Ugly house, horrible landscape & worst climate -(Pics) Help Plea

stompoutbermuda(Z8DesertSunsetZ11)May 28, 2012

I recently inherited this property in the High Desert of California. Temps are often down to teens in winter nights with 60s during winter days. Wind blows "hard" here year around, 100mph gusts often. Summers triple digits during day and 80s at night often. Air is dry year around; we get 4" of annual rain normally. Soil and water is very alkaline.

The house needs painting and I would like input on color. Im even considering stucco. There is a block wall garage that is being put in, the foundation is dug and I am waiting on the contractor. I havent decided yet on the roof style for the garage. The mobile home's roof was painted a couple months ago with that elastomeric paint. I really dont like white in the desert, but it does keep the house cooler.

There is a crepe mrytle with pastel pink blooms in the front and I dont like pastel in the desert either, but it is kind of a sentimental type plant that needs to stay with the house somehow. The front door is well hidden behind the crepe myrtl in this picture.

It has a semi circular driveway in front, which I would like to keep the shape of. On the house side of the driveway I want to install a fence (to keep out rattlesnakes) and a gate (I have some nice mahogany for that) that leads up to the well hidden front door. The garage door will face the driveway (right between the car and the house in the photo) and I have mahogany to make a door with that as well, I am thinking carriage style maybe...

The swamp cooler on the roof is a necessary evil out here, but uuuuugggglllyyy as is the satelite dish.

Style, class, beauty are really needed here.... metal and concrete are really the only lasting materials in this environment as wood drys out (the mahogany I have is marine grade 1 1/8" though) and plastics desinergate in no time. Concrete does crack though here with earthquakes! Im thinking about lime stucco instead of cement due to cracking issues.

I could really use some input... Thank you!

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You should plant many big hard and drought-tolerant trees to improve your conditions.

    Bookmark   May 28, 2012 at 10:12AM
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It seems that you need some planning in a hurry as you're already doing some construction. Your choices are to hire a landscape architect, or do do the planning yourself. If you don't have an inclination for design it's possible to get help here, so you don't have to be an expert designer. But you'll need to become an expert "discerner"... sorting through the information that applies and what doesn't. In a recent post I listed out the components of a landscape design. You might refer to that list to get an idea of the types of things involved. See the link below.

If you're going to do the work yourself, you might start by creating a base plan and a list of objectives for the landscape... what you want it to do for you. For example, in the distance I see houses with trees adjacent to them... is there a desire for shade in your yard? Will the drive be paved? Etc.

Here is a link that might be useful: May 27, 12 at 12:04

    Bookmark   May 28, 2012 at 11:18AM
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Seems like an inhospitable climate. But I say that only because the High Desert is alien to me and here there isn't a speck of open ground that wouldn't grow something with no or very little effort.

A plan for all aspects of the project is a good idea, but it seems that dealing with the architectural issues would be your first priority.

Attached link might be helpful - when the time comes.

Here is a link that might be useful: suitable plant list

    Bookmark   May 28, 2012 at 1:11PM
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deviant-deziner(Oh zone)

a diamond in the rough.
what an opportunity to work with the climate with site appropriate materials and plants.
I see a very stong calling for a modernist style and materials. Block concrete ( sandblasted is very nice looking ) core ten, poured in place concrete, stong vertical and horizonal lines on the ground and tilted up.

No need to hurry the design process, take your time and get a good strong master plan in place.
A great site for researching architectural and landscape styles is HOUZZ -
Type in modern landscape and you'll see some great looking scapes and houses.

As for plants, go with the flow of your very specific ecology. Lots of great high desert plants have strong bold bones.

When shopping for building materials try looking at unconventional sources such as industrial supply shops that sell or fabricate.

You have a diamond in the rough ... and it looks like a good looking crew too.

Here is a link that might be useful: houzz

    Bookmark   May 28, 2012 at 1:24PM
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karinl(BC Z8)

Seems to me that establishing plants would be tough, so the big ones already in place would be amenities worth preserving, sentimental or not.

So even if their placement is not ideal, I would consider designing them in.

