Desert Landscaping Ideas for Homes

Create a desert oasis by planting desert plants like succulents and nestling an outdoor firepit within the space. Succulents have unusually shaped foliage and are low-maintenance, making them a desert landscaping must. Desert plants also help to contrast with the reddish orange tones found in the desert. They are bright burst of color to a neutral landscape.


Plant hardy and drought-resistant plants to withstand the desert's high demands while creating a color-filled landscape. Indian fig cactus is a tall succulent to plant inside a container or along a garden bed for height. The bright yellow and orange flowers emerge in early summer, followed by edible fruits. Another desert landscaping plant is the agave. This cream-striped succulent has gray leaves and can withstand arid, dry temperatures. Plant the agave along the rock path to create a splash of color along the landscape and to help define the space. For bright color, plant the Baja fairy duster. This medium-sized evergreen shrub has fern-like foliage and bright red flowers that light up the landscape. Fairy duster is also a spreading plant that grows between 2 to 6 feet in height and width. The blue-green leaves and tassel-shape flowers bloom in the early summer, lasting through fall. These hardy evergreens are drought-tolerant and look lovely planted in a perennial garden


Every desert landscape needs a meandering path to lead to and from areas around the yard. To evoke the feeling of walking through the dessert, lay decomposed granite. The colors found in decomposed granite are a reddish brown, the colors of the desert sunsets. Soft under foot, the granite looks brilliant scattered along a wide path or layered over a small footpath inside the landscape. Decomposed granite also packs down well, creating a walkable surface that supports wheelbarrows and other garden equipment. Along the path, edge the space with bright green barrel cacti to complete the desert feel.


Add a pergola alongside a succulent filled garden to create a space for outdoor dining and living. The open roof pergola lets the warm sun into the space and is the ideal spot to grow a creeping vine. Around the base of the pergola, and to create a natural edging, lay river rocks. River rocks have natural desert colors and are imprinted with their own interesting texture from water washing over them throughout the years. Scattered around the pergola, they reflect the desert landscape feel and bring in subtle color to the space. Over the river rocks nestle containers filled with fan palms and organ pipe cactus. Both accent the pergola space and create a serene desert feel to the landscape.

Keywords: desert landscaping ideas, indian fig cactus, garden path, river rocks, desert pergola

About this Author

Callie Barber is a writer and photographer in North Carolina. Her work has appeared in Forbes and Automotive News magazine. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in international studies from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.