Building a Uromastyx Garden Part 1: Design

Here in Arizona, we have a very short Winter period and our Spring comes early. We want to remodel our backyard to be Uromastyx-friendly, including plants that are safe to eat as part of their daily forage.

Currently, we are feeding the standard fare of Spring Mix salad, endive, arugula and bok choy with occasional mixed vegetables and seeds. Lately we’ve also been including edible weeds that are cropping up: mallow “cheeseweed”, burr clover and of course young dandelions. We’ve decided that’s not enough variety!

Here are some designs we’ve put together using Google Sketch-Up, a free 3D modeling and design tool. Currently we have a gravel/bare dirt landscaping with some plants that will need to be pulled out; dangerous oleanders and prickly bougainvillea. In their place we’ll have raised beds of annuals and edible shrubs. If all goes to plan it should end up looking like this:

Backyard Uromastyx Enclosure

Backyard Uromastyx Enclosure

Raised Beds for Outdoor Uromastyx Enclosure

Raised Beds for Uromastyx Enclosure

Basking Spots and Edible Plants for Uromastyx

Side Yard with Gate Separating Two Areas

It will be divided up with the side yard devoted to basking areas and edible plants. The front portion will be raised beds and a grass-alternative ground cover such as dutch clover or sainfoin. The dogs can play in this area during the day. We’re not sure if we’ll be putting in a cement walkway to the side yard or just use flagstone or brick pavers.

We’ve already bought some seeds! California Poppy, Drummond’s Phlox, Purple Aster, Flower-of-an-Hour, Purple Coneflower (Echinacea), Nasturtiums, Borage, other herbs, greens and much more! In a few weeks, more hibiscus varieties will be available in the local nursery and we’ll plant those in the side yard, which already houses our compost bin and young orange tree.

We’ll post pictures when we start “breaking ground”!