Desert landscapes may be challenging to design, but here's a comprehensive look at 15 ideas to turn your desert front yard into a lush and green spot to enjoy.
Your front yard is the first thing anyone sees when they arrive at your house, therefore it is the first thing that makes an impression on them. This is true for clients, potential buyers of the property, and the in-laws you’re hoping to impress!
It can be difficult to landscape in an area with constant high temperatures and little shade, such as those desert areas like in Texas or Arizona, particularly when you’re looking for budget-friendly options. That’s why this article details 15 inexpensive desert landscaping ideas for you to transform your front yard.
Can You Turn Your Desert Yard Into An Oasis – On A Budget?
First and foremost: Is it even possible?
Desert regions are difficult to landscape due to the constant dry heat, lack of shade and water. That doesn’t mean it’s impossible to create a beautiful and even green lawn for your front yard. Anyone can transform their property with a little creativity and almost no money, and a desert landscape is no exception!
The next question you’re probably asking is how? How can your desert yard become an oasis that you can be proud of and enjoy?
Most of the time, all you need is some inspiration and a few ideas to get started. Lucky for you, that’s exactly what this article is for!
Green is the most sought after attribute of front yards anywhere and it’s no different with desert landscapes. Because of its rarity in drier climates, having nice grass is something that everyone dreams of for their perfect desert landscape.
Average prices are around $12 per square foot. Expect pricing to differ depending on labor costs and supply and demand in your area, as well as the type of turf you’re looking for.
Hands down, the easiest way to achieve green is with artificial turf. Artificial turf, as seen in the photo above, is a realistic alternative to grass that will never dry out during a drought. This may not be an immediate save in your finances, but the investment can save you a lot of money from having your lawn watered through a sprinkler system and the amount of water needed to keep real grass alive.
Not everyone can afford rolls of artificial turf to decorate their lawn, so watering systems are the next best thing with watering by hand being the last but most cost effective.
Keeping your lawn nice and green is a lot of work and requires a lot of water. In the long run, it will dip into your bank account far more than purchasing artificial turf does in the moment but if you’re looking for a more immediate fix to fit your budget, a timed watering system to ensure your lawn is watered as it needs.
Fixr says that the average cost to install a sprinkler system is $5,500, with the average range being from around $4,000 to $7,000. Searching your zip code on fixr.com will provide you with local contractors and free estimates on pricing for your area and property!
Incorporating green is still very possible without a field of grass. Grass is so difficult to maintain in a desert landscape because there is so much of it. Garden plants, on the other hand, can be a much easier way to add a bit of those lively colors into your landscaping project.
For a dry area, prone to high temperatures, drought tolerant plants should be your go-to decision. Plants native to your area are a natural choice but there are other ways to incorporate different plant life into your landscaping ideas.
Because of how delicate flowering plants tend to be, planting a flower garden can be a big challenge. Sun loving flowers are the right place to start your search, and High Country Gardens is a big help! In their post about Full Sun Plants, you are able to find the flowers that fit your needs best.
Due to their delicate nature, consider planting flowers in an area or installing something to provide shade from the sun for a few hours during the day. Remember to water frequently, as the soil dries out quickly in higher climates.
Rock gardens are a low maintenance alternative to full flower gardens. While they can be decorated with flowers and other plants, rocks are the main feature in this display. That makes this the most affordable garden landscaping option to choose!
You can find landscaping rocks at your local hardware or superstore, such as Home Depot or Walmart. Homedepot.com lists pricing from small rocks at $4 per 0.5 of a cubic foot to boulders around $900 per pallet. With wide varieties of landscape rocks, you are sure to find what it is that you want for your rock garden.
A cactus garden is the best way to go! While you can always incorporate other plant life, cacti are made for the hot and the dry! Check out your local plant nursery to see if they offer different types of cacti.
There are small cacti varieties, some shown in the photo above, as well as tall varieties like the saguaro cacti. You can even find flowering cacti to add a pop of color into the garden! Cacti gardens are the most dependable of all the gardens because you don’t have to worry about the environment causing any issues.
Trees, Shrubs & Bushes
Trees, shrubs, and bushes are always a wonderful addition to any property. They add much needed shade to your home and yard in the high heat. When considering what type of tree, shrub, or bush to plant in your yard the best ones to consider are those native to your climate. There is plant life unique to hotter areas and you can get a look at those in Texas, Arizona, and Nevada.
ABChomeandcommercial.com lists trees that are not only native to the Texas area but also flourish in the environment. They cover trees that are common, provide shade, are low maintenance, and even those that flower.
