When it comes to a landscape upgrade your creative choices are unlimited. Do you want a lush yard that conserves water, space for pets, children or entertaining? A garden that calms and relaxes you? There’s a lot to consider when you invest in a landscape makeover. Here are some design options to get your creative juices flowing. Designing a water-smart landscape is overwhelming, if you don’t know what you want. Spend some time in your current landscape and think about what changes you would like to make. This is the time to put your ideas, big and small, on paper. If you don’t have a creative green thumb don’t worry. Check out these landscapes to spark ideas for your very own outdoor paradise. Big doesn’t always mean better and in this case a small yard makes a huge impact. Las Vegas homes don’t come with large lots so many homeowners face the same dilemma when it comes to creating a functional landscape. This 2010 SNWA award-winning landscape has both a small front and backyard, but the functionality and aesthetics of the landscape don’t suffer from lack of space. Let’s look at three features that make it stand out. To make a narrow space appear larger the homeowner removed the grass and sidewalk in her side yard and pieced together broken concrete to design a meandering pathway. Walkways and pathways give landscapes a dramatic focal point and lead you to a mini destination. Materials like Flagstone and brick are hardy choices for heavy traffic areas where as organic material, such as decomposed granite, bark or gravel create soft edges in a more natural setting. Have a large tree in your yard? No problem. Instead of chopping it down completely this tall olive tree was re-purposed into a table. Now that’s a creative way to use part of your existing landscape. Another unique feature to this backyard is the raised garden bed. If you’re short on space avoid planting a vegetable garden in the ground and go vertical. You’ll make room for more plants in your landscape. As you can see this small yard is not lacking in personality. You might think a water-smart landscape means no grass, but if you have pets or children who use the lawn it’s considered functional turf. If you choose to keep some grass build a water-smart landscape around it. Create an eye-popping border with dramatic plants like Century Agave or design a dry creek bed with a variety of plants and boulders. Dry creek beds improve landscape drainage for yards on a slope and provide an accent element to draw your eye across the yard. A large tree like this Acacia provides shade for the plants and even protects the small patch of grass from glaring summer sun. [music playing] Despite the notion a desert landscape consist of a dull rock yard with a few scattered cacti, a drought-tolerant landscape is quite the opposite. Desert-adapted plants, especially cacti and succulents offer variety, texture, and interest to your yard. Cacti come in all shapes and sizes and many species bloom colorful large flowers. Lush succulents like Agave parryi, aloe, and Euphorbia complement cacti’s tough exterior with their soft, fleshy stems and leaves. And planting a true desert landscape doesn’t limit you to cactus only. Native species, such as Desert Marigold, globemallow, and Paperflower bloom nearly year round. Another wonderful characteristic of native plants is they require very little water to thrive in our dry climate. And plants that don’t require much water don’t require a lot of maintenance. You’ll save time and money on your water bill. [music playing] Looking for a way to blend your yard into the architecture of your home or natural outdoors? Plant shrubs and flowers that complement the features of your home or accent nature’s backdrop. Chunky rock and boulders also help to create harmony between your yard and the desert surrounding it. Use your home’s exterior to help guide your color selection. The gray and blue plants in this landscape match the detail of this house. Calm your landscape with flowers in shades of blue, purple, and green. If bold is your style plant vibrant hues of red, orange, and yellow. Cover your landscape with organic mulch. Mulch not only protects your plants from summer and winter’s extreme temperatures, it helps to conserve water and keeps pest and weeds out of your garden. And remember to tie it all together with a pathway. Use materials that enhance your home’s features and welcome visitors right to your front doorstep. [music playing] Nothing says ‘you’ more than giving your yard a dose of your personality. When you design your water-smart landscape be as creative as you want to be. This former award-winning landscape has its own unique charm with mirrors hung on painted walls and colorful stones lead into the Flagstone pathway. Container plants and seating areas with fire pits are scattered throughout the front, side, and back yard revealing something new around every corner. The choice of plants is unique too. ‘Macho Mocha’ and Whale’s Tongue Agave are dominant features. While more delicate flowers like blue Emu and Western redbud soften the landscape. One thing to remember as you plan your landscape makeover is to be water-smart. Take three courses at the Springs Preserve and learn how to design and install a drip irrigation system. Walk through the preserve’s eight-acre garden or visit other area demonstration gardens to explore native and non-native desert-adapted plant life. You’ll soon have all the inspiration you need to bring your plans on paper, to life. Deciding how you want your landscape to look is half the battle look to these water-smart landscapes to help you transform your yard into a beautiful outdoor retreat. And for more landscape inspiration visit snwa.com. Reporting for Water Ways, I’m Jen Inaba.