High-Desert Environments Present Unique Landscape Design Challenges - By: Stephen Daniels

Your high-desert yard can provide you with a low-maintenance, low-water-use wonderland. If you are unfamiliar with creating this type of landscape, you might be well advised to consult with an expert landscape designer to help you deal with some unique climate challenges that require some advanced planning.

High desert areas are defined as being over 2,000 feet above sea level and receiving less than 10 inches of precipitation per year. This means your yard is subject to low moisture, occasional high wind and extreme temperature swings. There may also be watering restrictions imposed by your local government. You and your landscape contractor will need to spend some time discussing:

* Budget

* Ability or desire to do routine maintenance

* Soil composition and amendments required, or suitability of plants for the soil that is there

* A landscape design using natural slopes (or some artfully crafted ones) that allow available water to flow downhill to your thirstiest plans

* Drip irrigation

* Grouping plants with similar water needs together

* Use of native species that are adapted to the climate, known as xeriscaping

Before your first trip to the nursery, consider the size of your yard, the pattern of sun and shade and what kind of a result you desire. If you prefer a simpler style, look into trees and plants that will not interfere with each other. For drainage issues, you will also need to consider what materials and equipment are necessary to fix them.

The use of a good drip-irrigation system can address maintenance and water-use issues simultaneously. For instance, emitters can control the rate of water flows to differing groupings automatically. By using photovoltaic timers that turn the water on when the sunlight fades and the daylight heat drops, you will conserve water and your plants will have their thirst quenched more efficiently. Once this irrigation setup is in place, your maintenance work is very much reduced.

An interesting way to cut down on your energy use is to plant appropriate shrubs and trees around your air conditioning unit. This can increase its cooling efficiency by 10 percent. Conversely, the trees you install around your patio and other areas of your house can allow more light in during the darker months when they shed their leaves, and of course, welcome shade during hotter months.

If your yard is rocky, consider taking advantage of that by installing a rock garden. Augment your rocks with boulders of varying sizes and colors, and plant succulents such as ice plants, aloe vera or scarlett paintbrush.

In addition, the use of mulch around your plants helps slow down heat build-up, control weed growth and holds in moisture longer.

Approached with some planning and expert help, your high-desert home can be graced by some very beautiful, unique and planet-friendly landscaping.

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Author Resource : If you're looking for a landscape designer(http://www.fourseasonslandscaping.org/) in Colorado to help create your dream yard, internet marketing specialist Stephen Daniels recommends Four Seasons Landscaping. This full-service landscaping and design firm incorporates your personal style into the environment they create.