Xeriscaping Tips

What kinds of plants to use when xeroscaping your yards and gardens. Garden designs that conserve water.

As water becomes scarcer, new methods of conservation become increasingly important. Lawns in the Southwestern regions are no longer viable options. However, you can create beautiful yards full of plants that require little or no water beyond what nature provides. Xeriscaping is a method of landscaping using rock gardens, cacti, and other plants that thrive in the desert.

Ornamental grasses

Ornamental grasses offer a beautiful alternative to thirsty lawns. Drought resistant, these plants require minimum care. Various grasses offering up an array of colors include: Purple fountain grass, Stricta, Rubra Maiden grass, Yellow pampas grass, Mexican feather grass and Blue oat grass. Most do well in the sun and bloom in the summer and fall.

Trees and Bushes

Trees that do well in the desert are willow trees, olive trees, palm trees and conifers. If you plan to use conifers in your gardens then use dwarf conifers. Juniper, spruces, and pines are the most popular. Dwarf conifers do not grow more than 3 to 6 feet tall in about a ten year time span, so your other plants will not get overpowered by taller pine trees. Oleander bushes, crape mytles, Texas Sage bushes also grow with very little water in arid climates.

Rock Gardening

Consider making a rock garden. Using larger boulder types of rocks, bury them halfway into the sand. Then place clusters of succulents in between the rocks. Contrast different sizes and colors of rocks to add visual interest to your landscape. Making winding paths and borders offer relief from what could otherwise be a plain and dull yard.


Here is a list of several different succulents you can use for flower color. The leaves of succulents come in different shapes and sizes and add a lush, almost tropical feeling to your garden.

Red, orange, yellow Aloe species

Crassula falcata Sedum telephium "Autumn Joy"

Delopsperma cooperi




There are many wildflowers that grow in abundance in the West. Here are a few to start off with.



African daisies

Indian blanket


Evening primrose



Pansies ( fall and early winter and spring)



English Lavender




Use clay pots and painted vases to brighten up your garden. Birdhouses, windchimes, stepping stones, and fountains all enhance your xeroscaped yards. Torches, lanterns and decorative lights lend a romantic feel and give your garden an exotic feel. Visit an import store or garden center to find other beautiful garden art. There are many unique and wonderful objects in these stores, as well as garden centers.

Outdoor Fireplaces

A fairly new trend of westerners are outdoor patio kitchens with fireplaces. Many patio floors are beautiful ceramic tiles. Integrate stoves, grills, ovens and refrigerators into your design as well as comfortable seating for entertaining guests.

Pools, Hot Tubs and Ponds

Water can be used for decorative purposes in a western landscape and still be environmentally correct. Pools and hot tubs add beauty to the design of your yard. Ponds and fountains use re-circulated water.

With imagination and a little effort, you can create landscaped yards for your home that is water-wise and beautiful as well.

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