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Old 05-17-2011, 06:50 PM   #1
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Need a backyard


My wife and I purchased a 5year old foreclosed 3000SqFt house in Phoenix, Arizona and we need to build up a back yard. There is a drip system in the front yard with a white PVC pipe sticking up out of the ground on the side of the house in the back yard, I believe this is to make it easier to install a sprinkler system and still use the same drip system and timer. I think but I'm not sure (haven't measured) that the backyard has about 1500SqFt of available ground for grass, shrubs, and trees. Any ideas? Here are pics of the back yard. We want grass. Also are there any shrubs or plants that Scorpions just hate?



What is the best grass for the Arizona Dry Heat? Is the summer a good time to try to grow grass from seeds? Should I wait until we have the funds to take advantage of that water pipe for a sprinkler system or go ahead and grow the yard now and next year when you have the money build a sprinkler system?

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Old 05-19-2011, 05:05 PM   #2
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Now don't flood this thread with responses all at once, give me a little bit of a break to read them all.

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Old 05-20-2011, 10:47 PM   #3
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Good lord that's dry!!!

Do you really have your heart set on grass? I think I nice zen sand garden with boulders would look pretty sharp (and maybe even a few of those spiky things that pass for plants down your way)?

If the sun is anything near as hot as it looks in those pics there's no point seeding grass 'till you have a nice drip irrigation system in place and have worked in a yard or two of peat (or similar moisture retaining stuff). The soil you have there doesn't look like it would retain water worth a darn, so if you seeded as is I'd expect you'd have to pretty much sit out there with the hose all day to keep newly germinated grass seed from frying in the sun.

(But take all this with a grain of salt since I know NOTHING about growing stuff in the desert - it's rained damn near every day here for the last two months.)
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Old 05-21-2011, 10:17 AM   #4
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Wow! I'd think about a fake grass section,a flag stone patio with a shade structure and then some native plants along the fence. Water is a pretty precious resource to be used up trying to grow grass in the desert.
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Old 05-21-2011, 06:18 PM   #5
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Water is a pretty precious resource to be used up trying to grow grass in the desert.
nailed it. I've visited the in-laws in Arizona and they have fake grass, actually feels decent.

But yea, it's the desert man, grass isn't meant to grow in the desert.

See if you can find someone who's re-doing their turf grass fields (school etc.) and tell them you're willing to take the old stuff off their hands. Maybe you'll get lucky. Worked for the kids in the dorms at my college. They all had grass in their rooms for a year.
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Old 05-21-2011, 06:56 PM   #6
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I was going to answer something similar when you first posted, but I didn't want to sound like a spoilsport or make anybody mad. Yeah, grass is really hard to grow in the desert, at least the sort of lush turf that most people think of when they think 'grass.'

I'm going to second the notion of hardscaping--stone, gravel, etc. Also, look into natives that don't need much watering, you can do little flowerbeds of tough desert plants. Have you thought of doing small areas of turf here and there, like little green islands? It would take a lot less water and soil amendments. I know there isn't a lot of water to go around in the desert, so it's "greener" for the environment to hardscape or to use natives, desert plants.

Having a few small areas of grass strategically placed would be the best of both worlds, IMO.
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Old 05-21-2011, 11:02 PM   #7
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Walk around your neighborhood and look at houses that have nice yards. Knock on your neighbor's door and ask their advice. They are the real experts. In general, people love to show off their work.
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Old 05-22-2011, 12:00 AM   #8
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I gotta agree with the others here about growing grass in the desert. From what I've been reading lately, the level of the Colorado River, the water source for many desert communities in the southwest, has been dropping dramatically. I would not be surprised to find desert communities either drastically reducing, or outlawing outdoor watering within the next few years. I'd beat the rush and find an alternative now.
Judging by the number of bicycles in your pics, if your purpose is a kid friendly surface, you might Google "rubber mulch".

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Old 05-22-2011, 08:03 AM   #9
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Go to the local garden centers and ask their advice. That area might have expensive water of watering restrictions that might preclude high need water plants.
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Old 05-22-2011, 08:33 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Marty S. View Post
Wow! I'd think about a fake grass section,a flag stone patio with a shade structure and then some native plants along the fence. Water is a pretty precious resource to be used up trying to grow grass in the desert.
That is exactly what I was thinking - about the water in the desert! My opinion is that where water is extremely scarce, it shouldn't be used on lawns.

I think this backyard would be improved radically if you built a pergola. Shade is your friend.

Any decisions about a rock garden, or any other sort of desert landscaping, is pretty much a matter of taste.


Good luck!

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