See How Desert Landscapes Are Evolving With Wellness In Mind


waterfall pool set within a desert landscape surrounded by backyard greenery

Photo: Art Holeman

Like the hardy desert plants he works with, Chad Norris knows the value of resilience. He launched High Desert Designs just days before the pandemic lockdowns. Due to Norris’ years of experience, his sage understanding of desert-friendly landscaping and the strong family representation within his company, High Desert Designs thrived anyway. Today, as he handles projects from Cave Creek to Paradise Valley, Norris explains how luxury landscape is evolving with wellness—for individuals and the environment alike—in mind.

What are some wellness amenities appearing in residential landscapes these days? Zen gardens and yoga studios are appearing more often. The intention is to reduce anxiety and soothe the mind and body, so a simple layout and aesthetic is key. Generally, a singular living art feature is the only piece among a clean base. Or we create linear or mass arrangements of the same cactus or succulent element.

Tell us about new luxury landscape features you’re seeing. Utilizing as much of the property as possible! As opposed to keeping the outdoor living environment close to the home with covered patios, we’re now expanding into the whole property for destination-style seating areas, functional spaces and garden walks.

What other trends are popular? I see more now than ever the concern for water usage. A desert landscape design doesn’t integrate with every home’s architecture and style, but we are continually creating ways to blend cactus and succulents with artificial turf and fewer hedge plants to accomplish the same style objective with much less maintenance and water.