Do you have a pool? For many in Arizona the answer to this question is yes. We have one of the most beautiful climates for the majority of the year and we love to use our “outdoor rooms.” Sometimes pools are installed as an afterthought and the surrounding landscape pays the toll. Having a knowledgeable designer change the areas can be key to creating an outdoor oasis to fit your lifestyle.

Here are a few elements to consider when installing or working with a designer to renovate a pool area.

  • Decking, this can be renovated or replaced.
  • Artificial or real grass can create a functional “green” space.
  • Landscaping, choosing the right plants for the space.


Decking is where you can have some fun with colors and textures to suite your tastes. Many pools are installed with cool decking or acrylic lace decking; this is a textured product which is available in several colors. There is some maintenance required, and resurfacing after a number of years.

If you have had cool decking, you may want to seek an alternative. You can do anything from concrete pavers to artistic pavers, travertine pavers or flagstone. Each comes with its own set of pros and cons for example concrete pavers are hot and can easily stain with our hard water, travertine is cooler but can be slippery when wet depending on the style and flagstone is a natural stone which spalls and chips overtime as well as absorbs stains. To get the full list of information and to design a plan for you, talking to a designer who is knowledgeable about hardscapes is advisable.


Many of our Valley residents have moved here from states where they are used to seeing lush green lawns and beautiful flowering shrubs. Both of which can be incorporated here, the use of artificial turf has become a popular option to achieve this lush aesthetic while adhering to water conservation.

Since artificial turf can be used in narrow spaces, around hard-scapes to create extended sitting areas when hosting parties and requires very little maintenance it has become a go to for around pools. Be sure to contact a designer for a full list of pros and cons in choosing the right turf for you.


The most important element of the landscape is what we call “softscapes.” This can include trees, plants, groundcovers and decomposed granite.  Choosing the right plant material relies heavily on the type of exposure, space, nearby patios or pools, and the look you are trying to achieve. With each plant there are many things to consider root expansion are they invasive? Is the plant poisonous to humans or dogs? How does it reproduce? Will it freeze? Is there a lot of litter? There are so many variables to take into consideration this is best done by talking one on one with a designer.

Water Features 

Incorporating decorative water features will add to the overall aesthetics of your pool. Anything from natural waterfalls to contemporary scuppers can enhance the overall ambiance of your yard. These can be installed after the pool has been built but it is important to ensure proper water flow, stability around the existing pool and a seamless design to make sure it doesn’t look like an afterthought.

Creating a landscape can be difficult to conceptualize on your own, that’s why we use 3D Design software to help you visualize your dream in action. See some of our pools and projects here.


Let us help you bring your ideas to life call 480-922-9497 or contact us here.


Bill Jenkins Bill Jenkins  is a second-generation landscape contractor with a passion for providing quality products and service to the valley          for over 30 years. He enjoys gardening and growing roses, his grandfather was a champion rose grower and shared his love of          roses with him when he was young. His father set an example for him to use only the   best quality products and to give clients            exceptional service.

Triple digit heat is here and everyone with lush green grass is sweating bullets trying to maintain their lawn. In our last blog post, we talked about the pros and cons of artificial turf but there are other ways you can have a sustainable landscape without high maintenance. Xeriscaping is a type of popular landscape design using native plants and usually requiring less water. In addition to saving money and being practical, xeriscapes can also be beautiful and inspiring.

Get to know a Pro

A professional landscape designer will know which plants are suitable for your area and which ones will thrive in combination with each other. The best option is to find a design/build company that will help you bring your ideas to life on paper and in the ground.

A licensed landscape designer will be able to lay out your arrangements in the best way possible. Choosing less thirsty plants and arranging them wisely will save you time and money since you will need to water less frequently. A well-designed irrigation system will also soak the foliage without wasting water, giving your plants enough water to establish strong root systems.

Some people keep part of their property as a grass lawn and use native desert plants to create beautiful landscaped areas as well. Low-water-use plants come in all different shapes, sizes, colors and textures. A professional landscape designer will help you choose plants you like and that will also complement your home. Together, you can design an arrangement of plants that uses less water and looks stunning.

Choose Drought-Tolerant Native Plants

Gorgeous landscapes can be created using a mixture of trees, shrubs, flowering plants and ground cover. Cacti and succulents are great choices when it comes to drought-resistant plants, and some of them have beautiful and striking appearances. Agaves are flowering cacti that produce leaves in the shape of rosettes, and some of them have impressive bloom spikes, like the Foxtail Agave.

