Backyard Barbecue Season Is Here!

Newcomers to the desert may think there is something a little backwards about our announcement, as most places in the nation look at summer as barbecue season, but anyone who has spent more than a week in our southwestern paradise knows the truth! Summer is the season of scorch, and we do not want to add to the heat levels standing in front of a fiery and smoky barbecue! When the mercury finally drops below 100, the humidity of monsoon season fades away, and we do not burn our bare feet simply by walking on the deck, it is time to break out the barbecue and start grilling! This guide to backyard barbecue season will help you thoroughly enjoy the next half of the year.

So Many Options

The yards in our neighborhoods can vary quite a lot in size, from postage stamp varieties for townhomes and condos to spacious acreage in county island areas, and the size of your yard will determine how fancy you can get. Those who live in townhomes or condos will need to scale down for obvious reasons, but that does not mean your fun will be scaled down. There is nothing like hot barbecue enjoyed on a cool fall night, shared with your family, and you still have a host of options from which to choose. The tiny hibachi grill that burns charcoal and is perfectly designed for just one or two people, the egg-shaped grill that can be either propane or charcoal, and the fancy electric pellet grills that allow you to smoke your meats are some of your choices, and your barbecue season is guaranteed to be just as exciting as those with bigger homes or bigger yards! Bistro tables are great for dining al fresco and are absolutely perfect for smaller spaces. Hang some twinkle lights, light a couple of candles, and play some soft music as you chow down on your favorite cuts of beef or pork served with ice cold beer; these barbecue nights are definitely going to be memorable!

Built-in Grills for Your Backyard

Larger yards make room for barbecue nights that are a little larger in scale, and if you have the space, why not consider a built-in barbecue grill? Keep it simple with just space for a mini fridge (gotta keep those beers cold!), prep space, and of course the built-in grill. For those who believe it is not true barbecue without the charcoal, built-in grills come in a variety of shapes, sizes, and choices between charcoal and propane! The jury is still out on whether or not an electric grill can be built-in, but if you have an innovative and creative crew helping build the structure, (We at New Image Landscape and Pools have been known to get a little creative at times!) chances are they will be able to design something that you will fall in love with! So, go ahead, plan for a night of cool fun with your new built-ins, your favorite neighbors, and your kids’ best friends! Pulled pork sandwiches, homemade potato salad, and that delicious Texas sheet cake your wife is famous for will be on the menu tonight and when you choose the right grill, it will not seem like work at all!

Something Really Special

If you have ever flipped through a home and garden magazine, we are willing to bet that you have dog-eared the pages on fabulous outdoor kitchens more than once! Your yard has the space to create a gourmet area without cramping your pool, your garden, or the meditation shed you built to retreat to when real life gets too stressful, and now is the perfect season to build an outdoor kitchen. The choices are endless and include everything from a built-in grill to a real wood-burning pizza oven, ensuring that your outdoor events will be the talk of the neighborhood. Add a fireplace with bench seating, as Phoenix nights can be cool once the sun drops behind the mountains, create a cubby for the firewood that will be used for your pizza oven, and add a sink with running water for easy clean-up. Because you planned ahead by building in a fridge for beverages, drawers for supplies, and lighting that allows you to stay out late at night, you may not have to go back inside until your bed starts to call your name! Entertainment can be as simple as piped in music from your surround system, or for those who really know how to party, a flat-screen smart television tucked away under the eaves and turned to the big game! Add in a heated pool, a hot tub, and maybe a couple of beanbag games, and barbecue season promises to be a party that won’t end until the heat of summer comes knocking at your door once again.

Don’t Wait Too Long!

The older we get, the faster time flies by, and now is the perfect time to start working on your backyard party plans. Give us a call today!

It’s Time to Prep Your Winter Lawn

As the days grow shorter and the temperatures drop, just a little, the calendar tells us that even though it doesn’t feel very much like fall, that season has arrived and now is the perfect time to prepare your winter lawn! Unlike many states in the nation, our winter lawns can be lush, verdant, and even thicker and greener than our summer ones, and this guide will help you attain what formerly seemed unattainable. Your winter lawn can be the envy of the neighborhood and the most beautiful on the block!

