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Landscape Design

Outside The Box

How artificial turf helped Newtex Landscaping offer innovation & flexibility to a client

By Maureen Gilmer, landscape designer, author and LandscapingNetwork.com columnist
  • Pavers, Turf The new paving for this project links the newly completed wing of the home to the freestanding outdoor kitchen without conflicting with the deeply colored concrete on the porch.
  • Pavers, Turf, Trees Patrick's new design accommodates the existing California pepper trees (Schinus molle), providing each with a concrete ring that allows bubbler heads to flood the wells since there is no runoff or overspray to support them from the dry artificial lawn.
  • Walkways, Fountains The shade cast by hedges and the entertainment area prevents ordinary turf grass, but with artificial turf it looks perfect just about anywhere. That is why all of the paving is accented with turf bands which have no demands for exposure.
  • Artificial Grass High quality artificial turf from Field Turf of Nevada looks as authentic as any living lawn with none of the maintenance. It is also the most porous of all brands, allowing improved drainage that is better suited to cleaning up after pets.
  • Walkway and Path In arid climates like Las Vegas where summers are extremely hot and dry, the ability to grow turf grass in paving is impossible without extensive, costly underground irrigation. When paving heats up it literally cooks the roots and stems of ordinary grass, but with artificial there is no ill effects during the hottest months.
  • Paving The Newtex design for paving solved the problem of existing curvilinear planting areas that had to dove-tail into the rectangular porch and entertainment area. The ability to blend field and edge units into pleasing ribbons turns problem curves into a pleasing aesthetic element.
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A poor economy can often open the doors to new revenue streams for contractors. It can also make designers and installers think outside the box to give their customers the very best value on quality landscaping.

For Newtex Landscape owner Mike Martinez, and designer/landscape architect Patrick Penticoff, the serious downturn in Las Vegas landscaping markets led to diversification of the landscape design and contracting company. When new jobs became few and far between, and the demand for green alternatives reached the residential world, Martinez invested in new green technology by purchasing Field Turf of Nevada. This company manufacturers, designs and installs such high quality artificial turf, it is the top brand for professional sports. So naturally, if it's resilient enough for the football field, it can certainly do well in American backyards.

Nowhere is it more apparent than a new project in northwest Las Vegas that was most welcome during the early years of the downturn when Newtex crews were willing to take on all clients. Owned by a retired building contractor, this city lot would become a joint venture between homeowner and landscape company. They came to Newtex from an advertisement in the Las Vegas newspaper. The goal was an overall design to create family space adjacent to the newly completed expansion of the existing home. All that would remain would be the pepper trees, and around this Penticoff created a fresh paving design for the site.

It would hinge upon plenty of green so that the family dogs and grandchildren would have space to play without demanding undue amounts of water for traditional turf grass. It would also feature crisp ribbons of green that are all the rage in cool, rainy northwestern homes. These accent strips criss crossed the precast paver patterned walks created to link all spaces to the new addition. While a hot summer climate like southern Nevada would prevent this look due to heat absorption that makes turf in paving next to impossible, the artificial turf proved an outstanding alternative that was also, blessedly, care free.

The beauty of this project shows that contractors who take on specialties such as this have an opportunity to provide them to clients at lower cost. Without the middleman, Newtex can offer top quality, realistic turf at a more competitive price. Customers know that artificial turf installed on Newtex Landscape projects will be properly incorporated into the project because the designer is fully aware of its opportunities and the nuances of proper installation.

In extreme high desert landscaping, artificial turf eliminates the need to overseed with annual rye to keep the dormant Bermuda grass lawn green all winter. Newtex offers clients the most porous and well drained brand of turf, and they can obtain it at minimal cost. It also allows the very popular strips of green in paving for this and other climates that all but eliminate this option.

It is not easy for contractors to work hand in hand with DIY homeowners. This was the first time Newtex had done so and the clients were thrilled. Like most sixty-something homeowners, the ability to save money and keep maintenance to a minimum is top priority. And while Newtex doesn't specialize in such joint ventures, such diversification, thinking outside the box, and the give and take of working closely with homeowners kept Newtex Landscape alive during such challenging times. This is a track record that appeals to future clients who seek a flexible designer-contractor who can help them save money. Above all, Newtex has invested in innovative green products that bring the look of turf to a water challenged city in the desert.

Newtex Landscape
Henderson, NV

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Maureen Gilmer
Morongo Valley, CA

Maureen "Mo" Gilmer is a landscape designer, author, and speaker about horticulture topics and landscape design.