Front yard desert landscaping ideas on a budget is not something that is hard to attain, if you, of course wish to dig into it thoroughly, you can.

Impressive Front Yard Desert Landscaping Ideas

Your front yard is the greeting card of your house, as a result, you would want to make something special out of it.

Desert landscaping is one of the most unique ideas for your front yard design. Turns out, you don’t have to be a mogul to boost your curb appeal and these awesome and cheap landscaping ideas are here to help you out.

List of Front Yard Desert Landscaping Ideas on a Budget

1. Water Feature

Water features are unique landscaping elements and fall into one of the best garden ideas. And you don’t have to go for gigantic waterfalls.  A simple small creek or an oasis will do the trick – and they won’t knock you out of the park financially. 

– Price Range

Inexpensive desert landscaping design often includes plenty of naked rocks and you can create a rocky stream, and some shops like Walmart often offer water features as low as $70, and would even go for $150 to even higher, but again, it can be done when you are on a tight budget.

Front Yard Water Feature

– Features

You can opt to create your own – simply stack some giant stone blocks upon one another, and drill holes for the water hose to go through, which would feature a perfect ambiance.

The water hose will climb through the holes and up to the top, sending water to the topmost stone and falling for a water fountain effect. After this, bury the hose in-ground and voila, an amazing desert-like water feature is done! 

2. Rock Garden

If you’re creating a desert design for your yard, the best backyard ideas mandate avoiding luscious lawns. Or any lawn for that matter. But the stones are a completely different story and one of the best desert landscaping ideas

– Pricing Range

You don’t have to spend much on artificial turf. This can cost you nothing as stones are a naturally available resource, and you can surely find some desert-like varieties out there.

You can collect rocks that you find remarkable especially when you find them in public places like the beach or at a mountain, as these are free.

Rock Garden in Front Yard

You can also go to a gardening shop and buy a variety from there too, which would cost around $30 and may go higher.

– Features

Huge rocks are common in deserts of the world, so scatter them freely around your turf. If you have beautiful enough stones, a rock garden is all you need to achieve that desert-like design in your garden.

You can even sandblast them for that sandy, light brown desert look. If you’re dealing with a small backyard these will make it visually bigger too, you can also arrange them using your own creativity.

3. Add Some Flower Power

It’s no news that some deserts have more than attractive flower species thriving in them. You can get away with a flower bed in your garden design. Just be mindful of what you’ll plant in it.

All in all, a great idea is not to go overboard with flower beds, and maybe place a single flowerbed feature next to the water, to create an oasis effect. Let’s go over a few ideas and how you can arrange your desert plants to accentuate the desert yard design. 

– Different Variety

African lily is a beautiful bluish and purple flower that will add that perfect coloring to the brown of your desert.

The flowers grow on top of the leafless stalks and can last up to eight weeks in good growing conditions. This one is considered a moist area plant, but once established it will thrive in prolonged dry spells. African lilies will do best in climate zones eight to 11. 

Beautiful Flower Garden

This flashy beauty is a cheerful flower that will spice up your desert scenery. These flowers thrive in well-drained and sandy soils and full sun.

The flowers are reddish with hues of golden yellow on the edges. These will grow in climate zones from three to nine, so if you’re designing a desert garden somewhere in the north consider using these for your flower bed. 

– Adding Structure

False sunflowers need virtually no maintenance, and you can even cut them heavily in spring to produce bushier clumps come summer. This is a dry prairie native plant that grows beautiful golden flowers on stiff stems. Their preferred climate zones lie between three to nine and are perfect for any landscape design. 

Platycodon or the balloon flower is a wonderful light blue flower that will be an amazing addition to your desert flower bed, because of the structure that they would add.

It is very low maintenance and blooms even in the harshest of situations. Children absolutely adore this flower because of the way these pop open to the touch. Balloon flowers love climates in the range from three to eight and are perfect for any garden design. 

4. The Power of Succulents

This is another cheap but highly effective idea for your desert yard. Sure, flowers can elevate the scene and bring some color in, but the best desert landscaping ideas have to include succulent plants and cacti.

These have the power of both captivating the viewer and pleasing any demanding landscaping critic. And succulents are known to be very low maintenance, even requiring little to no water, so that’ll make them another budget-friendly option.

– Price Range

Cacti desert plants are often found on the cheap ends of any garden center and are natives in desert landscape design, you can find them even in desserts and get them for free. 

You can play with different shapes and sizes to accentuate or promote certain yard areas, as they would be cheaper than gardens. These drought tolerant plants are the perfect low-maintenance option that requires almost no upkeep. 

Drought-tolerant succulent plants will make a great addition to cacti. Their smooth skins often complement cacti very well and they’ll add to the overall aesthetic of your desert landscape, especially ones that you have had a lucky purchase of.

The succulent garden thrives in harsh weather conditions, and plant watery meats provide them with enough water, so you don’t have to.

