A Lifestyle Guide to Fountain HIlls & Northeast Scottsdale spring 2012
Fountain Hills’ Hometown Publishing Company
• Fountain Hills Times • Fountain Hills/Verde Communities Telephone Directory • Fountain Hills Community Guide • Fountain Hills HOME • Let’s Go! In the Northeast Valley
2 / HOME
On the cover
Real Estate market warming up?
Gardening in the desert takes patience and a different kind of knowledge about climate and conditions. Master Gardeners from this area share their views. (Photo by Kristi Caggiano.)
Gardening in the desert
Fountain View Village gets facelif facelift
Home, Spring 2012 is a publication of Western States Publishers, Inc. • P.O. Box 17869 • Fountain Hills, AZ • 85269 • Editor: Li Linda d McThrall M Th ll • M Many off th the stories t i iin thi this edition are paid advertisements. For more information, call (480) 837-1931 or visit www.fhtimes.com/homeguide.
Staging Homes to Sell
Sue’s unique background in home design and staging combined with her real estate knowledge give her the competitive edge for her clients. Committed to giving her clients the best in service and satisfaction, she has a proven track record not only locally but internationally. If you are looking to buy or sell or would just like a Fountain Hills or Scottsdale market update, give Sue a call at 480.639.7324. Sue Geurs, REALTOR
Cell 480.639.7324 SusanGeurs@cs.com www.SueGeurs.PruAZ.com © 2012 Prudential Financial, Inc. and its related entities. An independently owned and operated broker member of BRER Affiliates Inc. Prudential, The Prudential logo and the Rock symbol are registered service marks of Prudential Financial, Inc. and its related entities, registered in many jurisdictions worldwide. Used under license with no other affiliation of Prudential. Equal Housing Opportunity.
HOME / 3
Signs of real estate warming up? The first half of the year traditionally brings an increase in buying and selling in the real estate market. Housing experts are optimistic that the trend will continue this year. After a slump during the third quarter of 2011, the Phoenix area residential market has improved significantly, observed Michael Orr, director of the Center for Real Estate Theory and Practice at the W.P. Carey School of Business at Arizona State University. “How fast this recovery develops is still uncertain but a number of factors are improving rather than deteriorating,” said Orr. Supply is tight, interest rates are extremely low and the economy is showing some signs of life. Prices remain affordable compared with salaries and rental rates, reported Orr. Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage, a real estate firm that tracks market activity in Fountain Hills, reported February 2012 property sales were up 32.2 percent from February 2011. February 2012 sales at 78 transactions were at their highest level compared to February 2011 and 2010. Through this past February, 133
Rich Madden, REALTOR® Celebrating 10 Years Selling Fountain Hills & Surrounding Area
properties have sold since the start of the New Year, reported Coldwell Banker.
Home inventory On Feb. 1, RE/MAX Sun Properties Realtor Lisa Murray reported on her blog that Fountain Hills only had 314 active residential listings. Of that that total, 202 were single-family homes. Lender-owned, single-family properties on the market were 12; 16 were short sales. Orr agreed, saying that the inventory of homes for sale is “well below the average for the last 10 years.” Supply is heavily weighted toward the higher price end of the market, said Orr. No longer does an oversupply of homes under $300,000 exist. Investors, Orr said, have purchased most of the surplus of homes in the low to moderate price ranges. “Many people think there is a glut of homes the banks are hiding somewhere, and that may be the case in other markets, but not here in the Phoenix area,” said Orr. “We’ve gone through so many foreclosures that the system has been working itself out for
about five years.” February’s inventory was at its, lowest level compared to the two previous Februarys, according to Coldwell Banker Residential figures. “If you are a buyer, you should know that the inventory is low and the good ones still sell quickly and for a good price --- sometimes above the list price,” wrote Murray. Buyers from Canada, New Zealand and Australia, in particular, are taking advantage of the exchange rates to purchase investment and vacation homes, said Orr.
Home values Fountain Hills home values are down by an average of 50 percent from 2005-2006, the height of the real estate boom, compared to other parts of the Phoenix metro area that are down 65 percent, observed Murray. The median sales price in February was $218,000, up slightly 1.4 percent from the previous February when the median sales price was $215,000. Coldwell Banker Residential reported that consumers should review the selling price per square foot as an
indicator of the direction of property values. The February 2012 selling price per square foot in Fountain Hills was $125, down 4.8 percent from $131 in January 2012 and a 2 percent decline from 128 in February 2011.
Foreclosures March 2009 was the worst month for foreclosure notices, said Orr. Current foreclosures have plummeted 67 percent from that peak level. A normal level for foreclosures in Maricopa County would be 1,400 per month. Realtor Murray noted at the beginning of February that 139 Fountain Hills properties have scheduled trustee sale dates in the next 90 days, about 10 percent less than a few months ago. She attributed the decline to banks successfully closing more short sales. Orr’s January 2012 statistics show Fountain Hills had six foreclosures where the property was sold to a third party; seven were bank-owned sales. Eight single-family properties reverted to the mortgage lender because no bids were received at the trustee’s auction. (Cont. on page 7)
MAKE MORE MONEY ON THE SALE OF YOUR HOME! NEW!