Winter Rye is the Answer

Your summer Bermuda goes dormant once the temperatures consistently fall below 65 degrees at night, making this the perfect time to start the prep. Your first step will to be cut your grass low; your mower blade should be between ¼ and ½ inch, being sure to clean up all the clippings your mower may leave behind. Your yard will look stark, naked, and brown, but never fear—this stage doesn’t last long.

Now that you have a scalped lawn, it’s time to see with the winter rye. The amount you need varies and is determined by how long you like your grass to be when it is green; for grass between one and two inches, you’ll need about 12 pounds of seed for every 1000 square feet, and 15 pounds for shorter lawns. As you sow the seeds you will want to ensure you don’t skip any spots or overlap in others. Sowing in two directions will help eliminate this issue, but to be honest, you should be more concerned with bare spots than the overlap issue.

Once the seed is spread, it’s time for the smelly stuff. If you have lived in Arizona for at least one fall, you’ve experienced fertilizer season, and now you have an idea as to what all the stink is about: the desire for a beautiful winter lawn! Grab a clothespin, some thick gloves, and follow the directions on the bag for the correct way to spread the fertilizer and prepare for at least a week of keeping your doors and windows shut as much as possible if you don’t want the smell to permeate your house.

The final step is the watering your winter lawn. We live in the desert and rain falls rarely this time of year, so you will need to water five times a day for about two weeks to let the seeds germinate. At the end of two weeks, be sure to set your sprinkler timer back to only once a day, and about two weeks after that, you can mow your beautiful lawn for the first time of the season. Winter rye grows fast and thick, so count on this being a weekly chore, but if your kids looking for a little extra spending money, you won’t have to worry!

Take the Easy Way for Your Winter Lawn

The simplest way to prep for your winter lawn is to give us a call today and let us do the labor. We can help you turn your dreary backyard into a beautiful spot that will make all the neighbors jealous!

Backyard Design: Tips and Ideas

Have you ever taken the time to wonder if our homes are our castles, could it mean that the yards surrounding our homes are our kingdoms? It’s a notion that we take very seriously, and if your backyard looks more like a barren desert than a lush kingdom, it’s time to start making changes! Real life can be harsh, and we all need a place to retreat to that is cool, peaceful, cool, and relaxing—oh, did we mention cool? That Arizona sun is no laughing matter come July and August, and your kingdom should also be a place that offers a place to chill, even when the temperatures shoot up to 100+ degrees! Here’s some tips to help make your backyard desing the sweetest kingdom on your block!

First and Foremost, Let There Be Shade

It’s hard to believe, but there used to be a day when covered patios were considered extras, and many of the older homes in the valley may still have nothing more than a concrete slab outside their arcadia doors; this simply won’t do! Consider adding a cover to your patio, or, if it’s already covered, building a pagoda in your backyard will give you more space to chill in the relative coolness of shade.

Grow a Salsa Garden

Homemade salsa is a treat everyone enjoys, and the sight of green and colorful veggies and herbs growing in containers on your back porch will make you happy! Easily done, all you have to do is purchase seeds from your favorite home improvement store (tomatoes, jalapeño, cilantro, onions, and tomatillos) follow the directions on the package, and choose your favorite style container to grow them in.

Plant a Drought Garden

Flowers improve the look of any kingdom, but because it’s important to conserve our most precious resource, drought tolerant gardens can be the answer to accessorizing your desert backyard design. Fortunately, even drought tolerant flowers come in a large variety of colors and shapes, making it easy to design without having to waste water!

Backyard Design: Install a Pool

Summer days and nights are made more tolerable with the addition of a pool and will also increase the value of your home. This is not a do-it-yourself project, however, but your friends at New Image Landscape and Pools (that would be us!) can help you with the building of a pool, as well as any other issues you may have with your kingdom. And yes, that includes maintenance, so give us a call and schedule an appointment with us today; we can help turn your barren wasteland into the kingdom of your dreams!