AZ Summer Landscaping with Desert Landscape Plants

With temperatures in the triple digits four months out of the year in Phoenix, landscaping your property takes special considerations. Desert environments present us with some landscaping challenges, as well as offering some unique opportunities.

The biggest challenges are finding the right plants, trees, and flowers that will flourish in the hot and dry conditions. At the same time, these challenges can be seen as opportunities. Embracing the desert landscape can provide the chance to highlight the special beauty of desert flora.

To help you create your own unique desert landscape, here are some plant, tree, and flower options that do well in low and high deserts climates:

Trees for shade and wind control    

  • Low desert areas – Chilean mesquite, willow acacia, desert willow, shoestring acacia, ironwood, African sumac, and Palo Verde.
  • High desert areas – incense cedar, honey locust, Arizona ash, and honey mesquite

Shrubs for privacy, hedges, or foundation plantings

  • Low desert areas – bougainvillea, chaparral sage, cape honeysuckle, and deer grass
  • High desert areas – mahonia, Damask rose, and salvias.

For seasonal color

  • Low desert areas – costal ice plant, damianita daisy, and desert marigold.
  • High desert areas – English lavender, cup flower (Nierembergia hippomanica), California poppies, and cosmos.

For year-round enjoyment

  • Low desert areas – barrel cactus, desert spoon (Dasylirion wheeleri), Agave Americana, or prickly pear (Opuntia).                                                                                                         
  • High desert areas – yucca plants                               


The Arizona Municipal Water Users Association (AMWUA) offers a great resource for home owners and business owners that want to know what are the best plants, trees, shrubs, and so much more, to use in this unique landscape.

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