Equity Protection Commission Program
Save Thousands on REALTOR® commission when you sell your Home • Homes SOLD $250,000 & under • Homes SOLD $250,001 - $500,000 • Homes SOLD $500,001+
$2,995* $3,995* $4,995*
Up Front Fees
* paid at successful closing plus buyer broker commission determined at the time of listing Sold in just 26 Days! “Rich got a buyer for our home in just 26 days! His aggressive marketing got us TOP DOLLAR in a very short amount of time.” - David & Marcia Brown – Fountain Hills
• Full Service • Full MLS • Full Representation Backed With 10 yrs Professional Negotiation Skills FREE Market
4 / HOME
The Villas at Vista Verde ready for buyers Emerging from the throes of the sluggish economy, Vista Verde has opened its initial town home neighborhood, The Villas at Vista Verde. Vista Verde Sales is offering the first 20 townhouse units just off the first tee of the championship golf course. On a site that will be raised 10 feet or more from the existing grade, the new units will be oriented to offer residents spectacular views of the Superstition Mountains, the Mazatzal range and Four Peaks. The 20 villa units are the first of what will eventually be 125 villas at Vista Verde, many of those surrounding the clubhouse location. There are three basic models for the town houses ranging in size from 2,250-square-feet to 2,475-square-feet of livable space. Aka Architecture in Scottsdale has created a “rustic Arizona” for the Villas and Fisher Custom Homes will be doing the construction. Site work construction can begin once they have a predetermined number of units sold. The units themselves may be ready to come out of the ground late fall to early winter 2012, according to Vista Verde Sales broker
Chip Glaser. Those interested in looking at the site will find sales personnel on the site Wednesday through Sunday. Turn off Rio Verde Drive at Vista Verde Drive near 174th Street. Vista Verde is the youngest of the sibling Verde Communities that include Tonto Verde and Rio Verde just east and south of Vista. Together they feature 90 holes of championship golf. Vista Verde hosts the Gateway Professional Tour for an event each year, and Rio Verde hosts the annual women’s collegiate invitational. The game of golf is coming back strong after the recession also, according to Glaser. He said rounds at Vista Verde were up 76 percent in 2011 compared to 2010, and he added that the first couple of months of 2012 have increased over last year.
Spectacular views from the site of the planned The Villas at Vista Verde.
The Villas will have the ‘rustic Arizona’ look.
Online tools help organize, save money Ladies Consignment Now Open!
Dream – Design – Build – Furnish and
Did you know that a disorganized household can cost your family money? From failing to make necessary repairs before it’s too late, to mismanaging the household budget, there can be a high price to disorganization. Don’t accrue unnecessary expenses that could be avoided by simply streamlining your household. “The key to running a happy home is having a system to keep everything neat and orderly,” says Elizabeth Dodson, co-founder of HomeZada,
a home organization online software application. There’s no better time than spring to do some house cleaning and get your home life in order. Here are some tips to get you started:
An online program can secure documentation and help you keep details straight, such as when you last tested your smoke detectors or replaced your air filters.
In this digital day and age, make paper tracking of your families’ schedule and to-do lists a thing of the past. By going digital, it will be harder to make costly mistakes like missed appointments and overdue bills. Online organizational tools are replacing the chore wheel, the calendar and the message board, consolidating all this information in one place. Opt for a safe and secure service that sends alerts and reminders to users about what tasks needs to get done.
Each year, 15,600 dryer fires occur, resulting in property damage exceeding $75 million. And the leading cause is lack of maintenance. Preserve the overall value of your largest asset, your home, with regular maintenance of your house and appliances.
Furniture, Accessories & Lighting Manufacturer Closeouts Complimentary Interior Design Remodeling & Custom Home
DESIGN 13430 N. Saguaro Blvd. Fountain Hills
480-816-1703 Open 7 Days COLORSCONSIGNMENT.COM
Pool Enjoyment Lasts Longer g when pools and spas are heated with efficient Teledyne gas heaters
Arizona Propane Co. Established 1972 Gas Products Sales & Service Call 480-990-2245 P.O. Box 3629, Scottsdale AZ 85271 Independently Owned and Operated
Nobody likes to think about challenges like burglaries, fires and floods. But these things can and do happen, so it’s best to be prepared for anything. Unfortunately, most people have incomplete records about their home and possessions, and often, this information is scattered in multiple boxes, filing cabinets, drawers and spreadsheets.
