The front yard part of this design was so easy to create using the Southwest and desert plants that are adapted to our area. While the slope isn't so steep that the retaining wall is totally necessary, it does accent and contain the plantings and create a lot of interest and desert Southwest atmosphere.
A simple grade from the home to the curb would have worked just as fine as the retaining walls did. However, as far as curb appeal goes and to frame the plants and desert scene we're trying to create, this works much nicer.
The choice of vegetation is very simple with native plants and those adaptive to our desert southwest climate. The choices for this design also include the native desert plant "ocotillo" which is the tallest cactus in the picture. It not only creates height but also provides some neutral gray color.
As you can see, the rest of the planting scheme is very simple and follows a consistent setting of just a few varieties and colors. The plants here are Coreopsis (Yellow), Red Tip Yucca (Red), Lavender (Purple and Neutral), Texas Sage (Purple and Neutral), and Ocotillo (Red and Neutral).
While this isn't a typical front yard in most areas, it is becoming quite typical for our area and most of the desert southwest areas like New Mexico and Arizona. This design uses xeriscaping principles. And as you can see, xeriscaping (zee-ri-scaping) can be quite beautiful. It's not just about rocks and cactus and the principles can be applied to most any garden design style.