Author: Chris Jackman

Beautiful Backyard Pool And Spa Outlined With Stunning Vegetation By New Image Pool Builders Phoenix AZ

5 water saving tactics to off-set your new pool

 

It’s summertime, the kids are home, it’s 100 degrees outside and your brand new pool is ready to go. While as exciting as it may be, one of the main things that new pool-owners forget is the amount of water they will be using and how it can affect their monthly water bill. Here are five simple water-saving tactics that New Image Landscape and Pools recommends to off-set the cost of your new pool.

Turn off the water while brushing your teeth

This may seem like something so small and almost insignificant but the truth of the matter is that we use about 5 gallons of water each time we leave the faucet on while we brush our teeth. That is upwards of about 300 gallons of water that one person uses in a month. If you were to at least cut that in half, you are on your way to successfully off-setting the cost of your pool.

Check for leaks on all outdoor garden hoses and water spigots

If you have a leaky spigot, or if your garden hose leaks at the connection to the spigot, make sure you take care of it right away. We use our hoses to water the grass, do the gardening, wash our cars, or just wash down the driveway every couple of weeks. If you do find any leaks, head to your local hardware store and they can help you find the tools you need to fix it. If you don’t take care of it right away, you can be wasting hundreds – if not thousands – of gallons of water each month.

Limit the time on lawn sprinklers

We all want the lushest lawn on the block, but there is such a thing as overwatering your grass, and not only is it keeping it from growing as it should, it is wasting thousands of gallons of water. Try adjusting the sprinkler timers to run about 5-10 minutes twice a day. Better yet, if you know what type of grass you have growing on your lawn, you can look up the growing and maintenance requirements to ensure that your grass grows lush and beautiful. This will also help conserve water because you will only be using the amount necessary.

Invest in a drip system to water plants and trees

If you have flowers, plants, or trees in your yard, consider installing a drip irrigation system. Studies have shown that drip irrigation systems use about 30% – 50% less water than that of conventional irrigation methods such as sprinklers and garden hoses.

Limit the length of your showers

There are two ways that showers can affect the water usage in the home. Since showers are the third source of water consumption in the household, limiting your shower time to about 5 minutes could make a huge difference. The average length is 8-10 minutes while consuming almost 18 gallons of water in that timeframe. In addition to the amount of time you spend in the shower, you should check the faucets to make sure there aren’t any leaks because even a leak at only one drop every two seconds will waste over 1,000 gallons of water per year.

Start following these 5 easy water saving tactics today to begin off-setting the cost of your new pool so you can enjoy a summer of poolside relaxation!

Oasis-Style Pool With Rock Formation and Beautiful Fauna By New Image Pool Builders Phoenix AZ

5 Must Know Tips for Maintaining a Healthy Pool And Spa

The desert can be a hot and unfriendly place to live, but you obviously know the secret to staying cool – air conditioning, insulation and of course, a sparkling blue pool in your backyard.  Nothing lowers your core body temperature better than a dip in the pool just before going to bed, but if your pool is green and nasty, are you really going to want to get in it?  With all that is wonderful about having your own pool or spa comes much responsibility; you’ve spent a lot of money on your pool, now it’s time to work on keeping it clean and healthy so you can enjoy it for years to come!  Here’s a list of the 5 things professionals are checking for when they test your water to keep your pool running smooth and staying clean.

Alkalinity

The proper alkalinity level for your new pool must be around 80-100 ppm (parts per million) for an optimal pool environment. When testing for alkalinity you will find this also provides you with a baseline for your pool’s pH balance(See item 2 on this list).  If you need to raise your alkalinity level, you can add sodium bicarbonate (yes, we are talking about baking soda!), but this will also raise your pH levels.  We discuss the chemicals you can use to ONLY raise your pH balance in item number 2 as well.

pH

Testing for pH levels is testing the acid levels in your water.  Acid is measured on a scale of 7.2 to 8.2 with the perfect level being between 7.4 and 7.6.  (We’re betting you didn’t know you were going to have to remember your high school chemistry to maintain your pool, did you?  Believe it or not, it’s relatively simple once you get the hang of it!)  If the numbers are below 7.0, your pool is too acidic; if the numbers are above 7.8, it is too alkaline.  On the rare occasion that you need to raise your pH levels, a small amount of soda ash will do the job.   To lower pH, use muriatic acid.  Maintaining correct pH levels is extremely important…if your water is too acidic or too alkaline it can damage your pool equipment or even the surface of the pool.

Cyanuric Acid

Also known as stabilizer, cyanuric acid, in combination with chlorine, helps keep your pool water safe from damaging UV rays.  Keeping the stabilizer level between 30 and 50 ppm will help maximize the effects of the chlorine you add to your pool.

Chlorine

Battling against harmful bacteria you can find in your pool is made easy with the important addition of chlorine.  Chlorine sanitizes away all the bad germs, but is sensitive to high water temperatures, UV rays, and can even be diluted when it rains…it is extremely important to be vigilant and continually add additional chlorine to keep the levels between 2.0 and 4.0 ppm.

