Local Xeriscape Gardens Demonstrate What You Can Do
Grab your mask, pack some snacks, and get inspired! If you’re planning on revamping your landscape this winter, one of the best design resource is your local xeriscape demonstration garden. They provide practical, first-hand examples of plants and plant combinations. Many of the gardens also have shady places to enjoy a picnic lunch, so plan to spend some time exploring and enjoying the surroundings as you build ideas for your home landscape. Visit again as the seasons change to get an idea of how the plants look at different times of the year. Did we mention that many of these gardens are free to visit year-round?
Luckily for Arizona residents, there are many different gardens around the state ensuring you’ll find one close to you!
The Avondale Xeriscape Demonstration Garden is located outside of the City Hall building. The garden demonstrates the utilization of low-water-use trees, shrubs, and ground covers. The garden is over 25,000 square feet and contains over 900 plants.
11465 W. Civic Center Dr.
Avondale, Arizona 85323
This garden was installed in the late 1990s and highlights plants that attract wildlife. Local community groups helped with the design and installation, and a metal artist created a beautiful entry archway and metal shade tree. A large water feature provides a relaxing place to sit after strolling the paved pathways along the perimeter of the garden.
One of the first demonstration gardens in the Valley, this small, one-acre demonstration garden boasts mature desert trees and shrubs. It is currently undergoing renovation to include new pathways and signage.
The project, funded by a grant between the Bureau of Reclamation and the City of Flagstaff, is one of the first high-desert Xeriscape gardens in Arizona. The City’s water conservation office will partner with the Master Gardener program to provide educational programs about irrigation methods, appropriate low water use plants and xeric landscape design.
Watered with recycled water, most of the garden’s plants came from the Flagstaff Fabulous Plants list. The garden was designed by Schaafsma Design. Stone and ironwork were fabricated by Tomas Robison of Stonecrop Landscaping. Irrigation, pathways, and planting were performed by Native Plant & Seed.
323 W. Aspen Ave
Flagstaff, Arizona 86001
The Xeriscape Demonstration Garden at the Glendale Main Library is a living example of the diversity and abundant amount of low-water-use plants available for use in planning a lush and inviting garden for wildlife and people.
Working together, the City of Mesa, Mesa Community College, and the U. S. Bureau of Reclamation recently completed a series of enhancements to the garden. The garden now features new plants, improved educational signage, an updated irrigation system, and an improved self-guided tour.
Native Plant Walk
Mesa Community College at Red Mountain
7110 E. McKellips Rd.
Mesa, AZ 85207
Mesa Xeriscape Demonstration Garden
Mesa Community College
1833 W. Southern Ave.
Mesa, Arizona 85202
One of our Water – Use It Wisely Partners, EPCOR Water, is pleased to showcase a Xeriscape Demonstration Garden in Paradise Valley. The Company planned the garden with neighbors, town council members, and Master Gardeners and turned an unused site into a fabulous demonstration for low-water use plants, Xeriscape principals and how to save water and money.
Paradise Valley Xeriscape Demonstration Garden
6229 N. Mockingbird Lane
Paradise Valley, Arizona 85253
This garden welcomes visitors to experience the beauty of low-water-use landscapes. Combinations of low-water-use plants from desert-like areas around the world demonstrate that beauty and functionality don’t have to be sacrificed for water efficiency. The five themed areas in the garden also showcase a variety of mulch materials and different ways to bring color into the landscape.
Fusion Xeriscape Garden
8401 W. Monroe St.
Peoria, Arizona 85345
Covering nearly 50 acres, the Desert Botanical Garden showcases more than a thousand desert-adapted plants from all over the world. The Center for Desert Living Trail provides visitors with information on desert landscaping and gardening. Education programs and special events are offered throughout the year for children and adults.
The Interpretive Trail, created through the Maricopa County Cooperative Extension and Arizona Master Gardeners, assists visitors with landscaping and gardening in the low desert climate. Visitors will find signs and flyers that will guide them in the creation and maintenance of their own environmentally sound landscape.
