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.

Dos and Don’ts for a Splendid Summer Garden

As we experience uncertain times in a world that has drastically changed, we are definitely getting a lot more done at home. Shelves are organized, refrigerators are clean, and now it’s time to start looking at the backyard. That large corner on the far end of your yard has become nothing more than a catch-all for kids’ toys and lawn equipment; wouldn’t it be nice to have a splendid summer garden to enjoy during this pause from the hustle and bustle we’ve become used to? We’ve created this guide to dos and don’ts to ensure your summer garden will be the envy of the neighborhood, even if they can only see it from periodic glimpses over the wall or out their bedroom window!

Choosing the Right Plants

First and foremost, be sure to choose flowers or vegetables that can survive the desert heat. When temperatures can reach 100 degrees plus, the wrong choices can lead to a big ugly dirt patch in the corner of your yard, instead of the picturesque green or floral landscape you’ve been imagining. Some flowers that thrive in the desert include hibiscus, lavender, and honeysuckle, all of which are colorful plants that survive in high temperatures and full sun.

If you’re planning a summer vegetable garden, choices can include sweet potatoes, okra, Armenian cucumbers, and basil. Summer vegetable gardens will do best in shaded areas, so perhaps you may want to choose to plant next to the gazebo you built last summer. Summer gardeners can also plant under a tree or create shade with shade cloth and garden stakes.

Conserving a Precious Resource

Irrigation is important as well. Considering an irrigation method such as a drip system can save you time, stress, and money, as well as saving precious resources. Determining how much water is needed is important and setting up a drip system ensures that you don’t have to think about it; the smart systems available today do all the thinking for you!

Even though it’s cooler for the gardener, night watering can lead to mold and diseases that attack the soil, so if you’ve been choosing to water the old-fashioned way with hose or water pail in the cooler hours of the night, you should probably reconsider your choice and think about installing a drip system and change your watering hours to morning; soaker systems work as well!

Protection from Storms

Although the desert is generally an arid space, during monsoon season the storms can be impressive, tearing through your carefully tended gardens, leaving a giant mess if not protected. Stakes, poles, and tomato cages can help plants stand strong against the worst of the storms, as can planting your garden in a protected area such as between the shed and the cinder block wall that surrounds your yard, under the eaves of your home, or under your covered patio, in the case of container gardens.

Mulch

This is a step many people forget, but the right mulch can serve a variety of purposes in keeping a summer garden healthy. Mulch can prevent the soil from drying out as quickly, keep the soil cool, and protect the roots of the plants you are growing. Bark mulch is a popular choice, but be warned: Scorpions thrive in bark mulch, so if you have a critter problem, this may not be an option for you!

Container Gardens and Shade from the Sun

Not all desert dwellers have large yards with room for garden space. Many of us have little more than a patio and a postage stamp sized yard, but that’s ok. Container gardens don’t need a lot of space and can add a cheerful atmosphere to a boring patio with one caveat: If you don’t want your flowers, herbs, and vegetables withering away into brittle pieces of straw, they must be kept shaded during the hottest parts of the day (between 10 AM and 4 PM). They also need more watering than garden beds do, so count on watering twice a day.

Don’t Be Afraid to Ask for Help With Your Summer Garden

Sometimes gardening manuals can be boring and slightly incomprehensible as they discuss the pathology of plants and the specific pH levels of soil in the desert. We love the landscape part of our job and can help you make sense of the madness. There may be wrong ways to garden, but there are no wrong ways to learn how to create the garden of your dreams, including asking your favorite pool and landscaping business for tips and suggestions! Give us a call today and let’s talk about what your simple summer garden needs to become a splendid one!

Spectacular Shade Structures for Your Yard

With all the changes that have gone on in the world lately, it should be comforting noticing the things that never change, except, of course, if you’re talking about summer weather! Even though the calendar pages have barely flipped over into May, we desert dwellers know summer has arrived, and boy is it HOT! It takes a certain type of person to survive these vicious temperatures, and if you’ve survived at least one summer here, we consider you the “right” type! You’ve probably already learned the secrets of staying cool during this season of torture; you have programmable thermostats in your houses, a swimming pool in your yard, and have discovered the joys of layering. Tank tops and loose pants and/or skirts, topped with a sweater make the transition from scorching to subzero air conditioning bearable on a personal level, as black out curtains, dual paned windows, and ceiling fans help keep you cool and comfortable inside your own house.

There is more you can do, however, to enjoy a cooler summer season when outside in your backyard, and this guide to spectacular shade structures is the perfect way to start! Dropping the mercury while offering an idyllic beauty to what could be a bland and boring landscape, these structures offer another tool to help homeowners deal with the scorching summer heat!

Planting Trees

Sometimes the simplest answers are all you need and planting a tree or two in your backyard can help shelter you from the heat as it helps save the environment. Planting a shade tree near the home, but not so close as to have root and plumbing issues, can also help drive down summer electric bills as the shade keeps the house cooler. There are, of course, other things you must consider, such as do you really want leaves in your pool, and any allergies you or your family members might suffer from, but at the end of a day, a beautiful tree can offer shade and style to your yard.

Use Patio Umbrellas as Shade Structures

Another, less permanent, idea, would be the addition of a patio umbrella. Designed to provide shade wherever it is placed and easily movable, these compact structures can be just the pop of color your yard needs. Monsoon storms, or any storms for that matter, can be a problem, especially if you forget to crank it down and put it somewhere safe from the winds or risk unintentionally gifting your neighbors with a new patio umbrella.

Install a Pavilion

Similar to a gazebo, a pavilion can be a semi-permanent solution to the lack of shade on your property. Generally constructed of aluminum, it is open to the elements and extra shade is provided with material; sheer curtains are beautiful, but lack the shade blocking abilities that a sturdier canvas fabric has, and so canvas is the more commonly used material in the desert. These sweet structures are often used in movies as spots for romantic dinners and have twinkle lights strung along the posts for an even more romantic atmosphere.

Make It Permanent with A Pergola

Pergolas resemble a pavilion, only they are usually constructed of wood, generally offer wood beams in the roof area that allow dappled light in from above and will be a permanent addition to your yard. Their versatility make them popular choices, as you can leave them uncovered during the cooler months or cover the with canvas to create the shade you desire in the summer. Planting flowering ivy around the posts will enhance the beauty and if you choose a jasmine or other aromatic plant, the scent will bring you peace whenever you spend time under its canopy.

Build a Gazebo

These permanent structures can be constructed as elaborately as you like or as simple as your budget can afford. Also known as pagodas, they don’t just offer a shaded spot in your yard; they are the perfect spot for hanging out wrapped in towels after spending time in the pool, enjoying an ice cream cone without leaving a sticky mess in the house, and even eating breakfast on a lazy Saturday morning. Stylish and inviting, these beautiful hardscape items can be the central focus of your yard, even with a pool fighting for acknowledgement!

A Taste of the Tropics

Resembling a tiki hut, a palapa is permanent structure topped with open beams and a thatched roof. Drinking mojitos under these structures is almost a law in many places, and the look of a palapa will give your yard the appeal of a tropical oasis in the desert. Blend your favorite adult beverage, tuck a flower behind your ear, and prepare for some cool relaxation on a hot summer night. The only possible downfall to this permanent structure is the thatching can dry out and need to be replaced periodically.

Believe It or Not There’s More!

We at New Image Landscape and Pools have been in the business a long time and know all the tricks to keeping cool on the hottest days of the year. Give us a call today and we can discuss the options listed as well as some we didn’t have the time to mention!

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!

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!