Landscapes have traditionally been used to add aesthetic value to our homes and buildings. With the growing concerns of the effects of climate change, deteriorating natural resources, frequent droughts, declining soil fertility, and the threat of pests and diseases, among other issues, particularly in arid regions of the world, actions are needed to ameliorate these effects on residential dwellings and urban landscapes. Ornamentals in the landscape need to evolve and be modified to perform specific functions beyond their aesthetic value, including shading, air filtration, cooling via transpiration, and the abatement of insolation. In many ways traditional landscape designs do address some of these functions. For example, in arid areas, plants can play a crucial role in mediating solar radiation and the heat island effect. In countries like Oman, landscape plants are usually exotic species, which have been selected and cultivated for their performance. In recent years, however, the focus has shifted more to the use and benefits of native species in arid landscapes. Native plants have the potential to tackle many of the aforementioned issues that face landscaping in hot-arid climates, while remaining aesthetically appealing, and also help preserve the natural resources and provide ecological benefits to their surroundings. This paper reviews the criteria used for selecting plants for landscaping in Oman with emphasis on the native species and their aesthetic, ecological and functional values.