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Yes, we live in the desert. Yes, we expect it to be dry. Did you know that Bagdad, California on Route 66 in the Mojave Desert  holds the record for the longest dry streak in the United States? The small desert community had no measurable precipitation from October 3, 1912 to November 8, 1914, 767 straight days.

Yes, even though we live near the Colorado River we are in the midst of a record setting drought. Did you know that Needles, California recently broke their record for consecutive days without rain? Still, with proper planning and the assistance of the professionals from Baron Services your yard can present the illusion of a desert oasis.

While cacti, yucca, and maybe even a Joshua Tree may be included in a desert landscaping plan, with proper planning these will be used to enhance a beautiful setting. The first step to creating a desert garden is soil preparation. Desert soils by nature are sandy, rocky and void of nutritious organic mater.

Once the soil has been prepared, the next step is taking steps to ensure plants are adequately watered. Even cacti need water. If you have been exploring the desert this winter you might have noticed that the cactus are suffering from our ongoing drought.

But to much water can also create problems for desert plants. And there is an obvious need for water conversation. The answer is a well planned irrigation system. This includes zoning for the grouping of plants according to their water needs. Tying the zones together is a drip irrigation system that will loose little water due to evaporation or run off.

Next is the selection of plants. This begins by evaluating plants that are native to the area such as mesquite or Palo Verde trees. They are accustomed to the dry, hot climate, are drought-tolerant, and are incredibly low maintenance. 

Succulents are also ideal plants for desert gardening. These are water-retaining plants that are suitable for arid climates and soils. Some will even collect and store water to survive long hot, dry periods. In this category you have cacti, agave, yucca, and aloe.

For a bit of color consider drought resistant plants such as sage, begonia, yellow columbine, and desert perennials. There are also an array of plants suitable for ground cover. These include California fuchsia and wine cups. Ground cover plants can help reduce evaporation but there is something to consider.

Desert dwellers are attracted to the shaded areas created by ground cover plants. A long eared jack rabbit might make for a cute addition to the garden. Snakes, however, are not wanted visitors.

The key to creating a desert oasis that enhances the beauty of your home but avoids the pitfalls of excessive maintenance or water usage is to craft a plan before work begins. And the best way to craft a plan is to work with the professionals at Baron Services.

Written by Jim Hinckley of Jim Hinckley’s America