HOME / 5
Reducing carbon footprint can mean savings It’s not uncommon to associate “going green” with a drastic change in lifestyle. With big ticket items like solar panels, hybrid cars and equipping a home with the latest energy efficient products, the shift to green can also appear a costly maneuver at first glance. But you don’t have to break the bank to reduce your carbon footprint. Many of the best ways to cut costs and save the planet require little more than a small adjustment around the house. Others can require a bit of an initial investment, but will pay for themselves in the long run. Here are some of the easiest ways to go green in 2012:
The power of the sun Arizona is well known for its close relationship with the sun. While lovely for a tan, all that heat can work horrible wonders on your electricity bill each month thanks to an air conditioning unit that never turns off. One of the quickest ways to cool down the house without overworking the AC is to keep the sun’s heat out during the hottest months of the year. Install shades, awnings or sunscreens
on windows facing south and west to help keep the scorching rays at bay. Similar to utilizing blinds and overhangs, you can also replace singlepane windows with double-pane, low-emissivity glass and vinyl frames to cut back on heat transfer and filter out the sunlight. This comes with the added bonus of keeping heat in during the winter months, adding to the savings year-round. Want to save without making any changes to your home? Adjusting the thermostat just two degrees higher in the summer and two degrees lower in the winter can actually save a bundle. Similarly, remember to close off vents in unoccupied rooms and move the dial up or down a few extra pegs when nobody is going to be home. All of these measures should help keep the home comfy while utilizing your heating and cooling units in the most costeffective manner. Outside the home, trees can be your best friend. Not only do they look nice, but all those limbs and leaves create a nice canopy of shade, perfect for keeping the sun, and thus additional heat, from even reaching the home.
Your biggest fans Speaking of maximizing your AC’s performance, an air conditioner works best if it’s not sucking air through a clogged filter. Clean or buy new filters regularly to guarantee a more efficient, quicker cycle period and less wasted energy. To assist your AC in doing the best job possible, turning on ceiling fans or investing in extra floor fans can go a long way. And don’t forget that fans work just
as well for heating up the house in the winter, too. Fans set to low help circulate the air whether it is cool or warm, so be sure to give this trick a whirl. Also, many Arizonans rely on a fireplace for heating their home but forget that this inexpensive way to warm the house can also achieve the opposite effect for the unmindful. When your fireplace is not in use, remember to close the damper and seal the opening shut to keep air, hot or cold, from escaping.
INSURE THE CAR AND
SAVE MONEY ON THE GARAGE
Save twice with Home & Auto Discounts. Call us to see how much you could save when you insure your home and car with Allstate.
(480) 837-0266 Call or stop by for a free quote. Subject to availability and qualifications. The ‘Capped Hands’ logo is a registered service mark of Allstate Insurance Company. Allstate Property and Casualty Insurance company: Northbrook IL ® 2007 Allstate Insurance Company
Short Sell Your House! Rich Madden, Realtor®
Celebrating 10 Years Selling Fountain Hills & Surrounding Area
68+ Local Home Owners Helped with a Short Sale! No Cost to Home Owner!
$3,000 to You at Closing! • Qualify for H.A.F.A. & Receive $3,000 back to you • Current tax law ends 12/31/12 (primary residences) ACT NOW & have the “amount short” be tax exempt • With a Short Sale, the deficiency (short amount) gets waived = FORGIVEN! • Got 2 loans? I can handle both! I can obtain a buyer FAST & AVOID any upcoming foreclosure!
Facing Foreclosure: Obtained Buyer in just 11 days!
“Rich is a short sale EXPERT!” “Rich obtained a buyer in just 11 days! He then stopped the scheduled foreclosure & got our Short Sale Approved. Rich can do this for you too! Jim & Sandi Sevier
• You Pay ZERO! No Commissions! No Fees! Really!
480-226-7373 or www.StopForeclosureAZ.org
6 / HOME
Fountain View Village
Facelift brings even better living conditions Although not a typical home remodeling project, Fountain View Village residents and staff have been dealing with the same chaotic upheaval that many homeowners experience. After 11 years with basically the same environment, the owners of the continuum care community decided a “facelift” would assist in better competing with similar facilities in nearby communities. Senior Lifestyle Corporation owns and manages the property that includes independent living, assisted living, skilled nursing and dementia care at a one-block campus on the Avenue of the Fountains. Little by little, the $3 million project started at the end of last August is coming to a conclusion. An open house to show improvements to the community will be scheduled in the fall. In the meantime, Fountain View Village visitors will notice several cosmetic improvements. Fresh coats of paint, replacement carpeting and tiles, new furniture and accessories have blended into a “warmer and more inviting” atmosphere, said Rebecca Quinn, director of sales and marketing.
A remodeled reception area with modernized light fixtures greets visitors to the skilled nursing unit.
