This summer, forget all about staying indoors and binge-watching shows on Netflix. New Mexico’s gorgeous sunshine and weather make the perfect backdrop for creating new memories with family and friends. Three local business owners share their expertise on adding a va-va-voom touch to your outdoor space so you can enjoy your backyard bounty.
Outdoor Fire Concepts
Pat Klohr began his career designing and installing custom pools in Las Vegas, but since then, his focus has shifted to creating stunning fire features for his company Outdoor Fire Concepts. “The pools we built all had fire on them and they were high-end,” says Pat. “The two concepts went hand in hand.”
Eighty percent of Pat’s clients are pool builders, but you don’t necessarily need a pool to incorporate fire into your own design. Tiki torches, for example, are a no-fuss way to bring a little bit of Hawaii to the desert. Other available products include fire pits and fire features that can complement waterfalls.
Think a fire feature would suit your yard? Pat says to start by coming up with a desired layout, and assess whether gas or propane would work best for you. From there, you can establish a budget.
If you do have a swimming pool, adding fire bowls are the latest trend to add pizazz to the look and feel of the yard. “We’ll put fire bowls along the edge of the swimming pool and we have water coming out of the bowls with fire on top. It’s soothing to see the fire and hear the water running,” Pat explains.
Fire details like these are typically low-maintenance. Usually, the most work required is cleaning out debris caused by strong winds. On/off and other functions lie at the tip of your fingertips: conveniently on a Smartphone.
Pat says it’s the nostalgic factor that attracts many people to fire. “It’s the way the fire and water make people feel when they’re sitting out by their pool or fire pit. It draws them in and takes them back to their childhood, sitting around campfires with their family, telling stories—it calms the spirit.”
- Outdoor Fire Concepts
1512 Pradera Dorada Arc.
Fore! Evergreen Turf
These days, many Las Cruces homeowners have something once unheard of in this region: lush, green lawns all year round. That’s because they’re doing away with traditional grass landscaping (which often demands a lot of water and labor), and replacing it with much more convenient, artificial grass.
The benefits of synthetic grass are numerous, notes Tom Gohrick, co-owner of Fore! Evergreen Turf since 2005. “There is virtually no maintenance,” he explains, adding that a leaf blower makes it easy to remove debris. “It’s perforated underneath for drainage. There’s no fertilizer, watering, or mowing involved. And, if it is UV-coated, it won’t fade in sunlight.
“Our turf is on a four-inch, pressure-fine sub-base that’s compacted. If you have animals, we can provide a live enzyme that’s placed underneath and inside the turf. Basically, it kills the ammonia smell from the animal’s waste so you won’t smell it.”
Many of us can still remember when having artificial turf was tremendously obvious. It looked more like a green carpet than a lawn. But those days are long gone. “The product has completely changed,” Tom says. “Now it’s really hard to tell if it’s synthetic. We put down about three pounds of washed sand inside the turf, starting in the middle and working our way out. What that does is prevent the turf from buckling (giving it a more polished, smooth look). It’s also kid-friendly, and dogs won’t be able to pull it up.”
There’s one caveat Tom has for his customers: synthetic turf can get very hot during the intense summer months, so it’s best to cool it down with a bit of water if you have kiddos who will be walking around barefoot on it.
The price per square-foot ranges from $4.75 to $6, and the final cost will vary depending on how much labor is involved in getting the land turf-ready
To make the transition in your yard even more seamless, surround the artificial portion with live plants for the best of both worlds.
Fore! Evergreen Turf
1165 El Paseo Road
Toro Rock Products
Want to add a little depth to your yard? Try combining rocks and boulders with structures you might already have in your yard, like a swimming pool, for example. That’s exactly what Toro Rock Products in nearby Organ, NM offers. “We have more than 50 different colors and sizes, and we sell materials for anything that requires rock or aggregate,” says owner Alan Gadberry. “Our most popular item is probably our landscape tan material.”
Alan’s customers include landscaping businesses, as well as individuals embarking on do-it-yourself projects. He points out that ponds and streams are another feature homeowners can incorporate using materials purchased at Toro Rock.
“Landscaping of your property is a really personal thing,” he adds. “If somebody says they want brown rock, well, there’s all kinds of brown—dark, light, tan, it looks different to everybody. It just depends on what you’re wanting.”
Whether you’re doing basic landscaping, sprucing up your yard with a focal point, or just looking for material to level out your driveway, Toro Rock has you covered. Needs vary, depending on the size of the home and the budget, but Alan notes that a recurring theme he’s seen in his clientele is simply getting the most bang for their buck. “With tough times right now, everybody wants to know what’s most economical,” he explains. “We have a wide range of products from $80 a ton down to $5 a ton. Of course, the ones that are most decorative are the most expensive, but there’s always a compromise. I welcome customers to come look at our selections. We’ll walk you through whatever you’re trying to accomplish and get you what you need.”
Toro Rock Products
711 Badger Rd # 490
Written by Isabel A. Rodriguez