These examples of the terraced desert landscape are of the project in progress. See: Desert Southwest Design 10 to see this project finished and planted.
The slope in the first example wasn't so bad to cause run off and erosion that we couldn't have just covered it with landscape fabric and rock. However, other than design reasons, good saturation, xeriscaping principles, and water run off was still a consideration so we went ahead and terraced it with a small retaining wall.
The homes on this street are built on a hill that stair steps the lots down. And most of the yards exhibit excess run off. This was our solution for the front yard design area.
This side is a little more drastic. As I stated before, the dirt on this side had eroded back to the foundation of the home. The pre fab retaining wall was the most cost effective solution for the area as compared to natural stone walls and concrete block walls. Pre fab concrete retaining wall blocks like this are an easy project for most do it yourselfers.
We also had to create drainage that wouldn't flood the neighbors yard as well as save the foundation of the home. And since this lot sloped naturally toward the back, we accented the slope and created drainage through the back fence that will drain out into the desert. With this and all the different elements in place, this terraced desert front yard design turned out to be very functional as well as beautiful.