There’s no doubt about it. Successful garden and lawn care in Nevada requires special skills and knowledge. The Desert Bioscape program shows you how to create attractive and healthy yards by working with Nevada’s environment, rather than against it.

We hope this guide will help you through an evaluation of your yard and yard care practices. This can help to develop an environmentally sound and sustainable yard. The payoff is a yard that saves you money, meets your needs, enhances your neighborhood, adds to property values, improves your community’s forests, and helps protect Nevada’s natural beauty and natural resources.

This workbook will help you develop a sustainable yard. The ultimate goal is to become cities of the desert instead of just cities in the desert. The Horticulture staff and Master Gardener volunteers at your county’s Extension office can provide you with more information and answer questions. They can also tell you about additional services they may provide such as diagnostic tests, workshops, and on-site resources. Remember, Rome wasn’t built in a day and neither is a Nevada yard. Take this adventure a step at a time and enjoy!

For the complete guide use the link below to download the PDF version of this special report.


Robinson, M.L., Johnson, W.S., Post, R.L., and Carlos, W.J. 2004, A Guide to Desert Bioscape, Extension, University of Nevada, Reno, SP-04-12

Learn more about the author(s)


Also of Interest:

Trees planted in an group and watered with drip irrigation separate from the lawn.
Watering Trees in Hot, Dry Home Landscapes
Droughts in the western U.S. are becoming more frequent and severe. They are particularly hard on our trees. Learn how to properly water your landscape trees, lower your monthly water bill and keep you home and landscape cool and livable.
Kratsch, H. and Jensen, C. 2023, Extension, University of Nevada, Reno, IP-22-02
Constructed Wetlands for Water Filtration: An Introduction to Constructed Wetlands
This publication addresses how to recycle water so it may be used more than once and looks at how both black and gray water can be recycled by applying the same principles that nature uses to clean water. Combination of living plants, good aeration and microorganisms can provide ...
Robinson, M.L., Franzen, H., Williams, F., and Fulton, E. 2008, Extension, University of Nevada, Reno, FS-08-45
Creeping thyme groundcover can make a good lawn alternative.
Lawn Alternatives for Northern Nevada
Northern Nevada is a high desert climate, so traditional lawns require a lot of water and maintenance here. If you're looking for a more water-efficient and low-maintenance option for your yard, here are a few ideas to get you started.
Jensen, C. and Kratsch, H. 2023, Extension, University of Nevada, Reno
Tips for Keeping Your Landscape Plants Alive During a Drought
A brief list of tips on how to protect your landscape during drought.
Kratsch, H. 2021, Extension, University of Nevada, Reno, Blog
Irrigating (Watering) Your Vegetable Garden
Irrigation is an essential practice for people growing vegetables in dry climates. This fact sheet explains uses of different types of irrigation and how to determine when it is necessary.
Kratsch, H. 2010, Extension University of Nevada, Reno, FS-10-16

Associated Programs

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Pesticide Safety Education Program

Extension’s Pesticide Safety Education Program provides web-based training for pesticide applicators seeking to apply restricted and general use pesticides safely, properly and according to the law. Pesticide licensure and certification is administered by the Nevada Department of Agriculture.

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Research Center & Demonstration Orchard

Researching new varieties of fruit producing trees, vines and other plant materials in sustainable ways for the Mojave Desert climate.

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Master Gardeners of Washoe County

Master Gardeners provide free, research-based horticulture information to Nevadans.