Water Hardness

Hard water is a big problem in the desert – our water contains calcium and other minerals which leads to the white chalky residue left behind after evaporation and does not lead to optimal pool water condition.  Mineral levels should stay between 200 ppm and 400 ppm.  If your water isn’t hard enough, add calcium chloride carefully…too hard of water can be damaging as well.

In the end, the best way to determine the needs of your pool is through regular testing with at-home kits you can find at any pool supply store.  One thing about the water here in the desert: it is recommended you drain your pool every other winter.  Never drain a pool in temps higher than 75 degrees – it is bad for the surface of your pool.  We know it sounds difficult and even a little scary, but we promise it won’t take long before you are able to keep your water crystal clear and sparkling clean with the least amount of effort.  Keeping the chemicals at the right levels will also lengthen the life of your pool and spa equipment.  Happy swimming!

Close Up of Phenomenal Rock Fixture Waterfall In Phoenix Backyard. Pools And Spas By New Image

The ballots are in and here is a list of the top 5 pool and spa features of 2015!

January – the month we all make resolutions and then promptly break them.  Life is stressful enough without having to eat salads at every meal.  So this year, why not add a fun resolution; one that you will be guaranteed NOT to break?  Why not resolve to finally put in that pool you have been talking about for the last 5 years or so?

Last summer was hotter than you can ever remember, and this summer is likely to surpass those temps, and you know that nothing beats the heat better than a refreshing dip in the pool, but you still have some worries?  How much maintenance is required, what type of equipment is best, should you add a waterfall, do you want a spa as well?  We know the options available to you can be daunting, so we’ve put together a list of the top 5 pool and spa features of 2015 to help aid in your decision!

Automation was huge in 2015

Can you imagine running all your equipment and accessories from a simple phone app?  You’re in the middle of a big meeting when suddenly you realize you left the lights and waterfall features on after the big barbecue; even though you have one of the new variable speed pumps that uses little to no energy, you still don’t need to add any extra to your summer bill.  You discreetly slip your phone out of your pocket, click on your pool app, and voila!  Problem solved!  With the handy dandy app, you can control the speed on your pump, the times it turns on and off, and even choose the color of LED light you want glowing in your pool or spa at night!

Decorative accessories

Color changing LED lights are a fun little accessory to add to your pool or spa, and come in a changing display of 5 colors; your kids will freak at the red option!  Another beautiful and unique decorative accessory is the copper wok bowls.  Add a fire kit and the mixture of fire and water becomes a beautiful thing.

Decorative accessories that serve a practical function

Rock waterfalls are not only beautiful – they come in a variety of sizes and shapes – but they also serve a purpose.  The water splashing over the rocks into the pool helps keep it cool in those nasty, hot, late summer months, and also provide more flow, allowing your pool pump to be more efficient.  Choose from a simple granite or sandstone boulder with a minimum of one tier, or go all out and create an amazing lagoon style pool with multiple tiers, and even multiple waterfalls and grottos; the options are endless!

Pool Surfaces

Beadcrete and glass tiles are two surfaces that became extremely popular in 2015, both creating smooth surfaces that feel great against your feet, with beautiful colors that can help you establish a rich and shimmering pool to enjoy throughout the year.

Overflow Spas

In response to the question “Do you want to add a spa to the pool?”, we say YES – especially if you add an overflow spa (similar to a negative edge or knife pool) where a pump pushes water over the edge of the spa and recycles it either in the pool or back into the spa. One such example that is growing in popularity is an overflow spa that rises out of the center of the pool; simple, clean, and modern, it’s concepts like this that add to the excitement of an industry that grows more unique each year.  2015 has come to an end, but the possibilities of 2016 have just begun.  Isn’t it time to start planning your summer pool parties?  All you need is the pool, and hopefully we have given you some great ideas to start with!

Grill with built-in stone ledges on paved backyard patio by New Image, Arizona's landscape company

5 Easy Tips to Keep your Patio Clean Year ‘Round

We Phoenix, Arizona residents are a lucky bunch, as mild temperatures allow for outdoor living year round, even during scorching summer months, and as such, our patios have become second living areas.  We put a lot of thought, time, and effort into creating a backyard oasis that is both beautiful and functional for our needs, but the problem with it being an outdoor area is keeping everything clean.

Initially, the terrace is bright and sparkling clean, bringing you great happiness as you sit comfortably amongst your fauna, flora, and decorative items that have caught your eye throughout the years.  And then come the dust storms during monsoon season, creating unbelievable havoc on your patio, or worse, the rare rain storms that can cause mud and even mold to appear in places where water puddles.  Before long you find yourself avoiding a spot that used to bring you such pleasure and happiness; the dirt, the grime, and mold all creating a dingy backyard “black hole”! Fortunately, it doesn’t have to be that way, and we have compiled a list of tips to help you keep that sparkling clean oasis you loved so much!

