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Desert Gardening: Tips for Sustainable Gardening

Brought to you by Lowe's Creative Ideas

Want to make your desert garden more sustainable? Here are five tips for the southwest by Lowe's regional gardening expert Scott Calhoun.

Succulent gardens are loaded with color and save water to boot.

Sustainable gardening in the desert is about conserving water and protecting the environment. The tips below will help you do just that.

Tip 1: Don’t skimp on succulents (including cactus) in your garden. Succulents provide color, texture, and interesting shapes -- all with minimal water use and upkeep. In the photo, Queen Victoria agave mingles with ice plant and a backdrop of aloes.

Tip 2: Save money on your utility bill by planting deciduous trees, such as the native mesquite tree (Prosopis velutina), on the west and south sides of your home. They will reduce your summer cooling bills and provide shady outdoor living spaces.

Tip 3: Sow wildflowers seeds in the gaps between plants. Wildflowers, such as desert bluebells and Mexican gold poppies, only germinate and bloom when there’s enough rainfall to sustain them. They go dormant when dry weather arrives.


Tip 4: Use permeable paving materials such as sand-set brick, flagstone, or concrete that allow rainwater to percolate into the soil, where surrounding plants can use it.


Tip 5: When selecting a water feature, choose a small design that recirculates water. (Running the fountain pump only when you are outdoors saves water and electricity, too).

What sustainable techniques do you use in your desert garden to save time and money?