Yard and Garden

Arizona Pool Barrier Laws

About 30 children a year are lost to drownings in Arizona. Children, ages 1 to 4, are at higher risk and drown at a rate of nearly twice the national average. As a result, the State of Arizona and most of its counties and cities, have passed swimming pool barrier laws.

The law requires that a swimming pool be completely enclosed by a fence to restrict access to the pool from an adjoining property. This generally also includes requirements for barriers to be installed to prevent easy access from the home to the pool. Specific requirements regarding height, type of fences, gates, and windows and doors from the home that lead to pool area are often included.

I’m making an offer on a house with a pool. What information should I expect to receive? Most purchase contracts include a “Notice to Buyer of Swimming Pool Barrier Regulations”. Both buyer and seller acknowledge the existence of state, county, and municipal laws, and the buyer agrees to do due diligence and comply with these laws. The seller is required to give the buyer a copy of the pool safety notice from the Arizona Department of Health Services, and the buyer is required to be given a Seller’s Property Disclosure Statement, which discloses any known code violations on the property.

What if the house I want to buy does not have a pool fence that is up to code? The Arizona REALTORS Purchase Contract says: “During the Inspection Period, Buyer agrees to investigate all applicable state, county, and municipal swimming pool barrier regulations and agrees to comply with and pay all costs of compliance with said regulations prior to occupying the Premises, unless otherwise agreed in writing.”

What if the home I want to buy has an above-ground pool? Does it have to adhere to the same barrier laws? Above-ground pools have the same barrier requirements as in-ground pools. It must be at least four feet high with a wall that’s not climbable and steps or ladders that are lockable or removable.

Pool barrier laws vary from city to city and county to county. Be sure to contact your local governmental department. Fountain Hills residents can call Building Safety at 480-816-5177.

Arizona Department of Health Services Pool Safety Recommendations:

  • Never leave a child unattended in the pool or pool area.
  • Because flotation devices and swimming lessons are not a substitution for supervision, a child should always be watched when in or around the pool area.
  • CPR/CCR instructions and the 911 emergency number (or local emergency number) should be posted in the pool area.
  • A phone should be located in the pool area or easily accessible in case of an emergency.
  • All residential pool owners should attend water rescue and CPR/CCR classes. Lifesaving equipment should be easily accessible and stored in the pool area.
  • All gate locks and latches should be checked regularly to insure they are working properly.
  • A gate should never be left propped open.
  • All items that could be used to climb a pool barrier should be removed from around the barrier.
  • In an emergency:
    • Shout for help;
    • Pull the child from the water;
    • Call 911 (or local emergency number) for help; and
    • After checking the child’s airway and breathing, immediately begin CPR/CCR if necessary.

CLICK HERE for more information from the Arizona Department of Health Services.

CLICK HERE for more information about Arizona’s pool barrier laws.

Local Businesses

Staycation at the Inn at Eagle Mountain

Eagle Mountain Inn

Traveling to beautiful destinations seems to be in the human DNA. But when you live in one of the most amazing places in the Sonoran Desert where you see gorgeous scenery every day, it is easy to forget that we live in one of those desirable destinations.

This summer, try a staycation in your own “backyard” at the Inn at Eagle Mountain. From May 17 to September 6, the resort offers a 25% discount off its regular price, making this a great choice for a nearby escape.

Vicky Derksen, a twenty-four-year resident of Fountain Hills, loves this option. “Our wedding anniversary is in June. When our kids were just old enough to leave at home overnight, we chose to spend our anniversary at the Inn at Eagle Mountain. We felt like we had escaped to a luxurious destination with stunning sunset views, but the kids were just eight minutes down the road.”

The thirty-seven luxury suites are a calming desert retreat. From the kiva fireplace to the large whirlpool jacuzzi tub to the sweeping views of the desert, you will feel the peacefulness and quiet of a luxury getaway just minutes from home.

Eagle Mountain Inn

Let the Life in Balance Wellness Center pamper you in their full-service mountainside spa. You can choose from a variety of massage techniques and indulgent skin treatments.

Eagle Mountain Inn

Catch an early morning round of golf at one of the highest-rated golf courses in Fountain Hills or take an exhilarating hike on the nearby Sunrise Trail or from the new Adero Canyon Trailhead.

Eagle Mountain offers two great dining options. Enjoy a great breakfast or lunch at the Grille at Eagle Mountain Golf Club. For dinner, Pietro’s offers a delectable Italian fare with breathtaking natural views from its outdoor patio. It has one of the finest dining experiences in the area.

