Landscaping Trends to Revitalize Your Yard

When you look out into your backyard, what do your feel about what you see there? Are you excited about spending time out there? Do you imagine yourself relaxing in those comfortable chaise lounges you purchased 10 years ago? Do you still WANT to be out there enjoying the comforts of your personal oasis? If your answer is yes, you can skip over this article and go about your day, maybe spend some time reading our pool articles to see if there is anything you missed! But if your thoughts when looking at over your landscape are less than proud, sit back, get comfortable, and be prepared to learn about some of the newest landscape trends guaranteed to put the wow factor back into your tired Arizona landscape.

Plant a Vegetable Garden

In addition to adding a lush beauty to your yard, a vegetable garden can add a healthy deliciousness to your table! Keep it simple with a potted jalapeño garden on your porch, growing tomatoes, jalapeños, cilantro, even onions and garlic, most of the items needed to toss together a spicy homemade salsa. If you think that owning your own small piece of “farmland” might bring you to your Zen, go all out with raised beds filled with your favorite veggies! Offering a rich and substantial beauty to your natural landscape most of the year, a vegetable garden can be your first step in revitalizing your backyard.

Flower Gardens That Keep the Pests Away

Don’t you just love things that serve multiple purposes? A dining room table that works as a game station, a sofa that doubles as a place to sit and a place to nap, or a flower garden that looks beautiful and keeps those pesky mosquitoes away! We, of course, are more interested in the last bit, especially this summer, as the monsoon season has created an environment the little pests are thriving in! Add a pot of purple lavender to either side of your front door, plant a bed of marigolds close to your covered patio, and add a potted herbal garden to the pots on your porch, being sure to include basil, and you have a naturally beautiful mosquito repellant garden.

Create a Secret Escape With Your Arizona Landscape

We once knew a gentleman who lived in an ordinary 80s ranch style home. From the front, it blended in with all the other homes on the street, but when we walked into his backyard, our gasps of joy could not be withheld. In a regular-sized Arizona lot, he had transformed the space into his own secret paradise, building secret gardens with gravel paths that meandered through, hiding a comfy bench behind a mature tree at the back of the lot. A fountain bubbled merrily, blocking out the sounds of traffic, music played quietly, offering even more noise that formed a pleasant barrier against freeway sounds, and the smells of aromatic flowers created a space of peace and comfort that we never wanted to leave!

Add a Koi Pond

This blast from the past is hot again, and if you have the time, space, and stick-to-it-ness, a koi garden can transform your own backyard oasis! The desert, as you very well know, can reach unbearable temps in the summer months, but if you place the pond under mature trees and surround it with cooling plants, your koi will thrive. Remember, however, that they can grow up to 36 inches long or more, so be sure that you have the space they will need when they reach full maturity.

Lighting Transforms Your Space

Maybe your lawn is perfectly acceptable during the day, but as soon as the sun sets, it loses all its glory. It is hard to appreciate a big black hole when sipping wine on the patio, but with the addition of lights, your oasis becomes a 24-hour paradise! Twinkle lights in the trees, solar lanterns along the paths, or for pool owners, an LED color changing light in the pool are all great options. Consider up lights, step lights, or for those special occasions, citronella tiki torches that can keep the mosquitoes away from your guests while providing a festive ambience. (This last idea is solely for special occasions or when you are going to be out in the yard, as you should never leave flames unattended.)

Go High-Tech

Although this last tip won’t change the look of your yard, it will definitely change the way you appreciate your landscape, lessening your chores and increasing your enjoyment. Smart technology can be run from your phone, keeping the pool equipment working efficiently, and can be added to your watering system, allowing you to enjoy the beauty of the flowers without having to be constantly out there watering. Also used for lighting and music systems, the options are virtually limitless when you go high-tech in your own backyard!

New Image Landscape and Pools Has the Answers

Interested? Need a few more questions answered? Give us a call today and let New Image Landscape and Pools help you bring the wow factor back to your yard!