Karin L

    Bookmark   May 28, 2012 at 3:17PM
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designoline6: Thank you for the mock up! Seeing it gives me hope! The property is a full acre and yes, in the back of the house I have been busy planting trees to block our North wind which usually comes in the winter. You have also helped me look at the semi circular from a different angle and although I really do like it, I would still need to somehow incorporate a fence to keep out the critters (especially snakes). Also on the south west side (where the guys are digging) is where the single car garage will be. I chose that location for the garage in order to protect the mobile home. As that is where the wind comes from most of the year.

Yardvaark: The garage placement did come from studying the conditions and needs of the property which is why construction has begun on it. It will protect the house from the south west winds which we normally get. All the other trenching is for electric lines and sprinkler and water faucets in other parts of the property. I have been spending a lot of time in this forum lately because outside of the "practicle must haves", I truely do want it to all harmonize and work together aesthetically and not just function wise. I have also been doing a lot of googling but there is not much out there for a mobile home landscape in a desert environment, and the places around me are mostly less then inspiring.

Rocks are the norm for ground cover here but I know what it is like to live with rocks as ground cover and want no part of it! Grass is often used but it is too thirsty here imo. Im not sold on artificial grass either as it would not last long in these conditions. Concrete is expensive here, but is a long term goal for the driveway especially. In the interm I was considering gravel for the drive to keep the sand from blowing as much (though I dont like it as stated earlier). Around here, the predominate color the suppliers have in gravel is a blueish greyish color (though I think redish would look better). I like Tuscany or Mediterainian type designs (both hardscape and softscape) but Im not sure how they blend with the mobile home..... especially the white roof as I ususally see pics with clay tiles (and actually did look into changing over to clay tiles but the mobile home structure will not support them)....

This is my "drawing" of the garage placement and a cover up of the white picket fence I was experimenting with.

duluthinbloomz4: I agree about inhospitable! I used to tell my mother that deserts were not designed by God to be inhabited by man.... lol, and here I am! Life plays tricks sometimes :) But I used to live on the coast of California and could grow anything..... sigh, I know what it is like. Thank you for the list.

deviant-deziner: I could go with a modernistic aproach, but again I have been concerned that the "mobile home style" wont work........ Diamond in the rough huh? LOL nightmare for me :)

    Bookmark   May 28, 2012 at 3:22PM
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karinl: You are sooo correct! Getting stuff to grow here takes serious effort. Anything established is good :) But nonetheless, I have succeeded in moving some other trees here and would not be against moving the crepe or even the rose (which I might have to move anyway in order to get the bermuda grass weeds out of it's roots)

    Bookmark   May 28, 2012 at 3:34PM
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deviant-deziner(Oh zone)

It is specifically because of the mobile home style that I recommended a modernist look. You have very simple lines and forms of which to work off of , the basis of modern architecture.

Check out some of the work of Eichler or Walter Gropius ( especially his house in Lincoln MA - he came from the Bauhaus school - another relatable period to your simple mobile home style. )

    Bookmark   May 28, 2012 at 4:37PM
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After playing more with paint this morning, I think I like this better... Maybe it kinda hides the mobile homeish thing?

    Bookmark   May 28, 2012 at 4:46PM
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Okay deviant-deziner I will check it out! To me, mobile home screams cheap lol and trailor park stuff (even though this clearly is not). Thank you!

    Bookmark   May 28, 2012 at 4:49PM
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You added hot color,You could try a cold color.

    Bookmark   May 28, 2012 at 9:53PM
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I'm not saying you haven't planned for what you've done (or are doing)... but you don't have a comprehensive plan. The risk is that you will build or install something "in the way" of another thing yet to be conceived. Developing a master plan would greatly minimize this. You're presently building a garage, but has the pedestrian and automobile circulation--and how it relates to the home entrance and the property entrance--been worked out yet? From the look of your architectural studies, it looks like the entrance may be in the process of being obliterated.

