In the desert, the water and upkeep required to maintain a grass lawn can be cost-prohibitive. Landscaping provides an environmentally friendly, less expensive way to create an attractive yard in a desert area. As you plan cheap ways to landscape your yard, consider items that will require the least amount of maintenance.
Use Local Plants
By choosing plants that occur naturally in your area, you can make the most of the soil without paying for expensive fertilizers. Look for plants that do not require a great deal of water, and plant them in thick bunches to create a lush feeling. Depending on where you live, common desert plants include sage, yucca, bottle brush, aloe and agave. Ask at your local nursery for recommendations of plants that will grow easily in your area.
For a cheap landscaping option, turn your yard into a classic desert scene. Start by covering the entire space in sand-colored pebbles; because they will be used mostly to create a base, you can go with the cheapest option. On top of the pebbles, plant several types of cacti scattered around the yard. You might place a fake cow skull near one of the cacti for a comical, old-West touch. If you can find petrified wood or dried-out tree trunks, combine them with the cacti for extra visual appeal.
When you don't want to spend money installing plants, use rocks for a dramatic and inexpensive landscaping option. Start with two colors of small pebbles, buying the cheapest type you can find. Mark out a design in your yard using chalk: You might create free-form rounded shapes, for example, or use one base color with the second color as a house border. Scatter boulders around the yard, making sure that one or two cross the boundaries between the colored areas for visual interest. If you want a solid border along the driveway or against the house, use small boulders for an inexpensive option.
If you want to keep your yard as it is with a few small modifications, create a dry stream bed. Mark out a spot on your yard for a small twisting stream, giving it beginning and end points. Fill the area with river rocks or, if they are out of your price range, any type of medium-sized rock. Place one or two large boulders on the stream banks and add a small bush next to each rock.