Just because you live in the desert doesn’t mean you have to settle for a barren, rocky yard. A thoughtfully planned xeriscape can bring layers of visual beauty to your landscape.
Xeriscape is a landscape design method that reduces or eliminates the need for watering, which conserves our drinkable water. Plants that thrive primarily on what water the natural climate provides come in so many varieties and uses that you will not be limited on choices.
It’s important to choose plants and trees that are appropriate for your climate. Native plants are a logically great choice. There are two locations in Fountain Hills where you can get ideas for your xeriscape:
The Low Water Demonstration Garden at Fountain Park is a project of the Greening of Downtown committee. It was designed to show residents examples of desert landscape plants that are nearly maintenance-free.
The Fountain Hills Desert Botanical Garden, founded in 1975 by Jane Haynes, is an 8-acre wildlife preserve and garden right along Fountain Hills Boulevard. In 2006, the Town restored the original garden trail as an educational and hiking destination. Twenty-nine Sonoran Desert plants are identified along the half-mile trail, giving visitors an idea of the kind of native plants they can use in their own xeriscape landscaping.
Here are some landscaping trees and plants to get you started:
The most common desert trees you’ll find are mesquite, palo verde (our state tree), acacia, olive, and palm. There are also beautiful flowering trees to consider, such as the Texas mountain laurel with purple flowers, silk floss with pink flowers, and anacacho orchid with white or pink flowers. If you want to enjoy the beauty of fall leaves each year, the Chinese pistache’s leaves will turn orange and drop in the cooler weather.
Most of our shrubs produce thick blossoms at various times of the year, adding a gorgeous splash of color to your landscape. These include Baja fairy duster, honeysuckle varieties, bush dalea, Chihuahuan or Texas sage, green feathery senna, hop bush, bird of paradise varieties, oleanders (which can be bushes, hedges, or trees), and violet silverleaf.
Don’t forget to add a creosote bush. They are at the heart of that extraordinary smell when it rains in the desert. The tiny beads of oil on their leaves release a glorious scent when they encounter water.
To add some fun texture to your xeriscape, add a vine or two. Consider bougainvillea, cat claw, pink trumpet, primrose jasmine, yellow orchid, etc. Each of these has unique flowers at various times of the year for a pop of color.
There are so many varieties to choose from, but the Argentine giant, prickly pear varieties, barrel cactus varieties, Mexican fencepost, and totem pole are great cacti to get you started with your design.
Succulents contribute something of an ornamental effect to your yard. Some of the favorites are yucca varieties, aloe varieties, lechuguilla verde, mescal ceniza, and agave varieties.
One of the things most people love about the desert annuals is the way they soften the features of an otherwise prickly landscape. Instead of chasing “poppy blooms” for your Instagram feed, you can grow them in your own yard. Throw some beautiful lupine in for good measure. These are short-lived, so they can be scattered across your yard for a short-season burst of color. Verbena is a popular annual with a variety of blossom colors available. The plant remains once the flowers are gone for the season.
Whatever you choose for your xeriscape plan, remember to plant trees no closer than 10 feet from your home to protect your foundation. Also, keep in mind that plants continue to grow and can get overcrowded if planted too close together when young.
A little maintenance will be in order from time to time, but your xeriscape will save you time and money in the end.
This Desert Vibe, as with the previous, is being released in an online-only format, with interactive links to everything you’ll need! To read the full Desert Vibe magazine, go to DesertVibe.com/Magazine.
Your home might be beautiful. Maybe it is immaculate, stylishly appointed, and highly upgraded with the finest materials and features. Yet unless you are one in a thousand, it is not “staged’. Staging is intended for two audiences: the camera and the potential buyers.
Let your home speak to buyers. Your home speaks to you, but what is it saying to your potential buyer? Our homes are personal, yet how we live is not how we sell. Our homes represent who we are. The goal of staging is to make the home speak to everyone else in a compelling and positive way.
The personal photos, the too-tall centerpiece, the overstuffed China cabinet, and the bookcase filled with Arizona Highway magazines – these are all treasures to be sure, but they serve only to sidetrack a buyer from the task at hand.
Clutter may suggest your home doesn’t measure up! Clutter is the perpetrator of distraction. More importantly, though, clutter may be sending a message that you don’t have enough space.
Here are a few tips for what to do BEFORE the staging process begins:
De-clutter. De-personalize the space and remove unnecessary items and furniture to make the home feel larger and cleaner.
Relax the bedroom. Make this space feel serene and decluttered. Remove unnecessary items from the closets to make them feel larger.
