Small Backyard Landscaping Tips for Your Desert Escape

Landscaping can help you create a private backyard oasis for you and your guests to enjoy. Even if you have a yard without much space, there are many opportunities for creating a wondrous desert escape. Follow one or more of these small backyard landscaping ideas to turn a desert space from a dreary landscape to one full of life and beauty.

Create Separated Spaces

With a small yard, it helps to create designated areas instead of focusing on one open space. Use boulders, plants, walkways and/or other bordering accessories to create separate areas in the lawn. You could have a seating area, different gardens, fountains, open patches of sand and more. Make it so you and your guests need to walk around to explore instead of taking in everything at once.

Stick With Large Scale

Instead of compensating for the small yard by using mini walkways, you’ll actually help the space look bigger and you’ll use your space more effectively by choosing larger walking areas. Choose steps and paths that fit the scale of your house instead of your backyard.

Extend From the House

Your yard will only look smaller if the eye sees it as a distinct, separate space. Instead, make it an extension of the house and outdoor structures such as a deck, or patio. Achieve this by tying in similar colors, styles and materials. For example, you could use the clay or stone colors or materials found on your house’s exterior within your landscaping, or tie in the red flowers of the crimson hedgehog cactus to match with your red tile roof.

Create a Trick of the Eye

If you don’t mind forgoing the extra privacy and your neighbors have nice landscaping, take away fences or other obstructing borders that separate your piece of land from theirs. Use plants or short walls to designate your borders instead, and you will get to enjoy the entire landscape when you walk out the backdoor – it won’t even matter that it’s not all on your property. This technique also works wonders if you have natural areas such as mountains or a desert around your home instead of neighbors.

Create Height Instead of Depth

While landscaping often focuses on a wide and deep stretch of land, you have the option to put the attention on height instead. Achieve this with grade changes in the land that utilize blocks or stone, and with plants and gardens in containers and raised beds. Rely on plants in a range of heights, such as the low barrel cactus along with towering Saguaro cacti. You could also hang plants and/or garden ornaments from poles, a deck or overhanging, or a pergola.

Draw the Eye

Direct the attention from length and width to other directions or focal points. When you create stone or wood walkways that go in zig zag, circular or other unique directions, there won’t be as much of a focus on how large the space is. You can also designate where the eye should be drawn with focal points like seating areas, beautiful gardens or sculptures. For example, bring the eye to sprawling pancake prickly pear cacti, flowing fountains or a relaxing seating area on a raised patio. You will also create interest by using pops of vibrant Southwestern hues of turquoise, orange and red among an otherwise neutral landscape.
The desert landscape provides many opportunities for maximizing a small backyard. A yard doesn’t need to extend far if you’re not looking for a lawn of bright green grass. Instead, use the area’s gifts of cacti and desert plants and grasses, along with its materials and colors, to create a beautiful backyard with eye-catching detail.