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Yvette M. Palmer, Associate Broker
Desert Gardening
The key to successful gardening is to know what plants are best suited for your area and when and where to plant them. Knowing your climate zone is just the start, however the microclimates around your yard will play a large part in having beautiful plantings. Here are just a few things to consider: 


  • Sun Exposure - western & southern exposures are warmer and sunnier than eastern and northern exposures.
  • Wind Damage - strong winds can dry out soils or knock over fragile growth.
  • Elevation - cold air sweeps down hills and rests in low areas. These frost pockets are okay for some plantings, yet can be deadly to others.

Desert Garden & Landscaping Resources

  • Sonoran Desert

    The summer monsoons and winter rains add moisture to the Sonoran desert. These rains make it one of the most, if not the most, biologically diverse desert on the planet. There are also several mountain ranges throughout the Sonoran desert, and Santa Cruz County sits at the edge of the uplands division in the Sonoran desert.

  • Climate Planting Zone

    Gardeners in the western United States sometimes are confused when confronted with the 11 hardiness zones created by the USDA. Learn why the the Sunset zone maps, which cover 13 Western states, is more precise than the USDA's.

  • Drought-Tolerant Plants

    Drought tolerant plants are plants having adapted to tolerate drought better than most. A drought tolerant plant will survive in your landscape with less than normal amounts of rainfall. Not all drought tolerant plants are native and not all native plants are drought tolerant.

  • Xeriscape Concepts

    Xeriscaping refers to the conservation of water through creative landscaping. Originally developed for drought-afflicted areas, the principles of xeriscape today have an ever broadening appeal. With water now considered an expensive and limited resource, all residential landscaping projects can benefit from this alternative.

  • Water Harvesting

    Harvesting rainwater can reduce the use of drinking water for landscape irrigation. Coupled with the use of native and desert-adapted plants, rainwater harvesting is an effective water conservation tool because it provides "free" water that is not from the municipal supply.

  • Succulent Gardens Design

    All cacti are succulents, but not all succulents are cacti. Succulent plants retain water in arid climates or soil conditions. The water is stored in various structures, such as leaves, stems, and in the plant's roots. Which is why some parts of the plants are more than normally thickened and fleshy.

  • Vibrant Garden Designs

    Flower gardens add visual interest to your home, improve its curb appeal and encourage you to interact with nature. When planning a colorful flower garden, include a variety of perennials, annuals and bulbs that bloom at various times during the spring, summer and fall, so you can enjoy the flowers for several months at a time.

  • Top 10 Garden Colors

    Looking for some color inspiration for your garden, here are the top 10 colors to choose from. The easiest color plan to pull off is probably the monochromatic color scheme. Which is simply combining shades of a single color together to create a garden bed.

  • Minimalist Garden Designs

    Modern garden design has changed dramatically over the years. Minimalist aspects can make the garden into a great space for living and entertaining, focusing on materials rather than planting. A big advantage of the minimalist gardens is their low-maintenance because of the simplicity of its designs.

  • Pastel Garden Designs

    Pastels radiate most strongly in indirect light and on overcast days. Consider incorporating pastel colours in your outdoor retreats and planting the subtle colors where the morning or evening light lingers. Pale pinks, blues, lavenders, and yellows light up shady places. In gloomy climates, pastels shine.

  • Design A Rose Garden

    When growing roses, it’s important to choose a site receiving at least six hours of sun each day. Rose bushes must also be located in well-drained, fertile soil. Plant dormant roses in early spring or fall. Potted plants can be planted any time between spring and fall, but preferably spring.

  • Tropical Garden Design

    Savor a lush tropical garden by creating your own desert oasis. Tropical schemes are easily put together. Pick your star architectural plants, fill the gaps with flowers and foliage, then check that the pots and background create the right illusion.

  • Japanese Garden Design

    Japanese gardens were developed under the influences of the Chinese gardens, but gradually Japanese garden designers began to develop their own aesthetics, based on Japanese materials and Japanese culture. Today, Japanese garden art still maintain their full intensity of expression and continue to inspire.

  • Fruit Tree Garden

    Few things that you can do in the garden are more satisfying than growing your own fruit. Fruit trees are the perfect landscape choice in many ways: gorgeous blossoms, foliage for shade on a summer day, tasty fruit and usually great fall color. Even in winter, the bare branches of most fruit trees provide interest in the landscape.

  • Native Trees

    The name of the city of Nogales, AZ, AZ (walnuts) predates the arrival of the Gadsen Purchase Boundary Survey party and the name was agreed upon in 1882. The first settlers said the stream was lined with nogal (walnut) trees.

  • Creating a Garden

    A great looking garden can not only enhance the beauty of a home, but can also be a great source of enjoyment. No landscaper knows better than you what your family wants and needs in your garden. Here are some points of view to consider when planning or improving your garden.

  • Flowering Bulbs

    Nothing says spring more than a bulb garden! Flower bulbs are an easy way to add splashes of color to your garden and bulbs are among the most anticipated flowers — their appearance signals a new garden season and the return of color to the bleak late-winter landscape.

  • Monthly Gardening Tips

    Plan your work ahead with these monthly gardening checklists! Each month-to-month lists of gardening tips are appropriate for the southwest gardener for that time of year including what to plan, plant, prune, maintain, plus weed and pest control and fun projects.

  • Desert Gardening Tips

    Gardeners in Santa Cruz County, Arizona are able to take pleasure in having flowers year round! Annuals can be planted year round while wildflowers seedlings can be planted twice a year. Here are some quick tips by season of flowering trees, shrubs and perennials that do really well and will flourish as years go by.

  • The Wildlife-friendly Garden

    A butterfly garden is an easy way to see more butterflies and to help them, since many natural butterfly habitats have been lost to human activities. It is easy to increase the number and variety of butterflies in your yard. Simply grow the plants the caterpillars like to eat, and plants that adult butterflies feed on!

  • Fire-Resistant Plants

    Fire-resistant plants are those that do not readily ignite from a flame or other ignition sources. These plants can be damaged or even killed by fire; however, their foliage and stems do not significantly contribute to the fuel and, therefore, the fire's intensity.

  • Garden Safety Tips

    While our backyards and gardens are usually peaceful havens from the world's hustle and bustle, their upkeep can lead to injury when proper safety precautions are not followed. Each year about 400,000 people are treated in hospital emergency departments for injuries related to the use of lawn and garden tools.

  • Plant Selection Guides

    Your biggest challenge you will face when designing your garden in Santa Cruz County, AZ will be in selecting your plants for your garden. When organizing plants, the first step is to create the vertical and horizontal layers and then create a repeating pattern of plants within the garden to visually connect the garden spaces.

  • Botanical Gardens

    Gardening in the desert southwest presents its own set of challenges and rewards. Arizona's botanical gardens offer the world's finest collection of arid plants from deserts of the world in a unique outdoor settings. Arizona's botanical gardens offer educational classes, and monthly gardening calenders.