Bathroom spa. Place toiletries out of sight and learn to use baskets for your daily needs so they can be neatly tucked away each morning.
Finishing touches. Proper lighting, neutral paint tones and freshened cabinet faces improve the look of your home so that buyers feel like it is move-in ready.
The reality is, the moment you commit to marketing your home for sale, you need to commit to transforming your home into a place that potential buyers can easily picture as their home. Let us help you “emotionally detach” and get the process of selling your home underway.
Here are some top reasons to stage your home, according to the Home Buying Institute:
Staging increases the likelihood of a sale.
Staging gives the impression of a well-maintained home.
You get a head start on packing!
Staging helps you justify your asking price.
Staging makes the house seem larger…really!
Suddenly, every room has a purpose. (Buyers should never have to guess the purpose of a room!)
Staging helps buyers see themselves in a home.
Staging puts your house above the competition.
Buyers will have a favorable first impression.
You get the buyer’s agent on your side. (It makes their life easier!)
A “Must-See” home will bring in more buyers.
Staging is not a do-it-yourself sport. Our stagers can often work with what you have, rearranging and reallocating all your belongings, to present the property in its best light. Often this means reallocating some of those belongings to the garage, so please be understanding!
Only a third-party specialist can bring the neutrality and objectivity needed to accomplish the goal. Your daily routine will be turned, at least temporarily, on its head, but if selling your home in the shortest amount of time and for the most money is your goal, it is necessary!
The Sonoran Home Team provides every level of staging necessary to get your home SOLD!
Whether it’s just some rearranging and depersonalizing that is necessary, or whether your home is vacant and requires complete staging, we have what you need. Our experts can help you create an exceptional viewing experience to get your home sold. So, let us help you create the “buzz” you need to sell your home quickly.
For more information about the staging services we offer our clients, call us at 480-837-1331.
Can you hear the polka music playing? For several years now, Fountain Hills has been home to an annual Oktoberfest for the whole town to participate in some classic Bavarian festivities.
Oktoberfest has been a tradition in South Germany for over 200 years, beginning in 1810 as a celebration for the Bavarian King Ludwig I’s marriage. Since then, Oktoberfest spread across what would become Germany, and eventually to the United States.
Oktoberfest in the United States stayed concentrated to regions with high German populations until after World War II, when it finally began to spread to the rest of the country, eventually including Fountain Hills.
This Bavarian-style celebration features live music, costumes, German foods, and of course: Beer! You’ll see authentic details such as long tables decorated with blue and white paper, perfect for meeting friends and enjoying your beer and pretzels.
Participate in various themed contests for prizes, such as the Beer Stein holding contest, the Alphorn blowing contest, and the Bavarian Costume Contest.
While you do have to be 21 or older to purchase the beer, there is a free Kidz’ Zone full of activities for young Oktoberfest fans.
This year’s Oktoberfest will take place on the evenings of September 23rd and 24th, 2022 from 5:00PM through 10:00PM. Pre-admission tickets cost $5, and tickets purchased at the gate will cost $10.
The 32nd annual Turkey Trot is kicking off Fountain Hills’ Thanksgiving! This year, the Sonoran Lifestyle Team is the Turkey Trot’s presenting sponsor, and we’ll be there the whole time
As presenting sponsors of the event, we have five extra tickets sitting around that we’d like to give away. If you’ve run the Trot in previous years and want a chance at a free ticket, your big opportunity is here!
Leading up to this year’s Turkey Trot, we’re going to be giving away five spots at the run FOR FREE! That’s right, if you want a chance to save $30 in registration, all you have to do is:
Send a picture of yourself at a previous year’s Turkey Trot to Sonoran@SonoranLifestyle.com,
or tag @sonoranlifestyle with your photo on Instagram.
There are only five free spots available, so don’t delay! We’ll reply to the FIRST five entries with instructions for receiving their free tickets.
The Turkey Trot will take place at 7:15AM on Thanksgiving morning, November 24th. We’ll see you there!
For residents of the east valley, the Beeline Highway is an important part of daily life, the gateway to the Mogollon Rim. It’s the only modern highway that connects to Fountain Hills.
The official name of the road is State Route 87, so you might wonder: why is it called “The Beeline Highway?”
History of Travel from Rim to Valley
The first major car route between Mesa and Payson was the Bush Highway, named after Harvey Granville Bush. He was a lumberman by trade, and thus had homes in Mesa and Payson, where the tall pines grow.
