June 30, 2017

We are thrilled to announce the winner of this year’s Drab to Fab Backyard Rehab giveaway. DRUMROLL please! Congratulations to Paul M. from Tempe, Arizona! Out of a record-breaking 11,576 entries, Paul has won a gorgeous Xeriscape landscape makeover package valued at $9,000.

Paul, who grew up in Scottsdale and is a flight attendant with American Airlines, is thrilled for the opportunity to take his yard from a drab landscape to a fabulous and colorful retreat.

“I bought the house in 2010 and there were two 40-year old Mulberry trees in the backyard,” said Paul. “Unfortunately, they got diseased and had to be removed, and the west-facing backyard has been uninhabitable in summer ever since.”

The winner of the Drab to Fab Backyard Rehab with Wayne Drop and check
Wayne Drop stopped by to congratulate our lucky Drab to Fab Backyard Rehab winner, Paul M. from Tempe, AZ.

His yard currently has grass and a mesquite tree that he got by attending a SRP Shade Tree program. Since most of the yard is currently wall to wall grass, we at Water – Use It Wisely will have now an opportunity to share his landscape conversion and grass removal with others.

Drab to Fab Backyard Rehab ready for a makeover
This yard is ready for a rehab! A pile of bricks, an expanse of grass, and a small mesquite are awaiting an amazing landscape makeover.

We are amazed that 11,576 of you entered to win the Drab-to-Fab Backyard Rehab giveaway! With Paul being the ONE lucky winner, we’re thinking 11,575 of you are still yearning for a backyard makeover. Here’s a bit of advice – DON’T GIVE UP! Whether you need to freshen up your landscape with a few new plants or you’re ready to remove your labor- and water-intensive grass to install a Xeriscape, we’ve got the resources to help!

Before you give your yard a dream makeover, keep these four best practices in mind.


Learn how to Xeriscape: Landscaping with Style in the Arizona Desert, by reviewing our step-by-step guide for planning your landscape with sample designs and drawings. As you gather ideas for your design, visit one of many Valley Xeriscape demonstration gardens for inspiration.


We live in a very special place where people enjoy the outdoors nearly year-round. The plants that thrive in this unique climate are the key that unlocks the door to outdoor living. Don’t know much about desert plants and flowers? There are lots of great resources. Check out our page on Choosing and Planting Low Water-Use Plants.  You may also want to peruse our Plant of the Month Series or use our helpful Landscape Plants for the Arizona Desert plant selection site. And when you are ready to buy your plants, visit plant-something.org to find a nursery near you.

Lenny the Gargoyle overlooks the drab yard
Paul, our winner, inherited a Gargoyle (named Lenny) from a friend who moved and couldn’t take him with him. Is Lenny frowning because the backyard is so drab?

Setting up or reconfiguring your irrigation properly will ensure that you’re watering properly while keeping your landscape healthy and beautiful. An irrigation supply specialist such as Ewing Irrigation can help you find the ideal solutions for your unique irrigation needs. Landscape Watering by the Numbers: A Guide for the Arizona Desert is a great resource full of locally-relevant information.


Decide whether you are going to tackle this on your own or hire a landscape pro. Love a do-it-yourself challenge? Check out resources on Water – Use It Wisely including our guide, Xeriscape: Landscaping with Style for the AZ Desert, our Landscape Care How-To Topics, and look for local workshops on our calendar of events. Would you rather leave it to a pro so you can sit back, relax and let a team of experts transform your tired yard from dull-and-drab to fabulous? Many landscape professionals will provide you with life-like renderings to help you envision your ideal, water-wise outdoor escape. Learn more about hiring an ALCA-certified professional.

Need inspiration? Don’t forget to WATCH OUR 10-PART VIDEO SERIES!

Last year’s Drab to Fab winners allowed us to videotape the process of transforming their yard from planning to design and finally to installation. The result was a 10-part video series of short 5- to 7-minute videos featuring a helpful team of experts. The videos demonstrate how to create a landscape that will provide the functions and enjoyment you’re looking for. While each video will help you envision each step of the process, don’t forget to click on the link located below each video titled “Find more helpful links and tips.” That’s where you’ll find an informative blog that goes along with the video to provide you with a lot more details, resources, and contacts to help you along the way.

Winner with Wayne and Water - Use It Wisely reps
Wayne Drop, our winner, and Water – Use It Wisely partners, pose for before pics. [L to R: Christian Delgado from City of Phoenix, Paul M our winner, Wayne Drop, Tina Sleeper from City of Tempe, and Leeann Yacuel from Salt River Project].
Be sure to like us on Facebook or follow us Twitter as we track the amazing transformation with Paul at his Tempe home. We’re hoping it’s just the inspiration you’ll need to renovate your own backyard.

Promotional partner logos ALCA, Ewing and ANA

A special thank you to all of our Drab-to-Fab promotional partners who will help with the Xeriscape installation, including: design and installation by certified ALCA landscape professionals from Waibel & Associates, plants from Arizona Nursery Association on behalf of the PlantSomething campaign, and irrigation, paver and lighting materials by Ewing Irrigation and Landscape Supply.