Do you all have pictures you can post of your natural desert yards and/or yards with gravel? Planning to do it here. Any suggestions on where to begin? Does the black plastic kill bermuda? Thanks!
I'd recommend you order some of the free resources offered by the City of Phoenix. Xeriscape - Landscaping with Style in the Arizona Desert is wonderful step-by-step design guide and had great photos by noted photographer Charles Mann. There is also a new CD available (not listed on the Phoenix site yet, but you could request it) called Water Wise Landscaping in the Arizona Desert. Besides plants it has a visual tour of dozens of actual landscapes. The Garden Gallery section has lots of photos of various landscape features such as front yards, back yards, patio areas, walkways, shady spaces, entry ways, benches and seating areas, garden gates and much more.
The use of black plastic is no longer recommended. It restricts oxygen exchange at the soil surface, causes roots to concentrate just under the plastic where moisture condenses, prohibits the percolation of rainwater through the soil and over time breaks or tears and works its way to the surface creating an eyesore. Weeds grow on top of it anyway. The best way to kill Bermuda is to use glyphosate which is the active ingredient in a number of products including Round Up and Finale. Wait until the grass is actively growing in June - August for best results. The University of Arizona has instructions you can download at http://cals.arizona.edu/pubs/garden/az1371.pdf
Here is a link that might be useful: Free Landscape Design Guide and more!!!
please listen to me. I have 18 years experience with gravel yards. If you do NOT want weeds to grown, you must go with the 1/4 minus size granite. This size packs down like concrete, it must be put in so the depth is at least 4 inches thick. It packs down over time with rain, but what you need to do instead of waiting for that is to wet the entire area (I do sections at a time) and I mean wet it down good with a spray nozzle on the hose. We have a actual roller my husband made that is a big metal drum with a handle on it. We fill it with water and then we roll it over the wet granite a few times in going in different directions, it packs it like concrete. Once the rains come, it packs it even harder. you need the 4 inch or more thickness as weeds cannot grown thru it. We do get some small that is just killed doing spot treaments, but never do they overtake the granite.Larger granite, decorative rock, etc.. DOES NOT PACK down, you will contantly get weeds and grasses coming thru and in weed season, you will be overwhelmed with them. Send me your email and I can send you pics of our rental yard that we are presently bringing in loads of granite. We have a guy deliver a ton at at a time, property is over 10,000 square feet, so we have work to do. Luckily we have a neighbor with a tractor, so we spread with that and then some shovel/broom work to level it out and then wet it and pack it. Our own yard is done the same way.
We have large gravel in our yard and do get weeds too. Expect it to be much hotter in your yard once you get the gravel in . We have concrete walls and gravel (came that way with the house) and I hate it because it is way too hot back there to do anything and it reflects and radiates heat too. Of course our temps here are around 120 in the summer, so its really bad.
I also have a gravel yard (front and back) and it is so much hotter in the summer. I have been busting my butt this spring to fill the back yard with an evergerrn ground cover in hopes of cooling it down and bringing some life to the yard. I dont know how to post photos... sorry
Great pics so far. It's funny/ironic that the best places for gravel yards is hot climates where maintaining a lawn is very difficult yet they are so hot that it's the worst setting for them.
Pattiwatti hit the nail on the head for weed control. It's so crucial to get a fine grind that my uncle just purchased a small industrial rock crusher just so he can get the granite to the right consistency for doing the base of the yards on the new homes he's building in Florida.
Would be nice if someone would come do my yard, I should buy stock in herbicides with all the weeds I get. :)
yes, i would like to get rid of the gravel. So hot in the summer. Crackerjack: What evergreen things are you putting in