“With all the new competition out there, it was time for a facelift,” said Quinn. General contractor is David McBride of DMC Builders; sub-contractors were hired for specialty work. The continuum care facility opened 11 years ago this July and, within that decade, has become the town’s second largest employer with 185 employees. Senior Lifestyle Corporation, a national company with more than 10,000 units, purchased the business in July 2006. Ranking Arizona for 2012 rated Fountain View Village as the fifth top retirement community in Arizona. The facility has ranked in the top 10 for three years. The privately held company allocated about $1.5 million for construction improvements; the remaining $1.5 million will go into furnishings, lighting fixtures and decorative accessories, said Quinn. About 1,000 new pieces of artwork will decorate the walls. The local campus can accommodate 245 individuals in independent living and assisted living apartments; skilled nursing, rehabilitative and memory care services. The continuum care community concept provides residents access to the residential living environment most appropriate to their needs now and in the future. Quinn said 38 percent of their residents enter the skilled nursing facility and over time, their health status lets them move into assisted living or independent living quarters. One of the most extensive remodels is the bistro, a café opened to the public from 11:30 a.m. to 2 p.m., Monday through Friday. Counter seating and tables and chairs will expand the
Fountain View Village, a continuum care senior facility at 16455 Avenue of the Fountains, is a community health resource. Senior Lifestyle Corporation, owners, has invested $3 million to upgrade the property. capacity. A flash-baked oven will expand the menu to include pizzas and toasted sandwiches. The movie theater screen has been replaced and new comfortable theater seating will expand the number of residents and Senior Center guests on Fridays to view films. The theater also is used for special television events, such as Super Bowl parties. A new coat of paint and carpeting have been applied to the Town Square area. Accent tiles have been replaced. In the individual dining rooms, lighting fixtures have been modernized; new tables and chairs will be purchased. New carpeting and furniture in the public areas of the adjacent 91-bed assisted living unit have been spiffed up. New railings have been installed. Each floor has been re-painted a different color for easy identification by residents. A modernized reception desk greets guests to the skilled care unit. All rooms there will eventually have new furniture and plasma wall televisions. New carpeting extends into the great room/library off the main entrance. The physical therapy and rehabilitative area has been opened into one expansive space. Internet wireless has been installed to allow for elec-
tronic medical charting. The 64-bed skilled nursing facility, headed by Don Abdouch, had a deficiency-free survey this year and has received a score of 95 percent or better for the past three years. Consumer’s Research named it one of the top 100 nursing homes in the country in 2010. Legacy Court, the memory loss care unit, has implemented a “wander guard” protection system for the safety of dementia residents. An individual wears a bracelet that prevents elevator doors from opening. If a memory-loss resident attempts to leave, an alarm is triggered. Senior Lifestyle Corp. created a Southwest division after acquiring additional care properties in southwest states. Their properties include The Garnet of Casa Grande, Amethyst Senior Living in Peoria, The Woodmark at Sun City, The Heritage Tradition in Sun City, Emerald Springs in Yuma and The Woodmark in Albuquerque. Former Fountain View Village executive director Terry Troxell was promoted to regional director to oversee the division. Senior Lifestyle Corporation regional vice president is Adam Kaplan, son of owner Bill Kaplan. For more information about services, visit www.seniorlifestyle.com.
Now is The Time to Get Your Pool Ready For The Summer
ng Celebratiear Y th 5 r ou ome in the H siness u Watch B
Trustworthy and Professional Care for your Arizona home while you are away
First Month Service
Owners: Dawn and Dan McCallum Fountain Hills, Arizona • firstname.lastname@example.org
Licensed • Bonded • Insured
• Resurface Pools & Spas • Resurface Decks • New Equipment and or Repair • Clean Tile We Can Build New Pools and Spas 16820 E Avenue of the Fountains #101 · 480-837-5546 ROC #1661791 KA-05
HOME / 7
Eagles Nest housing activity continues to build Eagles Nest, the gated custom lot community on the eastern slopes of the McDowell Mountains at the end of Golden Eagle Boulevard, Fountain Hills, is experiencing continued building activity. â€œAlthough the activity is slow, we are pleased it is continuing in the right direction,â€? said Shelley Johnson, spokesperson for MCO Properties. â€œTo date, Eagles Nest has 12 completed homes as well as five homes
under construction and two in the design review phase.â€? With awe-inspiring views of the surrounding mountain ranges and close proximity to numerous outdoor recreational opportunities, Eagles Nest provides families with sophisticated living and plenty of adventurous recreational options. Developed by MCO Properties, the 244 custom lots within Eagles Nest are positioned in an estate-like setting,
ranging in size from one acre to 21 acres, and all with such breath-taking views. Eagles Nest boasts a natural desert setting with native wildlife, abundant desert foliage, hiking trails and rolling terrain. The natural beautiful neighborhood provides a public pedestrian
hiking trail for those wishing to connect to the McDowell Mountain Regional Park trail system. To learn more about Eagles Nest, visit the web site at www. EaglesNestLiving.com or call an Eagles Nest sales associate at (480) 837-1005.
pared to February 2010 and 2011, according to Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage. The number of properties sold in the first two months of 2012 tallied 1,158, running two percent ahead of the prior yearâ€™s to date of 133.