If you're looking for votes, I don't care at all for the way the hip roof appears. It seems architecturally incongruous. It also looks as though the garage may be forced into having a "flat" roof or making some other concession that will be less than appealing. If you're looking for help with the architectural relationship of garage to house, we have virtually no information about your garage project. You'd need to put forth a plan and side elevations.

"I have also been doing a lot of googling but there is not much out there for a mobile home landscape in a desert environment" A landscape will develop as you solve site problems and create enhancements. It's a matter of working through the normal design process. It would begin with inventory and analysis and move into hardscape development before much thought toward planting.

    Bookmark   May 28, 2012 at 9:55PM
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Okay, after following the advice of DD and experimenting with colors in paint... I have come up with this which I think will go okay with the gravel that I have coming in for the driveway. What do you think about this for a start?

    Bookmark   May 28, 2012 at 10:16PM
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The cool colors are nice, but somehow I like either very neutral or very hot colors in a desert..... not sure why?

Yaardvark: The sun room (pop out area in front) actually has an entrance on both sides of it, one faces the "garage" and the other faces the other side where there is actually a ramp that cannot be seen in the photos.

As for the hip roof.... if I am to do a "modernist" design, which I do like, it seems to "go with" and to me anyway seems to make the white roof more of an asset.. plus the hip roofs are well known for being the most wind resistant..... But in a perfect world, I agree with you!

"but you don't have a comprehensive plan. The risk is that you will build or install something "in the way" of another thing yet to be conceived. Developing a master plan would greatly minimize this." I totally agree! Im doing my research now, but the garage was really a necessity. The fine details Im now trying to work out (concrete has not been laid yet, just trenching done).

Thank you for all your thoughts on this project and willingness to share!

    Bookmark   May 28, 2012 at 10:27PM
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The cool green just doesn't seem right - and not just the peppermint patty green shown... smacks of the polycarbonate roof panels often seen on carports.

How about earth tones to compliment the mahogany fence panel shown in your first picture? Any pop of hot color could come from carefully chosen and placed "garden art" - large glazed ceramic pots, perhaps.

Found this house among Google's High Desert images.

Here is a link that might be useful: High Desert home

    Bookmark   May 29, 2012 at 1:19AM
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Since the area is obviously inhospitable to growing plants and trees, I'd start searching out TOUGH plants that can withstand the abuse. You won't have as much variety, but I think you could still have a significant amount of greenery which would "cool" the area off.

I think small pops of color will be the best way to go. I know how intense our sun bleaches things out, I can only imagine what you must contend with. Especially when it comes to painting, if the areas are small but strong in attention, you can touch it up every 2 years or so. IMO nothing looks worse then something that is faded and looks unkept.

Have you thought of adding a pergola to the front with a "weed" of a vine that you can use to grow through it? That would help with not only the heat but the aesthetics.

It will be fun to see what you come up with.

    Bookmark   May 29, 2012 at 10:25AM
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DD: I love rock walls. And I think building underground out here is ideal! I did consider doing a rock veneer and rock fencing, but snakes can climb rocks.... Only in areas that are already protected by a snake fence would I feel okay in putting rock vertically. This is one of the reasons that I think smooth troweled stucco would be the way to go.... Wood here is high maintenance and I cringe at using any wood at all, but I do have all this fabulous mahogany left over from a shipping container floor that I removed and it would hold up better (especially with paint) then any wood I could buy locally. I think one day that guy is going to regret how much wood he used on the outside of his house. As for earthtones, sure but whatever I use has to go with the gravel driveway which will probably be here for a few years or the rest of my life before I can afford concreting it all. I refuse to go with asphault as it is hot and sticky a good part of the year here.

