“Hardscape” is the paved area that makes up patios, walkways and entries around our homes. Our desert landscapes often have a lot of hardscape added to them; this is done to provide us with more outdoor areas to rest and entertain, and to cut down on the areas we need to plant and water.

As soon as the hardscaping is done, naturally, many people want to moderate the plainness of it somehow. Potted plants are a great way to accomplish this—as long as it’s done.

The image above has too many pots, making the raised patio busy and complex. Our eye will never rest here. Since this is a raised area where people walk, we do want to place something along the edge so that people see the step down, and therefore reduce the risk of falling. However, we want to create this gracefully.

Check out the photo to the right. Now the pots “work,” and add softness to the upper patio.

Marylee is the Desert’s Potted Garden Expert. Email her with comments and questions at potteddesert@gmail.com.