A desert landscape design does not have to be boring. While living in the desert does limit your options for landscaping, it is time to view these limitations of desert living as a catalyst to help you create a beautiful, but natural, desert landscape.
Try one of these desert landscape ideas to turn your yard from drab and boring wasteland into a flourishing desert oasis.
Choose native plants for a successful desert garden
Many homeowners make the mistake of trying to grow plants and trees which are not native to the region of the country where they live. When these plants die, homeowners become discouraged, and think it is impossible for them to have a beautiful yard. This is not true. There is a solution — growing native plants. Water-retaining succulents make an excellent choice for desert landscaping. There are a many beautiful and hardy succulents to choose from, including: Aloe Vera, Christmas Cactus, and Burro’s Tail.
Blend in to stick out
The color palate of the desert is unique. Sticking to the colors naturally found in the desert makes your home and landscape fit well with the surrounding land. But this does not mean you can only choose earth-tones and muted colors. The desert offers splashes of vivid reds and yellows. Using these colors effectively can really make your landscape pop. The key is to use brighter colors with restraint, and to restrict their use to a few focal points in your yard.
Make outdoor living cooler
Outdoor shade structures can add flexibility and comfort to desert living. But, you don’t choose any old awning or umbrella. Sun shades can make stunning additions to a yard. Whether you choose a permanent solution, like a gazebo, or prefer a more temporary solution, like a sun sail, look for a sun shade which fits in well with the rest of your landscaping. Don’t forget natural shade. A few well placed palm trees may offer all the shade you need.
Go green with rocks
When people think of a great looking yard, they don’t usually think of rocks. That is a mistake. Designing a backyard around interesting rock formations can create an eye-catching and maintenance-free landscape. The key to designing with rocks is to choose rocks which look natural in your area, and rock which are the correct scale for your home. It is easy to add a splash of color to your yard by selecting colored gravel for use as walkways or as an alternative to grass. Using rocks to recreate the look of a dry riverbed is a great desert landscaping idea.
Synthetic grass is a solution
Turf grass is not the best choice for desert yards, but if you need a soft area for your kids or pets to play on, a small patch of synthetic grass may be the answer. Synthetic grass has come a long way in simulating the look and feel of natural turf grass. A small patch of synthetic grass enclosed behind a stucco wall is a safe place for your children or dogs to have fun.
Firepits and outdoor fireplaces are hot
Gathering your friends and family around a firepit, or an outdoor fireplace always leads to a great time. There is something about a flickering fire which makes people feel happy and relaxed. Firepits with an adobe or stucco finish look at home in the desert. For windy or smaller backyards, an outdoor fireplace is a great choice. Building your outdoor fireplace into an existing wall provides warmth on a cool night, and won’t take up too much additional yard space.
Add an outdoor kitchen
Most homeowners have a backyard grill, but why not take full advantage of your outdoor space by creating a complete outdoor kitchen? Installing a wood-burning or gas-fired oven along with a few burners can turn that under-utilized yard into a great place to cook and entertain. Start a tradition of cooking under the stars, and you may never want to cook inside again.
Pavers are perfect desert companions
While walkways made from pavers are more typical in wetter areas of the country, creating a meandering path of paving stones can add much to your desert landscape design. You can choose either native stone, or get creative with non-native stones, or even decorative bricks and concrete. A path of paving stones, not only helps to protect your yard from excessive foot travel, but can help to guide the eyes of your guests to the well-designed focal points of your desert landscape.
Planters help preserve water
Using planters in your desert landscape design is a great idea for saving water. Growing water hungry plants in a planter can significantly reduce the amount of water they need to thrive. Incorporating planters into an adobe wall is a great look. To save even more water, consider using growbeds, a type of planter with a long history of use in arid climates.
Don’t fear water features
Just because you live in the desert doesn’t mean you can’t incorporate water features into your desert landscape design. Even a small trickling waterfall can create a relaxing outdoor environment. Try shading water features to limit the amount of evaporation, and utilizing the area around your water feature for growing the most water-loving plants in your yard.