Trending Materials to Use for an Arizona Landscaping Project

April 4, 2023

Arizona Landscaping

The pandemic reminded all of us of the importance of creating functional exterior spaces on our properties. Not only do functional exteriors give homeowners the chance to get an enjoyable dose of fresh air — they can go a long way toward increasing the value of a property.

For homeowners in Arizona, there are a few special considerations that must be weighed prior to beginning a landscaping project to help ensure safety and durability. Keep reading for a breakdown of how 4 materials—permeable pavers, metal, ceramic tiles, and wood—can contribute to your landscapes. 

TABLE OF CONTENTS

  • Permeable Pavers
  • Permeable Pavers

    The advantages of permeable pavers in the desert climate of Phoenix or all of Arizona may not be intuitive upon first glance. But there is much more than meets the eye. 

    Permeable pavers are a series of interlocking plastic grids that hold gravel and other types of landscaping stone in place. They can be used for driveways, sidewalks, patios, or any other exterior area in which concrete, asphalt, or loose gravel is typically used.

    The benefits of permeable pavers are that they allow water to seep through the landscaping into the ground, preventing erosion in the surrounding landscaping. In areas with heavy runoff, permeable paver landscaping maintains a much more consistent appearance than other options that do not accommodate for drainage.

    But how does that benefit Arizona, a state with low precipitation?

    While most of Arizona falls well below the national average for yearly precipitation, when storms do hit, they can be severe. According to City of Phoenix, the monsoon season runs between June 15 and September 30, and residents need to be aware of quick-hitting thunderstorms that can cause massive flooding in the area. 

    As the soil in Arizona is typically sun-baked, it is highly susceptible to erosion and runoff. Therefore, choosing permeable paver landscaping options can work wonders for protecting your property, while homes that use concrete or asphalt landscaping get washed away when thunderstorms do strike. 

    Metal

    Although metal may not be the first material that comes to mind when it comes to landscaping, it is becoming a trendy product for homeowners who want sustainable, low-maintenance exteriors. It is especially strong in the arid Arizona climate, as it does not degrade in the face of sunlight like wood or plastics and will rust at a much slower rate than in more humid climates.

    Some ways that metal is being used in Arizona landscaping is to create sharp edges and decorative barriers between walkways and lawn areas, dividing sections of the garden, in stairs and deck railing, and for patio furniture.

    The concern with metal patio furniture in the Arizona climate is obviously the rate at which it conducts heat. While all types of metal will get warm when placed in direct sunlight, steel (especially stainless steel) and bronze are less conductive than aluminum and copper. In addition, it is a good idea to adorn metal furniture with cushioning and place it under a pergola to keep it out of direct sunlight.

    Ceramic Tiles

    One of the benefits of living in Arizona is that it is pool season year-round. If your home has a pool, it is worthwhile to consider upgrading to ceramic decking tiles for the pool deck. Their impermeable design makes them an ideal choice in the pool area, as they are not susceptible to mildew buildup like more porous options. They can be fabricated in a wide range of designs and styles that create a far classier aspect than poured concrete and at a lower price tag than natural stone products.

    However, while ceramic tiles are an ideal choice for pool decks, they make a great landscaping choice for other types of landscaping projects as well. They can be used for walkways, patios, and fire pits. The glazed finish on many porcelain tiles does a tremendous job of reflecting sunlight, causing them to heat up in the Arizona sun at a much lower rate than similar types of pavers.

    Wood

    Finally, despite impressive innovations in building materials, there is something about the rustic charm of natural wood that continues to captivate homeowners' hearts. It is still widely used by Arizona residents for decks, gazebos, pergolas, furniture, and many other types of exterior landscaping.

    Among the various types of wood common to landscaping projects include:

    • Redwood - in addition to breathtaking beauty, it is a straight and stable material that is naturally resistant to insects and weathering, which can minimize the need for rotted deck wood repair
    • Cedar - typically thought of as the “classic” wood for landscaping projects, cedar may not make quite the statement that redwood does but offers similar water and insect resistance
    • Treated pine - this is the most affordable type of wood decking and creates a classy aspect when properly installed. The most important thing to remember is that the “treated” carries heavy weight, and you must stay up-to-date with your staining and sealing to prevent sun damage
    • Faux wood - composite wood materials are gaining in popularity among homeowners who want the natural beauty of wood but better fire resistance. They are typically low maintenance and are fabricated in consistent planks that make it easier for DIY landscaping projects

    Building on this last point, the increased incidence of wildfires is something that homeowners must take into account when using wood for landscaping projects. While the beauty is undeniable, it does present an added risk--one that insurance companies are sure to factor into premiums.

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    Richard Callahan

    Richard Callahan is a freelance writer that loves sharing his knowledge and expertise on home improvement projects and construction. He lives in Tampa, Florida where he enjoys spending time with his wife and working on backyard projects in his spare time. Richard’s work as a freelance writer can be found on Building Product Advisor, a new construction industry resource.

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