Three Features Your Backyard Improvements You Could Be Missing

The real world outside the boundaries of your home and yard can be a cruel and tough one, making it that much more important that we create sanctuaries to come back to at the end of each day. Inside our homes, we create spaces that are soft, warm, and welcoming, but the peace and tranquility doesn’t have to end there. Our backyards, especially here in the Phoenix area, where we surround our landscape with cinderblock walls for privacy, can offer a sanctuary of a different type. If your “back 40” is missing these three backyard improvements, you may not be using it to its full extent!

Firepits for Winter

We desert dwellers are about to enter our favorite season. Winter is when the day temperatures stay short-sleeve cool, but the nights dip into winter coat temperatures, making a firepit the perfect backyard accessory. Keep it simple with a circle of firesafe garden blocks and lawn furniture topped with colorful and soft padding or add an elaborate sunken fire pit area complete with built-in seats and twinkle lights shining in the trees above. It’s time to discover the joys of family time spent talking, laughing, or telling stories late into the night.

Vegetable Gardens for Health

The one complaint we often have about living in the desert is the quality of the vegetables we purchase from the grocery store. Although they may be colorful and attractive to look at, they tend to taste bland and mushy, making it even more of a chore to convince our children the importance of eating their vegetables! Growing a raised bed vegetable garden in your backyard, however, can solve all of your vegetable issues, including getting your children to eat them. The joy they take in planting, caring, and then harvesting the veggies will entice them to eat them as well, making a vegetable garden a feature that will make your yard a dream come true! And because the care you take can bring a Zen garden appeal to your life, the vegetable garden can add to the peace and tranquility of your outdoor sanctuary!

Sheds for Sharing

The commonplace backyard shed has “shed” its boring tin and has become more than a place to store Christmas decorations and lawn mowers. Today’s sheds come in a variety of materials and are used in a variety of ways. Created to be she-sheds for moms who need private spaces, offices for parents to conduct business at home and be able to spend more time with the kids in the process, or extra sleeping space for all the guests who come to visit and take advantage of our incredible winter temperatures, the functionality of your shed can be customized to your needs!

So Many Ideas For Backyard Improvements

Our years of pool and landscape experience have given us so many ideas on how to make a yard an oasis, and we can’t wait to share them with you! Contact us today and let’s make your backyard the picture perfect place of your dreams.

Enjoy Year-Round Water Fun with a Heated Spa or Pool

Living in the Phoenix area comes with many perks. Offering a beautiful landscape, friendly people, and weather that lets us enjoy our pools almost year-round, there’s no place we would rather live! But the word “almost” bothers us a little, because we know that with an average of 299 days of sunshine in Phoenix each year, we should be able to take advantage of our pools the entire year, not just part of the year. When you add a heater to your pool, install a hot tub in your backyard, or do both, you CAN swim or simmer in bubbles every day of the year! Life just doesn’t get any better than this when you have a heated spa.

Adding a Heater to Your Pool

If you already have a pool, a professional can install a heater to your equipment fairly easily and at a reasonable price. Depending on the size of your pool, heater prices can run about $1000 and up, with installation prices varying according to the installer. If you’re thinking about going that route, give us a call here at New Image Landscape and Pools and we can work up an estimate that will easily fit in your pool budget! If you’re just now planning on digging a new pool in your backyard, adding the heater to your equipment is an easy fix; we bring up the topic of pool heaters at the very beginning of the planning stage, so there are no surprises when the weather cools.

Heated Spa in Arizona?

Although we all know that by August, the pool water can actually feel like a hot tub, or at the very least, a very large bathtub filled with warm water, a hot tub is still something homeowners still consider, and for very good reasons. Once the sun drops behind the mountains in the winter, the air can develop a bite, and soaking in the bubbly wonders of your own hot tub can be a very good thing. Aching muscles, bad backs, or just a bad day at the office are other reasons that adding a hot tub to your property will be the best idea you’ve had since the thought of moving to the Phoenix area entered your mind!