(cont. from page 3) -owned sales were reported, 55 foreclosures occurred and 44 properties were returned to the lender because of no auction activity. Overall, the number of homes reverting to lenders at trustee sales plummeted by 62 percent in the Greater Phoenix housing market, said Orr. Trustee sales totaled 2,802 in January 2012, down 42 percent compared with 4,813 in January 2011.
Construction on five homes in Eagles Nest gated community is in progress. Twelve homes have been completed; two homes await design approval.
Total inventory of properties for sale in the city as of February 2012 was 2,973, down 29.3 percent from 4,208 in February 2011. The February 2012 inventory was the lowest level com-
The Verdes Fore Peaks Sales Group Realtor Darlene Dailey provided a snapshot of housing activity in Rio and Tonto Verde. March started with 108 homes for sale in Rio Verde. Purchase contracts for 16 were pending. Five properties were sold to date in 2012. Dailey said prices were down 13.87 percent. In neighboring Tonto Verde, 56 properties were listed for sale. One sale was pending; one sale was recorded to date this year. Prices fell 6.35 percent.
Ifyourhomeisâ€œunderwaterâ€?andyouâ€™vebeenturneddownforaloan modificationorrefinancingâ€”CALLNOW!Youmayqualifytorefinance underthegovernmentÍ˛backHomeAffordableRefinanceProgram. KentMartinson MortgageBanker ÇŚÍ˛ÍťÍłÍśÍ¸ÍłÍ¸ Í“ÍľÍ˛ÍˇÍłÍ´Íş
OnQFinancial,Inc.isanequalhousinglender.Theseprogramsareavailableonlytoqualified borrowers.Theseprogramsaresubjecttochangewithoutnotice.Underwritingtermsand conditionswouldapplytoqualifiedborrowers.Somerestrictionsapply.OnQFinancialNMLS #5645|ArizonaLender#BKÍ˛0906866.*IfyourmortgageisownedorguaranteedbyFannie Mae,youmaybeeligibletorefinanceyourmortgageundertheenhancedandexpanded provisionsofHARP.
Focal Point Interior Design LLC
Measuring and Installation
The Art of Window Dressing ideas booklet
with this ad
16729 E Palisades Blvd Ste 104 Fountain Hills AZ Monday - Friday 10-5 Saturday by appointment 480-836-7577 www.focalpointinteriordesign.com email@example.com
Follow Us At
8 / HOME
For all your real estate needs, call us today!
Mike & Rita Browne Realtor®, CDPE, CNE www.mikeandritarealty.com firstname.lastname@example.org
480-510-4911 Each office is independently owned and operated.
Jenna Conner, left, Savannah Simpson, Teacher Jano Nightingale and Mia Conner spend every day at Sunflower Preschool tending the vegetable garden.
WE UNDERSTAND the responsibility of
RAISING A FAMILY. Kathy Garrett
We all feel the same commitment to care for our families. As your good neighbor agent, I can help you meet your insurance and financial needs. Call me today.
16626 E. Avenue of the Fountains, Ste. 104, Fountain Hills, Arizona 85268
837-7130 LIKE A GOOD NEIGHBOR
STATE FARM IS THERE ®
Providing Insurance and Financial Services P026118
statefarm.com • State Farm® • Home Office: Bloomington, IL.
