Low Maintenance Desert Gardening

Desert gardens are not difficult to create. It is actually quite easy, can yield great rewards and can be a great spot to escape from the hustle of everyday life. Low maintenance Desert gardening allows you to enjoy your garden throughout the year, without having to mow, water, weed, or fertilize it. Here are some low-maintenance ideas to create your own desert garden.

The combination of natural landscaping rocks, sand and desert plants, along with creative accents, creates stunning results, especially in the spring blooming season

Even those who live in moderate climates can find water-saving landscaping ideas helpful. There are many options for stone and sand yard landscaping. You can create a beautiful environment with succulents, ornamental grasses, and cacti.

Desert Plants

Desert gardening can be extremely rewarding if you choose to plant the right species. Avoid species that require more care than others if you want your landscaping to be successful. These species are generally drought-tolerant and easy to grow. Here are some popular low-maintenance plant ideas:

The Yucca

Yucca Palm

Yuccas are evergreen accent plants that can be bold and colorful with exceptional white flowers. When combined with soft-textured shrubs such as ruellia or leucophyllum, they can create focal points and interest. Yuccas need good drainage and full sun exposure. They are also hardy in cold temperatures. They can withstand very little watering but they do well with regular soakings in the summer. They are best suited to fall and winter planting.

Yucca In The Wild

Yuccas add a southwest flavor to the landscape. However, careful planning is required when placing them. Avoid placing yuccas near walkways, windows, or patios due to their sharp leaves and large sizes. Yucca’s distinctive silhouette makes it an excellent choice for background plants. The old leaves of Yucca should not be removed as they protect the plant from cold, sunburn and insects.


Velvet Mesquite

Prosopis, also known as mesquites, are adaptable and can tolerate a wide variety of growing conditions. They can adapt to low or high water requirements and can withstand droughts by slowing their growth. Some species have a strange appearance that some believe is due to prolonged droughts. Others attribute it to pruning techniques. Mesquites have provided shade, food and medicine to desert people for thousands of years.

Mesquite Seed Pods

Mesquites are characterized by dark green leaves and rough, dark bark and a nice, sculptural growth pattern. In the spring they produce yellowish-cream colored catkin flower, which are followed by seed pods that vary in size and shape. The canopy can reach a maturity width of 20 to 35 feet depending on the variety. To maintain stability, Mesquites should be encouraged to grow roots. Watering around the canopy is the best way to water, and not at its base.

Texas Sage

Texas Sage

Leucophyllum or Texas sage, can be trusted to be a reliable, fool-proof low water use plant. There are many varieties and species that have come into cultivation in the past few decades, and come in a variety of sizes. These evergreen shrubs can thrive in deserts and like to be in full sun with good drainage. All Texas sages can tolerate temperatures as low at 10 degrees Fahrenheit but they also thrive in heat.

Texas Sages have many uses in landscapes. They can be used as focal points, accents or windscreens. With the arrival of summer monsoons comes a sudden burst of color. Texas Sage is often called a barometer plant. They will not need any additional water except in severe drought periods. They can also die if they are overwatered. Some Texas sages grow to 6-8 feet tall, but smaller varieties can be used in home landscapes.


Laying sand over the soil is an easy way to keep it looking great. This will keep weeds away and your desert garden will remain beautiful year round. If you live in an area where it snows, it may be necessary to cover the soil with sand prior to winter. After the ground has warmed up you can shovel it clear of sand so that the plants and other shrubs can grow. Just make sure that you have kept the dirt warm enough to remain moist, and that weeds are not able to grow through the cracks in the sand.

Moderate but regularly watering will encourage both plant growth and keep the soil moist. Be sure to not let the soil dry out when adding water. This can cause cracking.

Don’t drown the plants when watering. Instead, mist the area with spray bottles or misting poles. Water should only be applied in the morning when the sun has already risen on the sand.

Once a year you should do a pruning pass, this will keep your plants healthy. Do not remove more than one-third of the annual growth.

Low maintenance desert gardening offers many ways to maintain a healthy yard. Taking the time to water and to pick the plants that you want to grow, is one of the most important things that you can do for the future of your yard. Desert gardens should be a place you can escape from the hustle and bustle of life and just relax. This will allow you and your family to have a more enjoyable time in the yard after a long day. Low maintenance desert gardening is a great way to make the most of the space you have and have a place to relax after a long work day.