Best Strains of Grass for Arizona Lawns

You want a good-looking lawn year-round, and the best way to achieve this is to lay sods that are best suited for the arid Arizona environment. There are a number of drought-resistant, luxurious grass varieties, and like anything, each has its pros and cons; one of the challenges homeowners face is the staggering number of varieties of certain types of grasses. Weeding through masses of information can be downright frustrating, so we’ve done the research for you about the best grass varieties for Arizona lawns.

Sod Groups

The first thing to understand when choosing a grass variety is sod groups. There are two sod groups: Warm Season and Cool Season. These groups are dependent on the time of year you are installing your lawn. Warm Season sods include zoysia, St. Augustine varieties, and Bermuda grasses. Cool season grasses include tall fescue, perennial ryegrass, and Kentucky bluegrass. The majority of Warm Season grasses do not produce seed, so must be installed by sprigging, plugging, or laying sod. If you wish to seed start your lawn or overseed an existing warm season sod, choose a cool season grass variety.

Top Grass Choices

The best and most widely planted grasses in Arizona are Bermuda grasses. Adapted to high sunlight and air temperatures, salty, shallow soils, and heavy traffic, Bermuda grasses are excellent for low-lying desert areas. There are several popular Bermuda grass varieties that are commercially sold; Bermuda grasses also perform well in the higher elevations (3,500 – 4,800 feet). Bermuda grasses are not shade tolerant. For areas that receive constant shade or experience summer temperatures below 80º Fahrenheit, we recommend St. Augustine grass varieties.

Midiron

Midiron is a great all-purpose grass. A bright green, low-maintenance turf with a medium to dense growth habit, Midiron is the most popular turf grass in Arizona. In the winter Midiron enters a dormant state, so in desert valley areas such as Tucson, Yuma, and Phoenix, it is often overseeded with perennial ryegrass in late summer/early fall to create a lush lawn year-round. Midiron can be mowed with a rotary mower and is happy with heights ranging between 1.5 to two inches, though it can withstand cropping as short as ½ an inch with a reel mower.

Tifway and Tifway II

These varieties have a finer blade and deeper color than Midiron, and can tolerate a low mowing height, which is best achieved with a reel mower. Often used on sports fields and golf courses, the Tifway varieties are also excellent for home lawns. Tifway is a fast-growing grass, requiring two to three mowings per week to look its best; it is tolerant of heights up to 2.5 inches. Though Tifway requires more frequent mowing, it is highly desirable, as it can be mowed with a rotary mower and taller grass heights require less frequent watering.

Palmetto St. Augustine

A semi-dwarf St. Augustine variety, Palmetto is excellent for both shady and sunny areas and is the most heat-tolerant of all the St. Augustine cultivars. Palmetto has a coarse texture and a broad blade; it is best mowed with a rotary mower and does well with heights up to 2.5 inches.

For more tips on yard and pool maintenance, or to add a new feature to your backyard like a pool or custom barbecue, contact the experts at New Image today!

Top Vegetables to Plant in Your Arizona Garden

If you’ve spent any time at all in the Midwest, one thing you might miss about summer is the opportunity to enjoy fresh vegetables that have been grown in a backyard garden. Arizona summers are so hot, you probably think any gardens you try to start will end up offering already cooked veggies! The good news is, however, that you CAN grow vegetables in the Phoenix area, even during the hottest months of summer. Many plants you may prefer to grow during the cooler months, and that’s perfectly fine. The only issue is that your typical summer crop may not be available until fall and that delay is ok; you probably won’t want to be tilling and weeding and watering during the heat anyway.

The Best Phoenix Vegetable

Surprisingly, green beans are the best vegetable to grow in the Phoenix area, and they don’t take up a lot of room. It’s best to plant them in November, but because we do occasionally get frost in January or even February, pay close attention to the weather and cover them if a frost warning is issued. Sugar snap peas are a close relative to the green bean, and the tips for planting them are the same.

Warm Season Vegetables

Because of our mild winters, the Phoenix area has two full growing seasons, warm and cold. Vegetables such as corn, tomatoes, eggplant, pumpkin, and peppers are warm season vegetables and do best when planted in February. They will continue to provide their “fruits” through June and July, but it’s imperative that you remember to keep them watered. Where you plant these veggies is important as well: Too much sun and they will fry, too little sun and they won’t produce.

