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Old 10-05-2009, 08:36 PM   #1
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Desert Landscaping Help


I need all the advice I can get. My wife and I recently moved into a new house in Phoenix that needs lots of work. The yard is all dying grass and shrubs that were never meant to survive in the desert. I want to completely start from scratch and do a proper desert landscaping job, but am having trouble finding information on how to go about it. If anyone could recommend a good book or website, or can directly answer any of the questions below, I would greatly appreciate it.

1. Do I have to till down the dead grass, or can I just lay the weed cloth and gravel directly over it?
2. Is it better to lie down and pack a finer gravel first, or can I just put the decorative gravel down?
3. Do I need to consider water runoff since the yard already slopes towards the road?
4. There are two trees in the yard that I wish to keep. Do I need to do anything special around them, or will they still be able to get plenty of water through the gravel when it rains?
5. There is an ugly concrete walkway leading from the driveway to the front door. Since the gravel is going to be sitting above it anyways, could I just place pavers directly onto it?

Like I said, I am open to all advice, so if anyone can answer any of these questions, or knows something that I should be aware of, please let me know. Thanks.

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Old 10-05-2009, 08:57 PM   #2
Kap
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Desert Landscaping Help


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Originally Posted by Mr Manhands View Post
Do I have to till down the dead grass, or can I just lay the weed cloth and gravel directly over it?
If it's in clumps, it would be better to get rid of it. If you are not planting, no need to till.

Quote:
Is it better to lie down and pack a finer gravel first, or can I just put the decorative gravel down?


Finer gravel will give a firmer base and help keep the larger stuff from sinking when walking on it.

Quote:
Do I need to consider water runoff since the yard already slopes towards the road?


Ahhhhhh....the Phoenix monsoons. I sure miss those desert storms. I used to live there and my Mom still does. How sloped is your yard? Strong enough flow can move just about anything. Make sure you are using a solid type of rock, not that porous "lava rock" gravel. it will swim off in the lightest of water flows.

Quote:
There are two trees in the yard that I wish to keep. Do I need to do anything special around them, or will they still be able to get plenty of water through the gravel when it rains?
No worries there. The gravel may even assist in getting water to the trees as it will slow the runoff.

Quote:
There is an ugly concrete walkway leading from the driveway to the front door. Since the gravel is going to be sitting above it anyways, could I just place pavers directly onto it?
If it's level and flat it shouldn't be a problem. Maybe use some type of stone adhesive to keep them in place.


Last edited by Kap; 10-05-2009 at 09:02 PM.
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Old 10-07-2009, 04:15 PM   #3
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Desert Landscaping Help


Thanks for the advice, Kap. how would your recommend getting rid of the grass without tilling it down? Also, since the yard isn't going to be walked on much, do you feel that just laying the decorative gravel down would be sufficient? I'm doing this myself, so am trying to keep the complecations to a minimum.
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Old 10-08-2009, 01:56 PM   #4
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Desert Landscaping Help


I would imagine you could just rake the dead grass up. Did you use a chemical to kill it? It should dry out pretty good there.

Tilling would soften the soil. You want it as firm as possible. What type gravel are you using? We had smooth river rock in our yard, 2-3 inch size. No smaller gravel.
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Old 10-08-2009, 04:41 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by Kap View Post
I would imagine you could just rake the dead grass up. Did you use a chemical to kill it? It should dry out pretty good there.

Tilling would soften the soil. You want it as firm as possible. What type gravel are you using? We had smooth river rock in our yard, 2-3 inch size. No smaller gravel.
I turned the water off about a month ago, but there are patches that refuse to die. I'm thinking of just going over it with the lawnmower blade set really low. Haven't decided on gravel type yet. I'm still trying to find a book that can give me step by step so that I can make some of these decissions.
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Old 10-09-2009, 12:45 AM   #6
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Desert Landscaping Help


Hit it with roundup and be done with it.

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