The Perfect Desert Landscaping Ideas for Spring

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(Shade Villa, Urban Design Associates)

April is the perfect time to start getting things rolling for your personal oasis, backdoor garden, or landscaping project. No matter what your plan is — and if you need ideas, we have plenty of them for outdoor living spaces — you can create a beautiful backyard that suits your taste and will thrive in the summer heat. 

To some, gardening in Arizona may seem like a fruitless endeavor, but to those who know better, desert landscaping is actually very rewarding. You just need to know the right plants and the right time of year to get started. 

So whether you’re starting a new project or giving new life to your existing blooms, we at Urban Design Associates, the premier Scottsdale Architects, have some tips for you. 

Spring Landscaping/Gardening Maintenance

Spring in the Valley is one of the most beautiful times of the year. The weather is exquisite and the sun is always shining. It’s the best time to be out and enjoying nature before the summer really gets into full swing. That also means it’s the best time to be planting, pruning, cleaning, and maintaining your yard, garden, and landscape. 

There are important garden tasks to do in March, such as pruning frost-damaged plants, thinning fruit trees, and harvesting. 

If you’re looking to start a project, the spring ground is usually very easy to work with. The morning dew keeps the clay from solidifying, while the sun isn’t strong enough to dry everything out right away. It’s also a great time for plants to take to their environment, as they won’t experience too much of a shock with the weather. 

Grass will also thrive during this time! If you’re not into grass, synthetic options and gravel are easier to lay in the spring due to the longer daylight, softer ground, and pleasant temperature. 

Planting Your Desert Landscaping Oasis

The key to desert landscaping is knowing what plants will thrive here. It’s no different than planting up north — all you need is a little know-how, a green thumb, and some planning for the perfect arrangement. 

If you’re building a new home, your architect will know exactly how to design your oasis to match your new home and the harsh Arizona sun, so you won’t have to worry about a thing. 

But if you’re doing it yourself, we’ve got you covered. 

Fruit, Vegetables, and Gourds to Plant in April: 

  • Dill
  • Cilantro
  • Watermelon
  • Summer Squash
  • Spinach
  • Scallions
  • Radishes
  • Southern Peas
  • Peanuts
  • Okra
  • Melons
  • Cucumbers
  • Corn
  • Carrots
  • Cantaloupe
  • Snap Beans 

Or if you like flowers, here are a few of our favorites. They all thrive in the Arizona heat too! 


Adeniums are known as the Desert Rose. They’re a blooming perennial succulent that grows thick stems and colorful flowers, reminiscent of plumeria.

They’re quite beautiful and can be a little finicky at first, but once they’re thriving, your backyard will be full of bright colors and subtle aromas. They can also be transferred indoors once the winter comes around to keep them looking their best. 

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(Mediterranean Oasis, Urban Design Associates)


Arizonans are very familiar with this bright flowering bush. Bougainvilleas are colorful perennials that come in many different colors, including orange, pink, coral, red, and purple. They also can be a shrub or high climbing vines, depending on your preference! 

They love the sun and grow amazingly well in clay with very little care, making them the perfect plant for your yard. In fact, Bougainvilleas thrive when they’re neglected! So if you want a low-maintenance splash of color for your yard, these are right for you. 


Celosia is a striking addition to any garden or yard. They’re unique in shape and come in so many vibrant colors that it’s nearly impossible to choose just one. They bloom in every color of the Arizona sunset, from golden to purple. 

They’re great for borders, flowerbeds, containers, and baskets, and look lovely indoors too! Celosia likes rich, well-drained soil with moderate water, and they prefer the morning sun. This means planting them in the east, north, or south will provide the best results! 

And how do you best take care of these flowers? We have the answer for that too. 

Efficient Ways To Water Your Garden

You don’t have to water your whole yard to keep your plants alive.  

Xeriscaping is the practice of designing landscapes to reduce or eliminate the need for irrigation. It’s smart and efficient planning that places drips and soaker shoes directly at the base of your plants to help reduce evaporation. 

Xeriscaping is widely popular in Arizona, so if you’re planning a new landscape for your home, or to go with your new home, make sure it’s included in the design. Designing around the idea of it makes it much more efficient. This means planting similar flowers close together, and flowers with similar water needs together too. It also helps if grass is replaced with soil, rocks, mulch, or drought-tolerant native plant species

It is extremely efficient as well. In Novato, California, residents were offered conservation incentives to convert from traditional lawns to xeriscaping. The city’s water department estimated that the houses that chose to xeriscape saved 120 gallons of water a day.

And that’s it! Those are our tips for designing and maintaining the perfect garden — tips we use every time we design a new custom home for our clients. We hope you find them useful, and we hope you enjoy your spring!