If you are a wine aficionado, you will not want to miss the exclusive opportunity to purchase bottles from Jon Nathaniel Wines and Flora Spring Winery. Both wineries are owned by the Inn at Eagle Mountain’s owner and are sold at the resort.

Eagle Mountain Inn

To book your staycation online, visit

Yard and Garden

Natural Grass vs. Artificial Turf

Part of living in the Sonoran Desert is designing your landscape to withstand harsh summer temperatures and frequent drought conditions. Most people opt for xeriscape that includes yards made of rock and low-maintenance, drought-tolerant plants.

Yet many families want a section of yard where their children and pets can play. The question becomes, should you use natural grass or artificial turf?

There are advantages and disadvantages to both.


  • Well, it’s natural after all.
  • It’s cooler, especially in the summer.
  • It’s softer to the touch.
  • It’s cheaper to install than turf.


  • Requires high water usage.
  • Involves more maintenance: mowing, edging, and over-seeding for winter grass.
  • Requires chemical fertilizers and weed control to keep it looking great.


  • Low to no water usage.
  • Low maintenance, only needing occasional raking and hosing off to remove dust and pet waste.
  • No need for chemical fertilizers and weed killers.
  • Stays clean year-round.
  • Works great in areas where it’s difficult to grow grass.
  • Pet-friendly.
  • Better for people with grass-allergies.


  • Purchase and installation are expensive.
  • Not natural, especially in the way it feels.
  • Extremely hot in direct sunlight, like concrete and asphalt. It can get up to 180 degrees in the summer sun compared to 90 degrees for real grass.
  • May add to the “heat island” effect that roads and buildings have on climate.

In general, on all price ranges, our Buyers appreciate a good quality artificial turf.  It doesn’t require water or lawn care and it works great for pets, plus it always looks well-kept and beautiful. 


Fountain Hills Medical Center

Fountain Hills Medical Center

When Betsy Lavoie’s daughter went into anaphylactic shock, she quickly drove her to the newly opened Fountain Hills Medical Center. “Having the Medical Center in Fountain Hills may have saved her life,” said Lavoie. “Her symptoms progressed rapidly and the difference of driving down the street versus driving to the Shea hospital may have been the deciding factor in her outcome.”

The Medical Center opened its doors on April 6, 2021 and has already served over one thousand patients.

“We looked around the Valley and found that Fountain Hills lacked any 24-hour emergency services,” said Dr. Meka Ezeume, the president and CEO. “We wanted this medical center to be a better experience for residents. Corporate medicine seems to have lost track of what matters most, and that is the patient. We put the patient at the center of the conversation here.”

Fountain Hills Medical Center is physician-owned, full-service emergency center. Patients have access to 24-hour medical observation, imaging and lab services, medication services, and Telemedicine. Walk-in appointments are accepted Monday through Friday from 8am to 5pm.

Now that the Medical Center is open, they can begin to identify the needs of the community that go beyond emergency care. This will help them work toward their goal of earning certification as a hospital that will be equipped with surgery rooms and follow-up care. Despite recent rumors circulating in town, the medical center will not be, nor has it ever planned to be, a detox center.

Although the Medical Center has been open for just a couple of months, they have shown that they intend to be an integral part of the life of the community.

“We want to be a great source of health information for the community,” said Cindy Golisch, FHMC’s Community Outreach Coordinator. “If people follow our Facebook page, they can get to know our physicians, find out about our events, learn about the latest health trends, and find important health tips like how to detect a stroke FAST.”

Fountain Hills Medical Center

Learn more about the Fountain Hills Medical Center at and follow their Facebook page.

Outdoor recreation

6 Great Places to Camp this Summer

Are you looking for a chance to escape the heat for a weekend? A camping trip is a great way to connect with nature, relax under some cool pines, and enjoy some stargazing under beautiful night skies. You cannot go wrong with any of these six great campgrounds across the northern part of our state.

1- LYNX LAKE: Prescott

The mild weather and cool ponderosa pine forest at this 55-acre lake makes this a great summer getaway. Enjoy trout fishing, boat rentals, mountain biking, gold panning, archaeological sites, and bird watching. Located just a few minutes south of Prescott.


Located in the scenic Oak Creek Canyon, you will love this heavily wooded, lush riparian zone. Many campsites are located on the banks of Oak Creek with its crystal clear, cool water. Enjoy hiking, bird watching, and fishing. Slide Rock State Park is nearby. Located just 12 miles north of Sedona.