LAN-CON, INC. Landscaping Contracting
Paver Specials - Stone Veneer
Jay Giordano 480-837-2758 “We also specialize in the beautification of existing landscapes” Landscape Contracting
• Xeriscape • Custom Fireplaces • Outdoor Grills • Outdoor Entertainment Areas • Gas & Wood Fire Pits • Decorative Walls/Benches • Complete Lawn Construction • Sprinkler-Drip Systems • Custom Sidewalks • Paver Patios-Walkways • 110 & Low Voltage Lighting • Boulder/Granite/Sod
Design & Installation - ROC # 65051 Licensed • Bonded • Insured
Jazy’s Decor & Alterations, Inc. Commercial & Residential • Fabrics & Leather • Trims & Hardware • Draperies • Valances/Cornice Boards • Roman Shades
• Upholstery for Patio Furniture • Headboards/Bedspreads • Pillows • Upholstery • Cushions
480-837-2586 11831 N Saguaro Blvd
Master Gardener from East adapts to desert climate Fountain Hills resident Jano Nightingale is adaptable. She spent much of her life in upstate New York. Her career – which fed her passion for growing things – was spent there. She has been in Arizona a relatively short while. Since her knowledge of all things green primarily focuses on the northeastern part of the country, she is discovering a whole new world of plants and gardening. “It is very different,” Nightingale said. “But it is equally interesting. Perhaps more challenging, but I still love working with plants and gardens.” Nightingale is a Master Gardener and spent more than 10 years in horticulture. She was county extension agent for two counties in New York and also was a grower. Her expertise is in horticulture where the soil is fine, the plants are green and the weather creates all the ingredients for plants to do what they do best. However, desert plants need different things to do what they do best, and Nightingale has spent her time here learning about the desert. She spent nine months as a teaching assistant for the Desert Botanical Garden’s Desert Landscaper School. The program provides professional landscapers with intensive training in desert landscaping. Courses include desert plants, maintenance and garden design. Students also install three desert landscape garden sites. “All of the classes provide in-depth information about this part of the desert,” she said. “It is a fascinating, and extremely informative program.” Nightingale said she is not as proficient in desert gardening as she would like to be, but she enjoys the learning
process. She currently works at Sunflower Preschool with its after-school program teaching young children about gardening and plants. She has vast experience working with children, and she has written articles about horticulture, gardening with children and gardening in general. She is developing programs locally, offering two classes through Fountain Hills Community Services. She will teach “Desert Landscapes 101” from April 5-12, and “Family Gardening” April 19-26. For more information, visit www.fh.az.gov/recreation. Nightingale can be contacted at email@example.com.
Mia Conner of Sunflower Preschool loves to care for sunflowers and harvest peas in the school’s garden.
HOME / 9
Patience is THE virtue in desert gardening 10X20 SPECIAL Gardening in the desert requires more than the obvious things like water, good soil and attention. What may be the most important requirement for a good garden in this climate is patience. There are resources throughout the state to assist gardeners with every imaginable project. Mike Platta, a Master Gardener who lives in North Scottsdale, credits learning and using planning calendars for his success in the garden. “I grew up on a dairy farm in Wisconsin,” Platta said. “We grew our own food, and I was involved with the crops. We had a huge vegetable garden to feed our family. So I have extensive experience in the garden.” Which, Platta said, doesn’t translate to gardening in the desert. “You can get very frustrated trying to grow things the way you did when you lived in the Midwest,” he said. “You have to learn a whole new way of growing things.” Another valley Master Gardener, Kristi Caggiano, who also is a volunteer with the University of Arizona Cooperative Extension Maricopa County Master Gardeners, said studying a small area in a yard can make gardening easier. She purchased a business in Glendale in 1991, which had rocks and some Bermuda grass. She had an idea to transform the yard space into a garden, but she found the project overwhelming to try and do all at once. She chose a 15-foot by 30-foot area to focus her attention. She carefully watched sun and shade patterns, discovered the microclimates and then by trial and error, “learned to work successfully with the unique conditions Arizona has to offer in that little 15-by-30 foot spot. You could say I conquered it.” By amending the soil, installing drip irrigation and choosing plants and flowers right for the location, she
was able to create the garden she had envisioned. “When you understand what’s different about gardening in Arizona and learn to work intelligently with our two unique seasons, hard clay soil, microclimates and low rainfall, you can garden very successfully, practically year-round,” Caggiano said on her Website, www.miraclehavengarden.com. Caggiano’s Website is full of information about gardening in this climate, and she includes photos and descriptions of plants, techniques, instructions and more. Caggiano has been involved with the UA Cooperative Extension Maricopa County Master Gardeners, which also has information on its Website, http://extension.arizona.edu/maricopa. A major project of that organi-
zation is the Real Gardens for Real People Tour, which took place the end of March this year. The tours are designed to give visitors an up close look at gardens in the area and to utilize information they receive. Gardening experts are onsite to educate and answer questions from tour participants. Roger Marach, who has one of the gardens featured on the March tour, said adapting to desert gardening (cont. on page 12)
Discounts as big as a house. Or condo. Or apartment.
$50.00 Discount First 3 Months *
Jenny* Restrictions Mini Apply Storage Call for details 480-837-3100 11873 N. Saguaro Blvd.
firstname.lastname@example.org See just how big your savings could be. Your savings could add up to hundreds of dollars when you put all your policies together under our State Farm® roof. GET TO A BETTER STATE.™ CALL AN AGENT OR VISIT US ONLINE TODAY.
Joe Wagner, Agent 16815 E. Shea Blvd. Suite 109 Fountain Hills, AZ 85268 Bus: 480-816-5335 email@example.com 103155 11/11
State Farm Mutual Automobile Insurance Company, State Farm Indemnity Company, Bloomington, IL
tammie ott Fountain Hills Resident Licensed Bonded
Growing plants in containers saves space and gives a new look to a backyard garden.
