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Garden Design Tips from a Desert Garden

Get inspired by these great tips from Tucson gardener Tag Merrick on how to make your garden exceptional:


The desert is boiling hot in the summer and freezing cold in the winter. It is full of spiny, prickly, gnarly plants and trees with funny, distorted shapes that fit perfectly with the harsh, dry, rock-strewn environment I tell people to keep those attributes in mind when they design or build a desert garden. Leave the wisteria and boxwood plants for East Coast gardens. And remember these four principles, which can apply wherever you may garden:

1. Remember that your garden is like a photograph. Bring the focal point to the front, don’t clutter the foreground and provide a background that doesn’t overwhelm. Use color sparingly but effectively. A painted stucco wall can be a stand-out in an otherwise dull garden.
2. Nature is random. Don’t space plants evenly in the garden; use groupings, in multiples of odd numbers. For interest, add an anomaly, like a metal sculpture.
3. Remain faithful to your overall design theme. Don’t stick a pink Victorian birdbath in the middle of a contemporary garden.
4. Select plants that have a proven history of survival and success in the local environment. Local nurseries are the best source for sure-fire survivors.

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Want to bring a little desert flair to your garden? Check out the Project Download: Terra Cotta Wall Planters.

Learn more insightful garden design tips with the download Design Perspectives.

Save time and money by downloading the Nursery School: Affordable Garden Design Online Workshop, where you will learn how to successfully shop at any nursery visit!

Expand your garden design skills with Landscape Ideas You Can Use, which offers ways to choose structures, surfaces and plants that can transform your yard into a spectacular garden.

Design a new bed and prepare your landscape with this easy-to-download PDF, Smart Gardening Guide Step by Step: Preparing a New Bed.

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