Bushes and Hedges That Work Well in Arizona

Living in the desert is an experience that doesn’t appeal to everyone, but we couldn’t imagine living anywhere else! Offering sunrises and sunsets that never fail to take our breath away, mountain vistas that warm our hearts, and sunshine nearly every day of the year, there’s so much to love about desert life, we can’t understand why EVERYONE doesn’t want to live here as well. With that being said, we do understand there are some areas in which we have to make adjustments. Summer that days scorch with the fire of what seems like a million suns, monsoon storms that quickly show us when it’s time to re-shingle our roofs, and trying to find plants that thrive in full sun and total heat are just a few examples of what we desert dwellers have to deal with! When you are trying to turn your yard from an arid desert wasteland into a cozy and inviting oasis, choosing bushes or hedges for that extra bit of green can be one of the more difficult problems that will need to be dealt with. Fortunately, you have New Image Landscape and Pools on your side, and we love to share all the extra knowledge we’ve accumulated over our years in business in the desert. This guide will give you options you never dreamed existed!

Ficus Nitida

One of the more common hedges you will see in many yards isn’t really a hedge but is actually a series of trees planted close together. The ficus nitida offers dark green leaves, roots that go straight down (instead of sprawling outward and potentially causing problems with buried pipes), and a hardy disposition that thrives under the desert sun. Used as a landscaping hedge, a row of ficus trees will block sun, noise, and nosy neighbors. They do not handle extreme cold very well, however, and some care must be taken during those rare winter nights when Phoenix temperatures drop below freezing.


Sometimes a bush is more than just a bush, and the beautiful oleander is the perfect example! Offering blooms in beautiful shades of white, red, and pink, this popular desert plant offers privacy, shade, and requires little to no maintenance! The leaves on the oleander bush are dark and beautiful, and don’t drop in the fall, while the flowers stay in bloom for far longer than most plants. The oleander is poisonous to animals, though, so if you have pets that like to chew, this may not be the plant you want for your yard.

Japanese and Wax Leaf Privet

Both types of privets are the darling of Arizona landscapes, featuring dark green leaves and requiring low maintenance. The Japanese privet is often used in smaller yards as a wind block, to provide shade, or simply to soften the harsh appearance of the block wall that surrounds your pool. This bush does not drop its leaves, maintaining a clean and lush appearance year-round. The difference between the Japanese and the wax leaf privet is apparent in the name; the wax leaf offers leaves that are thick and waxy! Used as a hedge, it can also thrive in containers, and the white flowers that bloom from this bush offer a beautiful aroma to your yard.

Cape Honeysuckle

Another of our favorite bushes is the cape honeysuckle, and if you have lived in the desert for any length of time, chances are you have seen this beautiful bush gracing the yards of neighbors or friends. The blooms on this flowering plant are distinctive, shaped like a trumpet and colored a bright, bold, and beautiful orange. Plant a row of them on the borders of your lawn, creating a friendly boundary between you and your neighbor’s home, or use them as a vine along the back wall of your home. The block walls that surround our backyards in the Phoenix Metropolitan area can appear a little harsh and prison-like, but the cape honeysuckle softens the harshness, giving your eyes a soft place to land!


The final bush we have to mention is yet another one you’ve probably seen thousands of times before. Featuring bright green leaves and boldly colored blooms, the bougainvillea is a striking plant that can be shaped into a hedge for privacy. Hearty and low maintenance, it’s almost the perfect hedge for the desert, with a few exceptions. First, it is slightly poisonous, and if a pet ingests a large amount of its sap, it will get ill but most likely won’t die. Secondly, the branches are filled with large thorns that hurt when they poke you and can cause a rash. Finally, the flowers that bring the plant such beauty easily fall off, making a mess of a pool, so keeping this hedge in the front yard is your best option.

Desert Living is Different

Desert landscapes don’t have to be arid and sparse. Give us a call today and we’ll work on a plan to help give your yard the inviting presence you’ve always wanted it to have!