Verde Valley Nursery Where Quality Counts and Customers Matter! 26 Years in Fountain Hills • More than just a Nursery •Landscape Design, Consultation & Installation • Maintenance Services • Synthetic Turf & Putting Greens • Talavera Pottery • Water Features & Bubbling Boulders • Flowers, Plants, Cacti • Large Saguaro Specialists • Outdoor Lighting • Paver and Flagstone Work • Irrigation Systems & Maintenance
Licensed • Bonded • Insured • ROC230729 12025 N Saguaro Blvd., Fountain Hills 480-837-8131 www.verdevalleynursery.com All employees are e-Verified
Leave Your Worries At The Door While You Were Gone, LLC • Weekly - Monthly - Part Time Residents • Visual Inspection of Exterior & Interior Grounds, Gates, Pool/Spa Area • Check All Doors & Windows • Adjust Heating & Cooling • Stock Refrigerator & Pantry • Manage Existing Maintenance Providers • Stop/Start and/or Forward Mail
480.421.8908 • www.whileyouweregone.biz
10 / HOME
Artificial turf is great for pets and people When you come from Canada, you can generally have a grassy yard. You have to maintain it, but it isn’t as challenging as that can be in the desert. Don and Hanna Pestell, who spend winters in Fountain Hills and summers in Western Canada’s Banff, know that challenge. They bought a house in Fountain Hills on Sullivan Drive that had gravel and various plantings. They didn’t especially like the look, and their dog, Homer, really disliked it. “He was not real happy to go outside,” Don said. “And keeping the rocks clean was a pain.” After considering their options, the Pestells decided to install artificial turf. They called Ozzie Strand, General Manager of AZGrassman, who gave them some options. They put two small patches in the front yard and planted cactus to enhance the landscape. They then removed the gravel in the back and side yards and put in the artificial grass. They have a pool in the backyard, so the green alongside the pool adds to the comfort of the
yard. Don said he and Hanna enjoy the yard much more than when they had gravel. He also said keeping the yard clean, even after Homer has “done his business” is easy. ”It has made a huge difference,” Don said. “It looks great, there is no maintenance, and Homer really likes it.” Strand said artificial grass provides the homeowner with the look they want without the hassle. He said houses stay cleaner because the residents and their animals are not tracking in dirt and mud. Maintaining natural grass requires chemicals and fertilizers. Those substances can easily be tracked in to a house, and animals can suffer health risks if they lick their paws after walking on the chemicals. The only maintenance artificial grass requires is the occasional rinsing off with the hose or sweeping it with a broom. Strand said artificial grass also is a good alternative to gravel, which many homeowners use to eliminate
Homer the dog likes running and playing on his new artificial grass yard installed by www.AZgrassman.com. the cost of natural grass. The turf sold by AZGrassman is made from recycled materials and includes a variety of lawn grasses and putting green options. Strand said artificial grass pays for itself in three to five years in water savings alone. He suggested calculating the square footage of a yard and estimate between
$3.50 and $7.50 per square foot for the turf and installation, putting greens start around $6. It takes one or two days to install a yard. Call (480) 363-2154 for an appointment or more information, or register for a free quote by visiting www.azgrassman.com.
HOME / 11
Repeat business keeps Roadrunner rolling Living through a remodeling project has inherent challenges. You have strangers working in your house. Your living spaces are disrupted. People and animals living in the house have to adapt to the changes as they are occurring. Scottsdale resident Laura Burke learned, h o w e v e r, that remodeling can be a pleasant experience. She recently finished a second project with Roadr unner Custom Remodeling Inc. A Guest bath before third remodeling job is planned to begin this summer. “I had interviewed other contractors and couldn’t pull the trigger on hiring somebody,” she said. “About a year
ago, I went online again to research contractors.” She found Roadrunner’s Website and liked what she saw. Patrick Benkowski, CR, owner of Roadrunner, features before and after pictures of his work on his Website. “The thing I really like about his proposal is that he includes many different photos of his jobs,” Burke said. “When you find a photo you like, the customer’s name and phone number is listed. You can call them directly and get their feedback. It is a really good feature.” When Benkowski went to her house, she said he was “very organized, very thorough, very helpful.” She said she was planning to remodel her two bathrooms and her kitchen. Benkowski broke the job into three parts, starting with the guest bath. “I really liked that,” Burke said. “The other contractors I talked with gave me proposals as one project. That was a little scary and expensive up front.” The smallest, and least risky job, proved to be a good way to start. “I loved what they (Roadrunner) did with the guest bathroom,” Burke said.
