I saw the messages posted of the last few days, was a bit under the weather. My annual Spring bug LOL!
Yanita, I never gave that any thought at all about the plants being planted the same way they grew. But, out here there is nothing in the wild to plant but sage brush, and I still kill that yearly! I know, it's our state flower, or plant, or whatever... but I'm allergic to them! I've got six of them, that's more than enough!
Liz, I live in the high desert like you. Northern Nevada. It's hard to grow anything, and it takes a lot of work on your part! If your neighbors are kind enough to give you plants, then all they need is TLC on your part until they're established. Most of my plants I bought online or at the box stores.
There were a few factors that I considered before purchasing plants. First, I'm a native to this area, so I know what's native and grows well. Second, don't place junipers or spruces close to your home, that's major fuel for a fire. We have many evergreens, spruces and junipers, but they are at least 30 feet from the home. I know, it's not pretty in the Winter, but overall, it's a better choice! If you want green next to your home, try holly, and then keep it trimmed real well. It will stay green throughout the year.
Due to work, I haven's had much time to play in the yard in the last few years. Other things we have done, is create a xeroscape to use less water and we, or I have a drip system installed around everything.
Never discourage anyone...who continually makes progress, no matter how slow.