Low-Cost Design Ideas for Your Yard

Our homes are our castles, and every castle deserves its own private oasis, a place we can go to celebrate the good times, contemplate our places in life, or simply relax and enjoy the sounds of urban living. On the weekends, the distant sounds of children’s laughter mingle with the low buzz of lawn mowers and splashes in the pool, but in your Arizona yard, the quiet serenity soothes the rough edges of your soul. You want your yard to be a place you turn to in all the seasons of your life, and if it’s not quite there yet, this guide to low-cost design ideas can help you create the space you desire without breaking the bank! There is always time to add big ticket items such as a pool or outdoor kitchen, but today, simple and inexpensive are the key words in our vocabulary—and fun and relaxing as well.

The Basics Are There

Chances are, you do already have the basics in place. No backyard oasis is complete without places to sit, dine, and prepare food, and the easiest additions can be the patio table you eat at on a cool fall evening, the lounge chairs you relax on in the summer months, and of course, the barbecue grill that is the focus of every meal. These pieces are a part of every home, but if you do not already have them, you probably have ideas on where to get them. Warehouse stores, discount stores, and the internet offer selections that are as varied as your personality.

If you do have these basic pieces already, now is the time to make them shine and show off the personality of your oasis! Add colorful cushions to the dining chairs, creating comfortable and cheerful pops of beauty. Your lounge chairs will be more restful with their own cushions, and here you can add a throw pillow for an extra touch of comfort; a fabric called Sunbrella is sturdy, fade resistant, and created for outdoor spaces! Throw an outdoor rug under the patio set. An outdoor rug brings a coziness to the space, but if you have animals or young kids, you might be worried about how well a rug will stand up to the shenanigans of either; in this case, it is time to show off your creative side and PAINT a rug! The design can be as simple (a block of color with a few geometric shapes tossed in) or as elaborate (paint it to look like a beach) as you like, and because there are paints designed for this purpose, it will definitely stand the test of time!

Finally, the last part of this basic equation for an oasis is your barbecue grill. No, we are not suggesting you paint it or add a frilly apron front, but we can suggest building a simple structure for which your “baby” can rest under, giving it a focal spot in your yard. Fence posts for the legs, corrugated tin for the roof, and a couple of bags of cement to keep it in place during the big storms will create a rustic centerpiece that is beautiful and functional too, as it can shade you from the worst of the sun’s rays!

Can You See It Coming Together?

Outdoor design is so much fun, possibly because of how inexpensive additions can make a huge difference, and you can probably already see an amazing change in your yard! Now is the perfect time to add planters filled with your favorite flowers and a couple of fruit trees in either corner of your yard—lemon, grapefruits, and orange trees doing exceptionally well in the desert. Most of us have that large expanse of gray cement wall (or wood slat fence) surrounding our backyards, and the options for beautifying both are only limited by your imagination! Artistic types can paint a mural along its great expanse, adding a touch of whimsy to your yard, or non-artistic types can paint it to match the house. Remember, the sun is harsh, and once you start painting you will have upkeep to consider over the years. One of our team members has discovered a beautiful way of dressing up the walls and fences that surround their yard by hanging a collection of colorful and happy suns on their walls that they have collected during their travels; this inexpensive hobby brightens up their yard and eliminates boring blank spaces!

So Many Options for Your Arizona Yard

As you can see, there are many options available to give your yard the feeling of your own private oasis. Give us a call today and we can work together to come up with more than a few more—New Image Landscape and Pools aims to please!

Patio & Walkway Material Pros & Cons

Our homes truly are our castles, protecting us from bad forces, sheltering us from the elements, and making us feel better at the end of some very long days. Last year we spent more time than ever before inside their walls as unprecedented happenings occurred around the world, and although we have not completely reached the light at the end of the tunnel, it is growing brighter by the second. Chances are all that time you spent at home, however, had you looking at your landscape with a new eye and today, with all the monsoon rains we have had in the valley lately, you may be turning toward the pathways that lead up to your front door, through your garden, or around your pool. The dirt does nothing to enhance the look of your home, and you have been putting off doing something about it for far too long; this guide to patio and walkway materials will give you the pros and the cons of some of the most popular choices, giving you a clearer idea as to what you can expect from your Arizona landscaping!

