The Arizona Lifestyle YOU Can Create!

Outdoor living is probably one of the biggest draws for people moving to the desert southwest. And many of us put a great deal of thought into how we want our own private oasis to look. I know I did.

My husbands & my first Thanksgiving here, after our move from Washington state, was spent with family over in Scottsdale... on the back patio, next to the pool w/ water feature, under palm trees and amongst hibiscus and overlooking Lake Serena in Scottsdale Ranch. The sun was setting across the lake with a reflection of the sunset in the water. I got my first taste of what an Arizona backyard SHOULD be. This was paradise!

Of course we can't all afford luxury like that, but we CAN all take pieces of it to create our own backyard oasis. Two years prior to ever moving here I subscribed to Phoenix Home & Garden Magazine. I had a sense of what I wanted my outdoor living space to be but started collecting pictures so that when the time came, I could show a landscaper what my vision was. A good landscaping company should be able to capture your vision while staying within your budget.


~~ Some Ideas to Consider When Creating Your Backyard Paradise ~~

Not everyone has, or wants, a pool but a water feature, can add just the ambience you are looking for.

For those in communities where walled yards are not allowed, extended patios with knee walls or half walls can provide a sense of privacy while also giving you more seating options for your entertaining needs. I've seen many homes in Sun City Grand that don't have a walled backyard but have all the privacy they want due to these half walls and strategic plantings.






Outdoor BBQ's are a staple of our lifestyle down here. One that has been built in will add value to your home when you sell, adding a feeling of luxury to an area that is quite utilitarian. And let's be honest.

Wouldn't you rather look at a nicely finished buit-in BBQ than a portable gas grill with its butane tank?





If you have it in the budget and love to entertain, an outdoor fireplace or firepit would be a nice addition.

People from out of the area scoff at the idea of needing a fireplace in the Arizona desert, but it gets below freezing on many winter nights. The first winter we were here I had packed away my electric blanket thinking I'd never need it again. It wasn't long before I was trying to figure out which box I had put it in.




In Washington I had quite the English garden. I learned quickly here though, that it's best to use the desert adapted plantings.

That still leaves a wide variety of flora to choose from. I took my inspiration from books on Italy, the Mediterranean and my trip to San Miguel Mexico. I have a number of books in my library and I poured through them looking for ideas.

I love how they used bougainvillea and palm trees alongside cacti, creeping fig and towering cypress. Miniature citrus trees were found in large pots (here it's best they go directly in the ground). Then throughout the landscapes were pots full of geraniums and other annuals, as well as herbs.





Whatever you decide to plant, you might want to add something that will attract the area hummingbirds. I love these amazing creatures and marvel at the tiny nests they build for their offspring.

It's very easy to invite hummingbirds into your backyard. If you don't have plants that are doing the trick just put out a feeder. I never get tired of watching them and their antics.

On more than one occassion, I've had one fly directly up to me and hover just a couple of feet away. They are very social little things and I like to believe they are just saying hi and thanking me for the food I put out. What can I say... I've got a vivid imagination!

One last thing. If your HOA doesn't prohibit it, consider the use of color in your backyard oasis. I like using large blue pots for my geraniums. I've also been in some yards where they have painted a wall a bright color or used spanish tiles to create a grotto effect.

Creating a space such as this feeds your soul and your senses. Isn't it time to treat yourself?


If you are in the market to buy or sell a home in one of the Phoenix west valley active retirement golf communities, please call me or visit my website Here you will find information on homes for sale in Sun City Grand Surprise Arizona, resales in Corte Bella, Sun City Festival real estate, Arizona Traditions MLS listings, Trilogy at Vistancia and Sun City West, PLUS see a map of the Surprise AZ area retirement communities. Don't hesitate to call or email if you have questions.

Kathy Anderson, kathyandersonrealtor,, real estate & homes for sale in the Phoenix Arizona west valley retirement communities

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Ken Meade Realty
Sun City Grand Office

(602) 703-8930

Comment balloon 2 commentsKathy Anderson • June 19 2009 02:27PM
The Arizona Lifestyle YOU Can Create!
Outdoor living is probably one of the biggest draws for people moving to the desert southwest. And many of us put a great deal of thought into how we want our own private oasis to look. I know I did. My husbands & my first Thanksgiving… more