Embracing the Subtle Beauty: Creating a Pastel Desert Palette — Boxhill & Co., LLC
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Desert landscaping at the front gate features a subtle pastel color palette.

Embracing the Subtle Beauty: Creating a Pastel Desert Palette


When we think of desert landscapes, the imagery that often comes to mind is one of rugged terrains, sculptural succulents, and a predominantly neutral color palette. However, there is a hidden treasure in the desert's beauty that many fail to recognize – the soft, pastel hues that can transform a desert garden into a mesmerizing tapestry of colors. In this blog, we will explore the enchanting world of pastel desert palettes, showcasing how elements like olive trees, salvias, Artemisia 'Powis Castle,' and more can come together to create an unexpectedly moody and dramatic outdoor space.

The Allure of Pastel Desert Palettes

While traditional desert landscapes are known for their bold, earthy tones, pastel desert palettes introduce an element of serenity and tranquility. Imagine walking through a garden where soft greens, muted purples, delicate pinks, and soothing whites intermingle, evoking a sense of calmness that contrasts with the arid surroundings.

Key Elements of a Pastel Desert Palette


The silvery leaves of olive trees (Olea europaea) lend an elegant and timeless quality to any landscape. Their gray-green foliage complements the pastel theme perfectly, acting as a foundation for other delicate colors to shine.


Salvias come in a variety of shades, including soft pinks and purples, making them an ideal addition to a pastel desert palette. These flowering plants attract pollinators and add bursts of color to the garden.


This silvery-gray perennial herb brings a touch of ethereal beauty to the landscape. Its feathery foliage provides texture and acts as a neutral backdrop for the more vibrant pastels.


Commonly known as Mexican feather grass, Stipa tenuissima adds movement and grace to the garden with its delicate, wispy texture. Its neutral beige color complements the overall color scheme.


The purple spikes of Russian sage (Perovskia atriplicifolia) introduce depth and drama to the pastel desert palette. The contrast between the purples and softer hues creates a visually captivating landscape.


Guara, available in shades of pink and white, brings a touch of elegance and whimsy to the garden. Their airy blooms dance in the breeze, adding a sense of movement and lightness.


The soft greens of palo verde trees provide a refreshing contrast to the desert's warm tones. Their canopy creates dappled shade, allowing the pastel hues to shine even brighter.


These native desert plants contribute to the subtle color palette while also thriving in the arid climate. Their muted tones and unique textures add interest to the composition.

Planting Ideas for Your Pastel Desert Garden

CREATE LAYERS: Arrange your plants in layers, with taller elements like olive trees and palo verde trees as the backdrop. Fill in the foreground with lower-growing plants like salvias, guara, and Russian sage.

PLAY WITH TEXTURES: Mix plants with varying textures, such as the feathery Artemisia 'Powis Castle,' the wispy Stipa tenuissima, and the structured forms of olive trees.

BALANCE THE COLOR DISTRIBUTION: Spread pastel-colored plants evenly throughout the garden to achieve a harmonious balance of hues. Introduce pops of purples, pinks, and whites strategically to create focal points.

A pastel desert palette offers a unique and enchanting way to celebrate the beauty of arid landscapes. By incorporating plants like olive trees, salvias, Artemisia 'Powis Castle,' and more, you can create a garden that is not only visually captivating but also soothing to the senses. So, the next time you consider desert landscaping, don't shy away from exploring the softer side of nature – where pastels reign and the desert's beauty is showcased in a whole

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