Category Archives: Elite Landscape & Sprinkler Repair

Front Yard Landscaping Ideas

front yard landscaping

You can easily incorporate any one of the following ideas into your front yard landscaping to make it as functional as possible. These ideas will also greatly enhance your property’s curb appeal, increasing its value.

Outdoor Walkways

Instead of risking having your grass or flowers trampled, create an inviting entrance with a walkway using natural stone, stamped concrete or decorative brick. When designing your walkway, choose materials that will complement your home’s architectural style and features. For example, if your house is brick, a paved walkway using traditional brick or cobblestone with a brick border is a good choice. Note that a poured surface or paved surface will be much more slip resistant than gravel or pebble.

Landscape Lighting

Landscape lighting can create safe pathways, gorgeous views, and stunning focal points in your front yard. It can also deter intruders. Landscape lighting is available in a wide variety of LED and halogen fixtures. There are pros and cons for both, and it’s important to learn these so that you can make the best, most cost-effective decision. Talk to your landscape professional about the benefits of landscape lighting when designing your front yard landscaping.

Garden Beds

Garden beds full of colorful trees, flowering shrubs, and annuals or perennials are popular additions to both front and backyard landscapes. There are three kinds of garden beds you should be aware of; island beds, raised beds, and border beds. As with landscape lighting, each type of garden bed has its own share of pros and cons that again, should be discussed with your landscape professional.

Native Plants

Bring the beauty of Arizona into your front yard landscaping design by gardening with native plants. Once established, many native plants require minimal water, fertilizer and maintenance time. Native plants grow best under natural conditions. Beneficial insects, such as butterflies, hummingbirds and bees also prefer native plants. As do native birds. These insects and birds will help keep your landscape free of mosquitoes and plant-eating insects.

Mosquito Proof Your Property

mosquito If you’re like most, you probably don’t give much thought to mosquitos – until you get a red, itchy welt on your skin, which is a sure sign of a mosquito bite.


Contrary to popular belief, mosquitos don’t wait for hottest days of summer, but start biting when temperatures reach a consistent 50 degrees. In Arizona – and much of the Southwest – this translates to early March.

Use these tips to mosquito proof your property.

Why Should You Be Concerned?

Some species of mosquitoes can transmit diseases to both animals and people. Examples of potentially life-threatening mosquito-borne diseases include West Nile Virus, St. Louis Encephalitis, Dengue, Chikungunya, Zika Virus, Yellow Fever, and Malaria. Mosquitoes can also expose our four-legged friends to heartworm. For more information on mosquito-borne diseases, visit the Arizona Department of Health Services.

Mosquito Proof Your Property

Eliminate Breeding Sites – Rid your yard of anything that could hold standing water. Mosquitoes require only a small amount of water for depositing their eggs, so don’t overlook any potential water collection vessel. Pet dishes, wading pools, potted plant saucers, rock depressions, water cans, buckets, and wheelbarrows are just a few examples of places where water can stand.

Clean Clogged Gutters – Commonly overlooked, gutters clogged with leaves and other debris can cause water to build-up, potentially causing more problems than just mosquitoes and other pests. Keeping your gutters clean should be at the top of your to-do list each fall and spring. Using a good extendable ladder and plastic shovel, scoop out the gunk, followed by flushing the gutters with a garden hose.

Trim Vegetation – It is believed that mosquitoes stay within proximity of their breeding ground, usually not straying more than 200 feet from where they were hatched. This, along with the fact that mosquitoes feast on plant nectar, make tall grasses and overgrown shrubs a perfect habitat. If you’ve left your trees and other plants do their own thing, trimming them will help alleviate pest problems, as well as add curb appeal.

Keep Your Swimming Pool Clean – Mosquitoes generally steer clear from well-maintained backyard swimming pools. However, if you fail to keep it clean or don’t use its pump for an extended period, they’ll likely be drawn to the dirty/stagnant water. If you use a pool cover during the winter, it can collect water that as mentioned above, will draw them in.

Setup Mosquito Magnets –  Mosquito traps or magnets disrupt their breeding cycle, helping you win the ongoing battle with these swarming, bloodthirsty pests. Magnets rely on the power of attraction to lure and kill mosquitoes allowing you to see a dramatic reduction in the mosquito population on your property. You can find mosquito magnets online or at most home improvement stores.

