This entryway was begging for some décor. You can see what happened next below.

Many of us have gates at the front of our desert homes. They are nice to have, as they can keep the critters out while also creating a beautiful courtyard that serves as the first entry to our home.

An adorned gate, of course, crafts a welcoming message to your guests as they approach your home. Beyond that, however, you may not think of this area as a space that needs added décor; after all, we don’t live out there.

Often, a sidewalk or driveway leads right up to the entry way, limiting choices on what can be placed at the wall or gate. A container garden at the front gate can offer a living welcome to all who come to your home—including yourself, every day!

Consider the case of this home, where the gate and entryway were essentially a blank slate. To the left of the gate is the driveway, leading to the garage. There is landscaping to the right of the gate on a downhill slope. This situation was perfect for a trio of pots, which added color and curb appeal to the entry.

Planted in these winter pots are Euryops, Snapdragons, Dusty Miller and an Artemesia. The tall pot on the right has similar plantings, along with a Pyracantha in full bloom.

Our next picture shows the summer story of this gate. The Euryops and Artemisia are still growing after a winter pruning. Because these pots are western-facing, a Lantana variety has been added, for low water usage and to deter critters. You can see the Pyracantha is just about ready for a pruning that will guide it up toward the arch of the gate.

Unfortunately, the homeowner started having a serious battle with various animals—who are coming down into residential areas more due to the drought—that thought of the plants as possible food. At first, the homeowner they added fencing to the pots, but that became an eyesore real fast.

Because of the fencing issues and the water/calcium stains that were developing on the aggregate concrete, we finally decided to switch the previous pots out with colorful blue pots that were rectangular in shape, to hug the entry walls. We added Red Yucca and Golden Barrels, enhancing the front gate with an easy-care invitation to enter.

Welcoming, isn’t it? See the pics below.

Marylee Pangman is the founder and former owner of The Contained Gardener in Tucson, Ariz. She has become known as the Desert’s Potted Garden Expert. She is available for digital consultations, and you can email her with comments and questions at You can also follow The Potted Desert at The Potted Desert Garden appears every Tuesday morning at

Three pots filled with winter plants added a lot to the entryway.

During the summer, a mix of plants both remaining and new created a nice look.

When animals started treating the plants as food, fencing helped—but was rather unsightly.

The final, lovely solution: Rectangular blue pots with Red Yucca and Golden Barrels.

One reply on “The Potted Desert Garden: The Story of One Home’s Front Courtyard Entryway”

  1. Wow, it is incredible to see the change it made to the curb appeal of your home! The previous pots you had looked pretty good. But with the new blue pots, it completely changed the view of your home! Instead of looking old and a tad dreary, it dressed it up. I can’t believe how much better it looks. I may have to look into a change like that for my home. Every time I drive up I just feel like something is missing. Maybe I should look into some new potted plants or a wreath for my door, anything to spruce it up a bit! Thanks for the great idea.
    Ruth James |

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