  1. Schedule a time each week for a deep clean –
  2. Cleaning is boring, but if you take 15 minutes or so a week to clean, you will find your private paradise much more enjoyable.  Take your cushions off your furniture and shake them off, sweep up dirt and grime, even dust your décor.  Anything water resistant can be sprayed down with a hose to completely eliminate the dust; just remember to let the cushions air dry in the sun before putting them back on your furniture – you don’t want mold growing!

  3. Clean as you go –
  4. It sounds simple, but you would be amazed at how many people leave water bottles, newspapers – even dishes and glasses – out on patio furniture and then are shocked at the mess they find even a day later. Enjoy your daily respite in your private paradise, but take everything you brought out back into the house when you are finished; recycle newspapers and water bottles, and put your dirty dishes in the dishwasher.  Food grime attracts bugs, and just one dirty plate can entice ants, flies, and cockroaches to set up residence on your back patio.

  5. Hire a contractor –
  6. The ground shifts often and can cause your patio to become uneven, leaving low places for water to puddle in, which could lead to unsightly and unhealthy mold or mildew growth. Yes, even in the desert mold and mildew can be an issue if you are not careful!  Sometimes you may have to do some hard core construction to level out a concrete patio, or just have some minor repairs for brick and paver porches.  Level patios create less options for puddling water.

  7. Prevention can be beautiful –
  8. Bamboo blinds keep the sun out, the dust away, and can be an attractive addition to your patio paradise. Curtains are another option, softening and creating a space that would work equally well inside or outside; both help keep dust, water, or debris to a minimum.  Outdoor furniture without cushions (wood, plastic or even wrought iron) can still be comfortable, inviting, and one less thing to clean.  Painting a decorative rug, instead of using a real one that needs special cleaning treatments, is a fun way to add a touch of the inside out, and the only limits (besides your artistic ability!) are the limits of your imagination!

  9. Freshly painted and sparkling clean –
  10. Maybe you have waited too long before deciding something needs to be done about your dirty patio and accessories. In the end, nothing cleans up better than a fresh coat of paint!  Paint your house – or just the back area where the patio is – no one but those closest to you needs to know you’ve taken a “shortcut”! Wood and metal furniture can be painted to look like new; you CAN paint plastic, but it doesn’t offer the best results. If your patio furniture is plastic, consider buying a new set.  Stain or paint the concrete flooring, just remember to seal it really well, and reseal at any signs of fading or peeling.  If you follow these 5 simple steps your backyard paradise will stay clean and inviting year round!

Best Lawn Care In Phoenix AZ. Synthetic Turf Lawn Surrounding Tiled Pool Area, Provided By New Image

How to maintain your well-landscaped yard

You’ve put a lot of work into creating a yard that is lushly landscaped, serenely beautiful and the closest thing to a tropical lagoon you are going to find in Arizona and now comes the hard part…maintaining your patch of paradise.  The more care and time you put into your lawn, the more enjoyment you will get out of it, but don’t think you have to spend all your spare time coddling your property…just follow these few simple tips and stay consistent in your upkeep.

Lawn

We live in the desert, but a large portion of desert inhabitants still try to keep a yard full of lush green grass, the most common type being Common Bermuda.  Making sure your grass gets enough water is the most important key to a beautiful lawn.  If you don’t water it enough, your grass will turn a bluish-grey (brown if you’re not watering it at all!)And get crunchy, the soil will be too hard and stay warm long after the sun sets.  If you water it too much you will find puddles, notice a musty smell and may even find mushrooms growing in it.  Water during the cool part of the day, fertilize once a month and mow frequently.  When weeding, make sure you get the root of the weed or it will soon grow back.  Aerate your soil in May to help with root growth…you can rent a mechanical aerator if you have an especially large yard.

Plants and Flowers

Nothing helps add beauty to your yard more than beautiful plants and flowers.  Follow instructions that are provided with your new plants and only plant in areas recommended.  Shade plants obviously do best in the shade and because the desert sun is so very hot and bright, if planting sunny plants, only plant ones that can survive a desert environment.  Now that you are at the maintenance stage, water levels are very important…watering too much can be just as bad as not watering enough.     A Plant that is wilting but has wet soil or one that has leaves that turn brown and then wilt or even one with yellow leaves that end up falling off the plant can all be signs of overwatering.  Blooming plants stay healthier if you deadhead them and younger plants can benefit from the added support of twigs or other props to keep them from falling over in the windy or extremely rainy conditions.  (Yes…we DO have rain in the desert!)

A landscape is more than plants and grass

It’s also involves the structures you have built for the added beauty of your property.  Stain your wood pergolas frequently to keep them from getting dry and brittle.  Have your home painted every 5 to 10 years (better paint will stay fresher looking longer) and be vigilant about water damage.  Repair and replace and rotting or damaged boards in the eaves of your home as soon as you spot the problem…water can be extremely harmful to wood.  If your patio furniture is out in the bright sunlight, consider putting cushions away in storage containers to keep their colors bright and hose your patio and your furniture down frequently to maintain a clean and dust free environment.  Keeping things neat and tidy contributes to the beauty of a well-landscaped yard and will bring you much happiness throughout your life.