Designing for Dust and Water
I've become convinced my front landscaping is not workable for me, and need your suggestions on what I could do to for a fix. I bought my house in a new development a year and a half ago, with the front already "landscaped." It think it's dumb they way they did it (dry stream goes uphill, boulders plunked down in a stupid way, etc.) but at least I have a drip irrigation system installed so I have some healthy plants. I live in the desert Southwest, so water conservation is a MUST!
My main problem is I live in a dust bowl and the rock mulch that is there (and ubiquitous here) and dry stream are quickly smothered with dust. In order to fix this, you have to laboriously screen the rock with a shovel, screen, and wheelbarrow. This was done for me in Spring, and it was quickly smothered back up. I am not physically capable or willing to do this every month, nor am I willing to pay hundreds of dollars every few months to have it done. The dust is not going away anytime soon, because development is still going on, and there's desert land which isn't being developed.
I feel this is not a workable landscape as is for me and I cannot physically or monetarily capable of keeping it nice looking, so I'm looking for solutions.
This first picture is for Yaardvark -- it's as "straight on" as I can get and showing the whole property. The house is sited due north south, and the prevailing winds for most of the year come from the West (or Southwest), which is to the left in the picture.
I'm thinking some combination of low rock wall, tall grasses or other plants for a hedge on the West side to block as much of the dust as I can, and possibly some ground cover. Lawn or turf is kind of objectionable in my climate, but something drought tolerant might work. I know that nothing I can do will eliminate the problem totally -- just looking to minimize my aggravation here.