Arizona Water Awareness

Tips for Plants and Landscape Design

      Plant Selection
    • Select low water-use plants that are adapted to arid environments, and group plants according to their water needs.
    • Select native trees to attract birds and provide wildlife corridors in urban environments. They are also best accustomed to natural precipitation and soil conditions, thus thrive with less input than non-natives.
    • Select plants that will grow best in your yard's microclimates, from sunny and hot to shady and cool.
    • When shopping for low water-use plants, look for the following adaptations: small and/or tough leaves; pale-colored stems and leaves; waxy or hairy coverings; water-storing leaves, stems or roots.
    • Consider each plant's mature size and place them where they have plenty of room to grow. Excessive pruning can shorten your plant's lifespan.
    • Plant low-water-use trees to shade east, south, and west-facing walls. It will cool your house in the hotter months and you'll save up to 30% off your energy bill.
    • Before you begin, gather ideas, make a wish list, draw a plan and learn about your options. Observe and document the conditions of each location throughout the seasons before planting.
    • Bring along a camera when visiting xeriscape demonstration gardens so you can remember the plants and design elements you like.
    • Visit your local xeriscape demonstration garden as the seasons change to get an idea of how the plants look at different times of the year.
    • When touring a xeriscape garden, take note of plants mature sizes to determine if they would fit in your landscape.
    • You may wish to find a landscaper with a WaterSense labeled irrigation certification; this ensures that landscapers can design, install and maintain water-efficient irrigation systems.
    • Reduce or eliminate large or unused lawn areas; plan small areas of grass for recreational use or other functions.