This blog is about growing tropical-looking plants in the Phoenix, Arizona area



January 20, 2015

Making your yard in Phoenix look like Southern California

Some of my friends from Southern California (Los Angeles to San Diego) visited me recently and it reminded me that my goal here in the Phoenix area was to have the lush, tropical feel that I liked so much in Southern California.

As you can see here in my backyard in Glendale, Arizona, it's possible, but it takes a few tricks to make it work.

Luckily, there are a lot of similarities between Phoenix and Southern California, as a lot of people in Los Angeles are discovering. They're both deserts that get very little rainfall. So the first thing you have to do is to set up a watering system.

Here in my yard I have two watering systems, both designed for minimal water use. Water costs money, and should not be wasted! I have a low-pressure *drip* system with sprayer heads and an ordinary misting system (like the kind that you see on restaurant patios). They are set on inexpensive battery-powered timers.

For plant selection, avoid plants that require high humidity. Ferns won't grow in the Phoenix area, it doesn't matter how much you water them. Ask me how I know! The plants that I have here that kind'a look like ferns are actually cycads. Google them. They're more expensive than ferns but they're as tough as nails, and look great. I also have a good assortment of other succulents, as you can see. And most importantly, I have no grass. That's artificial turf.

I just love the lush look of a tropical paradise in a Mediterranean climate. I lived in Santa Barbara, California, and that's where its at its best in the United States. But, don't get me wrong, I love living in Phoenix, where I can actually afford a house, and I don't have to sit in traffic all of the time, but I just want that tropical feel.
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