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Desert Gardening: Planting Along a Pathway

Brought to you by Lowe's Creative Ideas

Liven up the plantings along pathways to your front door, back door or shed with these tips from Lowe's desert gardening expert Scott Calhoun.

Trailing groundcover Dichondra 'Silver Falls' softens the square edges of these flagstone pavers.
'Silver Falls' spreads quickly over the warm months, growing prettily into a gray carpet.

Edges often are the trickiest part of garden design. What do you do where the edge of a pathway stops and the garden starts? How do you lead people down a garden path? The tips below will give you a few ideas.

In the first photo a handsome flagstone stepping-stone pathway meanders through a north-facing courtyard in Tucson, Arizona. Trailing Dichondra 'Silver Falls', which appreciates some extra water and shade, lines the pathway. Other plants include rain lilies (Zephranthes candida) and red justicia (Justicia candicans). The photo shows what the garden looked like the first year after planting. In year two the garden filled in, as the photo illustrates:

A bold plant by the pathway - like the orange-flowering cape aloe pictured here���adds drama.

A general rule when designing a planting area along a path is to place the shorter plants closest to the pathway. This rule is useful, but it can be broken. Here I used a spiky orange flowering aloe (Aloe ferox) to pop up amid sages and grasses. You even can situate plants with thorns near pathways - as long as they aren't too near!

Using lots of native annuals and perennials makes for an electric spring bloom beside this walkway to a front door.

Adding lots of colorful native plants beside this pathway brings excitement to the plantings leading to the front door. Plants include Parry's penstemon, sundrops and desert bluebells. Also notice how the three low concrete pots next to the pathway create repetition and lead you to the front door.

Low-growing evergreens, like this silver germander, are excellent for adding year-around interest to desert gardens.

In addition to wildflowers you'll want to include a few evergreens for year-round foliage and interest. My latest darling is a little gray creeping germander (Teucrium aroanium)..

See more Desert Gardening Articles.

Want to see more? Watch my video.