Inexpensive desert landscaping ideas include how you can create desert landscapes right in the comfort of your home and in a budget-friendly manner. All you need to ensure is a budget, and then choose from the ideas that suit you the most.

32 Realistic and Inexpensive Desert Landscaping Ideas

The ideas are selected based on cost-effectiveness and beauty at the same time. Continue reading to know more about these landscape designs, and then decide what fits well into your budget.

32 Inexpensive Desert Landscaping Ideas

Inexpensive desert landscaping ideas consist of unique and creative ways through which you can turn your yards into deserts. The ideas are easy on the pockets while making everything seem more attractive.

Here are 32 inexpensive desert landscaping ideas going to deserts right in your home.

1. Use Ordinary Stones and Rocks 

The least expensive idea that doesn’t require much thinking. It doesn’t cost you anything as you can find rocks and stones everywhere.

Use Ordinary Stones and Rocks

However, their choice of size and color is totally up to you. Such backyard ideas are low-maintenance as the rocks and stones do not require watering.

2. Use Artificial Gravel or Turf

It is a wise choice not to go for lawns. They require maintenance, leading to an increase in your budget, to stay healthy and green.

Use Artificial Gravel or Turf

A cheaper, drought-tolerant option would be to use artificial gravel or turf. However, keep in mind that the purchasing cost of artificial turf is pretty heavy on the pocket, but it will save you from spending way more in the coming years as it can last for up to twenty years. And it is low maintenance as well.

Pea gravel is also a cheap option. You can create different patterns with fine gravel.

3. Add Color Through Fiber Glass Planters

Fiberglass planters have a long life span because of a special coating. The coating makes them tolerate hot weather conditions.

Add Color Through Fiber Glass Planters

These come available in various colors and shapes, which you can choose from according to the color scheme you have going on. You won’t regret having it on your gardening ideas list. 

4. Make Use of Your Faded Green Plants 

Plant your faded green plants at uneven distances to give your space a more desert-like feel.

Make Use of Your Faded Green Plants

This design does not require much, making it a low-maintenance backyard desert idea.

5. Enhance the Beauty of Desert Rock Garden Using Pots

Pots are highly underestimated decorative items. Including pots in your rock garden is going to bring attractiveness to your yard landscaping ideas.

Enhance the Beauty of Desert Rock Garden Using Pots

These pots are very sturdy and durable. You can uplift the look even further by adding natural-looking rocks.

6. Use Desert Native Plants Like Aloe Vera and Barrel Cactus

Plants like aloe vera come very cheap. The plant, together with medium-sized rocks, does not require much maintenance.

Use Desert Native Plants Like Aloe Vera and Barrel Cactus

To add more value, you can add cacti in various forms, like succulents and barrel cactus. When used together, the two plants will add a curb appeal to your landscape ideas.

7. Add Gravel to Your Plants

Gravel and plants together make the perfect combination to create a desert atmosphere.

Add Gravel to Your Plants

For this idea, you don’t need to buy anything new except for gravel, which is not expensive, or you can use the already present gravel at your home. Use gravel as ground cover around your garden bed to achieve the look.

8. Incorporate Colorful Succulents

Deserts sometimes have colorful plants like the succulents shown in the link above.

Incorporate Colorful Succulents

A faded garden will pop with the addition of these beautiful plants.

9. Build Water Features

Water is the first and foremost thought that comes to mind when considering a desert, except for cacti.

Build Water Features

The water feature shown in the link above has a vintage, something you would see in the deserts. Add the feature to your cactus garden and watch your yard landscape give a deserted vibe. 

10. Soften Your Landscape Using Neutral-tone Stepping Stones 

Use neutral-tone stepping stones in your garden design to make it seem like a desert. Symmetrically placed stones blend in the picture quite nicely.

Soften Your Landscape Using Neutral-tone Stepping Stones

You can use inexpensive drought-tolerant landscaping ideas if you are living somewhere where it is hot and humid. Cactus can also be added to the landscaping design to add color and give the place a more desert-like feel.

11.   Add String Lights

Good lighting ideas make all the difference. Make your space more inviting by investing in string lights.

Add String Lights

Add the perfect warm glow to your seating area. Hang these lights any way you want on trees, railings, and even over your heads, and see how much of a difference it brings to your mood This landscaping is particularly good for small backyards because you wouldn’t have to spend much on lights.

12. Use Colorful Cacti for Your Flower Beds

Add plants like prickly pear cacti to your flower bed garden ideas and make your garden look like a part of a desert Cactus is only thought to be in the color green.

Use Colorful Cacti for Your Flower Beds

But that’s when we are mistaken. It comes in beautiful shades of blue as well. Click on the link above to see what a purple cactus looks like!

13. Add a Hint of Color Using Perennials

Perennials are inexpensive plants that do not require much maintenance. Use them in your landscaping ideas to add a hint of color. With these plants, you will not feel your green lawn’s absence.

Add a Hint of Color Using Perennials

Make your desert landscape look beautiful by adding gravel to the base. The sight you get from this yard desert is like a natural desert.

14. Use Buffalo Grass and Blue Grama Grass

Xeriscaping is quite popular in dry regions of the United States. Defined, it is the selection of plants that can survive with a minimal amount of water.