Landscaping Tips to Maximize Curb Appeal

landscaping tips

You know that old adage about not judging a book by its cover? Well, in real estate, the cover is everything! In fact, according to the National Association of Realtors, how your home looks from the outside can have significant influence on a potential buyers’ perception of its value. Even if you’re not thinking of selling anytime soon, taking the time to spruce up your curb appeal, starting with your front yard landscaping can go a long way in maximizing curb appeal.

Follow these landscaping tips to maximize curb appeal.

Add Hardscaping

It’s important to combine various hardscapes and softscape elements, materials, and techniques to create a cohesive design that is both beautiful and functional. Some examples of hardscapes are swimming pools, outdoor kitchens, fire pits, decks, gazebos, water features, paver patios, and retaining walls. Brick, stone, concrete, wood, and metal are just some of the materials that you may wish to include.

Use Xeriscaping

Xeriscaping is a low-maintenance alternative and complement to grass. The fundamental element of a xeriscape design is water conservation. It gives a neat appearance with very little maintenance. It also allows you to integrate drought-tolerant plants, ground covers, mulch and turf areas to produce a beautiful, functional, and resource-conserving landscape design.

Create Privacy

The most visually appealing way to add some privacy to your yard is with a living privacy hedge. Evergreen shrubs, such as Italian Cypress or American Arborvitae, make the best plants for year-round screening from street traffic and neighbors. Other benefits include creating a sound barrier to reduce noise and acting a windbreak to protect against harsh winds.

Consider Lighting

Outdoor lighting adds both aesthetic and functional benefits to your home, such as making your beautifully planned and constructed landscape design visible, even after dark. One of the most practical options for exterior lighting is LED. According to the U.S. Department of Energy, LEDs can be six to seven times more energy efficient than incandescent bulbs, and last up to 50,000 hours depending on the application.

Heed the Weeds

If you notice weeds popping up in your yard, remove them. You can pull them by hand, buy a spray product to kill them (or make your own), or invest in a professional weed control service. With the weeds gone, your plants and other living horticultural elements won’t have to compete with them to receive the water and nutrients they need. Removing weeds will also extend the life of brick, stone, and cement pavers.

Fall Landscaping Checklist

fall landscaping checklist

Fall means a kaleidoscope of colors, cooler temperatures, apple cider, and pumpkin spice everything. Fall also means that it is time to get your landscaping in shape for the cooler months ahead. We at Elite Landscaping and Sprinkler Repair have prepared the following fall landscaping checklist to help get you started.

Aerate the Soil: If you have noticed that water has difficulty penetrating through the soil surface, when you may want to aerate your lawn so that oxygen, water and fertilizer can easily reach the grass’s roots. You can rent a mechanical core aerator for about $30 to $75 for a few hours. You can find these at most garden centers. If you don’t feel like aerating yourself, hire a professional landscaping contractor.

Fertilize for Future Growth: Fall is also a great time of year to fertilize your lawn. Even if you only do this once a year, do it in the fall. The reason? Fertilizer delivers essential nutrients, which allows the grass to grow deep roots now, and keep nutrients on reserve for a healthy start to spring. You should apply a quality, dry fertilizer to all grassy areas, mid-to-late fall.

Reseed the Lawn: The best time to reseed your existing lawn is in the fall. The ideal time to reseed in most parts of Arizona is in late August or September. It will germinate while temperatures are relatively warm, then grow and mature as temperatures begin to cool, thus ensuring lush green grass in spring. Just make sure not to overseed.

Spread Mulch: Spread 2 to 3 inches of fresh mulch around shrubs and trees once in the fall and again in the spring. Mulch helps protect roots from frost and helps retain moisture during cold winter days. It also suppresses weeds and, overtime, mulches made from organic materials break down and increase your soil’s structure and fertility. Shredded hardwood, cocoa mulch, compost, and fresh wood chips all make good choices.

Plant Trees and Shrubs: Fall is actually the best time to plant new trees and shrubs. The combination of warm soil and cool air in the fall enables the establishment of strong root systems. September through late October are ideal for planting. When planting in the fall, select balled-and-burlapped or container-grown plants rather than bare-rooted plants, which should only be planted in early spring.

Do Some Pruning: A little work now results in healthy plants, shrubs, and perennials come spring. Prune to remove dead or broken branches as well as those with heavy disease or insect infestations. Mid-to-late fall is also a great time to complete some corrective pruning. Corrective pruning means removing parts of a plant that are not growing as they should.