Your agave will do well in the partial shade of a taller plant like the Arizona Rosewood. This is a large shrub or small tree that grows to be ten feet high. It’s a dark green, leafy evergreen that fills out to about eight feet across. It produces white clusters of flowers in the spring and early summer, and the Arizona Rosewood can thrive in full sun. It’s great for creating an informal hedge and is very attractive to bees.

Justicia is an evergreen shrub that has long red blossoms that bloom for much of the year. It’s a desert plant that does well if you water it infrequently but deeply. The Chuparosa, a Justicia plant native to the Sonoran desert, can grow to six feet tall and wide. This provides shelter for wildlife and, as a matter of fact, hummingbirds are highly attracted to the flowers.

Consider Sustainable Landscaping

Other types of sustainable landscaping include artificial turf and hardscape. Artificial turf looks lush and green, requires no mowing and doesn’t need to be watered, just cleaned now and then. Although it’s expensive, using artificial turf means you don’t have to invest in sprinklers or a yard service. Artificial turf is made of plastic and it can get hot, so using it in shady areas is the best idea.

For an outdoor area that you don’t want to maintain and that you want to use for recreation, there are many selections when it comes to installing a hardscape. Just a few suggestions include installing pavers around a fire pit, creating a patio area and sculpting a few winding walking trails. An experienced landscape designer can help you determine the best place to put plantings, hardscape and artificial turf on your property.

Avoid Common Mistakes

  • Not taking into account how much space mature plants will need.
  • Choosing plants that will require a lot of maintenance.
  • Not planning irrigation around ground gradients and water flow.
  • Leaving out some of the costs of a project in your initial plan.
  • Not designating enough outside area for relaxation and recreation.

You will want to make sure to leave space for future projects. Are you planning to install a pool or an outdoor kitchen at some point? Now is the time to decide where your future project will be sited. It’s very difficult to move existing landscaping once it has taken hold.
When you consult with a landscape designer, all of these issues will be considered and you’ll be one step closer to making your landscape dreams come true.

Bill Jenkins

 Bill Jenkins  is a second-generation landscape contractor with a passion for providing quality products and service to the valley for over 30 years. He enjoys gardening and growing roses, his grandfather was a champion rose grower and shared his love of roses with him when he was young. His father set an example for him to use only the   best quality products and to give clients exceptional service.



Top 3 questions to ask yourself before designing your backyard.

It’s exciting to plan new landscaping ideas, but jumping into it without a well thought out plan can cause big mistakes that may become disappointments in the future. By approaching your landscape plans with clear ideas of your needs and professional assistance, you can ensure your landscape will serve your needs for a long time to come.

1. What purpose will your new landscape fulfill?

Planning the basic structure of your landscape is as simple as identifying your needs, your hobbies and the purposes for which it will be used.

 Here are a few questions to ask before you get started:

• How do you see yourself using your new yard?
• Do you plan to use it for entertaining or primarily as a playground for your children?
• Do you have a dog or other animals?
• Are there sports you’d like to play on your property?
• Do you like to garden?

Depending on the size of your property and your budget, it’s possible to create spaces for several different purposes. If your space is small, you may need to prioritize your needs for maximum efficiency. You also will want to take the layout of the property into consideration; if it is important to you to grow fresh vegetables each year, you’ll want to designate the sunniest part of your property for that purpose.

frenchCreative ideas like a putting green or splash pool are fun ideas to add to your property and may even add value to your home. But while a putting green may seem as simple as carving out a patch of lawn, the infrastructure and ongoing maintenance of a high-quality putting green will require expertise, time and money. These are questions your designer can answer with professional knowledge, skill and experience.

2. Dream Big: Scale Down

To ensure all your landscaping needs are met, put all of your big dreams on paper with no regard to budget or space. Make a grandiose list of everything you’d like to have, then work with a designer to prioritize and pare down into achievable goals. The idea here is to be honest with yourself about all your wants for your new yard.

Don’t forget to include essential items such as lighting and irrigation systems.
A good landscape designer can help you identify practical needs while balancing your dreams. A designer will also help you identify hidden costs such as ongoing maintenance you may not have considered. It’s good to know from the beginning if you plan to hire maintenance services for your landscape.