– Design Ideas

Golden barrel cactus or echinocactus grusonii is a pale green and barrel-shaped cactus with ribs full of areoles with golden spines. They produce bright yellow flowers from late spring to early summer. As this one matures, it takes an oblong shape leaning south or southwest, and many desert travelers are using them as a natural compass. 

These drought-tolerant plants are just perfect to be utilized in your desert garden, as they enjoy full sun and well-drained, sandy soils. Golden barrel cacti grow up to two feet tall and three feet wide at maximum. 

This funky cactus is resembling a loaf of bread. With its squashed and small appearance it really makes for a subtle specimen in any desert scenery. The spider cactus has up to five woody areoles from which spines grow. 

The spines grow in a backward fashion which makes this one a relatively harmless specimen. Spider cactus produces the most interesting white flowers and almost every other creates an interesting shape with age. 

Succulents Plants in the Yard

– Features

This drought-tolerant dwarf shrub has colorful and fleshy pads. Covered with prickly spines, these pads turn to pink and purple in the winter, before returning to green for the warmer season, which would add a very nice appeal.

This will both add color and variety to your succulent-filled spot. And they’re high growers too, reaching 24 inches in height, which is great to cover the spaces! Outer edges are filled with brilliant pink flowers in high spring and early summer. 

This is a small clumping cactus with expansionist behavior – every specimen can bear up to 100 or more stems in maturity. These dense stems are composed of up to 13 ribs with deep burrows in between. In summer, a wonderful array of pink and bluish flowers emerge. These will give way to awesome, edible fruits that taste like strawberries.

Barbados aloe vera is famous for its’ medicinal juice. This is an evergreen perennial forming clumps of long light-green leaves with whitish-toothed edges. In spring and in summer, tubular yellow flowers emerge above the foliage.

These provide a nice smell when a slight breeze shows up. Aloe vera grows up to two feet tall and three feet wide, so you’ll need to give it some space or otherwise scatter them across the yard desert. 

– Adding Structure

Yuccas will add some vertical garden structure to your succulent garden. Yucca is a highly ornamental shrub, bearing sword-shaped rosettes with dark green leaves. The evergreen leaves feature small and sharp serrations with a very sharp tip. 

In spring or summer, they produce large creamy flowers, and they would give a whole new aesthetic. Yuccas generally grow up to 10 feet high and will create some effect, especially in the small backyard even with green ground cover beneath. 

In addition, you can also invest in some fox tail agave, for instance, because it is an elegant succulent perennial which produces luscious rosettes of flexible, blue, and green leaves with no teeth on the edges. 

Emerging from the center of the plant, the leaves arch gracefully backward. Each rosette may reach up to five feet across, making the agave the queen of the yard desert landscape. 

One of the most dramatic succulents, the paddle plant is an impressive evergreen with a basal rosette of fleshy leaves. These are resembling of clamshells, and are adorned with reddish tips during the colder months of the year. 

In spring, you should be able to spot clusters of yellow tubular flowers extending high above the foliage. Winter is the most impressive time of the year when these plants change colors – going from bright red and purple and reverting to green for the spring. 

5. Use Flower pots

One of the best desert backyard garden ideas is flower pots. If you opted for smaller succulents, try planting them in colorful flower pots instead of directly in the ground. 

– Features

You shouldn’t, however, go with plastic ones, because they would damage the features.

Flower Pots in Garden

Yard desert landscaping usually goes with the use of clay pots, which you can acquire in a whole range of colors to accentuate and play in the light brown desert scene. 

Whatever you go for, stay away from black pots, not only because they will make the yard look a bit off, but these will attract too much sunshine and can damage any plant you keep in them. 

6. Stepping Stones

Yard desert landscaping just can’t do without stones and pebbles. So you have some stones scattered around, but how about building a stone walkway? This is a super low budget idea, as it won’t cost you a pretty buck, if any at all. Adding some succulents along the way will complete the look. 

Stepping Stones in Garden

– Benefits

The biggest advantage of stepping stones is they require little to no maintenance at all. All washing can by done by the local rain, and they’ll even look better as they age and get that nice dusty patina. 

7. Green Lawn

You can achieve a desert backyard effect even without the dust, the sand or the pebbles. If you’re a fan of luscious lawns, these too can be modified into a desert yard landscaping ideas.

You would want to keep your green lawn trimmed at all times, but you’ll probably want to spend some money on palms, huge succulents and specimens that can give out a desert look. 

Green Grass on the Lawn

– Features

Green lawns also play well with huge stones being scattered around the turf, which will add to the desert like scene, adding a characteristic to your landscape.

Ornamental grasses are also here to help you out and like a bit of a mulched and moist soil. You can also achieve some contrast by building rocky flower islands and filling them in with reddish pine bark or some artificial turf. 

8. Beach Pebbles

Another great turf option is beach pebbles. You don’t have to splash out on fine-grain soils from the garden center. If you live close to the sea you can bring a few buckets of beach rocks and pebbles to add a desert effect to your yard. 

– Adding Structure

Beach pebbles work all kinds of wonders in desert backyard landscaping – you can place them in between your stepping stones to accentuate the walkway, or to divide sections of your garden visually, with the structure and the eccentric touch that they give.