Cool Season Vegetables

The earliest you can begin to plant your cool season vegetables is the middle of August, but most do better if you wait another month; you don’t want to be fussing in a garden in the middle of August anyway, it’s too hot! Cool season vegetables include plants whose leaves are edible: cabbage, salad greens, kale, broccoli, cauliflower, carrots, peas, and onions. Your cool season garden will produce through April—any later and it is just too hot.

Arizona Gardening Isn’t Always Easy

There’s a lot of trial and error involved, even for seasoned professionals like ourselves, but we think that when you take that first bite of your home-grown carrot, you will think it’s worth it! Schedule an appointment with us today and let us share our expertise with you.

Top Plants for Your Desert Landscape

If you’re a new resident to the desert, there are a couple of things you may have already discovered. Desert summers give new meaning to the word scorching, air conditioning is your new best friend, and your hydrangeas that flourished in your Massachusetts backyard just won’t cut it in your brand-new Phoenix home! It’s not just the need to withstand temperatures high enough to allow you to bake cookies on the street in front of your house that makes you need to avoid most Eastern plants; it’s also the lack of rain, the different soil alkalinity, and the need to withstand summer monsoon season that will have you scratching your head in dismay. We at New Image Landscape and Pools can help you find the right plants to give your yard a lush and green appearance that will be able to withstand the hottest summer days and the windiest desert haboobs.

Autumn Sage

Not all desert plants are prickly and sparse. The silver green leaves of an autumn sage handle the heat like a champ and sprout colorful flowers in shades of red, pink, and purple from late summer to the end of fall.

Bunny Eared Cactus

Cacti can be cute too, and the bunny-eared variety is a great way to add a touch of the desert to your landscape without any of the dangers usually associated with the cactus. This version doesn’t produce prickly thorns, but does grow colorful flowers in the spring.

Texas Red Yucca

The ocean regions have their sea oats, while the Texas red yucca blooms supreme in the dessert. Having a silvery-green grass-like appearance, the fiery blooms that sprout out of the center provide an exotic look that attracts all the hummingbirds to your yard.

Bougainvillea

This brightly colored flowering plant grows like a weed, but has a prickly side as well, so if you plant it, be sure to keep it away from walkways if you don’t want to cause harm to your family and guests! Requiring virtually no water, this true desert plant shines year-round and only requires a sunny and dry spot to thrive!

Jacaranda Tree

With leaves that appear to resemble the feathery plumes of a fern and stunning purple flowers that bloom in the spring, the jacaranda tree is one of our favorite desert trees, and can be found growing proudly beside many homes in the Phoenix area.

Culture Shock is Real

Whether you are a Phoenix native or have only recently moved to the valley, you may discover that planting a lush and thriving garden isn’t as easy as it seems! Schedule an appointment with us today and we can sit down with you and develop a landscape plan that will make your neighbors turn green with envy.

Creating Your Backyard Paradise

For over 35 years, we at New Image Landscape and Pools have been helping people turn their yards into outdoor paradises. Bringing the highest degree of attention to detail and professionalism to our work is what gives us and our customers joy. Entering into this journey with us will be fulfilling and far more painless than you can imagine. Let us make your landscape dreams come true as nobody else in the business can.

What is Your Paradise?

What makes this business so exciting for us is that the ideal landscape is different for just about everyone. What will make you comfortable? What features and overall design will bring you joy every time you set foot outside of your home?

As we live in Phoenix, the foundation of this paradise is often a beautiful pool. But what about the surroundings? We provide the widest variety in additional designs, from rock and water features to beautiful paver decks featuring endless material options—everything from flagstone to fine tiling. These great features can be brought together by beautiful grass lawns, flower displays, endless graveling options, trees, foliage, patios, built-in grills and so much more.

The beauty of the service that we provide is it is completely dictated by you and what you will love. The only limitation in your landscape is not in our ability to make it happen, but in your imagination. Dream big—we will take care of the rest!

How New Image Landscape and Pools Will Make Your Dream a Reality

Once we have a layout and design that you are happy with, you can be sure that it will be implemented with incredible swiftness and precision. Working with you to fine tune the perfect design for you and your family is a huge part of the process that we pride ourselves on. It is in this phase of the project that we set ourselves apart from the competition. Using our 3D design and imaging tool, you have the luxury of seeing what your landscape will look like before we even break ground. Being able to try countless different designs and actually seeing the fruits of those designs is one of the most valuable services that we bring.

When it is all said and done, you will have the landscape of your dreams. It is sure to be a far more painless and affordable experience than you now anticipate it to be. With over 35 years of expertise and service, we can guarantee you the paradise you have always dreamed of—call us today!