alhoa: I would like to get a more comprehensive plan together and begin planting more trees this fall even if everything else isnt finished yet, the sooner the trees go in - the sooner they will give shade. I do have planting beds picked out but I havent photo'd them yet and will do so today. The trenching is going to these beds. Yes my choices are limited compared to other areas, but cottonwoods, Italian cypress, various junipers, desert willow, desert bird of paridise, Arizona Ash, various palo verde, red bud, afghan pine, agave, yucca, joshua tree, wisteria, cats claw, grape, lady banks rose and some other roses, texas ranger, weeping willow and some other plants grow okay here. Many need supplemental water to do their best in the summer and dont bloom or grow in the summer (instead, they just kinda survive) In my last drawing above I have an arch with a gate between the rose and crepe myrtle. I was thinking "maybe" some greenery there to help draw more attention the door of the front courtyard leading to the front door of the house. I still would like to come up with a good medium for a ground cover in the planting areas... not rock (too hard to garden in and around), not grass (too thirsty)..... I would like to come up with a plan to cover all the sand so not as much blows in the house. We have a dirt road and I am surrounded by 2 empty lots and 1 vacant house whose empty backyard touches mine.

    Bookmark   May 29, 2012 at 1:03PM
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This is the East side. I would like to move the iris up from against the house as it is prime snake hiding ground and really, I dont like plantings up against a house anyway due to maintence issues. The open space on the other side of the green shrubs is a driveway that I think needs to have gravel laid.

Another pic of the east side of the house showing an old shed that could be saved with some elbow greese and $. The crepe myrtle is in bloom too. Here I would like to put a gate and snake fence to protect around the house and the backyard.

Another perspective of the semi circular driveway and the house, in this one you can barely make out the front door.

This is the back of that picket fence facing the road. This is the semi circular driveway as seen from the east side of the house.

This is the driveway again as seen from the "courtyard". The center tree is a desert willow with orchid looking blooms (again, pastel pink) But the tree is one of the few that bloom during the summer and it needs hardly any water at all.

Rose bush, drive, planting bed, and road as seen from the garage.

Another perspective of where the garage will be. With mobile homes (even on permanent foundations) in earthquake country, the block walls have to be detached. Next to the garage, the chain link fence is going to be taken out and a snake fence and walkway just for pedestrian use, will be put in. This area is needed as a drive way also, so the creosote bush (a wild plant out here) will need to be removed.

West side of the property, complete with fire hydrant lol. I really need a major wind break here. There will be a narrow planting strip going from the fire hydrant down to the new water lines and continuing clear back down the west side of the property I was thinking about staggering a columnur cottonwood and Italian cypress maybe?

Another shot showing the driveway on the West side of the property which leads to my own front door. This is also where the very narrow planting stip will be (maybe golden bamboo in a narrow raised bed or the forementioned Italian cypress and/or columnuar cottonwoods or whatever for a windbreak). I would like a snake proof walkway with low fence and maybe an arbor going along side the house on this side leading to the backyard.

Another perspective taken from the south west across the street.

This is taken from the south east. The driveway here goes to my own backdoor behind my mom's house. The strip to the right is about 10 feet wide and I have been planting a few Italian Cypress and some pyrantha and lavender. I got a load of wood chips brought in for mulch and have put in water lines and electric there.

Lastly, this is the gravel I can get. It is shown with a butterfly bush which also does really well out here. The gravel in this shot is 4" thick but last week we have 2 sand storms and truthfully, this is what gravel looks like most of the time around here.

    Bookmark   May 29, 2012 at 2:32PM
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Fori is not pleased

Can you grow pinyon?

I can't offer any help. I love the high desert but have never had to landscape a garden there. But it looks like you have a beautiful location. Good luck!

No reason not to put in more butterfly bush. If you do catalog ordering, you may be able to get some less common colors of buddleia.

    Bookmark   May 30, 2012 at 1:54PM
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Brad Edwards

I like the yellow color enough to where I wouldn't change it, there are too many other things off the top of my list, like moving that shed thats right next to the house. If butterfly bush does well then use quite a few of them. I would hide that hideous fire hyrdrant with them, then use a cactus to hide the shed, find some kind of vine, possibly bouganvilla for all around the chain link fence, and would bring in some good quality dirty for those plantings, maybe just one truckbed load to help with the soil quality, make sure they are watered some their first year.

    Bookmark   May 30, 2012 at 4:05PM
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Brad Edwards

Man can't believe I didn't think of this, but a couple of large palm trees would be a really nice addition really close to the house and give it some shade. In fact I would look locally and find anything that shade oriented, it will cool the whole area off which is what it desperatly needs. I would add a pergola in the back yard, even a simple one.