Dffm.az.gov talks you through how to choose the right trees, how to take care of them, and mistakes that you should avoid. The Department of Forestry and Fire Management also educates readers on the Arizona Climate Zones so that you know what plants will thrive in your personal zone.
As for trees and shrubs in Nevada, taking a look at nps.gov, National Park Service, is a sure way to find out what it is you need to know. There are lists of trees, bushes and shrubs for you to look through and find which ones you like best!
Another way to figure out what types of plants will grow and prosper in your local climate is to talk to someone at a nearby greenhouse or plant nursery. They can give you the most accurate and professional information on plant life, irrigation and watering needs, and how best to create a sustainable area for your trees and bushes to grow.
The Water Feature
Water features are a top-tier landscaping element! It doesn’t have to be a grand set-up, large enough that it takes up space in your front yard. Even a small feature is enough to decorate your home in a beautiful way.
If you’re looking to order a waterfall feature online, such as walmart.com, prices can be anywhere from $70 to $900. From the same website, prices for pond starter kits are around $100 to $200 or more! Naturally, price differences depend on the size of the feature, the type, and the materials.
Other than waterfalls and ponds, you can search for features such as decorative wells, fountains, or even simple bird baths!
Landscaping Ideas To Transform Your Property
There are so many more things that you can do to really transform your front yard into something beautiful and lively. Your outdoor space should be something that you can enjoy regularly and adds curb appeal to your property, and although gardens, lawns and water features are sure ways to make this happen, there are other inexpensive desert landscaping ideas to look at.
Pathways are both a fun and useful way to landscape your yard and are very versatile, meeting whatever material or financial needs you might have. Paths can be made of gravel, crushed stone, or rocks and stones of any kind, not to mention the classic options of stone or concrete pavers.
Instead of buying premade pavers at the store, a cheaper alternative is to get paver molds and pour your own concrete! I have personally done this and used the method to pave my driveway, so I know it will work out for you! If you don’t want a simple gray path leading to your door, mixing a bit of dye into the concrete really does the trick.
Just like how you can pour your own pavers, you can also pour your own concrete for a patio. Concreteideas.com provides a step-by-step instructional post about how to prepare the ground before pouring concrete. I have personally used this and things have gone smoothly thanks to the detailed information and tips.
Of course, you don’t have to make a concrete patio. Wood and plastic are great choices, too, and widely available at hardware stores. Patios with awnings are a sure way to provide shade to any plants around, which will help with any gardening you plan to do.
Potted plants are another way to decorate your desert landscape. Whether you choose colorful pots or the classic clay terracotta, these little bursts of color do their jobs wonderfully. Because the new plants are more easily controlled, you can plant almost anything in the pots from succulents to Aloe Vera, to flowers.
Carts and Tables
Now that you have your flowers, how about a place to put them? There are many examples of how to use potted plants in your landscaping ideas, some of which involve staged scenarios as if you’re preparing to plant them or in and on carts. Staging like this is a key component to a lot of landscaping designs and really adds personality to a property.
Decorative bikes, buckets, and tables are other ways to spruce up your property, whether it be a desert backyard or front yard. If you are someone who is invested in yard work and gardening, the table can double for you as a storage unit for small tools or materials.
The last of these front yard desert landscaping ideas I have to offer you is decorative seating. Benches, stools, or even just chairs are a neat addition to any landscaping project. Embellished stone benches as shown above are heavily favored for this type of landscaping decoration.
Hired Help On A Budget
It’s no secret that hiring landscapers will seriously dip into your bank account. Is it affordable or at all worth it to spend money on professionals?
It is always a good idea to consult with a landscaper about the dos and don’ts of your property. Local contractors will know the best way to alter your yard, as well as which plants and materials to use that are environmentally friendly and cohesive with your home area. Getting a professional opinion doesn’t mean you have to hire them for the job but having a consultant is a great idea.
Something to consider is if there is a certain feature or watering system you want installed but can’t do yourself. Hire a contractor for that part of your project only, and complete the rest on your own. This is a special way to get things done, sure, but it’s more cost effective when it comes to a bigger landscape design.
Are These Front Yard Desert Landscaping Ideas DIY-friendly?
While choices like sprinkler systems and rolling out artificial turf may be difficult tasks to complete on your own, planting gardens, laying paths with pebbles or gravel, and even creating paved walks or patios are things that any ordinary Jane or Joe like you and I can complete.
You can always turn it into a family project or something you can do with friends, if taking on such a large task seems a bit overwhelming for you to do on your own.
Here at Love Home Designs, you can find any landscape related article to satisfy your landscaping needs as you dive into this journey of yard work and design!