Desert Landscape Design Ideas Now Available from Phoenix

February 21, 2024

"Desert Landscaping IN Your Front Yard" Design Guides

Your journey to creating or maintaining a water-wise landscape is now even easier thanks to the resources provided by the city of Phoenix Water Services Department. Phoenix Water recently collaborated with design experts from Arizona State University to produce free, easy-to-use desert landscape, or xeriscape, design guides that anyone can download.

The Desert Landscapes in Your Front Yard guides were created to offer ideas for three typical front yard sizes. Each inspirational design guide provides fun facts, helpful tips, desert plant selections, and even plant substitute ideas.


Spring Showers Bring Spring Flowers! Unlock the Beauty of the Sonoran Desert in Your Front Yard

In central Arizona, the Sonoran Desert’s magic unfolds with every drop of rain. With our recent storms and warming temperatures, now is the perfect time to change your landscape or install a new one. Let the Phoenix design guides make spring planting choices easier for you!

You can find more landscape help and countless tips on the Water – Use It Wisely pages. Visit our special microsite, Water – Plant It Wisely, where you’ll find favorite blogs and landscape pages to help you with your gardening questions, including specialty plant sales. Finally, don’t forget your water provider, who often offers gardening classes, rebates, and other water-saving incentives. You can find links to their water conservation sites on the partner page!

House with Xeriscape

Whether you’re a seasoned gardener or just starting, here are three simple strategies to keep in mind for a beautiful and sustainable yard that will help you conserve water and save money: choose desert-adapted plants, use efficient irrigation methods, and integrate passive rainwater harvesting.

  1. Desert Plants: Water-Wise, Low Maintenance, and Beautiful!

A “xeriscape” landscape requires very little water to thrive. Central Arizona’s most successful and ecologically beneficial xeriscapes prioritize plants native to our beautiful Sonoran or other Arizona Deserts (Chihuahuan and Mohave). These desert-adapted plants can thrive with limited precipitation and abundant sunshine. It’s a common misconception that xeriscape is stark with only cactuses and rocks, but a carefully and creatively designed landscape can be lush, vibrant, and colorful while being water efficient.

Desert Willow (desert plant)    Brittlebush (desert plant)

*Desert Willow (left), Brittlebush (right)

The Phoenix design guides will help you select the right plants for your desert oasis. You’ll have the most success choosing native and drought-tolerant plants that thrive in the Sonoran Desert’s unique conditions. These resilient beauties not only survive with less water but also contribute to the biodiversity of your landscape, attracting pollinators, and adding bursts of color throughout the seasons.

  1. Efficient Irrigation: Watering with Precision

One of the cornerstones of water-smart landscaping is adopting efficient irrigation methods. The Water – Use It Wisely Landscape Watering by the Numbers guide offers valuable insights to help you optimize your watering routine. Ditch the traditional sprinkler systems for drip irrigation or soaker hoses, delivering water directly to the plant’s roots where it is needed. That minimizes water waste and ensures your plants receive the specific amount of water they need, and no more!

The watering guide is tailored for the Arizona desert and provides an invaluable tool for anyone in the low desert regions of Arizona seeking to optimize their landscape’s water use.

Rainwater Harvesting

  1. Passive Rainwater Harvesting: Capturing Nature’s Bounty

Imagine turning those brief, beautiful desert rain showers into a sustainable water source for your yard. Water – Use It Wisely offers a Rainwater Harvesting page including all the best resources that help to reduce the mystery of passive rainwater harvesting. By strategically designing rain gardens, you can slow rainwater in its path, direct it on an efficient journey throughout your yard, and capture and store the water for later use. It is a simple yet effective way to make the most of desert rain and reduce reliance on traditional water sources.

Arizona’s Water – Use It Wisely: A Beacon of Awareness

Count on Water – Use It Wisely to guide your journey to save water! The website strives to promote a culture of conservation with a wealth of educational resources to empower you to save water. From practical tips to inspiring designs, the campaign’s mission is clear: to make water conservation a part of our daily lives.

Conclusion: Spring Could Be Your Chance to Conserve
Phoenix Ad - "Let Water Conservation Bloom"

As we happily anticipate the spring planting season, we hope you now have the knowledge and tools to embrace water wisdom and choose to plant with a purpose, water efficiently, and conserve in general. Efficient irrigation, passive rainwater harvesting, and selecting desert-adapted plants are the keys to a thriving, sustainable desert garden.

So, visit our Spring Water – Plant It Wisely site for advice, and let the Desert Landscapes In Your Front Yard brochures give you some new inspiration on this journey. Together, we can create a legacy of responsible water use, ensuring the Sonoran Desert’s beauty continues to bloom for generations. Happy planting, and may your water-saving garden bring beautiful benefits for many future seasons!

Emilie J. Brown is a Water Resource Specialist at the City of Phoenix, one of 19  Water – Use It Wisely partners to offer water-saving advice and programs. Her work focuses on providing actionable, water-saving solutions for Phoenix residents. She loves to be outside with her dog and her partner, and her favorite desert plant is creosote!