what the season, is to begin by choosing drought-tolerant trees! Why plant something that needs constant watering and waste our most precious resource if you don’t have to? On the other hand, planting a tree close to the home can reduce air conditioning costs by about 25%, which is why drought-tolerant trees can be your resource saving solution. Some popular trees that do exceptionally well in the desert include the Chilean mesquite, any version of the palo verde tree, the Afghan pine, and the beautiful desert willow! Most of these trees flower, creating a breathtaking punctuation mark to your desert landscape, and because they are drought-tolerant, you only need to water these once every four weeks during the winter months!

The Trees Were There When You Bought Your Home

We do not all have the opportunity to start our landscaping from scratch, and if you have recently purchased an already established yard with trees that are both drought-tolerant and require frequent watering, do not be afraid. We can help you keep them alive through the mild and dry Arizona winter! Even more tropical trees do not need to be watered more than once every two weeks, so don’t beat yourself up about it! The oxygen your trees provide do benefit our environment, and as stated earlier, they can lower your utility bills during the scorching days of summer. Just be sure not to water when the ground is frozen. We do get the occasional frosty days, even in the desert, but unlike your eastern hometown, all you need to do is wait them out a few days and the soil will once again be soft and easy to water. Once the temperatures have soared above 40 degrees, watering will be a go!

Did It Rain Recently?

If we happen to have a good storm, you will not need to water, but even if it was a light sprinkling, you might want to delay watering for a few more days. The cooler weather makes the ground stay wetter longer, and if you water while still damp, it can cause root rot, causing injury or even death to the tree you are trying to help thrive! It also saves that precious resource, giving you a win-win situation.

How to Water Your Arizona Trees

Believe it or not, you just can’t turn your sprinkler system towards the tree and walk away; there are correct ways to water, and of course, we have the inside scoop! Watering at the base of the trunk actually does not do what is necessary, as the root system of most trees extend out past the canopy. Setting a drip line around the circumference of the tree at this spot ensures the water will go where it is needed—straight to the roots! Watering slowly and deeply also ensures the roots will grow strong and deep and give homeowners less chances to worry about losing the tree in strong winds. There is no sadder sight in the desert than driving through neighborhoods filled with uprooted trees after a big desert windstorm. The loss of a mature tree is expensive and bad for the environment!

Stay Conservative

Even though we are experiencing extreme dryness this year, chances are your trees will do just fine. Just remember that less is more (in most cases) and if it helps, make notes on your calendar every time you water your trees so you have a written accounting of your schedule! And sometimes the most accurate gauge as to whether or not your tree has had too much or too little watering can be your own eyesight. Are the leaves on a non-deciduous tree starting to wither and fall off? Step up your watering schedule. Are the leaves turning yellow and curling? Chances are you have watered too much and need to take a longer break between sessions! If you are still worried, give us a call today and let us come out and take a look! We hope to hear from you soon.

Plants That Thrive in an Arizona Winter

If you are experiencing an Arizona winter for the first time, we at New Image Landscape and Pools would like to welcome you to the desert! Arizona winters in the Valley of the Sun are a reward for surviving the scorching desert heat, making the season one of our favorites. But humans are not the only life form that thrive during the winter. Much to the delight of gardeners all over the Phoenix Metropolitan area, many of our plants and flowers happily come into bloom during the winter months, giving yards a lush and verdant beauty not always apparent the rest of the year. If you were born with a green thumb, you have come to the right place, and this guide to plants that thrive in an Arizona winter will give you the garden of your dreams!

Geraniums

Unlike the rest of the nation, winter is when our yards come to life, due to the beauty of hardy plants like the common geranium. Coming in a variety of colors (red geraniums can give your Christmas landscape a boost of holiday color), all they require to be happy is lots of winter sun and moist soil.

Bare Root Trees and Shrubs

Winter ends in March for most of the world, but here in Phoenix, January is generally the last of the cold months, making it the perfect time to plant any bare root trees and shrubs you have been imagining would be perfect for your oasis! For the novice gardener, this includes citrus trees; prevalent in the desert, January and February is also when orange blossoms come into bloom, offering their sweet scent to the entire neighborhood. Bare root pecan trees do well when planted during the cooler months as well.

Veggies in the Arizona Winter

We’ve all learned the importance of eating our vegetables and avoiding preservatives, but it can be difficult to spread the love for veggies to the younger generation—unless you make an adventure out of it with a garden in the backyard! Youngsters love to watch something they have planted from seeds grow into beautiful (and healthy) plants, and winter is the perfect time in Arizona to grow some of your favorites, including cabbage, carrots, lettuce, and potatoes. This is also the perfect time to plant bare root asparagus, needing nothing more than full sun and well-drained soil, making it an easy plant to take care of in busy winter months.