Use Buffalo Grass and Blue Grama Grass

A xeriscape is achieved by replacing the lawn grass with native grasses like buffalo grass and blue grama grass that require very little maintenance.

15. Build a Fireplace for Cold Evenings

Fireplaces are appropriate for desert gardens that frequently experience winds. Including a fireplace in your backyard landscaping ideas will make the space all cozy on cold evenings so you can have quality time with friends and family.

Build a Fireplace for Cold Evenings

You can experiment with firepit design ideas per your space’s style. A traditional-looking firepit can be seen by clicking on the link given above.

16. Use Raked Sand and Rocks 

The main constituents of a zen garden are raked sand and perfectly placed rocks. Zen gardens have stress-reducing characteristics.

Use Raked Sand and Rocks

They are also a way of improving your focus. These gardens are a favorite among people who prefer to control what kind of plants or other natural elements and what size of plants they want to have in their gardens.

17. Add Vibrancy Through Murals

This idea is for you if you want to have a dessert but with a pop of color. Having a desert landscape doesn’t mean you can’t have some fun with colors. Enhance your dull-looking landscape with vibrant colors.

Add Vibrancy Through Murals

The popping colors are going to enhance your desert landscape even more. Add them in the form of murals or even by painting the background wall with a color of your choice.

18. Don’t Use Rocks and Plants Abundantly

Your desert landscaping ideas will make a full impact, mostly with minimal elements. An example of such a design can be seen by clicking on the link given above.

Don’t Use Rocks and Plants Abundantly

It is all a game of aesthetics. Place rocks and plants however your want but remember, as this is a minimalistic design, you cannot go overboard with the amount.

19. Frame Your Miniature Desert

Create a mini desert and still have the impact of a larger desert.

Frame Your Miniature Desert

To create a miniature desert, use desert-friendly plants like cacti, succulents, etc., in a wooden or concrete frame.

20.  Use Palm Tree

Make your entrance the highlight element of your landscape.

Use Palm Tree

You can achieve this by planting palm trees on both sides of the walkway and adding spotlights to make their presence more prominent.

21. Try Agave Succulents

Agaves are firm, architectural, low-maintenance succulents that come in sizes ranging from a few inches to a few feet and in various colors, from dark green to silver-ish blue. Use agave along with cacti and other desert-friendly shrubs to complete the look.

22. Use Blue Cactus 

Use blue cactus to add an accent to your front yard. The plant is not too expensive, meaning you can plant them in pots and place them near your entrances. The cactus grows up to two feet yearly. Click on the link above to see what a blue cactus looks like.

23. Use Mexican Thread Grass

Who says inexpensive desert landscaping has to be done traditionally? Landscaping, when done right, adds value to the property.

Use Mexican Thread Grass evenly spaced out near the walls of your contemporary home. Use gravel around it to give it a more desert-like feel. As can be seen by clicking on the link above, the green desert grass complemented the white house.

24. Add Desert Plants to Your Front Yard

It’s time to use your about-to-die desert plans and create a design for your front yard.

Add Desert Plants to Your Front Yard

Use one of each type of desert plant that you may have in the house and create a masterpiece of your own.

25. Make Use of Items You Already Have

Carefully placed furniture, a pond, and some plants are all you need in your backyard to get that mini getaway feeling. This idea will fall in your budget, considering that most things are already present in your home.

26. Use Textured Stones and Plants

Creating a paradise in your yard does not require being a carpenter or a lot of fortune. The design needs your artistic sense. All that is required is to cover the ground with different textured stones and add plants alongside the walls. Use the spotlight to intensify the effect.

27. Make Your Tree the Focal Point 

You might have a single tree, upright, in some part of your house. Make that tree the focal point by placing desert elements like rocks and pear cacti around it. Even the smallest landscape edging ideas make all the difference. 

28. Plant Cactus Against a Brick Wall

Use tall cactus in front of your brick wall for both elements to grab an equal amount of attention.

Plant Cactus Against a Brick Wall

The plants are going to add contrast to the wall and likewise.

29. Create a Desert Park

Make your own desert park, and that in the comfort of your home! The design is simple yet sophisticated. All you need to do is add raked sand, cacti, etc., near any benches you might have in your backyard to achieve the look. 

30. Define Your Accent Pieces

Landscape curbing will define the rest of the accent pieces of your backyard. Concrete is a safe option as it does not rot or deteriorate very easily.

31. Add Block Planters

Cinder blocks are inexpensive which makes them all the more necessary to be in your desert landscaping ideas. Use Mother in Laws Tongue Snake Plant, a common house plant that has yellow-stripped leaves in the planters. Stack the planters as high or as low as what looks best.

32. Use Concrete Balls

Place concrete balls at random plates in your rock garden.

Use Concrete Balls

Use rocks of all sizes for a natural look. Add shrubs to uplift the garden even more. 


The best thing about inexpensive backyard landscaping, and even front yard landscaping, is you get to use all the natural elements, and that within your budget!

Having a desert as a part of your landscape can make it very overwhelming, but the drought-tolerant plants make everything look more beautiful. We hope you will agree with us after going through our guide.

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