Desert Southwest Front Yard Design

Ideas for adding a Southwest, Santa Fe, Desert, Xeriscape flavor to Front Yards

Compared to most front yards, this desert style southwest landscape design is quite big. Even though it's a big yard already, we've made it seem even larger than it actually is by using a lot of curves in the walkways and flower beds. The mind sees this as being more travel and farther distance.

desert southwest front yard design ideas

Project Pictures

Pictures of the finished project
Desert Front Yard Landscaping Construction

Drought Tolerant Plants Used In This Desert Southwest Design

  • Ocotillo
  • Cherry Sage
  • Texas Sage
  • Red Tip Yucca (Hesperaloe)
  • Stipa Grass
  • Feather Reed Grass (Karl Foerster)
  • Desert Willow - Tree
  • Mexican Elder - Tree
  • Coreopsis
  • Drought Tolerant Roses
  • Hybrid Fescue - Lawn Turf

Methods, Ideas, and Materials

Regardles of landscape design style whether it be desert, tropical, or whatever, curved elements such as walkways, boundaries, and beds can sometimes give the illusion of extended space. The brain and eye can recognize the additional distance traveled from one point to the next. In this case, the curves add expanse to the yard as well as taking away from the sharp square corners of the front of the home. Find out more about illusions and small spaces at small gardens.

Before we started, what you see was a large expanse of lawn with a single brick walkway leading from the front gate to front door. It was very dull and lifeless.

The clients main request for her design plans was less lawn. I knew that I wanted to border the entire front yard in bedding but that still seemed a bit uninteresting. My eight year old daughter suggested making the entire border a flagstone walkway. And so we did.

What this did was make this landscape more of a garden while the flagstone added to the Southwest feel of an Arizona landscape. Now you could take a journey around the pathway and enjoy the entire yard.

The lawn was a messy mix of several different grasses. So we removed the entire mess and replaced the new lawn area with Fescue sod.

We've used basically all native and adaptive plants except in the shady mulch bed area. The plants in our southwest area are perfect for this style of design.

Because this design is of a xeriscaping nature but has a traditional lawn area, an automatic sprinkler/drip system was installed. Automatic watering systems will give you the freedom to meter water needs to specific areas which will save you a lot of money in resources. It will also keep you from becoming a slave to your landscape or garden.

The mulch bed area under the tall pines is in contrast with the southwest style of the rest of the garden. However, we wanted to create a separate "room" that would create interest. So we used the majestic pines and shady area to make a foresty, quiet sitting area.

The rest of the ground cover consists of two different types and color of rock. These elements helped us to create the right design feel, shape, and contrast with color as well as different textures. All ground cover areas are under lain with top quality landscape fabric to help insure maintenance free border beds.

This desert southwest front yard design is actually a good example of symmetrical and asymetrical design. This just goes to show that almost any shape, style, or ideas you can imagine for your landscaping is a possibility.


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