Getting lumber to the Valley from the mountains was a huge challenge during the days of wagons and early automobiles, involving several disjointed trails that went through the dangerous Reno Pass. So, Bush pushed an initiative with the state and the lumber industry to create a unified road from the city to Payson. Completed in 1934, the path, named after Bush, was the best and most convenient route to get to and from the Mogollon Rim.
As Phoenix’s population boomed after World War 2, camping became a larger and larger pastime, and the traffic up the Bush Highway increased drastically. This came to the attention of Grady Gammage, president of Arizona State Teachers College in Tempe. Gammage lobbied the state government and worked with James G. Hart of the Maricopa County Board of Supervisors to begin the creation of an official State Route to access and pass Payson.
After receiving permission from the Salt River Indian Reservation and Fort McDowell Indian Reservation, construction began.
A new, more convenient route was then built west of the Bush Highway. It was a significant shortcut for most Phoenix residents, considering it connected to West Mesa on Country Club Drive instead of all the way in Apache Junction.
The shortcut was so obvious, that it was considered “taking a bee-line” up to the Rim, with the term “bee-line” being a slang term referring to a shortcut.
From then on, the Beeline Highway was paved and expanded on top of, and sometimes next to, the old Bush Highway. The original “bee-line” shortcut ends where the modern Bush Highway meets the Beeline, just north of Goldfield Ranch. You can still see the original route along the modern Beeline to this day, all the way to Payson.
The Beeline Highway as we know it today was fully realized in 1966, with the merging of the old State Route 65 (which connected Winslow to Strawberry) and the ever-expanding path of Route 87.
Moving out of a rental property? Do you want your move-out to go smoothly, without any conflicts and hassles? You’ll need to follow through with all your Tenants’ Responsibilities when moving out, giving your property management company proper move-out notice, and leaving your rental home in good condition.
We want to help make the process as easy as possible. This checklist will help guide you through the entire process and ensure that you don’t overlook anything important when leaving your rental home so that you can get your security deposit back and leave on good terms.
Review your Lease Agreement
Find out how to properly end the lease agreement.
Check on all rules and regulations regarding the moving-out notice. (i.e. maintenance obligations, utility transfers, etc.).
Review how far in advance you will need to give your property manager notice.
Once you review all provisions in the rental agreement and know your tenant move-out responsibilities, make sure to add all tasks and deadlines to your moving calendar.
Give your Property Manager a Move Out Notice
Most lease agreements require the tenant to provide written notification to your property manager 30 days before moving out.
Write a Tenant Move Out Letter and send it to your property manager at least 5 weeks prior to moving day.
Inspect the Rental Property and Fix Damages
Make sure to check the rental property against the condition report from when you moved in to find out what exactly you’re responsible for.
Normal wear and tear is expected and acceptable, but you’re responsible for repairing holes in the walls, fixing scratches, repainting the walls, and making sure the electrical and plumbing systems are in good condition.
Keep all repair works documented and keep your receipts if you made some permanent improvements to the property.
Pay Off Your Bills
Inform all your service providers that you are moving out and arrange for the services at your rental to be disconnected.
Take readings of all gas, electricity, and water meters on moving day and photograph them for proof.
Move All Your Things Out of Your Rental Home
Sort out all possessions a couple of months before your move and find a way to get rid of everything you don’t want anymore.
Remember to take down pictures and calendars from the walls, remove stickers and magnets from the fridge, get all your items from the bathroom, pack decorations and hobby materials, and take your door mats and rugs, tools, flower pots, etc.
Open drawers and cupboards, go through the basement and garage, and walk around the yard.
Take out all the trash.
Clean Rental Thoroughly
Your lease agreement may provide specific details as to what is expected of you in terms of cleaning the rental unit before moving out:
Washing the windows;
Cleaning the curtains (depending on what material they are made from, some curtains require dry cleaning, others can be steam cleaned or machine-washed, etc.);
Steam cleaning mattresses and upholsteries;
Washing the carpets or having them professionally cleaned;
Dusting furniture, ceiling fans, and lighting fixtures;
Wiping doors and door frames, furniture handles and light switches, etc.;
Cleaning kitchen appliances;
Washing and disinfecting sinks, toilets, tubs, shower surrounds, countertops, and other kitchen and bathroom surfaces;
Vacuuming/sweeping and mopping the floors;
Mowing the lawn, trimming the trees and bushes, sweeping the garden paths, removing dead leaves and debris from the gutters, etc. (in case your rental property has a yard);
Cleaning up garages, patios, sheds, balconies, etc. (if applicable);
Document the Condition of the Rental Property
Keep all proof of the condition you’re leaving the rental in.