Spread Mulch: Spread 2 to 3 inches of fresh mulch around shrubs and trees once in the fall and again in the spring. Mulch helps protect roots from frost and helps retain moisture during cold winter days. It also suppresses weeds and, overtime, mulches made from organic materials break down and increase your soil’s structure and fertility. Shredded hardwood, cocoa mulch, compost, and fresh wood chips all make good choice.

Backyard Landscaping Trends

backyard landscaping trends

For most homeowners, a backyard is one of their favorite escapes. In a new Houzz landscaping survey, 88 percent of the 958 survey participants involved in an outdoor project, said that the scope of work being conducted is substantial. The outdoor space of their dreams is what they are after.

Understanding the importance of an enjoyable outdoor experience, landscape professionals and outdoor product manufacturers have come up with new, and clever ways to afford homeowners a space in which they can relax, entertain, spend time with family, dine, and play.

Popular Backyard Landscaping Trends

Outdoor Living: Many homeowners spend their weekends relaxing in the outdoors. This makes functional, personalized, and stylish backyard landscaping a necessity. Outdoor furnishing must be comfortable – no one wants to come home, go outside, and sit on furnishings that are not comfortable. Outdoor lighting must not be too harsh. They are looking for a space that is inviting.

Landscape Lighting: More than half of people renovating their outdoor spaces will make updates to lighting, with LED the preferred choice, according to the survey. Top reasons for updating lighting are to illuminate plants and architectural elements, enhance the mood and feel of your backyard, and allow for safer movement in the dark. Solar lighting is also a good choice for homes that receive a lot of light.

More Greenery: According to the survey, more people are planting greenery in their yards, compared to the previous year’s survey results. All kinds of greenery are being added to backyard landscapes nationwide including: perennials, annuals, trees, and shrubs. People are prioritizing low-maintenance, flowering, native, and drought-resistant plants as well as those that attract butterflies, bees, and hummingbirds.

Firepots Are In, In a Big Way: If you have a level surface, consider making a fire pit or pot the focal point of your yard, along with pavers. Top reasons for choosing to install a fire pit includes creating ambiance and improving home value. Benches, grills, and built-in kitchens are also popular features. Personally, I like creating built-in seating around a fire pit for lazy Saturday evenings with the family.

Don’t Forget Fido: More than two-fifths of homeowners will make pet-related upgrades to their outdoor spaces, according to the survey. Play space, toxin-free plants, paths and fenced-off areas top the requests. An animal that you nurture and treat as one of the family is bound to be almost never ending source of joy and happiness. Your pet will certainly thank you for considering their health.

Summer Lawn Watering Guide for Phoenix Residents

summer lawn watering guide

Ensuring a healthy, lush, green lawn doesn’t have to waste one of Earth’s natural resources – water, if you maintain proper watering techniques. Proper watering, along with fertilizing, and mowing practices can help prevent a host of problems including: bald patches, insect infiltration, and disease. Below are some basic guidelines for ensuring your lawn receives just the right amount of water this summer.

How Much Water Does Your Grass Need?

To maintain a lush, healthy lawn, you should completely wet the root zone each time you water. To accomplish this, grass should be watered to a depth of 6 to 10 inches, once every three days during the summer months (June through August). While it may be tempting to water every day, it is not necessary, and is in fact wasteful and expensive. Watering every day can also negatively affect your lawn’s growth.

Here’s a test to determine if more water is needed. Using a ten-inch soil probe, sharpened piece of rebar or a very long screwdriver, try pushing it into the ground one hour after watering. If it goes in easily, no water is needed, whereas water is needed if it won’t penetrate the soil. Water your lawn until you can easily slide the probe to the recommended depth of 6 to 10 inches.

When Should You Water Your Grass?

In the desert, watering in the evenings or early morning hours are the most effective times to water, because wind and evaporation are lower. High winds can distort sprinkler patterns and produce non-uniform irrigation. By watering in the evening or early morning hours, you promote deeper root growth, which ultimately makes your lawn more water efficient.

How Long Should You Water?

Now that you know how much water your lawn needs, and when you should water, it is important to understand the length of time required to get the recommended amount. How long you should water depends upon the output of your sprinkler system. On average according to Water, Use It Wisely, pop-up sprinklers apply 0.4 inches of water and impact sprinklers apply 0.2 inches in 15 minutes.

You can; however, expect to see some variation depending on the conditions. If you notice a big difference – greater than 0.2 inches – then you may want to contact a professional landscape and sprinkler repair expert in order to get more uniform, and as a result more efficient, coverage. To measure your sprinkler systems’ output, follow the steps outlined below.