The Best Way to Build Your Backyard for Football

IT’S NFL SEASON!!!! Pardon the caps-lock, but it is completely necessary. Anyway, thanks to Arizona’s lovely climate, we can enjoy our evening football entertainment outdoors in fresh air and cool breezes. If that sounds like your idea of a fantastic time, then you need to build for it—if you’re really serious about friends, family, and football, then why stop at a TV on a tool shelf watched from patio chairs? We’ve got plenty of ideas to make your Arizona backyard into a dream location for enjoying Sunday Night Football.

Pick the Perfect Pagoda or Pergola

While there are many features that enhance the experience of watching the big game, you’ll want to start with somewhere to put the viewing screen, and nothing works better than pagodas, pergolas, gazebos, etc. While they’re called different things, their functions are similar. These features offer a way to keep the sun directly off the area below, keeping it relatively cool compared to the rest of yard. Better yet, they make great spots to put in TV mounts! With the ceiling keeping glare away, pagodas are popular spots to mount a high-definition TV. But why stop there? With a little finagling, the pagoda can easily support a sound system that will make you feel like you’re there at the game!

A Hot Tub Is the Best Place to Chill

Sometimes, leaping to your feet doesn’t emphasize a goal enough—when the team makes a huge splash, so should you! While many might not associate swimwear with watching TV, it’s a fantastic way to spend the evening, especially as the nights grow cooler. Simply choose a tub shape that fits the shape of your yard and a position that gives those seated a nice view of the TV. This option is great for all sorts of homes—just figure out how many people you usually have over, and get a tub sized to match!

Food + Football = Fun

Grilling is one of many football enthusiasts’ favorite pastimes, and goes terrifically with entertaining friends in your swanky backyard. If your yard is going to become the focal point for your Sunday night parties, then you need the grill to match the demand for grub. Check out some of the built-in grills that we offer—you’ll feel like the grill king with one of these in your backyard! You even have the option to include a built-in counter—just line up the condiments and you’ll have a hot-dog or hamburger assembly line! And why stop there? Instead of filling up the cooler with ice every weekend, why not get a mini-fridge to go along with the demand for drinks? Even the less athletically-interested are guaranteed to have a great time where food’s available!

Count On Us

We’ve renovated hundreds of backyards for everyone’s different needs, whether designing a tranquil getaway or day-care’s play place; have us build your Sunday Night Football Party Central, and we know you’ll be happy with your choice. Call us up and ask for an estimate!

Reasons to Get a Desert Landscape Instead of Grass

When most people think of landscaping, they think of green trees, bushes, shrubs, and grass most of all. But there are those who live in areas where rainfall is sparse and the weather is hot, making it a lot harder to grow greenery. Certain environments are best suited to a desert landscape, but those who dwell in these less lush areas shouldn’t feel cheated. Desert landscaping can be very appealing when done well. Here are 5 ways a desert landscape can be just as good as a green one, and in many regards, even better!

Vibrant Color Options

Instead of the typical green and blue shades that are typical with many landscaping projects and yards, bright reds and oranges add bold bursts of color to a desert landscape. The beauty of desert colors is unique and breathtaking in its own way. Colors of the sunset are included in desert flowers, various desert plants, and in shades of desert rocks.

Less Water

There are some definite financial benefits to choosing a desert landscape. Trying to maintain a luscious lawn in a less than suitable environment can be very expensive. Water is expensive when used in large quantities, so using plants that require less of it can save lots of money over time.

Less Maintenance

Just as less water is required when creating a desert landscape, less required maintenance is also a money and time saver. Landscapes made up of rocks, palm trees, and shrubs are much easier and less expensive to keep up than hiring someone to cut acres of grass each week.

Promoting a Unique Look

Green lawns are a dime a dozen, but landscaping with a textured, unique desert design that’s made up of indigenous trees and plants can be quite attractive. There’s a huge array of interesting desert plants, flowers, and trees that can create a look that’s distinct and appealing.

Less Stress

With a desert landscape, there is added stress of worrying about whether or not all your plants will thrive and grow or if your lawn is as green as the neighbor’s. Rocks, palm trees, desert flowers, cacti, and desert shrubs are by and large pretty self-sufficient elements to a desert landscape.

If you’re interested in creating your own beautiful desert landscape and want some ideas on how to do so, contact us at New Image Landscape and Pools to learn more.

Tips for Watering

Water is a precious resource—given its importance and scarcity, it’s surprising it doesn’t cost more than it does—and landscaping is one of the largest uses of water in terms of volume consumed, surpassing bathing and cooking by orders of magnitude. Whether you want to shrink your ecological footprint or shrink your water bill, following these watering tips is sound advice for anyone with a garden or lawn.

