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DIY Admin2
May 27, 2013, 02:14 PM
I have a 1/3 acre of sand and dirt and a pool that needs to be Palm Springs, CA. I have never lived in the desert and have no idea what to do with this much space. I really don't want to have a huge amount of high maintenance plants...and as the summer is coming, the pool also needs to be addressed...HELP!

This message has been edited. Last edited by: Fielding,
May 27, 2013, 02:50 PM
Speaking only to the land issue, is this a new home? Has the land been graded? What shape is your lot (pie, rectangle, square, roundish)? Are there any trees, any shade, at all now?

Are you interested in creating a patio, outdoor living/entertaining space?

What is your lifestyle and how will the yard compliment it, i.e., do you have pets, children? Do you entertain a lot? These kinds of questions and their answers would probably drive most of the decisions you'll eventually make.

Do you want a patio, pavers, sidewalk?

Even if you don't want to spend a lot of time on garden maintenance, putting in some plants, shrubs and/or small trees will help anchor the soil. But it sounds as though you'll need to enrich the soil first. Sand doesn't offer much to encourage plant growth.

Good compost, whether created or purchased would be my first choice as a start, even if you just want a large lawn.

The first thought on the issue of plants is to put in succulents. They have thick leaves which hold a lot of moisture, generally grow slowly and can be attractive. And they're low maintenance.

Bromeliads are also colorful plants that can be grown indoors or outdoors.

Aloes are another option; they have medicinal value as well. If you're anywhere near Pasadena, a trip to the Huntington Gardens of aloes might help with some aloe choices.

I believe palms are another CA plant. My brother grows oranges in his Southern CA backyard, so that's an option, but it may be more work than you want to put into yard maintenance.

You might want to search online for an agricultural extension service in your area; their staff can provide you with lists of plants that do well in your area.

Sunset Gardening used to publish specials for various areas of the US. You might want to check at Lowe's or HD and see if there are any on SoCal gardening.

Browsing through garden catalogues is also a good way to identify plants, shrubs and/or trees you might want in your yard. Individual varieties are coded to match for zone and sun/shade needs. If you look for plants specifically for desert areas, you can minimize your maintenance obligations.

I've bought from these plant suppliers and would recommend them: (retail) (same company but with wholesale prices) I haven't purchased from them recently, but when I did their products were always high quality. They're a bit more expensive than the Van Bourgondien plants though.

Some evergreens would also be attractive and certainly are low maintenance.

I've never had more than a wading pool (as a child) so I can't offer any advice on this subject, but there are others here who can and hopefully they'll stop by.

Hope this helps. Any specifics on your interests will help answer your questions.

This message has been edited. Last edited by: GardenSprite,