Creating A Southwestern Desert Garden

Creating A Southwestern Desert Garden

The southwestern United States has a diverse landscape – especially in the desert regions that can vary from mountain to plain. One thing they have in common is water is a resource that is very scarce indeed. Read on to learn how you can add a touch of the southwest to your backyard.


The desert landscape provides plenty of color options. From wood that has been sun-bleched to warm sandstone, to the grays and greens of sage and the beautiful tones of a desert sunset. Not to mention the colorful blooms of wildflowers in spring.


Utilize traditional materials for buildings like walls made from adobe mud or stone as well as gravel pathways.

Water Features

Large pools can be attractive but in this landscape it is difficult to make them sustainable. However fountains that recirculate water and lose less water because of evaporation can be very beneficial to any desert garden.

Accent Walls

Brightly painted walls are great design characteristics as well as providing cover for plants and trees. Often a rusty style color offsets tha nnatural landscape very well indeed.

Dry Creek Beds

To get a dry creek bed look, make subtle grade changes in your backyard with mounds of soil and mimicking a natural stream. Fill the “valleys” with stones and gravel, and plant the “hills” with drought-tolerant shrubs and ground covers.


The desert sun, particularly in midday, is intense. Nearly all Southwest gardens provide shady respite by incorporating wooden pergolas, shade screens or shade sails made of durable outdoor fabrics.

Plants And Grass

Desert plants are  the most well-adapted to these climates, but if you want to include greater diversity in the garden, turn to plants from other arid areas. The toughest plants of the Southwest, cactuses have evolved to thrive in extremes. Their fleshy, sculptural forms, designed to retain water for long periods of drought, can be highlighted against the backdrop of walls or fences. Create welcome pools of dappled shade in the landscape with Southwestern trees. Palo verde, chitalpa, desert willow and all kinds of mesquite are good low-water options.

Free Landscaping Quotes

Start creating your very own backyard landscape in Scottsdale or Phoenix, Arizona by giving Arte Verde a call today at (602) 618-0688 to schedule a free consultation!