Ever heard of xeriscaping?
It's a term that came into vogue in the semi-arid Western United States back in the 1980s. Xeros is the Greek word for dry. . . and it's the botanical term for drought, as well. So you can see it's an applicable term for trying to landscape in any location where, at best, the rainfall can be termed erratic!
The trick to xeriscaping is to maximize what rainfall you do get. Sure, it's possible to have lush gardens if you're willing to pay for the vast amount of water you'll need to maintain them, but frankly landscaping that is not so lush have their own beauty as well.
It all comes down to planning.
Before you begin your landscaping, you must know the ground you're working with thoroughly. Take your climate conditions into account at every stage of the process.
The first thing you'll need to do is analyze your yard's soil and improve it to increase water retention. If you have a huge backyard, you'll probably only want to turn a small portion of it into a garden, but this can easily be integrated with the rest of the yard through proper design.
Select plants that are well adapted to the area in which you live. The more water-thrifty the plants, the better they'll thrive. Get advice from your local gardening stores to find out exactly what kind of plants these might be, and make sure you know the pH balance of your soil. Group plants together in your yard according to how much water they'll need. In this way, you can have some “water-thirsty" plants in your yard which you can water all at the same time, without having to waste time going from spot to spot.
Another thing to take into consideration is the slope of your land? Does it slope, and if so, in which way? Such rainfall as you do get will run off in that direction, so that's where you'll want to plant your garden. Or, create an artificial slope towards another area if you want to improve the view from your kitchen window, for example.
Keeping plants in movable pots is always an easy solution, grouping them together and changing that grouping whenever the spirit moves you.
But the starkness and beauty of the desert landscape itself need not be overlooked. Add a simple Japanese garden with white sand and rocks and you've got a perfect place to meditate. Build a small water-garden that recycles the water at all times and you'll enjoy the gentle sound of trickling water as you concentrate on your book, or while you're watching the birds fly by.
So, look for ideas on xeriscaping. As always, the web is your one-stop ideas shop. Try Xeriscape Colorado to begin with. You'll find a vast compendium of ideas, tips and tricks there.
Xeriscaping is not just for use in those dry portions of the country. It's time that water conservation was practiced by everyone - even in those areas where you think water will never be scarce. Take a look at Earth Easy's website for ideas on how you can implement water conservation in your garden.
Andrew Caxton is the editor of different articles published at http://www.lawn-mowers-and-garden-tractors.com , with reference to lawn care and gardening . Find more publications about landscaping at his website.