Gravel

Desert landscapes often begin with a gravel base, and the stones can also be used to mark paths through the garden or to create an area on which your patio table can stand. Inexpensive, quick to install, and easy to lay, it can be the simplest way to give your landscape structure. The downside to gravel paths and patios, however, can having you look in another direction. It can be difficult to keep the gravel where it is supposed to be—such as in your pool—weeds can grow through it easily even if you start with the weed barrier that is supposed to prevent their growth, and the uneven surface can hurt your feet when you have to walk over the gravel, no matter how small the size of the pebbles.

Concrete

Concrete is a popular and relatively inexpensive option, giving your landscape that finished look that we all crave. Easy to maintain after installation and able to be stained, stamped, or even painted, a concrete path, patio, or sidewalk can be the perfect way to express your creativity without costing a fortune. Unfortunately, as with many materials at this time, installation costs are on the rise, and unless you have construction skills and experience with concrete, you will definitely need to hire someone to do the work, driving up the installation costs even more. Also, it is best not to lay concrete in temperatures over 90 degrees or under 40 degrees, so this is a project that is best done in the winter, late fall, or early spring.

Flagstone

The natural beauty of flagstone makes everyone want to add it to their landscape, as it gives a feeling of warmth and welcoming to every yard it graces. A flagstone patio topped with pots of colorful flowers, a garden path leading to a secret bench under a mature evergreen elm, or even a deck that surrounds the pool—there are so many ways to use the material, and every one of those ways are beautiful. Costing more than concrete or gravel, you have to factor in the expense when you make your decision, and you need to know that the stone reflects the sun and can be slippery when wet, so it may be ok for a shaded area but it is not the best choice to lay near pools. In addition, the size of the flagstones can be difficult to handle and the natural irregularities in the stone can make it more difficult to level when first installing.

Travertine

Travertine tiles and pavers are often used in Phoenix area landscapes and have been a natural building choice for centuries, adding an elegance to your at-home oasis that will be an envy of all your neighbors! Strong and able to withstand the elements, the surface stays relatively cool on the hottest of days, and if kept in its natural state, is perfect for areas with a lot of moisture (especially around pools) as it offers a natural non-slip surface. They cost more but can also add to the value of your home, so if you are thinking of selling in the near future, it is a great material to use. However, travertine can stain, it is heavy and more difficult to install, and as we mentioned, it can be expensive, prohibitively so in some cases. An amateur landscaper can do it themselves if they have a steady hand and a strong back, but it is best to hire someone to do the work, adding to the expense of installation.

Choose New Image Pools and Landscape for Your Arizona Landscaping Needs

You are busy and it is really hot outside; do you really want to use up all your free hours installing landscaping materials? Give us a call today and let us do what we do best while you rest and relax in the cool air conditioning!

Ways to Make Use of Arizona Monsoon Season Rainwater

There are a more than a few things we have to get used to when we first move to the Valley, and although the heat is definitely number one on the list, the aridity runs a close second. Every day is a repeat of the day before, and as the sun shines over the valley, those clouds we see off in the distance may raise our hopes only to dash them once again as they dissipate, revealing blue skies again! As such, we have learned to plant drought resistant plants and do our best not to waste the desert’s most precious resource, but every once in a while, the skies do open up and flood our dry and arid land with cool, life-sustaining rain!

On those occasions when flash flood warnings scroll along the bottom of our television screens, you may have wondered idly if there was a way to save up that water and use it at a later date. Because we at New Image Landscape and Pools have wondered that as well, we did a little research and found out that, yes, it is 100% possible! This guide to making use of our Arizona monsoon season rainwater has been created to share the information with our favorite people of all, our clients and customers who have made the desert their home.

Something Interesting

You may be wondering if it is even worth it to try to harvest rainwater, and so may be surprised to learn that just from one inch of rainfall, nearly 600 gallons of water can be captured from your roof alone, more if you have a roof that is larger than 1000 square feet! So yes, it is definitely worth it, and with proper precautions, you can lower your water bill as you do more than your part of saving the environment. This water can be used for watering your lawn and garden, as drinking water for your animals, or even drinking it yourself; there are filtering systems designed to rid the water of impurities or anything that might cause illness, but to be honest, we would probably just use rainwater for our lawns and gardens!

