The photo of this knot garden was taken at the
now-closed Desert Demonstration Garden in Las Vegas.
Shrubby herbs, surrounded by roses, were used to
create the pattern.
with a knot garden or maze
We have now seen several small front yards where mazes
have been created from carefully trimmed boxwood. Because
the boxwood is kept short, no one will become lost in the
front yard and the pattern can be intriguing. In one, a
bloom-ladened rose bush marked the center of the maze. This
formal design, an historic European style, complements the
traditional 2 story homes found in many newer communities in
the American Southwest. The second story allows the
homeowner to look down and enjoy the pattern.
If you want to use boxwood,
Korean boxwood (Buxus koreana)
is best for a maze in a desert climate. This slow-grower
(which means you don't have to trim it very often) can take
both heat and freezing cold temperatures. It needs regular
watering. English boxwood (Buxus
sempervirens) does poorly in hot, dry climates and
often simply dies in the heat.
Boxwood is also being used to create
parterres in some gardens. These are squares with boxwood
used as neatly trimmed edging plants. In the center of these
squares perennials, such as roses, are planted.
A knot garden, another European
tradition, is also beginning to emerge as a new design
solution for xeriscape front yards. Many Mediterranean herbs
often used in knot gardens, such as
germander and santolina, thrive in desert climates.
None of these herbs are long lived, so within a few years
you may have to replace them but in the meantime, you, the
bees and butterflies will enjoy them. And they require much
less water than lawn.
Replacing your lawn
-- read this for what NOT to do
lawn with perennials
Replacing your lawn with ornamental grasses
your lawn with ground covers
lawn with pavers
the lawn in your parking strip