Living in the desert means dealing with lots of heat and very little moisture. All this heat and lack of rain mean that you need to put much more thought into your landscaping, as many plants simply won’t survive. Even those who may make it will still need a lot of water and maintenance. For these reasons, we highly recommend considering these desert landscape ideas, as they can help increase the beauty of your yard while also cutting back on your maintenance tasks.
1. Native Plants and Succulents
Most landscaping experts recommend using native plants or at least heat-tolerant plants in Las Vegas. Native species like desert bluebells, firecracker penstemon, and brittlebush all produce beautiful flowers that will instantly brighten up your yard and also help to attract butterflies and hummingbirds. Native species also help to protect the local ecosystem. The fact that these plants are native also means they are perfectly adapted to the desert climate and thus require little to no watering and much less fertilizer than non-native species.
Succulents like aloe vera and any type of cactus are also great options for any desert garden landscape in Las Vegas. All succulents are incredibly drought-resistant and heat tolerant and will thrive for years to come with almost zero watering or maintenance. There are hundreds of different succulents for you to choose from, making it easy to find something that suits your tastes and fits in with the rest of your landscaping.
The more plants you have, the more water you will use, and the more maintenance will be needed. Nonetheless, this doesn’t mean that your yard has to be empty and boring, as hardscaping is one of the best ways to reduce your yard’s maintenance needs while still adding character and beauty.
Essentially, hardscaping means filling your yard with non-living things like paver stones, boulders, and river rocks instead of having lots of grass and other plants. Many hardscape features like patios and fire pits will also help make your yard more comfortable while also increasing the value and appeal of your home.
3. Ground Cover or Turf Instead of Grass
If you have young children at home, you’ll obviously still want a soft, grassy area for them to play. The problem is that grass requires a huge amount of water to keep it looking good in a desert climate. There is also all the mowing, fertilizing, and other maintenance to think about. These reasons are why you’re starting to see more homes in Las Vegas with artificial grass, as it provides the same look and feel as grass without requiring any water or maintenance.
Another excellent option is to plant ground cover plants like creeping thyme, carpet sedum, or blue catmint instead of grass, as these plants will quickly fill in the area to form a lush, green lawn. Ground cover plants are great as they require less water than grass, are less susceptible to weeds, and never need to be mowed since they only ever grow a few inches tall. Many ground cover plants are also flowering, which means they will help add even more color to your landscape.
While native or desert-friendly plants are always the best option, non-native annual and perennial flowers will always help brighten your yard and add more color. The only issue is that even if you choose heat-resistant plants, many of them will still require quite a lot of water. This is where adding mulch to your landscaping can be a huge help.
Most mulch will retain lots of water, so you won’t have to run your sprinkler or irrigation system as often. Organic mulch like bark, wood chips, or even pine needles degrade over time and will usually need to be replaced every year or two. While this requires a bit of extra work compared to non-organic mulch, organic also helps nourish your plants since it adds additional nutrients to your soil as it breaks down.
Mulch will also help to lessen the amount of maintenance your yard needs as it will make it so that fewer weeds will grow. If you also put landscape fabric or plastic underneath the mulch, you basically won’t have to weed at all for at least a few years.
Another great thing about wood chips and bark mulch is that they are available in a wide variety of different colors. This means you can easily choose a mulch that matches your existing landscape or alternate between contrasting mulch colors to create cool patterns that will add even more style and beauty to your yard.
Xeriscaping is essentially designing your yard and landscape in a way that requires no additional watering or at least dramatically reduces watering needs. A true xeriscape will typically incorporate many of the other features we’ve already mentioned, such as planting native plants or using mulch and hardscape features to help with water conservation.
It also means using little to no grass or at least opting for a drought-resistant grass species. If you want to plant annuals or non-native plants, you will also want to ensure that you follow hydro zoning principles. This means determining the water usage of the different plants you want and grouping plants with similar water usage together to make your irrigation more effective and lessen the amount of wasted water.
If you’re looking to create the perfect desert landscape for your backyard, Parsons Rocks is here to help. We carry a wide selection of landscape rocks in Las Vegas as well as artificial grass and other hardscape features to make it easy for you to create whatever look and style you wish.