Give Us a Call

The cool days are what keep desert dwellers sane, but that doesn’t mean you have to stop all outdoor fun when the temperatures drop. Give us a call today and let’s start a discussion on adding a heated spa to your life!

Arizona Garden Ideas and Watering Solutions for Your Yard

Gardening in the desert is a unique experience. We all long for the grassy yards and flowery gardens of our midwestern upbringing, but water issues may seem to bring an abrupt halt to the idea. Fortunately, we at New Image Landscape and Pools have made it our business to make your yard the oasis you dreamed it could be, and with a few tweaks to the types of flowers and plants you can add, our hints and tips will make it easy—especially when you consult this guide for watering solution and Arizona garden ideas.

Saving our Most Precious Resource

Water is not an unlimited resource in the desert and conserving it is of highest importance. You’re probably not surprised to discover that the standard oscillating sprinkler attached to a hose and left in the yard for hours at a time does not save water, and if you’re intent on having a lush green lawn, it is also not the best way to get there! Our favorite watering solution, an automated sprinkler system, may cost a little more in the beginning but will save you money in the long term. Programmable, it allows owners to water their grass for the optimum amount of time, and with correct installation of the sprinkler heads, every inch of your yard will be a verdant paradise! Adding bubblers for the plants and flowers gives homeowners a break from one of the many chores that accompany the pleasure of owning a home.

Planting Drought Resistant

For your garden needs, the best watering solution is to limit how much water is needed. Many desert plants offer brilliantly colored blooms that can outshine the more “needy” flowers of the gardens you may be used to! Bougainvillea, oleander, even lantana and different versions of sage are all flowering plants that can exist without much water. Your home will be a showpiece and the earth will be forever grateful when you add these vibrant and colorful plants!

Education and Arizona Garden Ideas

Overwatering is our worst way or squandering our natural resources, and the best way to avoid doing so is by educating yourself. The internet is a wonderful invention, and with just a little research, you can manage to have a green yard and flowering plants without over or underwatering. Another easy way to find watering solutions for your home space oasis is with a simple phone call. Call us today for more Arizona garden ideas and tips!

Gardening Tips for Fall

Arizona fall gardening can be substantially different than that of other states for many reasons, but perhaps the most important one is the heat. It just doesn’t start getting cool until the end of October, and no matter what the calendar says, in our eyes the season can be considered extremely late summer! True gardeners, however, are a hardy sort and rarely let the temperatures stop them in their mission to feel the dirt between their fingers, so we’ve provided this guide to gardening in the fall in Arizona just for you; time to pull out the knee pads and floppy hats!

Preparing Your Fall in Arizona Soil

In September it really is too hot for anything to take root, so take this time to prepare your soil. Till the area, cleaning out any old roots, dead plants, and rocks that may have found their way into the clay soil. Once the area has been thoroughly cleaned and tilled, now it’s time to add nutrients. If you’ve planned ahead, now is when to add the compost that has been “simmering” in your compost pile or container. If not, purchasing an organic fertilizer from your local gardening store is perfectly acceptable. The final step in preparing your soil is watering; water thoroughly to allow the nutrients to “percolate,” and when the weather cools down, you will be officially ready to begin planting!

Now For the Fun Stuff

Once the mercury drops sometime in October, you can finally begin your planting! For those who are simply interested in making their yards beautiful for the upcoming seasons, this is the perfect time to plant the seeds of our native wildflowers—desert marigolds, larkspurs, and sweet peas, just to name a few! If a vegetable garden is in your future, this is also a great time to plant beets, onions, broccoli, peas, brussel sprouts and a large variety of other veggies either by seed or transplant, if you’re not comfortable in your planting skills.

Windowsill Adventures

Not all gardens are going to be grand adventures filled with a bounty of flowers to be picked or vegetables to be harvested. October is also a good time to start a windowsill garden of your favorite herbs. Chives, cilantro, dill, fennel, mint, marjoram, or even lemongrass, oregano, rosemary, sage, and thyme will thrive when planted in the fall. You may have to purchase your veggies from the grocery store, but once you taste a dish prepared with fresh herbs you’ve grown yourself, you’ll never go back to store-bought spices again!

