Desert Landscape Design
Ideas for creating a low-water, low-maintenance garden
By Sarah Tate, LandscapingNetwork.com Columnist
Southwestern Landscape Design
Use this design sheet to help you create the perfect Southwestern landscape. You'll get ideas for color, décor, materials, plants and fabric. It is a great starting point for any desert landscaping project.
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If you are one of the people who think of the term "desert garden" as an oxymoron, it's time to reconsider and push the images of barren sand dunes out of your mind. Beautiful gardens can exist in the desert, and many desert gardens are incredibly vibrant and full of plant life.
The keys to successful desert landscaping are knowledge and planning. In order to have a lively, functional garden that also has low water and maintenance requirements, you will need to make educated plant and hardscape choices.
This guide will help you select paving materials, native plants, irrigation systems, outdoor furniture, and other amenities ideal for a desert garden. Armed with the right desert garden design ideas and tips for choosing plants that thrive in an arid environment, creating a lush desert garden will be easier than you think.
Get these tips:In this section, you'll find tips from landscaping professionals on:
- How to conduct a soil test to determine the nutrients available in your soil and how to supplement the natural soil to create optimum growing conditions.
- The best type of irrigation system for desert plants and why it's important to group plants according to irrigation needs.
- A look at the many varieties of succulents, ground covers, trees and other drought-tolerant plants that will grow well in a desert environment.
- Advice on growing desert plants in beds or containers.
- Using synthetic or artificial grass versus a natural lawn that will require a lot of water.
- Good permeable paving materials to use for a desert patio to avoid water runoff, including pervious concrete, natural stone and concrete pavers.
- How to add decorative appeal to desert patios through the use of stone borders, different colored aggregates, stains, and special designs.
- Other factors to consider when paving a desert garden, such as avoiding dark-colored materials that will absorb the heat of the sun and make the garden even warmer.
- How to select furniture for a desert landscape that will reflect heat, stay cool and resist sun exposure.
- How to cut energy consumption by using solar lights to illuminate a desert garden.
- Using a fire pit or fireplace to make your patio more comfortable on cool desert nights.
- Placement, material options and shade structures for outdoor kitchens in desert climates.
- Examples of desert gardens featuring modern décor characterized by bright colors, geometric shapes, and abstract sculptures or fountains.
With careful preparation and plant selection, you can create a desert garden that is far from barren.