    Bookmark   May 30, 2012 at 4:07PM
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Brad Edwards

As you already know I am sure just make sure you get drought tolereant stuff, you don't want to be having to water. The bamboo might be a good idea for a screen, I personally have seen some beautiful bougainvillaeas in the Arizona desert.

    Bookmark   May 30, 2012 at 4:10PM
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fori: Some pine trees do okay here, especially the Afghan Pine. Im thinking they should be the main "backbone" of evergreen. Just as much as I need shade in the summer, I also need sun in the winter.... So Im thinking I need to put in plenty of deciduous trees as well. And yes, the mountains here are lovely, the sunsets are unbelievable gorgeous! I really hate to block all that, but Im thinking about a small gazebo in the backyard for when the weather is okay, just for admiring the mountains and sunset.

Oceandweller: I liked the yellow too, especially with red lava rock or red brick. It looks nice! But the paint is peeling in many places and it does need a new paint job, even if I stayed with yellow. I dont know about the legalities of covering the fire hydrant..... something I need to check into. Yes, the shed can come down but it is really convienent. I will probably replace it. I might be able to build around it with a block wall too..... not sure. The "driveway" on the west side of the house is narrow, and I already want to split it up to put in a walkway next to the house with a snake fence and arbor over head to shade the windows. This however, will make the driveway narrower...... Im thinking about taking the fencing down over there and doing some "gorrilla" planting of trees or just going skinny and doing bamboo or something... Shade is gold around here and if they ever sold that property or wanted to build on it, I do not think they would want to remove trees there or a bamboo that was clumping and in a raised container for control.... Palm trees are widely grown out here. But Im not sure what kind..... I have heard complaints that they require too much water... One thing I do have to be concerned about too with planting trees, is that they are very sturdy and wont break in the wind and/or are planted far enough away from the house not to do damage to it....

    Bookmark   May 31, 2012 at 11:41AM
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catkim(San Diego 10/24)

The water agencies in your part of the country have made plenty of xeriscape ideas available for homeowners. Use the resources from the local agencies for tried and true plant recommendations. You'll find several links to online brochures with plant lists and planting plans at the Mojave Water Agency site below. While they may not be exactly what you want, you can draw inspiration from the examples and find plenty of factual information about desert garden design.

Here is a link that might be useful: Mojave Water Agency: Desert Landscaping

    Bookmark   June 5, 2012 at 11:22AM
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Thanks for that link! Some good examples of smart landscaping in an arid environment there

    Bookmark   June 5, 2012 at 10:44PM
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Brad Edwards

I should have clarified, I would hide the view of the fire hydrant from the house, not the street. I do think two canary island date palms framing the house would look nice. I agree 100% with catnip, I would look into fully xeriscaping it. I figured heat was more of a problem than cold so I guess I would plant larger trees/shrubs to the far south and north of the lot lines, blocking summer light and winter winds, something thicker to the north "you said the wind was really bad".

    Bookmark   June 6, 2012 at 11:44PM
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STOMP, I was intrigued enough to look up "Snake Fence" on Google. Could the product Snake Fence fit your needs? If it would work, would eliminate the need for the big fence structure you're considering.

Have you talked to your new neighbors about how they deal with them? Disclaimer: I know nothing about snake control. Used to spend a lot of time in Sweetwater, TX, aka Rattlesnake Country. Can't say I felt relaxed walking down to Lake Sweetwater. I'll be interested to hear what you have to say.


    Bookmark   June 7, 2012 at 7:49AM
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Thank you Ocean! Yes the HOT is more of a problem then the cold here...... at least traditionally. Im liking the idea of lining the property with Italian Cypress because they grow tall and fast and can handle the wind out here and do really well here on little or no water. The only problem is they are evergreen and would block the winter sun. This year has been really strange, just a couple nights ago it got down to 42 degrees F lol I actually had to pull out a jacket! A week ago it was really hot, but now it has cooled off is nice..... last year was like this too. Im wondering if it's climate change??