Plant Species

The plants you use, of course, will drastically change how much you need to water. Fruit trees are thirstier than cacti. If you’re still considering how you want your yard to look, keep that in mind.

Avoid Overwatering

Obviously, you should use as little water as possible to keep your plants healthy. Talk to your landscapers or a nursery about how much water your plants need, and keep in mind this can change depending on the season and a plant’s age. You should also note how much water your soil retains; soggy soil can harbor funguses, root-rots, and other unwelcome problems.

Know Your Sprinkling Specs

You should know how much to water your plants, but this doesn’t help if you’re not sure how much your sprinkler system applies. Impact sprinklers typically apply about .2 inches of water in 15 minutes, while pop-up sprinkles deliver twice that. However, it may behoove you to check this. Set out six to eight short, flat cans (like tuna cans or cat food cans) and spread them about five feet apart across your lawn. Turn on your sprinklers for 15 minutes, then measure the depth in each can. Take note if some cans are more full than others—uneven watering means an uneven-looking lawn, so adjust your sprinkler heads to make the pattern more uniform.

When to Water

Water that evaporates before it hits the grass won’t help your lawn—water at night or early in the morning. Not only are temperatures lower at these hours, but the wind is calmer too.

When to Adjust

It’s convenient to leave your sprinkler system on autopilot, but not exactly efficient. If it just rained, don’t use your sprinklers. Also, high wind speeds can keep one side of the lawn dry—if you’re giving bare-bones watering to save money and resources, then you shouldn’t waste it by watering when it’s windy out.

Also pay attention to how much light the different parts of the yard get. Areas in the shade may need less water, but the adjustment should be made only for these areas. If you can’t adjust only part of the sprinkler system, then it’s better to let these areas be a little more comfortable than to risk the other parts of the yard withering or burning.

Fertilize Sparingly

Fertilizer can help grass and other plants, but it can also increase the plant and soil’s demand for water.

Using Cacti for your Arizona Landscape

If you’re looking for a low-maintenance yard or just want to keep water bills low, cacti are the way to go. From the splayed-out elegance of the prickly pear to the towering solemnity of the saguaro, cacti are surprisingly versatile when it comes to creating a beautiful yard.

Why Use Cacti for Arizona Landscaping?

Most of the benefits of cacti in Arizona landscaping come from the fact that they’re already adapted to this environment. This means they offer several advantages over other kinds of plants. First of all is the issue of water. While cacti do indeed need water—everything does—they need much less of it than most plants. This keeps your water bill low and means you don’t have to worry about tending to them so often. If you’re a snowbird who is gone for months at a time, cacti might be the choice for you.

Secondly is the issue of sun. Cacti can adapt to the harsh sunlight here in both summer and winter, and their lovely blossoms will not wilt in the desert heat. Note though that cacti are diverse, and some prefer shade. Make sure you do some research on the particular variety of cactus you want.

Where Should I Put Cacti?

Consider positioning for the cactus’ health foremost and worry about aesthetics second. Cacti cannot handle too much water—the barrel cactus has been known to continue storing excess water until fatally bursting. This means that they should have a place with adequate drainage, preferably with other low-water plants so that it doesn’t get too hydrated. Planting a cactus uphill helps protect it from excess water.

Another problem, again, is sun. Cacti adapt to as much sun as they are given; since many are raised in shaded nurseries, this means they need to be gradually acclimated to increasing amounts of sunlight by specialized shade cloths. The nursery should mark on the cactus which way it was facing as it grew up too. If an un-acclimated cactus is not protected, it can sunburn, causing wrinkling and discoloration.

Provide enough room to erect covers if needed, not only for new cacti getting used to the sun, but also for the winter months when cacti can be at risk for freezing.

Aesthetically, cacti have a lot to offer, but keep a few tips in mind. First of all, yes, cacti are spiky, so keep adequate distance between them and any major thoroughfares through the yard—when doing this, keep the cactus’ future growth in mind. Secondly, use variety to your advantage. Many short species of cactus together look cluttered and unappealing, but several short barrel cacti in front of a broad ocotillo or mighty saguaro will complement each other. Finally, find a balance between too much plant life and too little. A mix of cacti will make the yard look well-cared for and scenic, but used too sparingly, a lone cactus or two can create a barren look.

Let us Help!

If you’re not sure if cacti are a great idea for your yard or don’t think you could imagine them working, let us know—we bet we can change your mind with some gorgeous design plans!