This is a pretty house a ramble on the exterior front doorway area. Lots of landscaping plants and trees and large windows make this a very welcoming home.

How to landscape in the Southwest

How to landscape in the SouthwestHow to landscape in the Southwest. Landscaping in the southwest requires you to start thinking along the lines of harmony. The fundamental way to your landscaping design success is consistency and it will need to be applied to your entire yard and all-around your home.

It does not matter if you are from the Southwest or live in the North-Eastern States.

Your landscape will need to have a similar feel and look, if you do this to your home it will have a balanced look of symmetry and is what separates good design from bad or not looking quite right landscape!

The Southwest does require a different set of landscaping rules.  One of them is water.  As the hot mid-summer sun can make many plants and trees wilt and die if not enough water is applied during this time.  Another problem is the soil.  Most desert soils lack the right nutrients to make non-native plants look good.

It’s easy to amend your soil with good soil.  All retail gardening stores will have ample soils that you can use to help create good soil conditions.  The soil in the southwest is usually alkaline and the solution to counter this is simple.  Adding sphagnum peat moss will help make your soil acidic.  Ammonium sulfate and sulfur are good for making soil acidic,

Read more about making your soil more acidic at Gardening Know.

Create Symmetry in Your Landscape

You can create symmetry to your landscaping design in a few different ways. The most common way of bringing harmony to your landscaping design is with similar types of plants and trees. This is easy to do and it will look fantastic. There is another way to get unity to be a basic part of your landscaping design and this is with heights.

How to landscape in the Southwest


By having different plants and trees of the same or similar height you will be bringing the whole design of your yard together like you never knew you could. It will look wonderful and it works well.

Your landscaping design should make use of much more than just plants and trees. Flowers look great but they generally only bloom for part of the year so you need to find some other landscaping design elements that will look perfect all year round.

What to use in landscape design

You could use landscaping stones and decorative boulders, or even mulch just to name a couple of things. The use of granite, flagstone, and marble in your landscape design will enhance its two-fold.

A large bed of gray and dark blue smooth river rock


You can add nice little stepping-stones, some statues, or water fountains in your landscaping design.  You can also just have an attractive rock garden design.

Your Landscape theme can go a long way towards making your landscaping design just right. If you love butterflies or hummingbirds then choose plants and flowers that will attract them to your yard and garden.  Types of plants that attract Butterflies. 

This is a unique way to showcase your design and you and your guest will have something great to look at. You can talk to those at your local nursery store about which type of plants, statuary, and flowers will work best in your landscape or area.

Find out what type of landscaping you will need.

Try to have your landscape design balanced and whole looking. You can do anything you want with your landscaping design, you can design it yourself or you can hire a professional landscaper that is well experienced in your area.


Leylandii an evergreen coniferous tree of very fast rapid growth

They can tell you what types of trees and other vegetation that will work well in your specific garden zone. Or purchase a good landscape design book and to do it yourself. You will save a ton of money but the downside is the hard work.  I don’t mind…how about you?

How to landscape in the Southwest

No matter what you decide to do, as long as there are unity and symmetry in your landscape the design will look perfect or close to it.


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    • Mellie
    • January 25, 2016

    What are some heat tolerant plants that I can plant in front if my house, I live in Houston Texas, and my house faces east, so the sun hits the front if my house, no big trees to shade the house

    • Paul Guzman
    • January 26, 2016

    There are lots of heat tolerant plants that you could use.
    Here is a small list.
    Yellow bird of paradise (Yellow Blooms)
    Russian Sage (dark lavender Flowers)
    Damianita (Yellow Flowers)
    Honey Mesquite (Small Tree)
    Red Tip Yuccas (Red tip Bloom)
    Low growing Junipers are drought tolerant
    Apache Plume (white desert flower)
    Dwarf Crape Myrtles (Various Colors)
    Verbena’s (Lots of varieties)
    African Daisies (tons of choices)
    Baja fairy duster (red and pink blooms)
    Texas Sages
    Mojave Sages
    Salvia’s Numerous colors.

    There are many more but the above are all drought tolerant. Remember many desert plants still need plenty of water when first planted.

    • MJ Gonzalez
    • October 13, 2016

    Hey Paul, great post here. I came across your site while doing some research myself on a couple of these topics. Thanks for sharing.

    • Carol
    • August 13, 2020

    I recently saw. Fig tree growing in a restraint courtyard in Deming NM, and I didn’t think figs would grow in the high desert. I would like to try growing a fig tree at home. What special conditions do I need to create for the fruit bearing fig to thrive near Akela NM?

    1. Reply

      Hello, Carol. Fig trees will grow and do well in the high desert. However, there are few things to consider before purchasing one and planting it.
      You will have to provide it with lots of water. Daily the first and second summer seasons. If possible plant it in the morning sun and afternoon shade.
      Amend your soil with good loamy compost and fertilize with a good fruit tree fertilizer. Fertilize at least once in spring, summer and fall for good growth. Here is more information – Fruit Fig Trees

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