Asked on Jun 06, 2012

What Can I Plant?

Leslie D
by Leslie D
As mentioned on a previous post, our back yard was trashed when he bought the house. What in the world can I plant in these tight areas? We're painting the walls and I have the great Asian panels in the picture below (enough to cover the entire back wall), but I'm horrible at plants and what to use in planting areas that range from 1' - 18" wide, in horribly hard dirt, for plants that will not damage the pool decking or root deeply enough to seek out water from the pool. Keep in mind we are in the desert in Las Vegas with regular 110 degree Summer days and need something that won't make a mess in the pool. Something narrow and tall would be great for privacy from the 2-story house behind us that overlooks our yard. Bamboo would be a difficult option uinless we build curved planters and line them because of its running roots and potential pool damage. Any suggestions would be appreciated!
what can i plant, gardening, View to East Wall
View to East Wall
what can i plant, gardening, View to SW Corner
View to SW Corner
what can i plant, gardening, Trashed Water Feature
Trashed Water Feature
what can i plant, gardening, Wood Panels to be coated with marine grade poly and lined against the entire back wall to cover wall damage
Wood Panels to be coated with marine grade poly and lined against the entire back wall to cover wall damage.
  38 answers
  • Carroll A Carroll A on Jun 06, 2012
    How do you feel about putting in a rock garden and succulents? Not a lot of care, most have shallow roots or small roots, low water required, direct sun. They would add green and many flower. That would not take care of the height/privacy issue though But know someone on here will come up with a solution.

  • Leslie D Leslie D on Jun 06, 2012
    That's a great idea for the side yards. We have irrigation available, but the former owners had sprinkler heads instead of drip lines (which is why there is so much damage on the walls), so we're re-doing that and could run the lines to the sides, as well. We've thought about alternate ways of getting privacy, but with our HOA, we're limited when it comes to extending the fence line, adding to the top, etc. Of course, maybe privacy isn't a big issue. If they look while I'm out in a swimsuit at my age, they'll probaby only look once! LOL

  • Bernice H Bernice H on Jun 06, 2012
    Oh wow! Wouldnt you just love to have the mural man combo come and paint a mural? Keep us up to date on what you do.

  • Leslie D Leslie D on Jun 06, 2012
    I paint, Bernice, but can' talk my husband into a mural. I told him I could just cover the entire back wall in a painting of bamboo, with all sorts of beautiful flowers blooming a the base and be done wiht it.. It's just such a narrow planting space! Maybe once I get the panels installed, I'll be happy with a few planters of bamboo.

  • Stacy C Stacy C on Jun 06, 2012
    just a thought how about the small leaf cling climb vine... not sure of the name but it is full coverage and look amazing as it grows

  • 3po3 3po3 on Jun 06, 2012
    I was going to suggest exactly the same thing as Carroll. Some ornamental grasses would also be nice. Also low-water and low-maintenance.

  • You do not even need to do a mural, just paint it with background colors to blend in with what ever you plant. Back light the wall to accent and your good to go. What you really have there is a great big blank canvass just itching to be painted.

  • Erica Glasener Erica Glasener on Jun 07, 2012
    Native grasses and succulents, here is a link to the Nevada Native Plant Society which may be a good place to start for specific recommendations.

  • Becky H Becky H on Jun 07, 2012
    A creeping ficus always works well on walls. I'm guessing you know there are adapter kits for converting regular irrigation heads into low volume irrigation. I think I'd invest in a few of those. Those panels are gorgeous!

  • Leslie D Leslie D on Jun 07, 2012
    Thanks, all! Erica, I'm gonig to check out that site. We probably won't get around to actually doing the work until cooler weather hits. Woodbrige, you're on the same thinking path as us...we have a low voltage light kit with a couple of spotlights and some path lights,, and have the electricity/transformer available for that, and drip lines are replacing the sprinkler heads to avod further damage. We've considered vines, but are afraid of the leaves in the pool as a maintenance nightmare...are there any that don't shed much? Desert plants don't have much color, so Woodbridge's sugestion of adding color to the walls (where we don't have panels) is a great idea. The water feature is another nightmare in itself, and I want to do colored glass rock, lit with underwater lights in it. Ugh...can you tell I'm dreading this work? I'm getting too old to work this hard...maybe I'll call Labor Ready for a couple of able-bodied guys to help us old folks out...LOL

  • Maria C Maria C on Jun 07, 2012
    Leslie you are so creative use the same method that you use in Teresa's picture to figure something out and then do it, i understand you i live in Vegas too its to hot to do something outside right now and is not you that are bad with plants its the heat ,same in here I ve been trying couple years now to have a nice garden and its just impossible, plus i dont know much about plants but I learned a lot since i ve been part of hometalk, good luck with your proyect...