While You’re Out There

As you toil in the soil under the desert sun, chances are you may notice a part of your landscape that is missing something vital, like a pool or gazebo? Give us a call today and let New Image Landscape and Pools help you figure out exactly what you’ve been missing!

Spend Labor Day Weekend Next to Your New Arizona Pool

As summer arrives in the valley, the hot days stretch out long and seemingly unending before you. You try to fill the hours with trips up to the cool country, afternoons at the movies, or visits to the ice cream parlors in town, but by the time July rolls around, you shut the curtains, turn down the AC, and hunker down until cooler temperatures arrive! But summer in Arizona doesn’t always have to be that way; if you start now, it’s entirely possible you could be swimming in your new built-in Arizona pool by Labor Day Weekend!

So Soon?

A basic pool with nothing extra added can actually be completed in approximately 45 days (sometimes longer), but don’t let that force you into accepting something less than what you want. This is an investment into your future comfort, and a more complex pool can take up to 60 days, which depending on how soon you start, will still allow you to be swimming by Labor Day! If you want something really elaborate, there’s still a couple of months of swimming weather after Labor Day, so planning a fall party is always an option as well!

Planning a Labor Day Arizona Pool Party

However long it takes to get that pool in your backyard, there’s one more very important step to consider: planning the “opening day” pool party! Labor Day Weekend is a long one, so planning your pool party for Sunday would be the best choice; it gives your guests time to recuperate before going back to work on Tuesday! We’ll leave the food and drink menu to you, but we will guide you through the necessities of a pool party. From basketball hoops to floating drink holders and beach towels to shade spots, there are lots of accessories you may need to consider purchasing to make this party the talk of the block! Oh, and if you really want to be helpful, purchasing sunscreen from Costco will help keep your guests from burning as they swim and frolic in your new pool; the host with the most thinks of everything!

We May Be Getting Ahead of Ourselves

You haven’t even started the permit process and we’re already planning your Labor Day pool party, but we can’t help it; we get so excited helping our customers start on their way to nighttime swims and pool parties! Give us a call today and let’s change the view from your back windows with a cool and therapeutic Arizona pool!

Shade Structures to Consider for Your Yard

If you have spent more than five minutes outside during the summer in the valley, you understand exactly how important shade is to your health and wellbeing! That sun is bright, hot, and relentless, and although the shade may only lower the temps a few degrees, it makes a huge difference. If you want to spend any time at all in your own backyard, we advise building shade structures to help create a space that is both beautiful and cool. This guide to shade structures should give you some ideas as to what you want!

Shade Sails

Very little to no construction is needed for this simple and inexpensive way to create shade in your backyard. Consisting of sun resistant canvas style fabric that is generally shaped like the sail of a boat, it has ropes on each end that can be tied to roofs, eye hooks installed in the eaves of your home, or—and this is the only case where any construction might be needed—attached to a tall wooden pole that has been cemented firmly into the ground. Inexpensive and effective, it’s a great option for smaller yards or patios that are uncovered.

Pavilion or Canopy

Although the pavilion, also known as a canopy in some states, is more expensive, the costs can be dialed up or down a little depending on how elaborate you choose to make it. Built of aluminum, tin, or some other kinds of metal or wood, and open on all four sides, the roof generally consists of some sort of fabric. For a romantic and breezy look, white fabric can be used as curtains tied to the legs of the metal structure, but we suggest using a heavier, sun-resistant fabric for the roof.

Gazebo

A gazebo can be as elaborate as you wish and generally consists of an octagon-shaped shingled roof and wood posts. Half wooden fencing can be placed between each post, or it can be left open, much as a pavilion. Offering the perfect spot for a patio table for al fresco dining, the shade provided by a gazebo is much desired and the design adds a touch of charm to a bare backyard.

Find Shade Structures That You Love?

Give us a call today and set up an appointment; it’s the first step in creating a backyard sanctuary that is both cool and beautiful!

