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Favorite Landscape Design Tips for Phoenix

By Sarah Finazzo February 20, 2023

drought tolerant landscape in Arizona

Arizona is known for its beautiful desert landscapes and unique climate. The hot, arid climate of presents a unique challenge for homeowners looking to create a beautiful and functional outdoor space. From harsh sunlight to high temperatures and droughts, Phoenix's weather requires careful planning and consideration when it comes to landscaping.

Phoenix is one of Tilly's most popular regions so here we break down a little more about our landscaping services and our design practices. We'll discuss the key features and materials commonly used in Phoenix landscaping, as well as some tips and tricks to create a beautiful, low-maintenance landscape that can thrive in the city's climate.

What are common materials used in Phoenix landscapes?

Landscaping in Phoenix is characterized by the use of desert-adapted plants and materials that can withstand the hot and dry climate. Here are some common features you may find:

  1. Gravel and rock: Instead of grass, many homeowners opt for gravel or rock as a low-maintenance ground cover that doesn't require watering.
  2. Cacti and succulents: These plants are well-suited to the desert climate and come in a wide variety of shapes and sizes, from towering saguaro cacti to small, low-growing succulents.
  3. Desert trees: Trees such as mesquite, palo verde, and ironwood are commonly used in Phoenix landscaping. They provide shade and can help cool the surrounding area.
  4. Hardscaping: Patios, walkways, and other hardscaping features are often made of materials like flagstone or pavers that can withstand the heat and don't require much maintenance.
  5. Water features: While water is scarce in the desert, many homeowners choose to incorporate water features such as pools into their landscaping for visual appeal and to create a relaxing atmosphere.

phoenix landscape so

What design elements do we consider in Phoenix?

The biggest consideration in Phoenix is drought-tolerant landscaping. Droughts make water conservation a top priority. Some key features of this practice include:

  1. Plant selection: It is important to choose plants for your property that are adapted to the desert climate and can survive on minimal water. Native plants such as desert marigold, agave, and yucca are popular choices, as are cacti and succulents. These plants are well-suited to the hot and dry conditions and require minimal watering.
  2. Irrigation: Efficient irrigation is crucial anywhere water resources are limited. Drip irrigation systems are commonly used in drought-tolerant landscaping as they deliver water directly to the plant roots, reducing evaporation and waste. Some homeowners also incorporate rainwater harvesting systems to capture and reuse rainwater. Ultimately, having native plants that are happy to go a little thirsty is your best option!
  3. Hardscaping: Hardscaping features such as gravel, rock, and boulders are commonly used in drought-tolerant landscape. A beautiful rock garden is one of our favorite elements! These materials require little maintenance and can help reduce the amount of water needed to maintain a landscape.
  4. Maintenance: While drought-tolerant planting requires less maintenance than traditional landscaping, some maintenance is still necessary to keep your landscape looking its best. You may need to clear debris from artificial turf, rake gravel and will need to monitor your plants.

landscape image from tilly, landscaping business

What are popular landscaping trends in Arizona?

We love looking at how landscape trends across the country differ. With the extended outdoor season, there are some fantastic outdoor themes we see in Arizona to enjoy life outside. This includes:

Ultimate Outdoor Living Spaces

With Phoenix's warm and sunny weather, many homeowners turn their outdoor spaces into extended functional living areas. This trend includes creating outdoor kitchens, outdoor bars and gaming areas so you can enjoy the beautiful weather.


Sustainability is an increasingly popular trend in landscaping. Homeowners are looking for ways to conserve water, reduce energy usage, and incorporate environmentally-friendly features into their landscapes. This includes using native plants, reducing lawn, incorporating solar lighting, natural shade options and other energy-efficient elements.

Amplify the Desert Feel

Southwestern style designs are popular and often feature fun elements like corten steel edging, terracotta pottery, warm earth tones, shade sails and more. Modern garden style is also popular in the desert. This translates to a minimal plant palette, strategic design and clean lines.

3d render showing a finished product from Tilly, a landscape design company
backyard from tilly, a landscape design company
a customers backyard in Arizona from tilly, a landscape design company
a bright wall for privacy from neighbors
a customers backyard in Arizona from tilly, a landscape design company
a customers backyard in Arizona from tilly, a landscape design company
a customers backyard in Arizona from tilly, a landscape design company
Tilly landscaper patio design with privacy wall
a quality tilly landscape service project
no lawn design from tilly landscape service
house with no lawn from tilly landscape service
Tilly projects in Phoenix

About Tilly

Tilly’s easy online landscape design process has been embraced by homeowners across the country and in Canada. From Arizona, Texas, Florida, and Colorado - we have a team for you! Tilly designs front yards, backyard or your entire property. We match you with a professional landscape designer who is familiar with your region to help you create the perfect custom plan for your outdoor space. 

To start our process you’ll fill out a questionnaire about your property that helps our design team understand your goals, needs and existing landscape. You can add 3d renders, lighting plans or side yards to your design package. You’ll then connect with your designer on a video call to meet them, show them your space and talk about your priorities.

When you receive your design you will be able to purchase your plants at a discounted rate through our team of plant experts and have them delivered directly to your curb. Tilly can also provide recommendations of local installers who can help you complete your landscape project.

Tilly also offers individual DIY projects. With DIY Spaces, you are matched with a landscape designer who will design a custom project for your yard. This will include a scaled drawing, lists of materials (which you can order directly through Tilly to install) and detailed installation instructions to help even a first time DIY’er tackle a yard project!

Wherever you are in your yard journey, we can help!

Read more about: Landscape Design Tips, Sustainable Design, Tilly Portfolio