Nothing grows in the desert — that’s why they call it the desert. While this common misconception isn’t 100-percent true, it is accurate that the types of plants homeowners landscape with in other (wetter) climates don’t survive well in arid regions. Thus, in the Southwest, homeowners need to be creative when trying to create an attractive landscape that survives in all seasons.
Homeowners in Texas, New Mexico, Nevada, Utah, Arizona and Southern California have little to fear. Here are the best tips and tricks for growing things in the hot, dry desert environment.
Look to the Desert for Inspiration
Believe it or not, not all deserts are the same. In fact, even deserts that are relatively close to one another, like the Sonoran Desert and the Mojave Desert which are adjacent to one another in the Southwestern U.S. yet boast vastly different flora thanks to slight differences in altitudes, terrain and climate. Thus, it’s difficult to give every desert homeowner distinct advice; what’s right for the Chihuahuan Desert might not be right for the Colorado Plateau.
Fortunately, there is a way for homeowners to get the unique plant guidance they need: go outside. Taking a day trip into the desert and surveying the plants that are thriving in the open air and soil is a good way to understand what sorts of plants will do well in a homeowner’s landscape. Typically, homeowners are surprised by the breadth of plants that thrive under the harsh light and heat. Homeowners should also pay attention to the organization of the desert — often, plants huddle together in groups to share nutrients and help each other grow. By mimicking the wild flora in their landscapes, homeowners can reduce their resource consumption and create natural beauty.
Rely Heavily on Hardscaped Features
Landscaping is shaping natural features, like earth and plant life, to create an outdoor scene. Hardscaping, on the other hand, is organizing artificial components, like patios, pathways and walls, to make the landscape more functional. By going a bit overboard in hardscaping, homeowners can reduce the stress of landscaping in the desert and create a more manageable exterior space.
Plus, desert environments often boast the right climate for taking advantage of outdoor living areas. Creating a large, covered patio with outdoor kitchen and dining is a good way to reduce the amount of square footage to decorate with desert flora.
Hire Professionals for Specific Care Tips
It’s not uncommon for desert homeowners to want non-desert-friendly features in their landscape — specifically, a lawn. Having a lush, green lawn is as important to most homeowners as the home itself, but because turfgrass doesn’t grow naturally in the desert, it can be difficult to maintain a verdant lawn in certain desert climates.
That’s why homeowners shouldn’t be afraid to call in expert help. Lawn care professionals in desert regions know all the tips and tricks for successfully growing and tending a lawn when the environment is dry and hot. Homeowners can hire Phoenix lawn mowing services to tend their grass on a weekly or monthly basis — or they can hire experts for less-frequent jobs, like aeration or fertilization, or merely for advice regarding lawn variety and watering schedule.
Expect to See Spikes in Your Water Bill
The fact is that the desert isn’t an ideal place for people to live, let alone landscape. To keep greenery looking alive and thriving, homeowners will need to supplement sparse rain with water from hoses or drip lines. Even xeriscaped properties will need to pump extra water in to ensure that plants have enough to grow. In drier seasons, especially the high summer and fall, this means that homeowners’ water bills will be high — but to obtain a gorgeous, native landscape, the expense should be worthwhile. By watering at the right time of day, i.e. early morning, and by automating watering, homeowners can reduce evaporation and ensure all water used goes to keeping their landscape healthy.
Landscaping in the desert isn’t intuitive, and there aren’t many resources to help desert homeowners make the right choices for their land. Fortunately, by taking inspiration from the local desert and balancing hardscaping with landscaping, it is possible to put together an attractive and functional landscape in the desert.