In desert climates, landscaping requires careful consideration due to factors such as intense sunlight, extreme heat, scarce rainfall, and sandy soil. Selecting plants and materials that can withstand these conditions is crucial for creating a thriving desert garden. Understanding which plants and landscaping features are resilient and adaptable to your specific home environment is the key to success.


#1 Select Drought-Tolerant Desert Plants

For thriving plants in your desert garden, opt for naturally drought-tolerant choices. Focus on selecting robust desert plants that are specifically adapted to your desert climate. Desert gardens can accommodate a variety of trees, shrubs, desert wildflowers, succulents, and, of course, cacti. Some recommended desert plant options include:

  • Golden barrel cactus
  • Saguaro cactus
  • Ornamental grass
  • Agave
  • Prickly pear cactus
  • Russian sage
  • Native wildflowers

By incorporating native plants and these sturdy, drought-tolerant options, you can instantly recreate the desert landscape in your backyard.


#2 Know Your Cacti vs. Succulents

Cacti and succulents are commonly chosen for desert landscaping, making it important to familiarize yourself with them before making purchases at the nursery.


A succulent is defined as a plant capable of storing water in its fleshy stems and thick leaves, enabling it to endure extended periods without water.


A cactus is any member of the plant family Cactaceae. Cacti are a type of succulent which are also specialized to retain moisture in their thick stems. They stand out from other succulent plants thanks to their spines.


Before bringing home any cactus or succulent that catches your interest, be sure to research its care requirements, as each plant has unique needs. While some succulents flourish in intense

sunlight, others may struggle and suffer if exposed to too much sunlight, defying common stereotypes.



#3 Incorporate Shaded Entertainment Areas

When re-doing your yard, the goal is to enhance its livability while maintaining an aesthetic appeal. In desert environments, the intense heat and strong sunlight can make it challenging to enjoy outdoor activities like having lunch on the patio. An effective solution to improve the comfort of your backyard is to incorporate shaded areas into your yard design.


A backyard pergola or pavilion is an ideal addition for providing much-needed shade. A slatted pergola can create a pleasant dappled shade effect, whereas a pavilion with a solid roof offers greater shelter, perfect for a patio dining area, outdoor kitchen, or outdoor bar. Alternatively, you can opt for a free-standing shade sail or an awning extending from the side of your home to offer a refreshing break from the intense midday sun.



Re-doing your desert landscape may pose challenges, but the advantages are highly rewarding. Opting for drought-tolerant plants can lead to reduced water bills and decreased maintenance. Integrating shaded entertainment spaces into your landscape enhances its vibrancy, providing a comfortable environment for entertaining guests. If you’re looking to re-do your landscape, contact us and we’ll connect you with our professional landscape designers. Call us at (480) 488-0128.