As a designer who dabbles in a variety of areas including home design, special events, and furniture and accessories, I was drawn to the annual Desert Garden Tour hosted by the Desert Horticultural Society of the Coachella Valley. And now I have a new-found love of desert garden design. Alternating between the East and West ends of the Palm Springs Valley, this year’s tour took me from my Rancho Mirage home to five private household gardens all located in the city of Palm Springs.
After a quick check-in (no charge, but donations were gladly accepted) at the beautiful Wellness Gardens in Ruth Hardy Park, I was given a wristband and the list of addresses on the tour. Although all the gardens were beautiful, the first was definitely my favorite. After extensive renovations to the home and property, the front yard was designed with a diverse collection of cacti and succulents that had tour-goers oohing and aahing. The back yard and pool area sported a variety of palms and exotic desert plants that perfectly framed the spectacular mountain views.
All of the gardens were great examples of how, by carefully choosing the appropriate flora and hardscape (that’s garden design lingo for things like stone, shade covers, and water features), homeowners can not only visually delight the garden visitor but cut down on the amount of water needed to sustain their creations. And lest we forget, smart choices encourage a plethora of wildlife to share in our outdoor spaces. On view this particular sunny Sunday afternoon were numerous varieties of hummingbirds, lizards, and helpful insects. And all without a single blade of grass in sight.
The hundreds who toured these homes’ exteriors left with plenty of ideas for their own gardens, and I took a mental inventory of ways to help my next landscape design client make their own yard look as beautiful as some of these.