Using Beach Pebbles in Front Yard

For example, if you have a lawn patch on one side and sand on the other, pebbles will create a beautiful natural transition between the two. And you can play with all kinds of curves and shapes, or go with a straight line, the options are plenty. 

9. Window Boxes

Now here’s something that will add some of that spanish desert house pazzaz for front yard landscaping ideas. Window boxes just call for those lovely succulents and cacti. They’re usually made of clay or some other sandy material, which will add that rustic touch to the scene. 

Window Boxes in House

– Features

These are a staple of your southwestern landscaping design that can play of a decent desert scene unlike anything else. You don’t have to necessarily place them beneath windows. They go extremely well as a patio decoration or border and can be placed on lawns to bring out those small cacti in the view. 

10. Outdoor String Lights

And of course, string lights. No comfortable garden resting area goes without the unavoidable string lights. Especially if we’re talking about desert gardens and cheap landscaping ideas. 

Outdoor String Lights on Yard

– Benefits

String lights are the cheapest lighting option for your outdoor space, but they have the most romantic effect and can accentuate your garden plants unlike anything you’ve tried before. In addition, you may want to consider them because the benefit is that outdoor string lights will add a unique flare to your place, especially when you want some coziness. 

11. Camouflage Wooden Poles

String lights have to be hung somewhere, and wooden poles are the best vertical garden features.

Butterfly on Camouflage Wooden Poles

– Features

Bare wooden poles will add to the desert setting in your backyard too. However, they can look somewhat plain just being erect from the ground cover like that. You can camouflage wooden poles with pots of sun-loving flowers or succulents. They would feature a very keen and an attractive visual for the landscape which is one of a kind. 

12. Outdoor Dining Area

Placing your dining table somewhere under a tree or a huge succulent is an amazing summer dining option. One thing left to do is hang some outdoor string lights above the seating area. You can pair these with some hanging jars to create an absolutely breathtaking display. 

Outdoor Dining Area at House

– Benefits

The benefits of the outdoor sitting area or dining area is that if you wish to stick to a low budget, you can simply thrift some chairs and make them of a variety of textures and colors, and put together a set of them which would look very aesthetic. In addition, it would make you and your friends or family spend more time together outdoors, and even dine there as an option.

13.  Big Trees As Bases

When you want to show your entire desert backyard in the evening this setup really proves you don’t need plenty of money to create a staggering scenery. 

Big Trees in Garden

– Design Idea

Simply drape the string lights up from a big tree or even a couple of them, all the way to the roof of the house and see the entire backyard glow with amazing subtle moonlight. Your trees can start from $50 and it would range to higher prices. 

14. Fire Pit Accent

We all eagerly await those lazy long summer nights gathered around the fire. But the fire pit seating area doesn’t always have to be ablaze! 

Fire Pit Accent with Sitting Feature

– Features

Simply hang some string lights above this outdoor space and voila – you’ll have a romantic scene right there and then. Not just that, but also consider how it would uplift the desert nights, which are colder and much chillier, this way, as you install a fire pit, it would give calmness and coziness for not more than $70.

15. Privacy Screen 

Yard landscaping ideas often include privacy screens, and they work wonders in desert landscaping design. But those boring plywood screens often leave us wanting for more than just a few erect and crossed wood boards. 

Privacy Screen in Front Yard

– Features

You can decorate them all you like, and that’s why wood is such a perfect material! You can place succulents below and hang your string lights in a zig-zag manner all across the privacy screen for that magazine image of a perfect summer hangout spot!

It will feature a very and cozy atmosphere that you have just created around your backyard, in addition, don’t forget that this won’t cost so much either. 

16. Rock Streams

Don’t want to have a water feature in your desert backyard design? No worries digging a water trench is a hard task, and who’d want to remove that lawn anyways? You can keep both and still have a great desert landscaping feature – introducing rock streams! 

– Benefits

You can have a water-like feature at a fraction of the cost, and the trench doesn’t have to be as deep.

Front Yard Rock Streams

You can dig a shallow trench and focus your stream in any which direction you prefer! 

Simply fill it out with rocks and pebbles instead of water and voila – a beautiful design feature for your desert backyard ideas. The reason why the latter is beneficial is that it will not cost you so much to do it, and it will give a very nice backyard look.


When it comes to front yard landscaping ideas on a budget, there are plenty of options to raise your curb appeal, and you really don’t have to splash a huge budget on it.

Some key takeaways that will make for inexpensive desert landscaping options: 

  • Add some succulents to your garden, as nothing will create that thirsty desert landscaping scene quite like them.
  • Adding a water feature oasis, that will invite some greenery around in this desolate place is always a winning option!
  • Those window boxes that can create the texan sun heat scene can be made from scratch just by using some plywood and a few nails.
  • And that unavoidable string light will make everything shine on a breezy summer night, making your garden enjoyable even under starlight. 

Now you’ve got everything you need to create that special desert garden and without having to splash out. Happy landscaping y’all! 

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