3- LOCKET MEADOW: Flagstaff

This primitive campground in the San Francisco Peaks is first come first served and it fills up fast. Camp under the cool aspen trees and hike the popular Inner Basin Trail into the heart of an ancient volcano. The drive to the campground is not for the faint of heart. A high-clearance vehicle is recommended. Located 21 miles north of Flagstaff.


Places to Camp

The Grand Canyon’s rustic and less populated North rim is home to abundant wildlife, hiking trails, and unparalleled views. At 8,200 feet, it has pleasant summer temperatures and frequent afternoon thunderstorms. Visitors should be prepared for any weather.


Places to Camp

This campground is just one of seven in the Rim Lakes Recreational Area. Its large meadow and wooded areas offer plenty of wildlife viewing. Located a couple of minutes from Woods Canyon Lake where you can fish or rent kayaks or paddleboards.

6- HAWLEY LAKE: Pinetop-Lakeside

Located in the White Mountains in Eastern Arizona, this campground is surrounded by lofty mountain peaks covered with spruce, pine, and aspen. The 300-acre lake offers mild summer temperatures and has great trout fishing. Enjoy beautiful hiking in the area, too. Located 30 miles southeast of Pinetop-Lakeside.

Yard and Garden

Bring Some Luxury to Your Backyard

What comes to your mind when you think of poolside luxury? Giant, fluffy towels? A pina colada with an umbrella standing on the pineapple wedge? Swaying in a hammock in the shade while you doze off?

Scrolling through Instagram and Pinterest, watching episodes of HGTV, and visiting resorts and spas can leave us wondering how we can inject some luxury into our own backyard pool area.

If it’s time to up your game with your poolside space, consider giving some attention to these features:


Take nighttime swimming and pool parties to a new level by switching your underwater light to one that allows you to change colors. Include other ambience lighting such as lighting along the edges of the pool deck and overhead strands of hanging lights. These soft touches of light go a long way to creating a spa-like feel in the evening hours.


Adding a fire feature can double as a piece of art if you can find something with great eye appeal. Gone are the days of stockpiling wood and smelling like a campfire after an evening in the backyard. Today’s gas fire features are as easy as a flip of the switch and add a dramatic flair.


The Arizona sun is harsh, so shade is a must when enjoying the pool area by day. Place umbrellas in your seating areas and strategically place a large one to shade a section of the pool. While we all need some sunshine on our skin for good health, it’s important to protect it while hanging out at the pool.


Create several seating areas with a variety of options around the pool. Along with comfortable lounge chairs with small side tables for drinks, consider adding a hammock. Nothing says “relaxation” like a hammock! A porch swing is a lovely way to stay in the shade while swaying yourself into a relaxing doze. A backyard daybed with a great shade will scream “Luxury!” in any backyard.


Whether your backyard has an abundance of trees and plants or not, a collection of oversized potted plants around the pool and patio area adds a cozy, tropical flair. Mix it up with a combination of annuals and perennials for year-round eye appeal. Tuck in small solar lights for a dramatic effect at night.


Everyone loves the soothing sound of water. You can go big by adding a water feature to the pool itself, like a waterfall. For a more budget-friendly option, tuck a water feature in among your potted plants and add a birdbath for the neighborhood birds.


Arizona summers can be scorchers. Although the pool goes a long way in keeping you cool, misters can do much to increase your comfort for longer outdoor enjoyment and entertaining. Misters can lower the temperatures in a space by as much as 30 degrees!


If you have a lot of guests during pool season, you might consider creating a changing cabana. This can be as simple as ordering a fabric cabana online. Or go bigger by transforming an unused shed or even building a pool house!

When you increase the luxury around your own backyard pool, you just might opt for a Staycation to enjoy your own little paradise.

Around Arizona

4 Ways to Experience Another Culture without Leaving the Country

We have become a global society with the freedom and ease of visiting countries around the world. We love to get closer to places from ancient history, experience other cultures, taste their foods, and visit their unique places.

Being stuck in the same scenery for more than a year can certainly turn up the itch to travel again. Since that is not realistic quite yet, there are a few places in Arizona where you can experience another culture for an afternoon. Be sure to check websites before planning your visit.


The Irish Cultural Center’s property features unique structures that will take you back in time in Ireland. The traditional Irish Cottage is modelled after a rural farmhouse with authentic Irish furnishings. The An Halla More, or Great hall, provides space for ceilis, dance lessons, workshops, celebrations, and more. The three-story McClelland Library resembles a traditional 12th century castle. It houses Irish books and publications and a genealogy research center. Enjoy the historic, artistic, and cultural exhibitions.


