Tag: landscaping tips

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Summer Tips for Landscape Maintenance

When the heat comes in the summer in the desert, it quickly becomes crunch time in maintaining the health and aesthetic appeal of your landscape. It also becomes increasingly more difficult to be responsible with our water consumption in this desert that we live in. While this article will apply differently based on what type of landscape you have and the extent of features throughout it, these are some great tips for making sure that your landscape is looking its best all year long in the most water-efficient ways possible.

How to Make Your Landscape Look Beautiful All Summer Long

A big part of maintaining a beautiful and healthy look for your landscape is keeping your grass green. The first and most crucial thing you need to know in order to do this is how much water your lawn actually needs. There are numerous sources online for estimating this, but you can also do this with a little trial and error. Attempt to drive a screwdriver into your soil about an hour after watering. If you can easily push it 10 inches into the ground, that is enough water, and you might even be able to scale it back. You should be watering your grass a few hours before sunrise to avoid excessive evaporation of the water and you should mow your grass at least once a week to keep it as fresh and healthy as possible. This helps with the look of your yard as well as the necessary water consumption of your grass.

You should always be aware of the status of your irrigation system. Make sure sprinkler heads are oriented in the proper direction and not being obstructed, and keep your eyes out for the formation of pools of water over underground plumbing. You should also consider installing drip irrigation to make sure your plants are getting the water that they need in the most efficient manner.

You should also consider taking pre-emptive measures to plan the specifics of your landscape so that it can survive more easily in this type of climate. Things that will help a Phoenix landscape thrive with less effort include planting native plant species, designing simple, natural rainwater collection and distribution channels, and adding a little shade. Adding gutters and rainwater collection bins is another great way to increase the health of your yard without increasing your footprint on water consumption.

Save Water While Maintaining Your Landscape

You work hard on your landscape, so you should be able to maintain it throughout the entire year. However, as we live in a desert, we all have a responsibility to conserve our most precious resource, water. Follow these steps to make sure you are doing your part to conserve, while still having a beautiful yard!

Top Watering Tips for Maintaining a Healthy Landscape in the Desert

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When you live in the desert for any extended period of time, there are a few things you learn that are different here than anywhere else on Earth, and the most important of these lessons is the value of water. Be it for drinking, bathing, or keeping your landscape hydrated and healthy, without water we cease to exist, and when your natural domicile is in the desert, water is not as readily available as it may be in other places.  As such, we’ve compiled a list of watering tips dedicated solely to the preservation of your Arizona landscape and ensuring that your lawn and plants will continue to thrive and flourish throughout the years!

1-2-3 Rule

The first question most people ask is how much water is appropriate for plants and landscaping. Most people understand that not watering enough is a bad thing, but few realize that watering too much is just as bad. In addition to wasting a valuable resource, watering too much is costly and can cause your plants to die, as the roots will not be able to get enough oxygen.  The 1-2-3 Rule is simple and works as follows:

  1. Smaller plants, groundcover, and cacti should be watered to a depth of 1 foot. Grass is the exception to this rule, as it only should be watered to a depth of 10 inches.
  2. Water medium sized plants (shrubs and bushes) to a depth of 2 feet.
  3. Trees and other large plants should be watered to a depth of 3 feet.

It may take a little trial and error to determine the amount of time to water to the appropriate depths, but using a soil probe about an hour after watering will give you an idea if you have done it correctly.  Push the probe into the soil until you encounter resistance…the wet soil should allow the probe to slide through easily, while dry soil won’t and you can measure from that point.

Sprinkler Systems and Timers

For those of you with lawns, the use of a sprinkler system with a timer can help you save water, money, and energy; once you’ve determined the correct amount of water needed and the number of days you should be watering (a schedule for Bermuda grass lawns is provided below), program the timer and basically forget it about it. The exception to this rule is during rainy times (yes, we do get rain in the desert!). When it rains, turn off your sprinklers; many timers have a rainy day temporary stop – you push a button and it won’t sprinkle on that day, but will return to the regularly scheduled system the next day.

  • During the summer, water once every 3 days. In winter, Bermuda goes dormant and does not need to be watered. Watering every day is not necessary and is wasteful.  Watering every three days ensures a strong root system, guaranteeing a healthy lawn.
  • Use the soil probe to determine the length of time needed to run the sprinklers. It should go easily into the ground up to 10 inches; when this happens, you know you have watered the optimal amount of time. Start testing in 15 minute increments.
  • During the hottest months, water at night or early morning. Watering in the heat of the day is not recommended.
  • Shaded lawns need less frequent watering.

Other Tips

  • Keep your yard weed free to keep weeds from stealing precious water needed by your plants
  • Trees should be on a separate watering system from plants and grass
  • You’ve under-watered if your Bermuda turns blue-gray or still feels warm to the touch long after the sun has set
  • You’ve overwatered if your lawn smell musty, has puddles, is mushy when you walk on it, or if you see mushrooms growing
  • Watering needs change as your landscapes matures
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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.

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10 BACKYARD LANDSCAPING TIPS PERFECT FOR ANY PHOENIX PROPERTY

Have you been thinking about some ways to turn your tiny back yard into a very beautiful and functional space that you can rest, relax, and enjoy for years to come? Here are ten great tips for backyard-landscaping your Phoenix property for maximum comfort and enjoyment.

  1. Spruce up your deck

Try some different ideas to dress up your deck, making it a peaceful place for you and your family. For example, a pergola covered with vines and plants in decorative containers offers an inviting space to cool down during warm summer days. A surrounding garden leading up to the deck can add some beauty as well.

  1. Build an outdoor kitchen

If you like grilling outdoors during from spring to fall, an outdoor kitchen is a must. You don’t need anything elaborate like an expensive grill, but you can always install a small countertop for food preparation and other conveniences, including a small refrigerator and a separate side burner.

  1. Create some shade

To create some shade in your Phoenix backyard, try landscaping some mature trees into the frame, propping up a few umbrellas, or installing some retractable awnings. You’ll enjoy your deck or patio even more if you can provide some relief from the sun.

  1. Furnish for comfort

Wrought iron, cast iron, and traditional wood are a few affordable options for outdoor furniture. Some of the newer synthetic, weatherproof patio furniture and fabrics are also available from many outdoor furniture manufacturers.

  1. Define spaces with outdoor structures

A gazebo adds extra luxury to your outdoor space. Whether it is attached to the deck, set up near a pool, or planted in the landscape, a gazebo offers plenty of outdoor room. It also offers a great spot for dining, cooking, or relaxing.

  1. Add a Hot Tub or Spa

For relaxation at the end of the day, a hot tub or spa is the best Phoenix backyard-landscaping feature for relieving all your day-to-day stress. When determining the best location for the spa, consider privacy, access to the house, and whether you want the tub in sunshine or shade. A stunning spa provides rest and relaxation on the weekends.

  1. Install outdoor lights

Try some outdoor lighting to enjoy your backyard getaway. Porch lights can also make your home safer by illuminating access to your garage and entryways,

Steps and walkways should also be illuminated for safety.

  1. Layer on the Amenities

The soothing sound of trickling water can add to a more calming effect for you and your guests.

  1. Add some warmth to your patio

Fireplaces and fire pits are some of the most popular backyard landscaping features in Phoenix. They enhance the beauty and practicality of your outdoors, while providing privacy for your outdoor area, and addding a starting point for an outdoor kitchen.

Fire pits also draw people together and can extend the life of your outdoor living room well into the winter.

  1. Accessorize your outdoor rooms

With garden statuary, weatherproof art, and pillows covered in weatherproof fabrics.