Living in Arizona is awesome and the area has its own natural beauty with a mix of desert sand, beautiful sunsets and bright, sunny days. However, the unique terrain, temperatures and drought conditions can make landscaping in Phoenix challenging.
You can still have a lovely garden space – if you know how to work with the natural elements instead of against them to plot out your area.
Picking the Plants for Landscaping in Phoenix
The easiest way to achieve a beautiful outdoor space with colorful blooms that are also easy to maintain is to pick plants meant for landscaping in Phoenix. These should be hardy plants that can live through drought conditions and hot sun. Plants can be divided into four groups for landscaping:
1. Shrubs and low plants
3. Cacti and Succulents
Shrubs and low plants
Shrubs and plants are the easiest way to improve your yard because most are easy to plant and easy to maintain. Some of the shrub and low plants to consider are:
This is a vining plant that has become increasingly popular in Phoenix because it produces year-round blooms. It grows tall and needs the support of a structure so many people use it to cover unattractive areas around fences and storage buildings. Another subtropical plant, the bougainvillea survives well under heat and full sun. Typically, it also can endure a light frost as long as temperatures stay above freezing.
This can be an expansive, mounding bush once it is growing well. When mature, it abounds with smaller, yellow flowers. It grows well in full and reflected sun and can grow easily in and around rock formations. Brittlebush is a fast growing evergreen plant with silver gray tones and the yellow daisy-like flowers bloom winter to spring, so you’ll have color even when other plants aren’t blooming.
Baja Fair Duster
This shrub is a semi-evergreen variety with dark green leaves and red powder puff blooms that provide color from spring to fall. It enjoys full sun and has a moderate growth rate and grows to a fairly substantial size. The Baja Fairy Duster is also hardy enough to withstand colder temperatures and will survive temperatures as low as 20 degrees.
Trees add shade and beauty to your outdoor space, but do tend to require more care than shrubs and plants. Also, they take longer to grow to maturity so planting a tree is a long-term project. There are some that work beautifully for landscaping in Phoenix and a few are listed below.
These are the perfect trees for the low desert areas of Arizona like Phoenix, Scottsdale, Tucson and Chandler. Jacaranda has exotic lavender flowers and fern-like leaves throughout the summer and can easily thrive in the 100-degree plus summer. Originally from the subtropical areas of Central and South America, this plant adapts easily for landscaping in Phoenix.
Anacacho Orchid Tree
This is a small to medium size tree that flowers with either white or pink blooms from spring to summer. It thrives in full or partial sun and can withstand temperatures as low at 15 degrees. It is a semi-evergreen with a slower growth rate than many other trees. Another plus of this tree is that it attracts wildlife, so you could soon be enjoying birds and other desert creatures in your yard.
Blue Palo Verde
This tree has the benefit of being a native plant to Arizona, so it will grow pretty much anywhere you plant it. It requires very little water, grows well in both full or reflected sun and can endure temperatures as low as 15 degrees. It is also a fast growing tree, so you will be enjoying it within a couple of years. It is a semi-evergreen with blue-green foliage – hence the name. It also produces bright yellow flowers in the spring. This tree is unique in that it does have small thorns, so you have to wear gloves when working with it.
This native tree is desirable for a variety of reasons. It not only grows well in the Arizona climate, but also works well as part of pool landscaping and it attracts wildlife. This tree is a slow-growing evergreen with dark green leaves and white cluster flowers that bloom in the early summer. It grows upright, so it is a wonderful plant for a tighter space. It likes full or partial sun and will live through temperatures that are as low as 15 degrees.
Cacti and Succulents
Cacti and Succulents are the normal things most people envision when they picture landscaping in Arizona. You may not find these type of plants as inviting as an array of flowers, but they do have their own beauty if you arrange them properly in your landscape design. Below are some of the best choices for outdoor spaces.
Beavertail Prickly Pear
This cactus is an excellent option for several reasons. It is low spreading, requires very little water and enjoys full or reflective sun. It can also survive very low temperatures, as low as 10 degrees. It is also beautiful with medium-sized flowers, either magenta or pink, that bloom in the spring. The thorns are brown spines and the plant is a blue-gray color that is evergreen.
This globe-shaped cactus is a slow-growing plant that will eventually become a medium sized addition to your yard growing to just over a foot tall and two feet wide. It has several features that make it a popular choice. It can easily be used in pool landscaping, it attracts wildlife and it requires very little water. It has small yellow flowers in the spring and golden spines among its medium green exterior year round.
Although this resembles a palm-like bush, it is actually a succulent. This plant is a low plant that grows in both partial sun and shade and will eventually grow to about five feet tall. It is the perfect addition to pool landscaping because it adds a tropical atmosphere with its evergreen coarse palm-like leaves and small brown cones. It is also hardy and can withstand temperatures as low as 15 degrees
Grasses are typically something many people don’t associate with the West, but there are some that can be used to add to your outdoor space. Below are some options for creating green in your yard.
This native grass can be used either in the yard or around a pool. Deer grass is fast growing and reaches four feet in height. It can endure frigid temperatures as low as zero degrees as well as full sun in the summer. It thrives in the fall and dries to a tan when the season is over.
This grass requires low water and can endure extreme temperatures in both summer and winter. This mounding grass produces pink plumes in the fall and grows to three feet in height. It turns tan after blooming.
Typically, this is one of the few grasses that can survive in the Arizona climate and you will still need available water to keep it alive. Any of the cool season grasses like Fescue and Ryegrass will have to be reseeding annually at the end of summer because they will only grow in the winter.
Another option for you, if you want green grass that is low maintenance, is artificial turf. Today’s turf is more natural looking that previous products and some is pet friendly, which makes cleaning up afterward easy. While it does require some basic maintenance, you can forego the troublesome aspects of real grass like mowing, fertilizing and watering.
Creating a yard that provides you with tranquility to enjoy the gorgeous Arizona landscape isn’t as difficult as it may appear. Knowing the right plants and having a design in mind will help you achieve your goal of a colorful piece of paradise outside your door.