At this point, you can decide on a target budget and start determining what items on your list will be incorporated into your landscape. You’ll also want to consider what some of the accessories for your landscape will cost, such as the fancy new barbecue grill for your outdoor kitchen or the safety fencing for your swimming pool.

3. A Trusted Landscape Designer

Working with a professional landscape designer can make all the difference in making good choices for your landscape and enjoying an excellent outcome. Take the time to speak with each designer you are considering. View their portfolio and speak to references.

You don’t necessarily need to love every project the designer has completed in the past, but it is important your taste and style is well communicated with your designer. If possible, ask for references that will allow you to see the designers work in person. The key is to find a designer you are comfortable with, that you can talk to, and that listens.

A landscape that matures gracefully without major adjustments is a sign of a designer who possesses the skills to look at the big picture when designing a landscape; creating a space that naturally meshes with the home and surrounding area.

A Beautiful End Result

The ultimate goal is to create an outdoor living space to enjoy moments with friends and family or maybe some peace and quiet by yourself.

If you are considering a new landscape, contact us to schedule a free, no obligation consultation with one of our highly skilled designers. The work you do in the beginning will be well worth the time and effort when planning the landscape of your dreams.

Bill Jenkins Bill Jenkins  is a second-generation landscape contractor with a passion for providing quality products and service to the valley for over 30 years. He enjoys gardening and growing roses, his grandfather was a champion rose grower and shared his love of roses with him when he was young. His father set an example for him to use only the best quality products and to give clients exceptional service.


Differences Between Landscape Contractors and Designers.

Beautiful landscape projects are often appreciated and adored.  Outdoor space filled with lush plants and lighted pathways have a magical allure.  But rarely do people understand the elements needed to align to make the magic happen.

Landscape design, construction and maintenance sometimes get lumped together in one category. But the lack of expertise in any one area can end up costing you not only time but also a significant amount of money.

So let’s start with the basics of who does what and what’s expected to complete a great landscape project.

Landscape Designers

Choosing a landscape designer is one of the most important decisions you’ll make as a homeowner. Your landscape should be thought of as a long-term investment, not just throwing some plants in the ground and calling it a day.

Not only is a good designer full of ideas to transform your outdoor space, they are able to figure out grading plans, technical details for drainage and layout dimensions.  They will know which plants work best in your area.  They will understand the science of hydraulics for proper irrigation design and understand levels of light and use of the correct lamp color temperatures for good lighting design.

Landscape designers will also help with budget creation and construction planning. Understanding what things cost and having a budget in mind in the beginning is the first step to a successful project.

A reputable designer will also help you decide if you should build the project all at once or break it into phases.

Landscape Contractors

Landscape contractors are usually licensed professionals with a combination of formal education, work experience and/or apprenticeship of a certain length of time. They are the ones who actually install the landscape the designer has planned.

The contractor’s responsibility comes down to getting the job done on time with reliable service and quality.

Keep in mind, not all contractors are landscape designers. Things like poor plant choices, taking into account mature plant sizes, knowledge of plant water usage, proper irrigation design, site drainage and other design items if poorly thought out, can end up costing you more money down the road.  Proper knowledge and expertise in the design phase is crucial to the longevity of your landscape plan.

Choosing a landscape design-build firm can streamline the process.

When choosing a landscape design and build team, make sure to look for at least these three things:

Client references 

Reading online reviews are fine, but if you really want honest feedback, ask for references of someone who has had similar work completed. It may be a red flag if a contractor has a hard time providing references.

Licenses and insurance

Landscape contractors have licenses regulated by the state. Check to see if your contractor’s license is in good standing.  If not, it might be an indication of something more serious. Also, make sure your contractor has general liability insurance and worker’s compensation.

Photos showing quality of work and experience

Good photos will help you get an idea of completed projects and what to expect.  It’s even better if you can see a 3D rendering of what your project will look like when it’s finished.

You may also want to ask to see projects that are similar in scale. Knowledge and expertise of the correct staging and workflow can keep your project on time and within budget.  Most landscape designers would want you to share all your wants and wishes for your landscape to help the designer understand how you will want to use your landscape.  A good designer can help you sort out the landscape ideas that will fit into your budget and give you the most for your money.

While there are times when a full-blown design isn’t necessarily needed,  even a small project can require specialized knowledge and experience to get the details right.  Knowing the difference between contractors and designers will help you get the best results for your landscape needs.

Bill JenkinsBill Jenkins  is a second-generation landscape contractor with a passion for providing quality products and service to the valley for over 30 years.