Now for the Details

There are a variety of ways to capture rainwater, with the most basic setup involving gutters, barrels, and pea gravel in case of overflow. You want the excess to be able to drain off easily and not cause any damage to your foundation, so do not skip the gravel or you could regret it later. Interestingly, most Arizona homes do not come with gutters, so if you are doing this, you will need to invest in an entirely new gutter system, one that includes filters for debris. Place the barrel under the downspout, being sure that your downspout does not end up on the side of your house near the electric box, or if your yard has a septic system, keep away from that spot as well. Overflow ports and first-flush diverters will be needed, and the barrels should be maintained every few months; also, it may seem like a waste of water, but your barrels must be drained every 3 to 5 years. Go ahead and drain it into your yard, perhaps at the beginning of watering season so nothing goes to waste!

Get Creative This Arizona Monsoon Season

You can purchase any size barrel; 55-gallon drums are most common, or you can build one yourself using a large plastic waste can with a lid and screen material for the filter. The barrels designed for capturing rainwater are made from PVC and have a spigot for easy watering, though, and because they are not too expensive, this may be what you want to use. True water containment systems are made from a variety of materials and come in a variety of sizes, allowing you to purchase the one that works best for you! Colors can vary as well, from clear plastic to black, red, or green; one online retailer even makes a gorgeous copper one that has a 5-liter capacity and adds to the beauty of your landscape. The Rain Wizard Rock is designed to look like a piece of granite, something that looks amazing in a desert landscape, and comes in dark, light, sandstone, and red brick designs. A terra cotta version holding up to 65 gallons and resembling a large vase can be ordered from your local Target, and we even noticed a rain catcher created from plastic tarps and poles that simply sits out in the open; the water drains into plastic containers not unlike those you would use for drinking water.

Sounds a Bit Complicated?

Give us a call today and let us work together to create an environment that is friendly, welcoming, and kind to the desert!

Heat-Resistant Plants to Add Green to Your Yard

There are a few things you have to be prepared for when you move to the desert: one, it gets HOT in the summer; two, the sun is far brighter than it was in your midwestern home town; and three, plants will die if you do not choose the right ones. Nothing is worse than purchasing a bunch of plants in the spring, only to watch them die slow and painful deaths as the summer months progress, and we at New Image Landscape and Pools want to save your plants! This guide to heat-resistant plants that will add color to your yard while giving the environment an extra helping of oxygen will ensure that you will make it to fall with a yard that is green, healthy, and the envy of your neighborhood!

Natal Plum

This rich green evergreen plant is surprisingly hearty due to its South African roots and adds a touch of elegance to your desert landscape. Offering cheerful white blooms in the spring through the fall, it can grow up to 3 feet tall and 3 feet wide, creating a beautiful contrast to your stuccoed home when planted in the bare space beneath your windows. These Arizona plants need to be watered at least once a week, and during the summer months should be watered deeper. When watered correctly, it will do wonderful in full sun.

New Gold Lantana

Environmentalists have been warning us for years about the importance of butterflies and honey bees and how their demise is causing the Earth to meet an untimely end, so having this cheerful golden plant in your yard is a great way to help! Attracting butterflies, the bright gold flowers offer a happy contrast to its dark green leaves, and its fast rate of growth allows homeowners to enjoy a verdant landscape within a short time. Doing well in full sun and needing very little water, this plant is often used as ground cover but can be used as low shrubs as well. The new gold lantana plant blooms in the spring and summer and adapts wonderfully to a desert landscape!

Bougainvillea

If you have lived in the valley for more than a few minutes, chances are you have seen (and felt!) this hearty South American plant more than a few times. Offering dark green leaves, bright fuchsia blooms, and long thorns that offer quite a bite when you accidentally back into them, the bougainvillea offers a dramatic beauty that stands up well to the desert heat and actually blooms more when it receives LESS water. Watering it deeply every three to four weeks will help it live a long and healthy life, and although it is quite common in desert yards, if you have a pool, you might want to avoid this plant, as the delicate blooms can clog up the filters!

Ficus Trees

This next plant is actually a tree that thrives in the desert heat as it provides a thick shade that is definitely enjoyed on summer days. The Ficus tree does not lose its leaves, and because their root systems go straight down instead of spreading out and up, they are often planted near pools. The only downside to this heat loving greenery is that it does not do as well in the cold and can suffer damage during frost seasons, so plant in protected areas if possible.

