Desert Landscaping

June 17, 2013 | By

With climate patterns changing in many areas of the U.S., drought conditions are becoming more prevalent. Areas of the country now experiencing long periods of drought are growing, even in previously drought-resistant regions. We usually think of desert landscaping as a necessity in true desert regions, such as the Southwest. Now, with water at a premium, you might want to take a page from the desert landscaping principles and apply them to your own garden, desert or not.

This can be done, no matter where you live, with just a few minor modifications. First, let’s take a look at the basic design concepts of desert landscaping. Then we’ll describe how you can deal with drought in any region, using eco-friendly landscaping techniques, with plants suited to your area.

A true desert environment requires a radical approach to conserving water, judicious placement of native plants, while making the most of natural rock, stone and gravel to create an attractive, colorful landscape design that stands up to the heat. While this may sound like a tall order, a good desert landscaping design can provide you with an impressive garden vista.

Drip irrigation is a must in the desert garden. You must make use of every drop of water, delivered to individual plants right at the base. The drip tubing allows you to direct water, through the tubing, in a precise watering system that wastes not.

Another important component of successful desert landscaping is choosing the right plants. In the desert, this means plants which are native to your specific area. Your local nursery can provide guidance, as well as the many online desert gardening websites. Native plants have survived for centuries in the region and will go right on thriving. Native plants are also acclimated to the particular soil of your region. If you choose a few non-native plants to grow along the deck or in pots, installing a drip irrigation system, timed to deliver adequate water at regular intervals, and providing the right soil, helps you to succeed. Be sure your non-native plant choices can withstand the heat of day and often cold night temperatures.

Considering the large expanse of rock, sand and gravel in the typical desert garden, you’ll want to have several large plants in your garden design. The prickly pear cactus is a fascinating plant, with large, paddle shaped leaves that hold water well, with the bonus of seasonal, spectacular flowers. Palm trees are another graceful choice for the desert landscaping design. Check to see which of the many varieties of palms are best suited to your garden. Grouping large plants together makes a nice design composition, while making your drip irrigation installation simpler as well.

In the desert garden, groupings of boulders and large stones help to break up the garden in pleasing segments. Colored sand, spread in geometric swaths and then raked, makes your eco-friendly desert garden a visually stunning masterpiece.

If you do not live in the desert, but do live in a drought stricken area, you can apply many of the principles of desert landscaping to your garden. Again, drip irrigation is a must, as is choosing plants which are native to your area. The result will be an eco-friendly, low-maintenance garden which thrives, even in such unfriendly conditions. Which is what we all want. We can all learn much from the basic concepts of desert landscaping.

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Category: Gardening, Home & Garden

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