Rosiew: I have read that moth balls and snake fence type products do not always work. I have been looking in the state extention services as to how to build the fence to actually make it snake proof and Ive been researching electric fencing as well. Snakes around here do climb. Just last week, one climbed up my front porch and was wrapped around my railing!!! Fortunately it was a gopher snake, Pacific Gopher Snake to be exact. It was 4 1/2 feet long! My son caught it and released it FAAAARRRR away from our home! Im absolutely terrified of snakes! My neighbor avoids areas where there might be some hiding and are always on the lookout and kill the poison ones but release the gophers. There is an abandoned place behind me though that has a bunch of junk in their backyard which is a good hiding place and across the street from me there are 10s of acres of empty desert and next door to me there is one empty acre.

Here is a link that might be useful: One design of a snake fence

    Bookmark   June 7, 2012 at 1:01PM
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Brad Edwards

I wondering if you could find any type of king snakes for the area that might take on poisionous snakes. We use them in the southeast, well I am 30 but old smart people that are no longer with us, used to use them around creeks and lakes to drive off the water moccasin population, I wonder if they have anything like that for the desert?

    Bookmark   June 7, 2012 at 5:14PM
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Well, that would do it for me. Seems, though, there is a California king snake that preys on rattlers and is immune from the venom. Also roadrunners, hawks, eagles, raccoons, and coyotes are natural predators.

Not being a willing ophiologist, I had to look that up.

    Bookmark   June 7, 2012 at 5:47PM
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Yeah we have King Snakes here. But 1) I do NOT like snakes of any kind and am absolutely terrified of them. 2)They dont eat that often...... they are good to have around for some people, but for me...... the sight of a snake is enough to give this old lady a heart attack lol Im 50 years old and have a dream of being able to garden here without having to be scared to reach under a bush for weeding or pruning etc. Really, I want to just keep them all off the land. I have a driveway planned that surrounds the property and wont be fenced in..... but the entire center of the property will be

    Bookmark   June 7, 2012 at 9:19PM
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Hello stompoutbermuda,

This is really quite a coincidence as I rarely visit the landscaping forum, but just happened upon it a couple of days ago. From what I can see of the mountain range in your pics, and I could be wrong, but it appears as though we are practically neighbors. :-)

If so, I live in the neighboring town maybe 7 or so miles east of your location. I agree with the poster who said you've got a 'diamond in the rough' there. I'm in my 50's and have lived in this area for nearly 40 years, and have seen many a beautiful desert oasis built in the area where it appears you are. :-)

Not being a fan of snakes either, lol, I feel safe to say that in the many years I've spent in the high desert, and many hikes out in the desert, I have seen rattlesnakes as many times, or less, than I can count on one hand. They are shy creatures, not aggressive, and while dangerous, they are an important part of the desert community. We would be overrun with rodents otherwise. And I also agree with the poster who said king snakes, roadrunners and hawks are natural predators who help to keep the rattlers at bay. I'm afraid it's a waste of money, effort and time to try to create a snake proof fence. Your best bet is to accept that they are a part of the community - walk with loud but cautionary steps around hiding areas where they may be, and carry a long stick with you if you need to poke around in an area which may be a hiding place for them.

If I may offer a few suggestions, for what they are worth...? :-) Line your fence line with oleanders and cypress. Both are drought and wind resistant, are green all year round, and the oleanders offer beautiful and colorful blooms this time of year. Yes, oleanders are poisonous, but one would have to actually consume many leaves, or breathe the fumes of burning plants to be in danger. Many, many homeowners in this area have oleanders on their fence line for a windbreak, and I have yet to hear of anyone becoming sick as a result of them. I've raised two children here in the high desert and now have several grandchildren enjoying the slow pace and beautiful sunsets over the Sierras. :-)

As far as gardening, there is no reason why you can't realize your dream of having a productive garden. I say this as I just went outside and picked several ripe and juicy tomatoes from my plants.

