As you plan your landscape, don't overlook one of the best design resources—local xeriscape demonstration gardens. Arizona’s many gardens provide a wealth of practical information and showcase mature examples of the diverse palette of trees and plants that thrive in our environment. Take some time to visit and be inspired.
The Avondale Xeriscape Demonstration Garden is located outside of the City Hall building. Containing more than 900 plants over 25,000 square feet, this garden beautifully demonstrates the utilization of low-water-use trees, shrubs, and groundcovers.
11465 W Civic Center Dr, Avondale, AZ 85323
The Chandler Hummingbird Habitat is a shady, inviting garden that features more than fifty species of plants that are not only water-wise, but also fragrant and vivid, attracting hummingbirds, butterflies, and other wildlife. In addition to the living landscape, this garden contains iron sculptures and a water feature that serves as a drinking and bathing source for birds. The Hummingbird Habitat is part of the Desert Rivers Audubon's Bird Habitat Recognition program.
660 N Desert Breeze Pkwy, Chandler, AZ 85226
Chandler’s Veterans Oasis Park encompasses 113 acres of lush wetland and arid habitat that are home to the diverse plants and wildlife of the Sonoran Desert. This facility boasts 4.5 miles of trails, wildlife viewing areas, ramadas and picnic areas, an outdoor amphitheater, a learning-oriented playground, a 5-acre community fishing lake, a Solar System Walk, and equestrian trails, among other features. Veterans Oasis Park also plays an important part in Chandler’s comprehensive reclaimed water management plan. The shallow ponds are filled with high quality reclaimed water that percolates into the aquifer for storage and later recovery.
4050 E Chandler Heights Rd, Chandler, AZ 85249
The city of Chandler’s Xeriscape Demonstration Garden includes a child/pet friendly area, a wildlife garden, and a low-maintenance garden. The garden is filled with colorful, low-water-use plants and highlights passive water harvesting techniques through the installation of berms and swales. While walking through the paths, visitors can also appreciate artworks on display that were created by local students with the help of artist Juanita Hull-Carlson.
410 N Arrowhead Dr, Chandler, AZ 85224
The Gilbert Riparian Preserve at Water Ranch is Gilbert’s innovative and unique solution to combining water resource development with wildlife habitat and educational and recreational opportunities. Organized into zones ranging from marshlands to native riparian and upland vegetation areas, the Preserve contains fishing areas, trails with interpretive education panels, myriad species of wildlife, play areas, a state-of-the-art observatory, and much more. The Gilbert Riparian Preserve at Water Ranch has also been officially recognized by the Audubon Society.
2757 E Guadalupe Rd, Gilbert, AZ 85234
The award-winning Glendale Xeriscape Demonstration Garden maintains over 400 species of desert-adapted plants throughout its themed-gardens: the Cactus Garden, Rain Garden, Tree Trail, and Habitat Garden. Visitors can freely walk through paths and view mature low-water-use plants and landscaping combinations while gathering inspiration. This garden features signage to allow for easy plant identification and water conservation-themed artwork.
Glendale Public Library, 5959 W Brown St, Glendale, AZ 85302
The Xeriscape Demonstration Garden at Mesa Community College’s Southern and Dobson Campus features nearly 100 species of trees and over 80 species of cacti and succulents. Free and open to the public, visitors are welcome to explore the arboretum and its interactive online map which can be used to search for specific trees by their common name, scientific name, or family. Mesa Community College is the first college in Arizona to have achieved Level I Arboretum accreditation from ArbNet.org.
1833 W Southern Ave, Mesa, AZ 85202
The Peoria Desert Fusion Garden is an award-winning garden certified as a Natural Wildlife Habitat by the National Wildlife Federation. Five separate areas were designed to encourage people to rethink preconceived ideas of what low-water-use landscaping looks like, ultimately helping citizens understand what Xeriscape is and is not. The Garden reveals that color, dimension, creativity, and even turf can work harmoniously together to create a beautiful low-water-use landscape.
