There is just something uplifting about walking into a beautifully-maintained yard.
Imagine stepping into an outdoor space and seeing that perfect pathway, a remarkable pergola, a swaying hammock, inspiring foliage, and hearing the sound of water trickling from a fountain. Doesn’t it already feel very relaxing?
A well-maintained landscape not only enhances your mood and improve the beauty of your home, but also increases the curb appeal. What’s more, this boosts your property value and delivers big returns down the road.
This might be easy to achieve if you live in a cool area with sufficient rainfall. But if you live in an arid region where lush lawns are more difficult, things might be a little different. Thus, consider these desert-style backyard landscaping ideas that will help you create a backyard oasis:
1. Build a Patio to Create Shelter
You need shade in your yard to escape the heat, especially during the summer months.
Do so by creating a beautiful patio area with pergolas or gazebos to create shade that still allow space for basking in the sunlight. Add comfortable seating that is attractive enough to act as focal points across the yard.
2. Build a Fire Pit
In very hot and arid areas, the nights are usually very cold as the sand cannot hold the heat. What happens is that the sand stays warm during the daytime and loses all its heat as the sun sets. Also, since there isn’t that much vegetation in the desert that can absorb heat, the nights are subject to getting colder.
By installing a fire pit in your backyard, you can enjoy starry summer nights around a beautiful self-contained fire that offers heat.
3. Build a Pathway
Who said that your backyard doesn’t deserve a pathway if you’re living in the desert?
Instead of using pavement in a desert climate where rain is scarce yet rainwater tends to run off the hard, rocky surface, consider erecting a permeable surface such as pavers or slate.
Concrete is a classic choice for a driving surface, but crushed gravel, pavers or slate also work well. You can also choose natural stone with rough edges and pea gravel for a low-key look.
For the center strip, create a softer look by using mulch or planting Bermuda grass, touted as the most drought-resistant warm-season grass would be a good choice. Remember to give it 1.25 inches of water weekly to keep it green.
However, a contrasting hard-surface material that requires less maintenance, such as stones or gravel would be another alternative for the grass strip.
Avoid fully landscaping with rocks, though! While rocks are certainly low-maintenance and a popular choice for landscaping, they become so hot and bright in the sun that the landscaping can become uncomfortable to live with, or look at. Plus, they are hard to walk on with bare feet.
4. Consider Xeriscaping
Xeriscaping is a method of gardening, largely employed in arid and semi-arid areas, where the need for irrigation is significantly reduced by planting drought-resistant plants, and this saves water.
Thus, to inject life into your backyard, consider planting native species that are drought-resistant and well-adapted to your area. They can perform well with little water, and low maintenance.
Cacti and succulents are such great options for landscaping in arid areas. They require little maintenance and are easy to grow and care for. In fact, most of these hardy species can tolerate neglect. Whether you have a green thumb or not, you can always plant them.
Choose a sunny and sloped location for your cactus outdoors. This allows for better drainage, which is critical when dealing with these plants.
Also, while planting, group your plants according to their water needs as this ensures all the plants are watered appropriately.
5. Plant Native Trees
Trees are a valuable part of any landscape as they add much-needed shade, inject color, and interest to your backyard.
Even if you live in a hot, arid region where tough and drought-tolerant trees thrive, there are still beautiful trees that prefer this climate. Trees such as myrtles and flowers such as daffodils are suitable drought-tolerant plants.
Plant trees in low areas in the landscape since trees need more water to establish than ground covers. This ensures that any excess water naturally flows where it’s required most.
Mulch plays a big role even in desert gardens. Mulching will help cool the soil, reduce evaporation and reduce weed growth. It can also reduce soil erosion and compaction, two common problems that occur in desert landscapes.
However, desert natives have different mulch needs so tailor your mulch to your plants. For instance, cactus plants enjoy a moderate layer of mulch such as pebbles, or rocks until established, while plants with larger leaves are adapted to soil with more organic matter, so mulch them with shredded cedar mulch.
6. Create an Eco-friendly Water Feature
A water feature makes a great addition to desert landscaping. While you might be skeptical about its sustainability in such an arid area, you can always make intelligent use of eco-friendly water features to create a desert oasis.
You can try water fountains that keeps circulating or a shallow pond and populate them with koi or goldfish.
However, to ensure that your water feature lasts for the long-term, consider how you will add water as it evaporates, what will happen if a heavy monsoon rain floods your feature, your pumping mechanism for flowing water, cleaning and maintenance of the feature as well as how you’ll deal with wildlife like birds or even mosquitoes.
7. Invest in an Outdoor Shower
Imagine showering outside while the breeze touches your skin and while you get a good view of the beautifully wide-open surroundings. That would be very refreshing, especially in such a hot climate!
Mix up your bathing routine with a relaxing, invigorating outdoor shower by actually building one in your backyard.
8. Add Soft Lighting Features
Highlight the beauty of your architecture and xeriscape choices by incorporating soft lighting. Use hanging lanterns, downcast wall lights, spotlights on trees, and the flicker of a gas fire pit to create the ambience of a magical evening.
With the right balance of furniture, proper lighting, hardscape surfaces, and native greenery, you can create a backyard oasis of your choice with ease.