Lush and Efficient: Landscaping Your Park Model


Beauty comes in many shapes and sizes. While leafy plants and giant trees might not do well in the desert climate, there are plenty of low-maintenance, sustainable options to help you create a beautiful tableau around your park model or manufactured home. Ray Lotz, Sky Valley’s manager of community standards, is here to help by offering suggestions and recommendations.

Alive with Color: “A lot of people are using decomposed granite hardscapes, which come in lots of colors,” Lotz says. The crumbly granite looks like coarse sand, packed together to maintain stability and add a pop of color to contrast with the natural brown and beige of the desert. It can be purchased at landscape and home improvement stores all across the Coachella Valley.

Quality styles of artificial turf can add a pleasing cascade of green, too. Turf material has come a long way from the synthetic look of a putt-putt green that comes to mind for many. “It really looks like grass, but it’s not,” Lotz confirms. The resorts are using patches of turf to dress up model homes, too. 

“We just put in some brand new park models at Sky Valley on the main road, Aurora, that are landscaped on both sides—numbers 20, 22, 24. We also have a sales display with 3 models—1016, 1017, 1018—which are landscaped nicely as well.

Turn off the Waterworks: While the water that feeds the Caliente Springs golf course and the resorts’ other green spaces is recycled from the mineral wells on the property, Lotz explains that residents get their tap water directly from the local water district—Imperial Irrigation at Sky Valley, and Sky Valley Mission Springs at Caliente Springs. “There seems to be a popular misconception among residents that they’re drinking hard mineral water, but what they have coming out of the tap is actually good, drinkable water.” That’s what makes is so important to conserve it.

“We are excited about desertscapes that are drought tolerant,” Lotz says, especially after California’s recent seven-year drought. Although winter rain has returned to the desert in the past few years, it’s always wise to be cautious when planting in the desert. Succulents, cacti and blooming desert shrubbery are all popular with green-thumbed residents. Coachella Valley’s Lush and Efficient landscaping guide provides details on all the planting, irrigation and gardening rules for desert-dwellers.

“Adam and I both like feathering cassia,” a fern-like bush with yellow blooming flowers in the spring, says Lotz. “They are pretty maintenance-free and they don’t get too large. Besides, they are attractive to look at, too.”

Keeping it Clear: While residents are allowed to plant as much as they like in their allotted space, Lotz warns that there is one main restriction that residents should keep in mind. “Our rules say that plants need to be at least three feet away from a pedestal, and that it needs to be visible.” That’s the stand-up utilities box on each lot in the resorts. Inside the pedestal are hook-ups for a resident’s water and electric, and it must be accessible for repairs and meter readings.

Taste may Vary: Clever residents have thought of all sorts of outside decor to jazz up their outdoor space, and as long as it is clearly meant for the outdoors, it’s within the community standards. Lotz says there is no standard against kitsch. “They just put up a life-sized stagecoach in the wash,” he says. Let the freedom of the wild rest reign!