Document the cleaning and repair works (i.e. videos, pictures, receipts).
Arrange a Move Out Inspection
Arrange a time to call your property manager to conduct a move-out walkthrough of the rental unit.
Be present at the move-out inspection.
Discuss any issues that may arise and try to find a mutually beneficial solution.
If you have questions about the move-out process or property management in Fountain Hills and Scottsdale, please contact Dawn Woods, Property Manager at RE/MAX Sun Properties at 480-837-1331.
Nobody wants to wake up to see their home flooded because their pipes burst from high water pressure. This is why Water Pressure Regulators are absolutely invaluable for every household, especially in areas where water pressure is known to fluctuate. If your neighborhood’s water pressure is too high and your regulator is too old, there’s the risk of a burst that can cause expensive damage.
A Water pressure regulator, which is often called the “pressure reducing valve” (PRV), is the main line of defense for a home from the often intense water pressure of your neighborhood’s main water line.
According to the Home Maintenance blog “The Spruce,” most plumbing fixtures in your home are intended to operate at about 50 pounds per square inch. Much of the time, municipal water mains push water into homes at up to 200 psi!
In Fountain Hills, the average water pressure in your main line depends on which water reservoir tank serves your neighborhood, leading to a lot of variation. As water lines age, they are subject to further inconsistencies and even ruptures.
As stated in this 2020 article from the Fountain Hills Times, EPCOR and the town have been cooperating to renew the town’s water mains for several years now. However, water line inconsistencies continue to this day, making the need to have a healthy water pressure regulator even more important. If you have an old regulator at your home, a rupture in your own plumbing becomes even more likely.
As part of your annual home maintenance, have a plumber check to see if your water pressure regulator is still in good condition. Installing a new regulator typically only costs about $550 and doing so can save you thousands of dollars in potential damages.
Kitt Peak is one of the sky islands of southern Arizona, located in the Tohono O’odham Indian Reservation. While its peak is only at 6,883 feet, the views from the summit are stunning.
On a clear day, you can see for hundreds of miles in any direction, and at sunset, you can look down as the sun sinks below the horizon to the west. The Kitt Peak National Observatory sits at the top but is currently temporarily closed due to damages from the Contreras Wildfire in June of 2022.
Mount Lemmon is another sky island, located just north of the city of Tucson. It sits at over 9,000 feet in elevation and is known for the Mount Lemmon Ski Resort.
From the summit of this beautiful mountain, you’ll have views overlooking almost every ecosystem in Arizona, from the high forests of the sky islands to the chaparral transition zones to the Sonoran and Chihuahua Deserts.
Piestewa Peak is the twin sister to Camelback Mountain, right in the middle of the Valley, and it does not disappoint. This peak requires a hike through a beautiful desert preserve to reach, so be sure to bring sunscreen and a lot of water.
At 2,610 feet, you’ll still be in the Sonoran Desert ecosystem at the summit, and you’ll have a fantastic view of the entire Phoenix area in all directions. One of the mountains you’ll be able to see from here is the next entry on this list.
Thompson Peak is “the antenna mountain” of the McDowell Mountain range that towers over Fountain Hills and east Scottsdale. This peak also requires a hike, and at the top, you’ll be able to see the entire Phoenix metro area to the south and west, vast swaths of Tonto National Forest and McDowell Mountain Regional Park to the north and east.
While the trail to Piestewa Peak is only open from sunrise to sunset, a big standout feature of Thomspon Peak is that it is a popular destination for night hiking. Start your hike at sunset (with lots of water and flashlights) and in 2 or 3 hours you’ll be overlooking the brilliant glimmering city lights in one direction, and the quiet darkness of the forest in the other.
Mount Ord is a tall peak in the Tonto National Forest that typically marks the halfway point between Fountain Hills and Payson during a trip to the Mogollon Rim. You’ll have to drive a dirt road to get close to the top, before hiking the final half mile to the summit. The road is well maintained, but if there’s been rain or snow, you should avoid taking a city car up the very curvy path.
At the top is another radio tower, and some amazing views to the south. From Mount Ord, you can see all of Roosevelt Lake, the Reno Pass, Bartlett Lake, Fountain Hills, and much of the Phoenix area. If you have a Tonto Pass and decide to camp near the top, you’ll be able to see both city lights and shooting stars from the same peak, thanks to its altitude and distance from Phoenix.