African Daisy

For many Phoenicians, the cheerful sight of African daisies in bloom can bring a smile of pure joy to their faces; it is difficult to stay down and depressed when faced with a beautiful orange flower! Thriving in the wintertime, the daisy can grow up to 10 inches tall and needs very little water. Preferring full sun, their happy faces contrast nicely with a shed in the backyard!

Beets in December

Yes, we discussed winter vegetables, but the beautiful contrast of dark green leaves and brilliant red bulbs makes the common beet an especially desired winter vegetable! Did you know, however, that beets come in multiple colors? Brighten your salad plate with a beautiful and delicious beet salad in shades of purple, pink, gold and pure white. And remember, planting in full sun and covering with a tarp at night ensures your harvest will be a sweet one!

California Poppy

This leggy transplant from our neighbor to the west does well when planted any time from September through February and adds a flash of sophistication to your home oasis. Growing up to 12 inches tall, the blooms will last longer and shine brighter if you keep them well watered. Do not worry about adding fertilizer; too much can prevent blooms, which is a side effect no one wishes to suffer!

Herb Gardens for the Win

The best part of having an herb garden is being able to go out and pinch off a fresh leaf for whatever dish you are preparing, adding flavor to what could have been a bland and tasteless meal. Keep a container herb garden in the window of your kitchen, on your covered patio, or even in a raised bed by the gazebo. For those who love being spicy instead of salty, creating a salsa garden in a terracotta herb jar planter is a fun and easy chore! Find your favorite salsa recipe and plant the ingredients in each open area. If you just want to plant the cilantro and jalapeños and purchase the tomatoes and tomatillos from the grocery store, no one will judge you for taking the easy way out!

Every Day Is Paradise

Winter is our favorite time of year in the Phoenix area, giving us the time and the right temperatures to get out there and plant. Give us a call today and let our helpful and knowledgeable staff at New Image Landscape and Pools help you create the garden of your dreams!

Best Shade Trees in Arizona for Your Yard

For a large portion of the year, desert living involves dealing with the scorching ball of fire that beats down on our heads for many hours of every day. Causing high electric bills as we stay inside as much as possible, when the summer months hit, the sun also causes a decrease in our quality of life, but there are ways to cool down your yard and spend a little more time outside, aside from building a pool or misting system. Shade trees are surprisingly helpful with blocking out the sun, cooling down houses, and of course, they also add a natural beauty to your landscape, creating an oasis that is welcoming and inviting. Our guide to the best shade trees in Arizona for your yard will ensure that you find the ones that won’t just survive in the heat but will grow full and strong and thrive under extreme desert conditions.

Willow Acacia Trees

These desert dwellers may not look as bushy and verdant as you would expect from a shade tree, but when they mature, they offer a great deal of shade while not requiring a great deal of water to keep them alive. Featuring beautiful yellow blooms, they attract bees and butterflies, adding natural beauty to the yard. Technically considered shrubs, they can grow to be as tall as 20 feet or as short as 10 feet and fit in narrower areas of the yard. These are true desert trees and can be the perfect addition to a desert landscape. In addition, if you are a homeowner that has SRP, they are offering a program called the Shade Tree Program in which they will give you two desert trees free of cost, and the acacia tree is one of your options. Recognizing the benefits of desert trees when it comes to conserving energy and water while beautifying the landscape, this free program is one of many reasons we love living in Arizona!

Evergreen Elm

Even living where we do, we still tend to want a landscape that resembles those of our eastern neighbors. We desire the lush green grass, cheerful flowers, and trees that provide shade in the summer and turn gorgeous shades of autumn colors in the fall, and the evergreen elm is one of those trees. Preferring the heat of full sun and requiring deep soil that drains well, these majestic saplings grow fast and provide the shade, cooling properties, and northern style we love. This tree is not a native one but it does well in the Arizona desert.

Desert Willow

We have come back to the native desert trees, as suggested by the name, with the desert willow, which also provides pink blooms that attract bees and hummingbirds to their branches in the spring, summer, and fall. Unlike other species of willow trees, the desert willow requires very little water to survive and can actually die if watered too much; less than 30 inches a year is all that is needed. Reaching a potential height of up to 30 feet tall, the upright nature of this tree requires minimal pruning, making it the perfect tree for busy homeowners. The desert willow qualifies for SRP’s Shade Tree Program as well.

Arizona Ash

As the name suggest, this ash tree is native to our state and offers a fantastic canopy of dark green leaves for shading people and homes. This deciduous tree loses its leaves in the late fall to the early winter, turning a brilliant shade of gold before it does, creating a dramatic backdrop for your yard in the cooler days. The best part of these thickly leaved trees is they are virtually drought tolerant while providing shade cover that is perfect for sitting under while children play in the yard. Simply water every so often during particularly hot and dry summers and watch it grow up to 45 feet and spread out over the yard, acting as a natural umbrella!

