Desert Landscaping Ideas to Help Your Landscape Planning Process

A desert landscape is so much more than just cacti and succulents. When developed by a creative landscape architect, desert landscapes can combine color, texture, height, and natural elements to create a yard that’s high on drama and impact but low-maintenance. Learn different ways to bring the natural beauty of the desert into your yard with these desert landscaping ideas, then seek out a qualified landscape architect to help you implement your vision.

Desert Landscaping Plants

As xeriscaping has grown in popularity over the years, many more low water plants have become available. As a result, you have so much to choose from when adding desert plants! Plants can add color, texture, height, visual interest, and provide shade. Some even attract birds, bees, and wildlife. Plants in many ways are the foundation of a desert landscape, so it is vital that you select plants that are adapted for the Arizona climate.

Cacti and Succulents

Come in a variety of sizes and shapes. A classic desert plant, these must be included in your yard in some way. These plants may not be suitable for areas where children may play, so plan accordingly.


Works well to camouflage unsightly elements or make a privacy zone. Desert shrubbery with bright flowers adds both texture and height to your landscape.


Offer shade in the summer, providing a natural respite from the Arizona sun. In the winter, trees allow solar heat into your home.

Annual and Perennial Plants

Bring cheer, attract birds and bees, and can serve as focal points in garden beds or containers.
Many desert landscaping plants are native to Arizona, which means that they are adapted naturally to thrive in the region’s arid climate. Others are not native, but suited for the demanding climate.
A landscape architect will suggest plants that suit your yard and work together to create the garden and yard atmosphere you desire. A landscape architect can also plan the arrangements of plants around your yard. She might make sure that poisonous plants are located away from play areas or that plants that shed leaves or flowers are not located near a pool. This foresight saves you time on maintenance.


Hardscaping serves both practical and aesthetic purposes in a desert landscape and mimics the natural desert environment. Gravel beds, pavers, concrete patios, stone paths, dry creek beds, and other hardscapes incorporate natural stone into the landscape. Pavers of red clay, Arizona sandstone, or river rocks lend that authentic Southwest vibe to your front or backyard.
Whatever material you choose, ensure that it is permeable to avoid problems with water runoff. Mixing colors, sizes, and shapes of hardscaping material adds intrigue and visual interest to a desert yard.
Use hardscaping to create zones in the yard; for example, to create an outdoor kitchen or to surround a pool. Hardscaping also acts as a replacement for grass or groundcover, reducing your water usage and landscaping costs.

Water Element

Water features are popular in desert landscapes. If you have the space, desire, and the budget for it, a swimming pool is the perfect way to add water into your yard.
For smaller sites, a water fountain allows you to enjoy water in the yard. The soothing sounds of running water in a fountain drown out neighborhood noises, entice wildlife, and allow you to relax and enjoy your home.
Even in the desert, you can have a little oasis.
Before you move forward with any desert landscaping project, find an Arizona landscape architect like Blooming Desert, with the knowledge, skills, and creative vision to bring your project to life.