  • Rosalie M Rosalie M on Jun 07, 2012
    I think Hosta would work well here....use a variety of shapes, sizes and colors.

  • Leslie D Leslie D on Jun 07, 2012
    I love Hostas, but don't they like shade? My back yard is on the South side of the house and every bit of it gets full sun at some part of the day. Maria, you are so right! I tried tomatos and got 1 plum size tomato out of 4 plants, and my bell peppers were all about 2 1/2" tall and didn't produce until almost December! The only thing that seems to grow are Mexican palms that keep popping up all over the place....then when I go to transplant them, they die!

  • Leslie D Leslie D on Jun 07, 2012
    Maria, you're so right about the hometalk folks! I see all of their beautiful yards and gardens and am sooooo envious! Growing up in South Carolina, where everything is lush and green, it makes it especially difficult to accept the somewhat colorless landscapes in Vegas....all rock and muted color plants with water usage restrictions.

  • Mike F Mike F on Jun 07, 2012
    I had the same issue in mt Phoenix back yard. I have found that aloes, agaves, Robelini Date Palms, Totem Pole Cactus, Sago Palms, Fountan Grass, Real Bird of Paradise, and other desert type plants worked well, didn't mind the heat and survived.

  • Doris H Doris H on Jun 07, 2012
    Better Homes & Gardens has some good ideas. They have like 100+ yard plans and you can print them off.

  • Rosalie M Rosalie M on Jun 08, 2012
    Leslie, I have hostas in both very sunny and shady areas in my yard and they are wonderful in each location. Just added more this for variety. Good luck.

  • Jeanette S Jeanette S on Jun 09, 2012
    As I understand it, LV has dry and heat and water is at a premium...that is what we are now facing in GA. I finally have a sprinkler system, but are now limited on use and cost is prohibitive so I have to be careful about what I plant. Large containers of bamboo would look good. Keep in mind that there are now lighter weight of pots out there now that make using post more desirable. They are easier to keep watered and clean up at the end of planting season! My hostas do not do well with lots of sun so I now plant them in dappled shade. They live in sun, but look parched! Liriope grass is excellent and comes in several shades for contrast...easy to plant, requires almost no care (just trim it down in the spring before new growth starts) little water and a small pot of flowers scattered in between is stunning!

  • Jeanette S Jeanette S on Jun 10, 2012
    Coni B, on which post did you comment back to me?

  • Rosalie M Rosalie M on Jun 11, 2012
    Coni, Jeanette's suggestion of using containers for planting is a wonderful idea. I am currently using a lot of container gardening as I am having leg issues and it's not that easy to care for them. Using containers makes watering and general maintenance much easier. I sure hope you post pictures when you do decide and complete your project. Good luck.

  • Leslie D Leslie D on Jun 12, 2012
    A big thanks to all of you! I will definately post pics when we finish...which will probably be this Fall. It's just too darn hot to work outside in Vegas in the Summer and we're trying to finish a powder room and hall tile inside. I appreciate all the great feedback. You guys rock!

  • Doris H Doris H on Jun 12, 2012
    What to put on a fence? My neighbor started blooming jasmine many years ago, it is so beautiful! When it blooms it is snow white and covers my fence from the side yard to the back yard, about 150+ feet. When it blooms it is a white sheet! Litle care is required, just love and water! Also in Texas there is a vine that is called a Potato vine, has very large leaves and is very hardy.

  • Becky H Becky H on Jun 13, 2012
    Wow Doris H. What a difference there is from state to state. Here in Fla. the potato vine is considered an invasive weed. Turned loose in the wild here, it chokes out our native vegetation.

