Desert Landscaping Ideas

A desert is a place where there is sparse water supply with an atmosphere that is very hot and dry. Many residential areas in Nevada, Arizona, New Mexico and California are desert-like. Opting for desert landscaping is ideal for gardens located in these areas because most plants found in gardens in other locations may not survive the heat in the desert. Desert landscaping involves choosing the plants that will survive in a desert-like environment.

Rock Garden

A rock garden is ideal for a desert landscape because it only needs very little water, sometimes none. Replace grass with rocks to economize on water. Grass may burn due to hot temperatures, even when water is not scarce. Furthermore, rock garden can save homeowners money on regular law maintenance. Make the rock garden interesting by utilizing different sizes and colors of rocks. Choose the colors of rocks that will complement the color of the exterior of the house. Amber, brown, gray, reddish-brown, cream and white are some of the colors that are available. Creating several shapes (circles, squares or triangles) and adding different colors of rocks in each shape can make the rock garden more visually appealing. Adding height with boulders can give the rock garden interesting spots. Adding a few drought-tolerant flowering plants, such as Kangaroo Paws (Anigozanthos) and Kallstroemia grandiflora (Arizona poppy), will soften the look of the rock garden.

Desert Oasis

Designing a desert oasis can give a desert garden a place where you can relax. Create a center space and add a berm or raised bed in the middle of it to plant agave trees, palm trees, ornamental grasses and low-growing desert perennials. Using decomposed granite throughout the landscape, occasionally broken up with playful spreads of mixed river rocks, will tie the center to its surroundings. A water feature such as spa, pool or fountain can contribute to the oasis feel. Placing benches and chairs in the oasis will provide a place for entertaining and relaxation.

Cactus Garden

A cactus is a plant that survives in the desert. Many people think of cactus whenever they are considering designing a desert garden. Create a cactus garden by planting different types of cacti. Some cacti are round while others are tall and narrow. Barrel Cactus (genus Ferocactus), Beavertail Cactus (Opuntia basilaris) and Claret Cup Cactus (Echinocereus triglochidiatus) are flowering cacti that grow low. Plant a Saguaro Cactus (Carnegiea gigantea) instead of a tree. The Saguaro Cactus can grow very tall (15 to 50 feet) and can survive for a very long time (200 years).

Keywords: cactus, desert oasis, rock garden, landscaping, low-growing perennials

About this Author

Josie Borlongan is a full-time IT Manager and a writer. She graduated with a Bachelor of Science degree in Medical Technology from Saint Louis University, Philippines. Borlongan is a Microsoft Certified Systems Engineer and a Cisco Certified Network Associate.