Demonstrating the beauty of saving water is the purpose that has guided the design and educational components of this xeriscape garden. Outdoor classrooms offer learning opportunities that engage the senses, demonstrate water-saving principles, and showcase beautiful low-water-use plants.
This garden is located on the backside of the library and features indigenous and introduced low-water-landscape plants. Penstemons, Arizona rosewood, and desert willows are just a few of the wide assortment of plants featured in this landscape. Passive rainwater harvesting designs direct rainwater through the landscape. Some of the local plants were saved from area construction projects and relocated to the garden. Handouts describing the plants are available from the library staff.
Sierra Vista Public Library
2600 E. Tacoma
Sierra Vista, Arizona 85635
The UAS campus has been planted with lovely, colorful, low water-use landscape plants. From lantanas to acacias, visitors can stroll through various groupings of plants. Many of the plants have been labeled and an extensive plant list created by the Cochise County Master Gardeners Association is available to visitors.
Adjoining the UAS campus is the Plant Sciences Center. In this plant yard, constructed as a repository for plants salvaged from construction projects, visitors can view a 2,500-gallon rainwater harvesting system, 4 demonstration landscapes, and a plant water needs study. The Cochise County Herbarium is also housed at the Plant Sciences Center.
The University of Arizona South
1140 N. Colombo Ave.
Sierra Vista, Arizona 85635
The Boyce Thompson Arboretum is a historic and beautiful desert garden. Plants are studied for drought tolerance, usefulness to people, and landscaping potential. Nature trails wind through 35 acres of grounds.
Just one hour east of Phoenix, the Arboretum features 3,200 desert-adapted plants from all over the world. The Demonstration Garden displays a series of low-water-use residential theme gardens. Education programs and special events are offered throughout the year for children and adults.
Along two miles of paths, visitors have the opportunity to view a collection of Sonoran desert plant exhibits, including a riparian corridor, a desert garden, pollination gardens, a cactus garden, and desert grasslands. Education programs and special events are offered throughout the year for children and adults.
Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum
Tohono Chul Park
This 49-acre Sonoran desert preserve also contains specialty gardens, such as the native plant demonstration garden and the “sin agua” garden, which utilizes rainwater-harvesting technology. Education programs and special events are offered throughout the year for children and adults.
Tucson Botanical Gardens
Located in the heart of Tucson, the garden comprises 15 different themed gardens, including the Xeriscape Demonstration Garden and the Cactus and Succulent Garden. Education programs and special events are offered throughout the year for children and adults.
Arizona State University Desert Arboretum Park
The Desert Arboretum Park is part of the greater Arizona State University Arboretum. Through a partnership of Arizona State University employees and outside consultants, the Desert Arboretum Park was created to serve as a botanical refuge for desert plants.
Arizona State University
Tempe Xeriscape Demonstration Garden
This xeriscape garden highlights desert and arid palettes, including plants from the Chihuahuan and Sonoran deserts, Australia, and the Mediterranean. The garden provides practical ideas for both backyards and workplaces. This xeriscape also attracts plenty of hummingbirds.
Tempe Woman’s Club Park
1265 N. College Ave.
EPCOR Water and Maricopa County Master Gardeners partnered up and created this Xeriscape Demonstration Garden at EPCOR Water’s Sun City Office to teach residents about low-water-use for their yards and gardens.
The garden features natural and low-water-use desert plants chosen by the Master Gardeners that are both beautiful, adapted for the Sonoran Desert, and will help you save on your water bill.
West Valley Xeriscape Demonstration Garden
15626 N. Del Webb Blvd.
Sun City, AZ 85351
Once you’ve visited one or more demonstration gardens and are ready to create your own lush xeriscape oasis, use these resources for help with design, installation, and maintenance:
- Water – Plant It Wisely: The Ultimate Fall Planting Resource
- Landscape Plants for the Arizona Desert
- Xeriscape: Landscaping with Style in the Arizona Desert
- Transform Your Landscape From Drab to Fab
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