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“Painted Desert” Inspired Landscaping

April 7, 2022

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If you haven’t visited the Desert Southwest in Springtime, it’s a definite “must add” to your bucket list as one of your future travel destinations.  While The Spring Season is short, Arizona in general, in addition to the infamous “Painted Desert” of badlands region, adjacent to the Grand Canyon, have inspired many musicians and are reflected in the lyrics of songs from Pat Benatar, 10,000 Maniacs and Jamie O’Neal.  Perhaps it has something to do with the beautiful landscape that can move you and fill your soul; much like music.  The desert comes to life, filled with brilliant color, floral perfumes and never disappoints in creating nature’s picture-perfect landscape fondly referred to as the Painted Desert.  It is this annual event that is the inspiration and backdrop for this months Spring Landscaping inspiration and trend secrets. 

Here we will share some of our favorite, simple yet statement making flowers and plants, to create the same, picture-perfect look in your own yard, patio and home.  Don’t have a green thumb, no worries, we share some easy to care for indoor plants and other faux décor ideas that will bring the same enriched florals and color to freshen up any room for Spring and Summer later in the article. 

Southwest Landscaping Trends and Conditions

Low water and drought resistant landscaping never goes out of style in desert climates.  That doesn’t have to mean you are limited to cacti and rock gardens, nor do you have to sacrifice color.  While we have selected our favorites, all of which are popular year-round, in the southwest desert region, most will also thrive in the Spring and Summer season across the country. 

Gold Flame Honeysuckle that produces rich, long-lasting pink and yellow flowers from April through October.  This plant thrives best if supported by a trellis, fence or pergola and prefers dryer soil and climate. 

Sweet Alyssum, commonly used as a bedding plant and comes in a variety of colors (white, pink, lavender, red and yellow), works well as an edging plant and as an airy filler among young perennials to bring earl color and fill your flower beds, walkways and even planters early in the season. 

Cosmos bring varying height to your landscaping.  It’s hard to beat this daisy like flower is one of the essentials for any summer garden, with their brilliant colors and frilly texture


The Lantana is another must have, in this climate and at the top of our list due to its intricate that blooms in gorgeous colors of orange, purple, red, yellow and multi-color.  This perennial bush and trailing varieties are a big attraction to butterflies and hummingbirds and bring any landscaping design to life, require little maintenance, tolerant of somewhat dry conditions and offer an extended blooming period.                                           

Pentas are sparkling, star-shaped flowers that bloom all summer in bold shades of red, white, lavender, purple, and pink. They are sun lovers that grow around 18 to 36 inches. They spread with multi-stemmed compact plants that are continuously covered with the clusters of red, white, lilac, and pink flowers. In the evening, sprinkle water over the plants.   

Living Wall and Vertical Garden

Creating a living wall or vertical garden, gives your patio and outside space a unique look and the benefit of shade and privacy.  The versatility of this application allows for designs the any height or width you need and will accommodate a variety of plants to include cacti, succulents, colorful bedding plants, assorted grasses and other low-water plants as well as herbs, ferns and vegetables such as peas, lettuce, hot peppers and others that will add color and bring life to any outdoor space large or small. 

A Living Gallery Wall is also a great way to soften concrete or brick walls and soften hard landscaping and creating a plant gallery. To create the look, simply hang a variety of planters, trestle pieces or chicken wire.  If you want to really mix it up and stylize, we love the application of old picture frames, mailboxes, small crates and even small chain link fencing strung intentionally placed with a creeping + climbing vine such as ivy, passionflower or jasmine that bring in unique and fresh design element.  If constructed properly, and depending on location, you can combine both shade and sun-loving perennials.  This is an area you can let your imagination run wild and design to your personal taste and style. 


Decomposed Granite

A decomposed granite walkway or path adds an interesting look to any overall landscape design. Commonly used for its versatility, variety of colors and natural look, makes this ideal for landscaping in the Southwest as well as your project.  Decomposed granite has a finer texture than gravel and offers better stability. Use to design a unique space for a fire pit, seating area, edging around walkways and turf areas, raised garden beds or use as mulch around plants and trees. 

While we love to incorporate decomposed granite into our landscaping, it can have some downsides and thoughtful placement of this material is important.   Decomposed granite is generally made of fine and smaller particles of granite, silt and clay.  If using for walkways, we recommend using staggering pavers or stepping-stones and compacting the decomposed granite, giving it an appearance of a hard and stable look.  It is always a good and affordable option.    Although it does drain and dry rather quickly, the main problem you will run into, is that is does get muddy after rainfall or heavy snow melt and requires light maintenance, depending on areas of use such as walkways, seating areas and other heavy foot traffic applications that may need surface raking once dried.  We do not recommend for climates with heavy rainfall as this material does not do well with moisture for extended periods of time. 

Get ready for spring by updating your landscape with a fresh, new look.

– everything HOSPITALITY




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