How to Keep Your Pool Chemicals Balanced

Whether you have just purchased a home with a pre-existing pool or you have just completed the building process of your brand new one, the number one fear most pool owners have is how to keep the pool looking clear, blue, and clean without having to do a lot of work! We understand completely. A pool with unbalanced chemicals is more than just an unsightly mess; it can bring along a host of problems that include odors, insects, and sickness. But if you follow these special tips our wonderful staff at New Image Landscape and Pools have provided for your convenience, you’ll soon discover pool ownership is even better than you dreamed it could be with the proper pool maintenance!

Start with a Clean Base

Maintaining a chemically balanced pool can be difficult if the water is old. There are different schools of thought as to how often a pool should be drained, but we think it should be drained at a minimum once every other year. Starting with a clean base allows the chemicals to do their job, which makes your job easier!

Frequent Testing

Department stores, grocery stores, and pool stores all sell testing kits that make it easy to determine if your chemicals are balanced. Simply dip the tester in the water and add the drops that come with the kit and compare the color of the water against the chart provided. Also have your water tested for total dissolved solids; without testing and treatment, the water soon becomes unmanageable! Checking your levels frequently allows you to keep ahead of any problems instead of trying to play catch-up with a green pool.

Keep the Pump Well Maintained and Running Enough Hours

Keeping the pump well maintained and running is as important as using the correct chemicals. Remember: The number of hours you run your pump will change with the seasons! In the summer when the temperatures are high and your family is spending a lot more time enjoying the benefits of its cooling waters, the pump should be run more frequently—approximately one hour per 10 degrees of ambient temperature during the heat of the day to keep algae from flourishing. In the winter months, running just a few hours a day is all that will be needed to keep your pool balanced and clean.

Contact a Professional 

When all else fails, contact a professional! We at New Image Landscape and Pools want our customers to be happy with their new pools, and if we built yours, we will be happy to guide you through the process! Give us a call today and let’s figure out together what we can do to help with your pool maintenance to keep your pool balanced and your family happy.

Decorative Accent Lighting Tips for Your Home

During the winter, the shorter days darker may make your house look drab. This is especially important to address if you are trying to sell your home, as buyers will often come by in the evenings. One way to boost your curb appeal at night is by adding decorative accent lighting. If you’re trying to sell your house, or just want it to look alive at night, a little accent lighting will really make it stand out!

Choosing the Proper Decorative Accent Lighting

One way to figure out what type of lighting you may need is to look at your home at night. Figure out which areas are the darkest and where you may want to add light. Path lighting and motion detectors are a great way to light up your yard. In addition to lighting up your home, decorative accent lighting can also highlight your landscaping. If you have a favorite element of your landscaping, think about how you can draw attention to it with some creative lighting. Some ways you could do so are by putting string lights on the branches of a tree or using spotlights to silhouette a bush or shrub.

Another easy trick to adding curb appeal to your home is to light up the walkway leading to your front door. Visitors, potential homebuyers, and even you and your family will find the walk safer and much more enjoyable if there is lighting along the path. Low voltage path lights will add a gentle glow and add to your home’s curb appeal.

You can also ask your friends where they think lighting might be helpful. You look at your yard every day, multiple times a day, so getting a fresh perspective can be very helpful in deciding which areas of your yard could use more lighting.

If your house has an outdoor seating area, make sure this area is well lit. String lights are a great way to light outdoor living areas because they are cheerful and help buyers thinks of all the fun they can have on the patio.

Highlighting the architectural features of your home can also help boost the curb appeal. Uplights are a great way to highlight your home’s best features, and you can use them to highlight features such as rocks and columns.

Let the Experts at New Image Help

If you would like help with lighting your yard and creating more curb appeal, we offer landscape services that include modeling, design, and maintenance. We have been in the landscaping business in Arizona for more than 30 years and can help you with all your landscaping needs. For more information on our services, please contact us. Be sure to check our landscaping tips too!