“It was very comforting knowing they would be doing the master bath and kitchen as well.” Another plus, Burke said, is Roadrunner performs only one job at a time. “They promise they will be there every day until your job is done,” Burke said. “They are not juggling other projects while they do yours.” As for Roadrunner’s crew, they clean up daily, let the customer know what is being done, are sensitive to pets and family members and keep the customer apprised of any unexpected challenges. “It is just a pleasure working with Roadrunner,” Burke said. “I would recommend them without hesitation.” Benkowski is a past president and certified remodeler (CR) with NARI – the National Association of the Remodeling Industry, Greater Phoenix Chapter. Roadrunner also is a member of the Fountain Hills Association of Licensed Contractors and maintains a consistent A+ rating with the Central Arizona Better Business Bureau. Roadrunner also has a perfect record with the Arizona Registrar of Contractors with no complaints throughout the 10+ year history of the company. Benkowski has been in the
Guest bath after remodeling business for 35 years and has lived in Fountain Hills for 11. Roadrunner can be reached at (480) 816-0788. Before and after photos, customer testimonials and other valuable remodeling information are available online at www.roadrunnerremodeling.com. To view a youtube video of Burke’s project, go to www.roadrunnerremodeling.com/video.html.
Green design pays off in big green $ for buyers, sellers Going “green” doesn’t mean giving up style, according to Tracy Laasch, owner of consign2design, located at Shea and Scottsdale Road next to the Shea Harkins Theater at 7342 E Shea
A decorative bicycle planter is one of the items consign2design had in its Scottsdale store.
Blvd., Ste 111. For buyers: Consider shopping consignment first. Consignment stores have really changed the way we shop for home goods. They now boast beautiful showrooms full of high end furniture and accessories for half the price of retail. Most buyers have to ask, “Is everything in here used?” consign2design is a beautiful boutiquestyle store filled with upscale furnishings, rugs, lighting, art, and home & garden decor. For sellers: Instead of simply disposing of your furnishings and accessories in the local landfill that you no longer need, consider the four R’s: Reuse, Recycle, Repurpose and Restyling. Recycling or repurposing your furnishings are a great way to reduce your carbon footprint on the world, make some money and have the satisfaction that someone else will continue to enjoy the item, and hopefully recycle it again when they can no longer use it, starting the cycle over again and again. consign2design loves the idea of helping the environment and their customers selling the unique home decor that’s consigned in their Scottsdale showroom every day.
“People have so many things that they no longer need due to life changing situations, and other people are looking, and willing to pay for, those items. Through consignment, the seller makes money selling their items, the buyer saves money buying previously-owned items at big savings, and the re-used items are helping save the environment. It’s a win-win-win situation for all,” says Laasch. Laasch and her team of interior designers take great pride in carefully creating the fabulous vignettes and displays throughout their store, showcasing the items that are consigned there. As designers they are a perfect fit to help you create a beautiful space you can be proud to call home. If you have not been in the store, you are missing a wonderful shopping experience coupled with great old-fashioned customer service. For consignment consideration, email photos to firstname.lastname@example.org. If accepted, the contract is 90 days with a 50/50 split. For information on how to make money recycling your unwanted items or where to buy fabulous consignment furnishings, go to www.consign2design.com or call (480) 970-7617.
Vignettes in consign2design showcase items that are consigned in the store.
12 / HOME
Landscape Maintenance MD • Specializing in Yard Maintenance • Maintain Yard • Tree & Bush Trimming & Removal • Weed Control • Yard Waste Removal • Irrigation Control and Small Repairs • Lawn Maintenance & Re-Seeding • No Job Too Small • Irrigation / Sprinkler Repair
Call For Free Estimate!
Gardening (cont. from page 9) was somewhat challenging, but he enrolled in the Master Gardener program to learn more. “The MG program itself has been a major inspiration to both me and my wife not only from an educational standpoint, but in renewing our enthusiasm for gardening in the Valley of the Sun,” he said. The Maraches moved to northeast Scottsdale from Illinois. To “unlearn” what he knew about gardening in the Midwest, they began reading and studying about the flora and fauna to increase their knowledge. “I wanted to gain a better awareness of what is right and what is wrong from a gardening standpoint here in the desert,” Roger said. He added that understanding the intensity of the sun, especially in the summer months, is one of the most
important things to learn about gardening in the area. Platta, who also had a garden featured in the Real Gardens tour, encouraged people who are new to gardening in the desert to read a lot. “There are dozens of books that give you good information about our area,” he said. “When you go to a big box store for plants, you need to remember that the plants usually are coming from California, which has very different growing conditions. That’s why you need to learn what will work here.” He cited the cooperative extension, along with the Valley Permaculture Alliance (www.phoenixpermaculture. org) and even “Dave the Garden Guy.” Dave Owens (www.gardenguy.com), who appears on Channel 3, has numerous resources regarding gardening. “The resources are endless,” Platta said. “And gardening in the desert can be very rewarding when you use those resources.”
Color from accessories can add a lovely look to a desert garden, providing a restful respite outdoors.
Michael Quintana email@example.com Fountain Hills Residence Owner & Operator Serving Fountain Hills only– American Owned firstname.lastname@example.org
Sun and shade are keys to how things grow in the Sonoran desert. When planning a garden, it is important to learn where these special spots are before placing plants.