    • Tracy Sperduti Tracy Sperduti on May 09, 2015
      @Becky H I think you mean the "air potato" those are in invasive, I hate them, and in fact just pulled a bunch off of my 160 feet of vertical garden panels.

  • Mike F Mike F on Jun 14, 2012
    Most of the plants that people are suggesting like hosta, liriope, etc will burn up in the desert. Go to your local Home Depot or other garden center and ask about the toughest desert plants you can buy. withall the cement reflecting heat and little planting space, keep to tough, easy to maintain,clean plants near a pool.

  • Sharron W Sharron W on Jun 14, 2012
    @Leslie, Small succulents in the ground would be lovely and break up the space but if you look at some of the traditional colors from the history of the area, I would seriously consider painting those walls with the soft peach of adobe, and the blush of the sky at sunrise. It is a complementary color to the blue in your pool, would be a beautiful backdrop for the varied shades of plants, would certainly be easier on your eyes during daylight hours and would be Gorgeous with your planned wood Panels. Liriopes can be invasive, spreading through their small tubors underground I've seen them break through sidewalks and patios after as little as 3-4 years. If you decide to plant in containers consider planting Pomegranates. They have small varieties, they do well in a sandy base, grow well in that area, have beautiful blossoms and the added benifit of the fruit! I had some potted bamboo that in one season put roots through the bottom of the pot and into the soil where it became a nightmare to remove because of the proximity to my other ornamentals...LOL so be careful with the bamboo... Please post pictures as progress begins to shape the area I'd love to see this project through to the conclusion!

  • Coni B Coni B on Jun 15, 2012
    How would African Iris do there? No maintenance and always looks great!

  • Becky H Becky H on Jun 15, 2012
    The standard Liriope is rather invasive, but the giant liriope is not. I have both (in Fla.) and can tell you that from experience. There are various types of bamboo. If you get with a reputable nurseryman, you can secure a bamboo that will stay where you put it. Otherwise, I'd avoid the bamboo like the plague. Sharon, great idea about painting the wall. White can be absolutely glaring in full sunlight.

  • Sharron W Sharron W on Jun 15, 2012
    @Becky H. Well I was thinking she has the opportunity, AND the wood Panels to do a very Moroccan look...Plus the Peachy hues are so beautiful with the blues and the wood tones...and very indicative of the original native people as well...and soft on the eyes! Gosh that desert Glare can damage your eyes!!!! Some Moroccan lanterns and pomegrantes and she's hooked up!

  • Sharron W Sharron W on Jun 15, 2012
    @Leslie, Just noticed you have the perfect structure for some draped fabrics that would add some softness and breezy effects to your back yard as well...

  • Leslie D Leslie D on Jun 15, 2012
    Sharron, we've done that for the pergola area. We had to paint and dress it up for a visit from the Mother in Law, so I made some curtains and pillows and painted a rug, added some plants....sort of like lipstick on a pig until we get the rest of the yard finished...LOL

  • Sharron W Sharron W on Jun 15, 2012
    Oh YEAH! That Fabulous! Great job....LOL@ Lipstick on a pig! Was trying to tell my DIL to save herself some frustration...told her to stop trying to teach a pig to sing...She was like HUH? LOL, LOL I said, It wastes your time, and annoys the pig...HaHaHa...the look on her face! Precious...

  • Cathy B Cathy B on Oct 20, 2012
    I would use2 or three large containers(clay pots perhaps with large agave plants and be done.

  • Horsetail rush grows tall and stays neat in tiny beds.

  • Acorn Ponds & Waterfalls Acorn Ponds & Waterfalls on Oct 21, 2012
    I'm in agreement with those who posted Ornamental Grasses. There are many varieties that will grow to whatever height you want and will grow upright. They won't need much water after established either.

  • Judy Steffen Judy Steffen on Apr 07, 2015
    Rosemary is a carefree plant with small roots.

  • Nancy L Sires Nancy L Sires on Oct 03, 2016
    Depends on where you live

  • Snapoutofit Snapoutofit on Oct 20, 2016
    Drought resistance plants in containers.