Gardening in Arizona Frequently Asked Questions

When people first move here from eastern states, they frequently get excited about the entire Southwest lifestyle. They eat tacos on Mondays (not just Tuesdays!), buy stucco homes and decorate the inside and outside with statues of howling coyotes, and cover the ground with tiny sand colored rocks and plant only cacti. This all or nothing approach to gardening, however, can soon become sterile and hostile feeling, and they begin to miss the welcoming warmth of their hometown gardens they left behind. If this describes you, or you are just new to the gardening world, these FAQs about gardening in Arizona will help clear the way to creating an inviting garden in the desert that can be enjoyed by all!

Is It Possible to Have a Colorful Flower Garden That is Still Drought Tolerant?

Water is a precious resource in the desert, and it is important to consider the impact of your garden’s watering system. Fortunately, it is totally possible to have beautiful flowers and reduce your water usage at the same time. Sage bushes—which come with a variety of colored flowers—firecracker penstemon, and the Angelita daisy are just a few of our beautiful, colorful, and drought resistant flowers.

Are There Other Trees That Survive as Well as Mesquite or Palm Trees?

The evergreen elm, a deciduous tree, does well in the Arizona heat, doesn’t require a lot of watering, AND becomes a beautiful shade of brilliant gold in the late fall. Olive trees, Australian bottle trees, and live oaks are just a sample of some of the trees you can add to your yard to create a lush and green landscape.

How Do I Avoid Spending All My Time Watering while Gardening in Arizona?

In the summer it’s too hot to spend a lot of time outdoors outside of your pool, and the rest of the year, you’re too busy. That’s ok, you can still have a vibrant garden filled with colorful flowers just by installing a drip system that connects to your already existing sprinkler system.

How Can I Maintain an Outdoor Garden When I Can’t Keep My Indoor Plants Alive?

This is an easy one: Consider hiring New Image Landscape and Pools for your lawn maintenance and floriculture needs! We can create a warm and welcoming landscape and garden (with your input, of course!), and do the maintenance as well, to ensure your gardening in Arizona lives long and prospers! Give us a call today and let’s start the process of creating an exterior landscape that is as inviting as your interior!

Tips for a Healthy Lawn

Every year when the mercury rises, you feel the call: burgers sizzling on the grill, the sound of kids playing in the pool, the cracking of another cold one being opened up. You just need to get outside and enjoy yourself! But if there’s one thing that can ruin your outdoor events (even more than overcooked burgers), it’s a backyard full of dead, brown, unsightly patches of grass covering your backyard! A healthy lawn will help turn your backyard into a party paradise in the summer months. Here are a couple of healthy lawn tips to help make sure your lawn is looking as green as it can be, no matter how hot it gets.

Feed Regularly

Just like any plant, grass has to eat! It’s simply not enough to place lawn feed down when you first plant your grass and expect it to stay healthy for very long. Within a few weeks of your first feeding, the microbes in the soil have more than likely processed and absorbed all of the nutrients they can, and so you need to make sure you feed it again so that grass can keep growing!

Make Sure to Water, But Not Too Much!

One of the biggest myths that many people have when taking care of their lawns is that they have to water it every single day or it’ll die; this is not the case at all! A good summer lawn care tip is this: If you frequently water your grass with only small amounts at a time, you’re actually encouraging your grass to grow short roots, which during droughts, can cause them to stress out and die. Instead, opt for more infrequent waterings that are deeper (an inch of water a week for example), and you’ll notice a big difference in no time.

Don’t Cut It Too Short

Staying on the topic of root lengths in our list of summer lawn care tip , you really want your grass roots to grow as long as possible, so they are healthier and get more nutrients. Besides watering, one of the ways that you can encourage this is to mow your grass high. Longer grass equals longer roots, and longer roots can reach deeper into the earth to find moisture on even the most scorching days. It’s a small adjustment that can pay huge dividends!

These are just a few of the top healthy lawn tips that you can use to ensure that your lawn is as healthy as possible. Remember: don’t ruin a great outdoor party by having an unsightly lawn. Take care of your lawn, and it’ll take care of you!