Southwest or Spanish Landscaping

Southwest or Spanish LandscapingSouthwest or Spanish Landscaping

Southwest or Spanish Landscaping





Photos from

Southwest or Spanish Landscaping

A combination of Formal and Informal

Overall sense: Southwest or Spanish Landscaping details contribute to this overall simple, functional and low maintenance landscape style. The southwest design includes native plants and incorporates bright, colorful building materials.

Geometry: The Southwest or Spanish landscaping geometry can be formal with straight lines such as in an enclosed courtyard with a fountain, reminiscent of the California Spanish-style missions, which provides a more human sense of scale against large, open landscapes. Plant design can make the space less formal and provide almost a cottage garden or naturalistic feel by softening the formal hardscape lines.

Hardscape: When it comes to hardscaping materials, use colors that are often seen in the sunset or natural landscapes of the southwest. Decomposed granite is available in many desert color options and is a great material choice for walkways in the Southwest or Spanish landscape. Materials commonly used include earth-colored stucco or stone walls, flagstone, terra cotta tile, red clay pavers, ironwork and metals like steel or tin, and rustic wood. Patios are an important element and a shaded area is crucial. A center courtyard with fountain is reminiscent of the California Spanish-style missions. Terracing is recommended in areas where topography is sloped using building materials like stone, boulders, or railroad ties.

Plants: With Southwest or Spanish landscaping a natural or native garden is the obvious choice. Not only will the plants survive and thrive, but the garden will blend with the surrounding landscape. This style also works well with the predominant architectural styles, from adobe pueblos and Mission-inspired homes to Spanish-Mediterranean style to strictly contemporary. Plantings are sparse with rocky hardscapes and adapted to extreme temperatures. This style can be either informal with bold and intense colors or formal and minimalist with a more refined color palette. Native or well adapted grasses, perennials and succulents are commonly used along with flowering shrubs that attract birds and other wildlife. Mediterranean plants like rosemary and thyme also thrive under the hot sun with little water.

Lawn: Southwest or Spanish landscaping requires minimal to no lawn due to the scarcity of water and regional inappropriateness. 

Furniture & Décor: Southwest or Spanish landscaping decor is simple, sparing water features are most appropriate and make a big impact. The Kiva fireplace with a distinctive arched firebox door is typical of southwestern design and most often placed in a corner. The bold landscape calls for equally bold colors for both accessories and walls. This is the place for bright turquoises, chili-pepper reds and deep azure, whether on pots or on doors. Use unique, brightly colored décor like wall decorations, colorful accessories and plantings to make the landscape pop in areas and add character to your yard. Native American, Spanish, and natural details are also appropriate.