8401 W Monroe St, Peoria, AZ 85345
Visitors to the Scottsdale Xeriscape Garden at Chaparral Park can learn about desert-friendly landscaping and water harvesting, while admiring over 7,000 plants that are both beautiful and water-wise. This garden is a National Wildlife Federation Certified Wildlife Habitat and features Terraced Cascade, a stunning environmental art piece by artist Lorna Jordan.
8111 E McDonald Dr, Scottsdale, AZ 85250
The Tempe Xeriscape Demonstration Garden highlights low-water-use plants and desert landscaping practices. Interpretive signage and plant identification plaques provide useful information to visitors as they draw inspiration from the garden to take with them to their backyards and workplaces. The garden also features an area that attracts hummingbirds, a playground, and picnic areas.
1265 N College Ave, Tempe, AZ 85281
Nestled within the Coconino National Forest, the Arboretum at Flagstaff is home to more than 750 species of plants in greenhouses, gardens, and natural habitats. The “Arb” specializes in plants native to the Colorado Plateau and northern Arizona and features garden tours, bird walks, wildflower walks, artworks created by the Arizona Artists Blacksmith Association, and a Butterfly House. Be sure to check out the Arb’s website for seasonal hours.
4001 S Woody Mountain Rd, Flagstaff, AZ 86001
A fusion experience of a zoo, botanical garden, art gallery, natural history museum, and aquarium, the Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum is regularly listed as one of the top ten museums in the country. The Museum is home to more than 230 animal species, 1,200 types of plants, and 16,000 mineral and fossil specimens. Beyond entertainment, the Museum actively strives to promote Sonoran Desert conservation through research and education.
2021 N Kinney Rd, Tucson, AZ 85743
Arizona’s oldest and largest botanical garden, the Boyce Thompson Arboretum State Park brings together plants from deserts across the world and displays them alongside unspoiled examples of the native Sonoran Desert vegetation. Visitors can find inspiration in the low-water-use Demonstration Garden, rest in the shade of the towering trees in Queen Creek Canyon, take in the expansive southwestern vistas from the High Trail, enjoy the desert lake, view wildlife in natural habitats, and more.
37615 E US Highway 60, Superior, AZ 85273
The Desert Botanical Garden is one of the world's renowned botanical gardens, hosting more than 50,000 plant displays in a beautiful natural desert setting. The Garden has expert staff and numerous workshops and resources to assist visitors with their landscape projects. Visitors can also enjoy permanent and temporary trailside exhibits and events, including Music in the Garden and bi-annual plant sales.
1201 N Galvin Pkwy, Phoenix, AZ 85008
Tohono Chul Park features multiple distinct botanical gardens with Sonoran desert plant life, gift shops, an art gallery, and a bistro. Visitors are invited to stroll through the Park’s easily accessible paths and attend tours, special events, classes, workshops, and lectures. The park’s demonstration gardens also provide inspiration to viewers for creating their own gardens with native plants and local materials.
7366 N Paseo del Norte, Tucson, AZ 85704
The Tucson Botanical Gardens is a tranquil oasis in the heart of Tucson. Promoting the beauty of desert-adapted plants through education and demonstration, the Gardens feature a host of themed gardens, workshops, tours, exhibits, a butterfly house, gift shop, café, and more.
2150 N Alvernon Way, Tucson, AZ 85712
The University of Arizona Maricopa County Cooperative Extension Demonstration Garden is cared for by Maricopa County Master Gardeners. This mature garden features desert adapted plants, extensive vegetable gardens, a comprehensive herb garden cared for by the Arizona Herb Association, a rose garden, and turf examples.
4341 E Broadway Rd, Phoenix, AZ 85040
The City of Tucson's Sweetwater Wetlands spans 60-acres. The facility serves as a water treatment facility, an urban wildlife habitat, and an outdoor classroom. Along 2.5 miles of pathways, visitors can enjoy self-guided birding trips, field guides and kiosks to enrich tours, a butterfly garden, and serene nature views that include birds, dragonflies, frogs, raccoons, hawks, bobcats, and many other species.
Photograph used with permission from Michael Liberti, GIS Program Manager, Tucson Water
2511 W Sweetwater Dr, Tucson, AZ 85745