A lot of people who write blogs also participate in Flickr groups, people who post pictures on particular topics- one of them is Works in Progress, where they share pics of projects they're working on... this post shows a bit of what's "in progress" here in Maricopa!
The first work in progress is the front yard. We're finally working on changing it from the standard "cookie-cutter" landscape that came with the house: there were three choices to pick from; we got one tree, four varieties of shrubs and plants total, and everyone's yard looks the same... I have actually driven past the house a number of times because I didn't realize it was ours! We really want a truly "desert" landscape, with cactus, yuccas or agaves, maybe a few shrubs, large boulders, and NO irrigating. This past weekend, we started on that journey- we moved five lantanas (low-growing flowering plants) to the east side of the driveway... these will be the only plants that get irrigated. It took a bit longer than we thought (moving the gravel and digging the holes was pretty hard work), and did necessitate a trip to the local Ace- we had to add some irrigation tubing for the extra plants, and had a small incident involving the shovel hitting the tubing, which nicked it and caused minor flooding. We also capped off the irrigation tubing that goes to the main portion of the yard, so from now on, everything we're leaving in the main yard is on its own. They're all desert plants, though, so it should be okay.
The next step was to plant our first bona-fide desert plant, an ocotillo. They come bare-root, so right now it just looks like a bundle of sticks, but soon (hopefully) those sticks will be a mass of small green leaves, if the periodic misting and watering coaxes it out of dormancy. (If not, then we dig it out and try again, but we won't know that for sure for a while...) In spring, they look like candles, with bright orange flower scapes sprouting from the tops of the canes. It's hard to see, but where the shrubs are right now is a raked area that will eventually be a dry streambed with river rock (that will hopefully assist with water drainage when it rains). And, the small palo verde tree in the middle of the yard has been trimmed way down so that we can eventually dig it up, to be replaced by a saguaro cactus. We knew we wanted a saguaro; we both think they're the quintessential desert plant, and besides, they just look cool. We bought it already, and are just waiting for the landscape company to call and arrange planting... it's almost 6 feet tall, so we definitely won't be planting it ourselves!! It's not legal to go out in the desert and dig them up, so it will actually come with papers, to show we purchased it legally... it also comes complete with a few bullet holes (apparently saguaro make good shooting targets when people go out into the desert to go target shooting...), which didn't do any lasting damage to it, and actually lend it a bit of wild frontier-type character.