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Desert Landscaping - Plants for Dry Areas

Desert landscaping precludes a business-as-usual approach. Think out of the box and try to incorporate more hardscape features into your yard. When you do decide on softscape, choose from native plants and from other plants for dry areas, such as I list below. You will have to make compromises, but you can still have an appealing, water-efficient yard.
  1. More Plants for Dry Areas (13)

Pictures of Cacti and Succulents
Cacti and succulents are a diverse group. That diversity includes the range of available sizes available. Florists prize some of the tinier ones for their usefulness in dish gardens. Others can make quite a statement in desert landscaping, being quite large (think of the saguaros made famous in Westerns).

Lantana as a Plant for Dry Areas
I'll never forget an encounter I had with lantana when traveling Route 66 in the Mojave. A sign indicated there was an oasis ahead, so we pulled in. The general store had refreshments, and for desert landscaping they used planters -- filled with lantana. If the plant can survive in the Mojave, it can survive any heat!

Bougainvillea Plants
Gardeners can see living in a dry area as a burden. You struggle to find plants to grow there; it becomes a matter of settling for some plant so as not to be left with nothing. But bougainvillea is more than just a heat-lover for filling a vacuum; it's prime material for desert landscaping, valued for its colorful blooms.

Aloe Vera Plants
Aloe vera is more than a moisturizer for your hands or hair. As a plant, Aloe vera "moisturizes itself," allowing it to survive where it is hot and dry. This quality makes the plant an option for desert landscaping in warm areas.

Prickly Pear Cactus
You may think of hot, dry areas when you hear "cactus." But prickly pear cactus is not just for desert landscaping in the Southwest; it is hardy to zone 4. A natural for rock gardens, you can grow it for its yellow flowers or simply for its foliage, which in places like New England (my region) gives it an exotic look.

Hens and Chicks
When I first became aware of hens and chicks many years ago, I was impressed and decided to share some with a fellow gardener. But he was the type who likes only gaudy plants and was not impressed at all! But if you appreciate things for their subtle qualities, try these plants for dry areas in a rock garden.

Autumn Joy Sedum
The stonecrops, of which 'Autumn Joy' is one, are remarkably tough plants. I often encounter them on abandoned homesteads, where they have lived on for years without any human aid. But don't equate "tough" with unattractive: these plants for dry areas pack a 1-2 punch of fabulous foliage and flat-top flower heads.

10 Full-Sun Plants
When you shop at a nursery, you should check the label to see how much sun a plant wants before you buy it. But even if you do, the label most likely supplies only a paltry amount of information. There's a big difference between a plant that needs sun to flower profusely and a plant that can take a real pounding from the sun, like these.

Xeriscaping: Putting Plants for Dry Areas to Good Use
Do you wish to landscape in a spot where you know not much water will be available? Consider xeriscaping as the "X factor" you can put to work to reconcile your wishes with your limitations. Xeriscaping, first popularized for desert landscaping in Colorado (U.S.), constitutes something of a balancing act.

Drought-Tolerant Plants for Arizona
If you move from the East to a place like Arizona (U.S.), you cannot approach landscaping with a business-as-usual attitude. About's Guide to Phoenix, Judy Hedding, has assembled a list of books on drought-tolerant plants that will come in handy. Browse her selections to learn how you can turn your yard into something more than just sand and tumbleweeds.

5 Landscaping Tips for Dryland Ecosystems
Do you landscape in a region with dry conditions, such as the American Southwest? Do you practice sustainable landscaping? If you answered yes to these questions, then you'll find help with your endeavors in my piece on landscaping in dryland ecosystems. Learn how to save water, energy, the environment, money and labor. That's a lot of saving!

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