I visit gardenweb often and lurk, but I believe this is my first post as it pertains to something I actually know a little something about. LOL. Enjoy your new home, you really do have a diamond in the rough. It sounds like you have some great ideas to create your little oasis. Please pardon me if I have sounded presumptuous.


    Bookmark   June 8, 2012 at 10:13PM
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Trona? Yes I do agree Oleanders are beautiful! My grandmother planted a large section of our fence in the back with them over 10 years ago. They are off the sprinkler system and yet they still live and bloom!! They are on the east side though, so no wind block there.... The wind comes from different direction, where of course, there is nothing planted :(
If you are around here maybe we could get together for coffee and you could show me these " beautiful desert oasis built in the area" because, I just havent seen it yet. But I dont get out much either sooo...
As far as the snakes go, most of the locals I know have laughed at me or something of the like and think not much of the snakes But youre all nuts lol or at least, a LOT braver then me! As for making "noise"..... all the information I have read says they dont hear??? They do sense through their tongue, but not hear?
You do not sound presumptuous at all!! I really appreciate your input and everyone elses! That is why I posted, asking for input from anyone who would kindly take the time. Thank you for doing so :)

    Bookmark   June 9, 2012 at 12:09AM
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Ridgecrest. :-)

You're right, rattlers don't hear and they also have poor eyesight. They don't need those senses, they feel ground vibrations and are super sensitive to changes in heat sources.

Will be off the computer for a couple of days, but will check back in as soon as I can. Hopefully the wind will die down tomorrow! :-)


    Bookmark   June 9, 2012 at 12:57AM
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Buttermilk Acres here :) You didnt mention the mojave greens we have here.... those are supposed to be very aggressive and deadly, even more so then the western diamond back or sidewinder..... agh!

    Bookmark   June 9, 2012 at 2:14AM
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Min3 South S.F. Bay CA

sorry that you have the strong winds. in my opinion they can be aggravating anywhere and they make people feel crabby.

about landscaping; sometimes large flat pieces of metal that have been perforated in odd patterns can be found in scrap metal yards. i can see two or three of them standing up in your yard at different distances to make a decorative baffle for the front of the house. these pieces of metal, which are industrial throw-aways, are sold by the pound and called 'skeletons'. i have seen them featured in glossy garden magazines. i love mine.

the sky is the limit for decorating a very plain home like yours so good luck and have fun!

    Bookmark   June 10, 2012 at 8:13PM
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I love that idea!! Rusty metal is very appealing to me and I saw something online once that I thought was fabulous! A lady who became quite good with a laser metal cutter made some fabulous works of art! Her work looked like lace.

It's kinda funny you posted today and spoke about the winds and metal.... There was a metal carport in the back of the house until a couple months ago. Because of the winds we got this past winter, I had to take it down. It was becoming unstable and starting to come apart! It was getting dangerous. I saved the metal roofing panels and had them on the ground in the back...., well the wind we had in the last couple days picked up 2 of the panels and threw them into the mobile in the pictures!! In the back of the house there was about a foot long gash put into the siding!!! So if I put up some artsy metal sheet, it will have to be VERY WELL seated in cement in the ground!!

    Bookmark   June 11, 2012 at 2:18AM
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bahia(SF Bay Area)

I'd second the advice on trying to get along with living with native snakes rather than trying to fence them out, which doesn't work. Walking gives enough vibrations that they will know you are coming towards them. Typically they will seek out sun when it is cold, and shade when it is hot, so that certainly gives you a heads up as to where they're likely to be.

If your local water agency doesn't have display water conservation gardens to look at, there is a really interesting one in Las Vegas worth a visit for landscaping ideas. And my personal views about landscaping with Italian cypress trees is that there are better choices available more suitable to high desert conditions, such as Cupressus arizonica cultivars. Italian cypress can be subject to disease and mite infestations in extreme high heat and low rainfall conditions that cause them to look stressed or suffer dead patches.

    Bookmark   June 11, 2012 at 3:36PM
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Brad Edwards

It sounds really windy there, I have little doubt it my mind I would be looking into a small wind turbine if the power bill is high for the area.

    Bookmark   June 12, 2012 at 1:44AM
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