Jojoba

This plant is a popular one, growing wild easily in the desert; you have probably seen it planted in your neighbor’s yard without knowing what it was! The seeds and oil of the jojoba plant was often prized for their medicinal value in the past, and their ease of care makes them prized by today’s homeowners as well. Needing no fertilizer and very little water, they self-pollenate and can survive for over 100 years, doing best when planted in full sun!

Texas Ranger (Sage)

The Texas Ranger is known for its slightly fuzzy silvery green leaves, its bright purple blooms, and its hardiness that allows it to thrive in triple digit temperatures. If you walk by this fragrant bush when it is full bloom, you may also notice it buzzes, but that isn’t due to any electronics in the area; the Texas Ranger attracts honey bees, making it yet another environmentally important plant that will add beauty to your yard without needing a lot of water to keep it healthy!

Give Us a Call Today to Learn More About Arizona Plants

Your landscape offers the first and sometimes only impression your home and yard can make. Give us a call today and let us work together creating an environment that appeals to your sense of beauty as much as it endures. Your home deserves to be the showpiece you have always known it could be, and there is no better time than the present to make it so!

Top Yard Features for Entertaining Guests

If the pandemic taught us nothing else, we have learned how much we need entertainment in our lives. Stuck home month after month, working, learning, and making contact virtually was interesting at first, but soon became a drag, and as restrictions are lifting and life is slowly making its way back to normal, it is time to re-start gatherings with friends and family. Invite just a few of the people you have missed most in a series of small celebrations guaranteed to be appreciated by everyone who attends—especially when they discover that you have been using your downtime to the following Arizona yard features to your private oasis! You may not have time to build or install all the features we are featuring below, but this is not an all or nothing world; choose just one or two from this guide and let the parties start!

Start Small

Not all entertainment features have to be large and expensive; sometimes all that is needed are a few pieces of patio furniture and some yard games! Cornhole (also known as bean bags) is a popular outdoor activity and the equipment needed can be inexpensive to purchase. We have even seen Cardinals-themed cornhole sets at some of our local grocery stores, so keep an eye out! Other outdoor yard games include badminton, lawn bowling, and, if you have the space and want to impress your friends and family, sports courts can be an exciting way to offer entertainment! Obviously, installing a sports court can be a little more costly and time consuming, but the benefits can be worth it.

Keep It Fiery

New transplants to the desert are often surprised at how cold it can get once the sun drops behind the mountains, making a fire pit in the backyard one of the most popular (and potentially inexpensive) additions to the well accessorized yard. Coming in a variety of shapes, sizes, and styles, the fire pit is where stories will be told (sometimes of the ghostly variety), memories will be shared, and peace will be found. The most basic of fire pits, created from stones, only need a selection of chairs surrounding them, while the most sophisticated version add a touch of glamour to your yard while also providing much-needed heat!

The Party Starts Here

An outdoor barbecue, also coming in a variety of shapes, sizes, and styles, is potentially the most important part of your backyard entertainment accessories, because if there is no food, can you really call it a party? Choose a simple charcoal grill, maybe with an attached smoker if you want to get a little fancy, a propane grill or electric smoker for ease, or get super fancy and go for an entire outdoor kitchen that will knock the socks off your guests! Your choices are only limited by your imagination and budget and can include mini fridges, sinks with running water, grills, and even pizza ovens. No guest will leave your home hungry when you install an outdoor kitchen in your backyard!

Throwing Shade

No, we aren’t talking about insulting your guests, we are talking about a much-needed attribute to any backyard, the presence of shade. Protecting your guests’ skin while offering a taste of coolness in a season that does not seem to understand the meaning of the word is very important, and there are multiple ways you can offer this type of protection. From the simple sun sail that is made of fabric and tied between structures to the more elaborate gazebo which offers a roof and a place to escape the suns brutal rays, these accoutrements may not add entertainment value, but they WILL allow you to entertain no matter what the season!

Happily Bubbling

Although we may not use this next backyard addition all that often in the summer months, the hot tub will still provide many hours of entertainment throughout the rest of the year. Tucked away into a corner of your covered porch, attached as an add-on to the pool (about which we will discuss more in a minute) or even placed under cover of the gazebo, this tool serves multiple purposes and can be a key ingredient to having the best of times. Soak aching muscles, laugh with your friends and loved ones, or simply appreciate the peaceful sound of the bubbles simmering merrily in the night air after a long and stressful day at work!

