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Gardening is of course a wonderful hobby, but desert dwellers face many challenges when setting up a backyard garden.
From the quality of the soil to a lack of rainfall, desert gardeners face many more obstacles than those who live in more temperate climates. That does not mean, however, that those living in the desert must give up their dreams of a lush and beautiful garden.
There are some proven techniques gardeners can use to adapt to these harsh conditions, and a beautiful garden is certainly a welcome sight in the middle of the desert. If you find it difficult to create desert gardens, you can find gardening and landscaping specialists in our directory.
Desert gardeners have many choices when it comes time to plant, and those living in hot and dry climates have other advantages as well. One of the most significant advantages of desert gardening is a long growing season something those living in the northeast can only dream of.
Adding an assortment of cacti and drought-resistant shrubbery completes the look, creating a beautiful oasis in the desert. In fact native species offer many advantages for the desert gardener, including a built-in hardiness that may be lacking in imported varieties.
While it may not be realistic to expect water-loving plants and flowers to bloom in the desert, there are many water-conserving species of flowers, shrubs and other plants to serve as beautiful alternatives.
Of course no gardener can afford to ignore factors such as soil chemistry, but a soil chemistry test is even more important for those establishing a desert garden. Getting the soil tested will help the new gardener to determine the best mixture of plants, shrubs and flowers, as well as determining which soil additives will be most beneficial.
The type of soil will also help to determine how much artificial watering will be needed for the garden to thrive. This is particularly important for gardeners living in drought-prone areas, since restrictions on water usage will certainly come into effect at some point.
In addition, many desert soils will be deficient in nitrogen, and a soil test can help determine if such a deficiency is present. The results of the soil test will help to determine what type of soil supplements and fertilizers will be required, helping to get the new garden off to a great start.
The design of the garden will also help to conserve water, and desert gardeners will need to plan their gardens accordingly. Raised flower beds, windbreaks and other garden elements can help to reduce erosion and save water, resulting in a more beautiful and water-efficient garden landscape.
How the garden is arranged can also have a significant impact on its success. Many gardeners in desert climates find that establishing small specialty gardens in a variety of settings is a good choice.
These microclimates can be tailored to the nature of the area, with a variety of flowers growing on a shady patio while native dessert grasses thrive in a sunny spot in the backyard. Permanent structures can also provide a great environment for a variety of microclimates and small gardens. Even in the desert the areas surrounding roofs, sidewalks walls and other structures can have high levels of runoff.
Directing this water flow to the garden can help desert gardeners make the most of the limited moisture they have available. By efficiently capturing runoff water that would otherwise wash away, smart gardeners can reduce the need for costly artificial watering.
Gardeners can even create a miniature oasis in the landscape by planting moisture-loving flowers in those spots that get the most runoff, creating a colorful counterpoint to the surrounding desert landscape.
Gardeners in desert areas can also use their landscape elements to conserve water while beautifying the exterior of their homes. Planting a variety of small trees native to the desert environment is a great way to create a natural windbreak, and this windbreak can help to reduce erosion and conserve precious moisture. Efficient watering is another important factor for the desert gardener to consider.
Installing a high-quality water-efficient drip irrigation system can significantly reduce water usage while still providing the plants with all the moisture they need to survive in harsh conditions. In addition to lower water consumption, a drip irrigation system will also encourage the residents of the garden to develop extensive root systems.