Blue Paloverde Tree

Flowering in the spring, the bright yellow blooms contrast nicely with the silvery green leaves of yet another desert dweller that is not just the State Tree of Arizona but is one of the free trees offered in the SRP Shade Tree Program. The blue palo verde, also known as the Parkinsonia florida, grows quite quickly (up to 25 feet) and has a canopy that will spread out over 25 feet, offering shade for Arizona yards. As with most desert trees, it requires very little water to survive, not even needing to be watered once the tree has become established (most trees will need initial watering times until they mature).

Ready for Shaded Trees in Arizona?

2020 has been a rough year, and many more Arizonans are working from home, making our energy bills rise dramatically and also making it the perfect time to add some energy saving trees to your yard. Give us a call today and let our New Image Landscape and Pools staff create a cool oasis of shaded trees in Arizona that can be enjoyed during all the seasons of the year!

Summer Water Saving Tips & Secrets

We live differently in the desert than in other parts of the world. We hibernate during the summer, staying inside as much as possible, and spend our winter months playing outside and sleeping with the windows open. We normally have an overabundance of sunlight, and in the summer a giant wall of dust is often spotted moving towards the valley. And because we recognize water as being more precious than gold, we have had to learn how to thrive on less in our gardens, our yards, and even in our homes! At New Image Landscape and Pools, we don’t believe you have to have a sterile and boring landscape even when you lessen your water usage. This guide to summer water saving secrets will help you with your mission to conserve more and still have the yard and garden of your dreams.

Explore the Beauty of Cacti

You live in the desert, so there’s no reason to feel ashamed of having a desert landscape. Cacti come in an extensive variety of shapes, sizes, and colors! From the signature cactus of Arizona, the massive saguaro, to the Blossfeldia liliputana—the smallest cactus in the world, measuring just millimeters across—this beautiful and water saving plant can make a distinctive presence in your yard. For those who want flowers, many cacti bloom in the spring, and for those who are worried about their children getting hurt, there are varieties that don’t have any stickers at all! Start your yard with a base of gravel, then plant a saguaro in the front corner, a few barrel cacti over in the back corner, and in place of a fence, plant a row of Mexican fence post cacti along the boundary between your yard and your neighbor’s for privacy!

Hardy Desert Plants

Of course, many of us are transplants from the Midwest, and the thought of a lush garden filled with plants and flowers makes our hearts beat a little faster! Fortunately, not all desert landscapes have to consist of crushed gravel, prickly cacti, and a few tumbleweeds doing their thing. There are many hardy desert plants that provide lush greenery and colorful blooms that last through most seasons! From the different varieties of sage plants to the cheerful beauty of a desert marigold, your yard can be as verdant and lush as an English garden with these water saving tips!

Accentuate with Hardscape

Building a gazebo, adding a shed, or even constructing a retaining wall in hillier locations may not seem like a water saving technique, until you consider that the more hardscape items that are in your yard, the less green space is left for gardens or grass! There’s no need to water your summer kitchen and painting a gazebo a cheerful barn red can provide the color you crave without necessitating more watering!

Consider Artificial Turf

Today’s fake grasses are not the ones of your parent’s time. In many cases, it’s nearly impossible to tell the difference between real and fake! And because it doesn’t fade, flatten, or change in length, it doesn’t just save water, it also saves you from frustration as it saves you time. There are a few disadvantages to this type of turf, however, first and foremost being price—especially in comparison to the cost of seeding or even sod for the real stuff. Costing between $5 to $20 per yard (installed), it could be prohibitively expensive for a large yard, especially when you consider it’s not a forever choice. With proper care it can last up to 20 years, though, so if you’re planning on staying on your property for a lifetime, you might want to skip the artificial turf.

Invest in an Automatic Sprinkler System

These systems are lifesavers when it comes to saving time and keeping your yard and plants alive, but did you also know they are water saving devices? Owners can program the systems to allow for just the right amount of watering, ensuring not a drop of water is wasted, but that’s not the only ways these systems save money. Many systems detect rain and will turn off when Mother Nature is taking her turn at watering your grass and plants! Costing a little more at first, the benefits of being able to have a lush and verdant yard while manage to conserve one of our most precious resources cannot be appreciated enough!

Easy to Do Water Saving Tips

It may take a little extra planning at first, but saving water is an easy thing to do, and we can help you create a landscape that is both bountiful and water saving! Give us a call today and we will work together to ensure you get the yard of your dreams without wasting a drop of H2O.