Cool Relief in Your Arizona Yard

Our final suggestion for the day is all about the pool. You could survive a summer of triple digit temperatures without this body of cool and clean water, but why would you want to when a pool can bring you so much pleasure? Summer parties offer so much more entertainment value when guests can splash around in the pool, and your house is sure to be the one everyone gravitates to on the hottest days of the year!

New Image Landscape and Pools Can Help

Give us a call today and let’s discuss what is needed to make your backyard the entertainment mecca of the neighborhood!

Simple & Elegant Shading Options for Your Yard

Living in the desert, especially in the summer, has taught us more than a few life lessons. Electric bills are outrageously high, pools make the heat bearable, and how shade, precious shade, can save our skin are just a few that come to mind! We have also learned that you can save on those electric bills simply by shading the house. Shade comes in many forms, adding a touch of cool to the scorching days of summer. This guide to all the ways you can bring shade in your life can bring you relief and respite as you continue on your plan to turn your Arizona yard into the oasis you have always dreamed it could be.

Umbrellas

One of the least expensive options for creating shade is the umbrella. Propped up in the center of a patio table or stuck into a hole on either side of your pool, these basic contraptions are colorful choices that are portable and perfect for even the smallest of yards. Even those who live in apartments can pick up an umbrella for their balcony or uncovered patio, relaxing under its cover on the hottest days of the year. The only downside to umbrellas is their lack of stability during monsoon storms, especially when placed in the center of a glass table. Homeowners need to remember to close the umbrella prior to a big storm or risk having a flying table whose glass top shatters into a million tiny pieces.

Sun Shade Sails

Simply put, the sun shade sail is another inexpensive way to add shade to your yard, with costs starting in the $20 range and increasing with the size of the sail. Coming in a variety of colors, homeowners can choose something subtle that blends with their home or go bright and cheerful to create a summer sanctuary in the backyard. Made from a fabric that blocks 90 percent of UV rays, it is also easy to install; simply attach the ropes on any of the ends to the house, a tree, or pole. Spread out over the yard, it can provide a haven of cool, and when tied over your pool, it can let guests stay in the pool longer with less chance of vicious sunburns.

Planting a Tree

This all-natural method of creating shade in your yard can be super cheap if you start with a seed, but most people don’t have the patience for that seed to sprout into a full-grown tree, so most desert dwellers want to start with a tree that is already partially grown. Nurseries will sell gallon, five-gallon, and various sizes boxes of whatever tree you prefer, with prices starting in the same range as sun sails and increasing exponentially with the size of the box you purchase. Planting trees near your house offers multiple benefits, as they shade your home and help clean the air. SRP is currently offering a free tree program to those who decide to go this route. You are limited to a small selection of trees, all of which are drought tolerant and do not require a lot of watering, but overall, it is an excellent program in which to participate.

Building a Pergola in Your Arizona Yard

A pergola is a popular yard structure that is adds beauty, elegance, and of course shade to any yard. Usually built of wood (there are other types of materials used in construction, but wood is the most common) it generally consists of four posts topped by a grid of planks that are left open to the elements. You can stop at this point and it will still offer a hint of shade, but many homeowners prefer planting flowering ivy which will add to its charm as it provides even more life-saving shade. Another option is to cover the open area with canvas and perhaps add some curtains on each of the post, creating a space that is perfect for al fresco dining.

Creating an Oasis with a Gazebo

The ultimate shade structure, a gazebo, can provide hours of entertainment in your backyard in addition, of course, to providing the shade we all seek! This structure is similar to a pergola but is built with a roof, allowing the opportunity to be used no matter whatever the weather conditions. This is the spot you can place an outdoor table and chairs or add electricity and hang a ceiling fan from its peak for additional cooling options. Many pergola owners tuck away a television in the rafters, add a mini fridge, and seriously turn this shade structure into a secondary living space.

Summer Has Arrived

We desert dwellers know that the calendar does not dictate the seasons, and that even though we are living in the season traditionally known as spring, summer has arrived. Give us a call today and let our expert employees at New Image Landscape and Pools help shade you from the heat!

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!