  • Collect four to eight shallow cans.
  • Spread cans around your lawn, 4-5 inches apart.
  • Turn on entire sprinkler system, and leave on for 15 minutes.
  • Once the sprinklers turn-off, measure the depth of water in each can.
  • Record the numbers on the test can worksheet, found on, and calculate your sprinkler number according to their directions.

Up Your Spook Factor This Halloween

up your spook factor

Halloween is just a few days away. This has many in a tailspin as children both young and old put the finishing touches on their Superhero or Disney Princess costume, and adults plot how to up their spook factor, and make their outdoor decorations come to life.

Easily up your spook factor this Halloween with the help of a few mutants, skeletons, and gravestones. Read on for more ideas on how to transform your front yard into a horrifying scene – suitable for all ages, of course.


Populate your yard with foam gravestones and plastic skeletons. Cover the skeletons with mounds of dirt or straw to make it appear that they are rising from the dead. Light gravestones with red or yellow spotlights or flashing lights. A fog machine can further provide trick-or-treaters with the perfect illusion.

Toxic Accident

If you are a fan of sci-fi movies, then you know that science gone awry can create monsters, so why not create your very own toxic accident right in your own front yard. Use a fog machine to blanket the area in steam. Put up a few radiation warning, biohazard signs, caution signs.

You can find all sorts of mutant monsters at your local Halloween supply store or you can use pumpkins and tree branches for your cast of mutants. Visit your local pumpkin patch and look for lumpy ones with strange growths. To give the illusion of glowing toxic ooze, be sure and apply glow-in-the-dark paint to your mutants, and signage.

Spooky Shadows

Place led lights low to the ground, aiming them slightly upward, to create creepy shadows. Conjure mystical creatures with dark blue lights – not black. Use yellow and orange lights to cast striking flames against the house. Couple gravestones and Halloween string lights together for a haunting good time.

Super Sized Spiders

Black construction paper is all you need to turn your entryway into a spooky web. Make sure to get the kids, whether big or small, involved. To start, trace an oval platter for the body, and a salad plate for the head. Draw eight legs freehand. Cut out. Stick several spiders on your garage door or exterior wall. Don’t forget to string together a sticky web.

How to Repair Bare Spots in Your Lawn

bare spots in your lawn

Do you dream of having a lush looking lawn? Are  you plagued by unsightly bare, bald, thin or patchy spots? Whatever you want to call those unsightly spots within your lawn, there is hope for treating them, and restoring your lawn to its once lush glory.  Read on for more information on how to repair bare spots in your lawn. If you have any questions, or concerns, please feel free to contact Elite Landscaping.

Bare spots in your lawn could result from heavy foot traffic, drought, disease, chemical burn, weed or insect infestations, dogs doing their daily business, or any combination of these conditions. Before you can repair bare spots in your lawn, it is imperative that you determine the root cause of the problem, as this will help prevent it from reoccurring and destroying your perfectly manicured yard.

Determining the Root Cause of the Problem

If heavy foot traffic is the cause of the bare spots in your lawn, look for ways to minimize the amount of traffic those areas receive. Some great methods for controlling foot traffic include installing stepping stones, a gravel pathway, or a barrier that works to reroute traffic and protect your lawn – all of which are relatively inexpensive to incorporate into your landscaping.

If you’re dealing with a insect or weed infestation, or a combination of the two, it’s best to determine the specific cause of the infestation(s) prior to remedying the problem. Once applied, most treatments will require some time to work, before you can grow new grass. Always follow manufacturer recommendations when using any kind of treatment to avoid adverse effects.

Ready, Set, Repair

Once you have addressed the specific cause or causes of the bare spots in your lawn, it’s time to repair the damage, which is easier to do than you’d think. Your best bet is to replant the grass using seed, fertilizer, and mulch. Depending on availability, you can also use sod, as long as you keep it moist. The next six steps will walk you through the process of replanting.

Step #1: Break up the dirt using various garden tools.

Step #2: Add top soil if your dirt is mostly clay (common in Arizona).

Step #3: Choose the right type of grass seed depending on shade density and spread onto to the dirt patch using a seed spreader or your hands.

Step #4: Add fertilizer separately. You can also purchase all-in-one lawn patches which combine grass seed, fertilizer, and mulch.

Step #5: Spread the mulch material of your choice on the affected areas after planting the grass seed and applying the fertilizer to help keep it moist and prevent the birds from eating your seeds.