The Japanese Friendship Garden was created in 1987 to cement the bonds of friendship between the Sister Cities of Himeji, Japan and the City of Phoenix. The garden has a traditional Japanese hide-and-reveal design that allows visitors to stroll the curved paths to discover intentionally hidden views of the landscape. It includes a lake with koi fish, a stream, a waterfall, Japanese sculptures, and carefully selected vegetation. The decorative features and thousands of hours of design guidance for construction were gifts from the City of Himeji. It is a beautiful and serene garden in the heart of Phoenix. It offers educational and artistic programs to help visitors celebrate the rich history and culture of Japan.


Founded in 1929, the Heard Museum has gained international acclaim as one of the best places to experience the myriad cultures of the American Indians of the Southwest. It is known for its spectacular exhibit galleries, educational programming, and festivals. Its dedicated advancement of American Indian art presents the stories of the indigenous people from a first-person perspective.


In the Santa Cruz River Valley south of Tucson, the ancient O’odham, Yaqui, and Apache people met and mingled with European Jesuit and Franciscan missionaries, settlers, and soldiers. Sometimes they met in conflict and sometimes in cooperation. This park will take you down the timeworn paths to discover the vibrant cultures and traditions of long ago.

Real Estate

15125 E. Zapata Drive

This modern Southwest home at 15125 E. Zapata Drive has a casual livability that is perfect for families, visiting guests, or grandchildren.

This single-level home is on a corner lot with over half an acre. It has beautiful views of Four Peaks and the Mazatzal Mountains.

The open space concept living space features Vega poles, a wood-burning fireplace, and art niches throughout.

15125 E. Zapata Drive

A spacious kitchen has granite counters, a walk-in pantry, and a sunny breakfast nook.

15125 E. Zapata Drive

The owner’s suite has a separate entrance to the patio. The master bath features a jetted tub, a walk-in shower, dual sinks, and a separate makeup vanity.

The backyard features a pebble finish pool with a water feature tucked into a natural setting. A large, covered patio is perfect for entertaining with direct access to the kitchen and living space.

A 3-car garage is finished with epoxy floors and cabinetry.

15125 E. Zapata Drive

3 BD | 3 BA | 2,594 SQ FT | 3 CG


CLICK HERE for more details on this home.

CLICK HERE to take a virtual tour of this home.

CLICK HERE to view other great homes in Fountain Hills and beyond.

Desert Plants and Wildlife

Creosote: Medicine in the Desert

Don’t you love the smell of rain in the desert? Did you know that it comes from the creosote bushes? The waxy, dark green leaves are covered in tiny oil droplets. When moisture comes into contact with it, it releases that refreshing scent most of us love. The scent is potent enough that you can smell rain up to two miles away.

Larrea tridentata, also known as creosote bush, greasewood and chaparral, is prominent in the Mojave, Sonoran, and Chihuahuan Deserts of western North America. It can grow up to ten feet tall and produces yellow flowers with five petals in the spring.

The leaves are bitter, but desert iguanas and chuckwallas will eat them, as does the jackrabbit if it can find nothing else to eat. Desert woodrats and kangaroo rats enjoy its seeds. And twenty-two species of bees thrive on their flowers.

These bushes are long-lived plants. When it is 30-90 years old, the oldest branches die and the crown splits into separate crowns and continues to thrive. The “King Clone” creosote ring in Lucerne Valley, California is the oldest living organism on Earth with an estimated age of 11,700 years.

Creosote, or chaparral as it is known in its medicinal form, has been used by Native Americans for hundreds of years for a wide variety of maladies. Ethnobotanist Gary Nabhan of Northern Arizona University’s Center for Sustainable Environments found that indigenous people used it for at least fourteen afflictions and diseases, including colds, chest infections, intestinal discomfort, menstrual cramps, nausea, wounds, poisons, swollen limbs, dandruff, body odor, postnasal drip, and more.

Further research shows that it has compounds that serve as an antiherpes, antioxidant, antifungal, and anti-inflammatory.

According to the United States Food and Drug Administration, it should not be used as an internal medicine as it is toxic to the liver.

If you love the smell of the desert rain, gather a few sprigs or short branches, tie them together, and hang them in the shower. The steam produced from the warm shower will release the scent of the oils on the leaves.