Step #6: Water right away and frequently. You should water the affected areas up to three times per day for 7 to 10 days following seeds’ application. Once the grass has started growing, you can water once per day.

*Note: Late spring is the best time to repair bare spots in warm season grasses, whereas, early fall is the best time to repair bare spots in cool season grasses. If you don’t know what type of grass you have, or you have any questions you’d like answered, please feel free to contact a professional landscaper.*

How to Keep Bugs at Bay While Outdoors


Summer is such a wonderful time. Except when swarming flies and mosquitoes are threatening to ruin your cookout. Fight back and avoid getting bitten simply by following some natural (no need for harmful bug repellents) steps as found below.

Ban Standing Water

Standing water is the perfect breeding ground for mosquitoes. Kiddie pools, planter trays, mop buckets, bird baths and backyard ponds are just some of the places where water gathers. When you can’t remove the water, do one of two things: 1) Place some window screen over the top of the container or 2) install a pump that gently agitates the water.

Move and Remove Attractants

One of the easiest methods you can use to cut back on the number of bugs in your yard is to relocate your trash and recycling bins as far away from your prime entertaining areas as possible. You should also ensure the lids fit snugly. Flies love garbage and ants love sugary residues found in both types of receptacles.

Keep Food Covered

While backyard barbeques and picnics under the sun are favorite summer pastimes – you should do your best to keep food covered at all times. Unless, of course, you want uninvited guests enjoying your meal. You can find metal or nylon “food tents” and silicone lids at your local grocer or retailer for reasonable prices. Paper towels work too.

Keep Your Landscaping Tidy

Overgrown bushes, lawns, and trees provide great hiding spots for a slew of insects. Keep your landscaping looking sharp by trimming back tall grass, brush, and weeds regularly. Trees and bushes should be trimmed as well. Don’t have the time to devote to keeping your landscaping tidy? You may want to consider hiring a professional landscaper.

Make Some New Friends

Make some new friends – feathered friends that is. Inviting feathered friends into your yard can make for fun window watching as well as effective pest control. Most birds survive off a diet of berries, seeds, and insects. Install a birdbath or fountain and a bird feeder to encourage your new friends to make themselves at home.

Edible Landscaping with a Twist

edible landscaping
Money does grow on trees – fruit and nut trees that is!

It’s easier to grow your own food at home than you think. Without a lot of effort, and without having to sacrifice the aesthetic value of an ornamental landscape, you can grow delicious and nutritious culinary in your own backyard (on apartment patios and rooftops too).

Edible landscaping integrates food production, aesthetic and monetary value, and environmental benefits to virtually any yard or planted area (even desert landscaping). With an edible landscape there’s no more need to separate your edibles from your ornamentals; hence the twist we mentioned above.

Instead of a typical landscape, which only incorporates lush green lawns and ornamental plants, edible landscaping adds in decorative rows of herbs, red plump tomatoes and striking paprika peppers. Instead of the fleeting colors of spring flowers, you can grow edibles that are decorative year-round.

An edible landscaping offers the opportunity to enjoy home-grown, organic, pesticide free produce; thus allowing you to successfully reduce your monthly grocery bill. However, that’s not the only benefit you’ll receive by taking the time to plant edibles, as many benefits are to be had – as you’ll see below.

The Many Benefits of Edible Landscaping

Benefit #1: Reduce Your Footprint on the Environment

Backyard, or patio, gardening helps the environment in more ways than one. If you choose to go the organic route, you’ll reduce some of the burden placed on earth, as you’re limiting air and water pollution but not using any pesticides. Fossil fuels may also be reduced as more people begin growing their own food.

Benefit #2: Improve Your Family’s Health

Eating more fresh fruits and vegetables is one of the most important things you can do for both yourself and your loved ones. When they’re right outside your backdoor, you won’t be able to resist them (trust me), and their vitamin levels will be at their highest when they’re freshly cultivated.

Benefit #3: Reduce Your Monthly Grocery Bill

Your monthly grocery bill is bound to shrink as you properly grow and cultivate your edible landscaping. With a backyard full of scrumptious and nutritious produce, you can stock your pantry and fridge in no time at all. The options for caning fresh produce are limitless. Check out this link for more information.

Start Eating Healthier Today

While it may seem overwhelming to some, vegetables and fruits that are grown from your own backyard is actually quite simple. With just a few square feet of the great outdoors, a water source and a little time, you too can have an edible landscaping full of your favorite vegetables and fruits.