How Much Does Xeriscaping Cost?

Typical Range:

$3,000 - $24,000

Find out how much your project will cost.

Cost data is based on research by HomeAdvisor.

Updated November 2, 2022

Written by HomeAdvisor.

A xeriscape landscape costs $3,000 on the low end, $24,000 on the high end, and $17,000 on average for both the front and backyard of a typical residential home. Installation, design planning, material, and irrigation are the most significant factors of whether you’ll fall on the low or high end of the price range.

Average Cost to Xeriscape

Average Cost High Cost Low Cost
$17,000 $24,000 $3,000

Xeriscape Costs per Square Foot

The average cost to xeriscape a yard costs $5 and $20 per square foot. Contractors typically charge by the square foot, and the fee includes labor, plants, hardscaping supplies, and any other supplies or equipment. While most people have their entire yard xeriscaped, you can opt for just a portion of it. Alternatively, you could have just the front yard xeriscaped and keep a lawn in your backyard. This is a common option for people with pets.

Size of Yard Cost Range (All-In) Average Cost (All-In)
500 sq.ft. $2,500 – $10,000 $6,250
1,000 sq.ft. $5,000 – $20,000 $12,500
1,250 sq.ft. $6,250 – $25,000 $15,600
1,500 sq.ft $7,500 – $30,000 $18,750
2,000 sq.ft. $10,000 – $40,000 $25,000
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Xeriscape Cost by Style

The style you choose is another element of a xeriscape project that can vary in cost. While each style falls in that $3,000 to $24,000 range, how much you spend depends largely on your lawn size and design plans.

Some styles require a higher budget, but you still have options for a lower budget.

Style Average Cost (All-In)
Classic $17,000
Desert $17,000
Modern $4,500
Cottage $13,000

Classic Xeriscape

Classic xeriscapes cost around $17,000 on average and can reduce the size of any turf in your yard. This xeriscape style often comes in at the higher end of the price range due to the number of square feet and hardscaping needed to achieve the look. Most of your materials go into hardscaping, like mulch and gravel, with plants strategically planted in designated areas.

You can leave as little or as much grass as you want, with larger garden beds and smaller turfs costing you more than small garden beds and large turfs. Another option is to install artificial turf in your landscaping project, which costs around $5,200 on average.

Desert Xeriscape

A desert xeriscape can also cost more than other styles, coming in around that average price of $17,000. As with the classic xeriscape, hardscape material is one of the main building blocks of achieving this look. Hardscaping includes driveways, decks, patios, and pathways. You can get away with using fewer plants spaced out between the rocky areas for a desert xeriscape.

Since desert plants are the main plants of choice for this xeriscape, you might not need a high-quality irrigation system to keep plants hydrated. Keep in mind, however, that a desert xeriscape may not do well in less arid areas.

Modern Xeriscape

Much like with patio xeriscaping, modern xeriscapes can cost less than other project styles, such as $3,000 to $6,000 if you go for a 500-square-foot space. This style is the most budget-friendly because you don’t need to cover a sizable square-foot area with gravel, plants, or concrete. Instead, you can simply leave most of your turf and hone in on focal points for adding xeriscape plants, concrete slabs, and smaller garden beds.

However, if you want to cover a larger area, add trees, or install a high-end drip irrigation system, expect to pay $500 to $2,000 more.

Cottage Xeriscape

Cottage xeriscapes cost between $11,000 to $15,000 because they are more floral than the other options, so most of your expenses will go toward native plants that attract animals. You might place these plants side by side and use less hardscape material, opting to keep more turf than the other styles. Charming stone paths and mulch are excellent substitutes for gravel.

Xeriscaping Costs by Location

Each square foot of installed xeriscape costs between $5 to $20 on average, so your plot type and size are significant factors for estimating total costs. The average residential lawn in the United States is 10,800 square feet, about one-quarter of an acre. However, most homes don’t convert every square inch of outdoor space into a xeriscape. Many homeowners settle for 1,200 square feet.

Location Average Cost (All-In)
Front Yard $15,000
Backyard $25,000
Patio $6,500
Pool $10,000

Front Yard Xeriscaping

Your front yard is a prime area for xeriscaping. The cost to xeriscape a front yard of 1,200 square feet falls between $6,000 to $24,000 in total. Sectioned-off garden beds and walkways are some of the most budget-friendly xeriscaping plans. You end up using more plants, which are cheaper than hardscape materials like rocks. For a front yard xeriscaping design of 1,500 square feet, you might spend upwards of $16,500 to have your yard fully tailored.

Backyard Xeriscaping

If you want to create a full-blown xeriscaped landscape, the backyard is where you’ll likely spend the most for your installation. A 2,000-square-foot backyard costs between $10,000 and $40,000 on average. The average size of a backyard in the United States is around 6,000 square feet, but most homeowners won’t use up every square foot for xeriscaping, especially if you own a pool, have lots of trees, or want to keep some of the original landscape elements.

Patio Xeriscaping

For smaller projects, patio xeriscaping is an excellent option. On average, expect to pay between $2,500 to $10,500 for a 500-square-foot patio space. Popular stylistic elements for patio xeriscaping include a table and bench area, a section with hard landscaping (like slabs or gravel), and xeriscape plants.

Pool Xeriscaping

Pool xeriscaping costs $4,000 to $16,000. It's a great way to elevate the look of your outdoor space on a budget, as you'll typically only xeriscape up to 800 square feet. Pool xeriscaping includes lots of hardscaping and drought-tolerant plants. Hardscaping often uses rustic rocks and boulders or sleek, contemporary concrete planters and features.

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Xeriscaping Cost Breakdown

While it's difficult and not too useful to separate the cost of labor and materials from a xeriscaping project, we can look at the steps involved in xeriscaping and the costs involved in each. Note that you may not require each cost factor listed below. For example, you may not need mulching or irrigation lines, or perhaps your yard is already perfectly level and doesn't require grading. Your local xeriscaper can guide you on what works best for your yard.


Planning, or landscape design costs between $2,000 and $7,300, assuming a typical 1,200-square-foot yard. Hiring a local landscape designer costs between $200 and $300 per hour and, for a project like this, you'll likely accrue between three and eight hours of consultation costs. 

A xeriscaping specialist is a necessity, as is careful planning. It's vital that someone experienced with this type of landscape creates a well-thought-out design; there's a lot that can go wrong. For example, using too many rocks in the wrong places can increase the landscape's temperature and increase wastewater and water runoff. 

It's not advisable to try and save money by skipping this step, even if your project is small. 


Grading a yard costs $1,000 to $3,300, though you might not need any. However, because of how xeriscaping works, you may want to have slopes added to assist with irrigation and water conservation. How much you'll pay for regrading depends on the extent of the work and the type of soil you have. 


Hardscaping costs anywhere from $500 to $5,000 for laying concrete slabs, stone, rock, boulders, and gravel. If you also consider the cost to build a patio, the price of a retaining wall, or the cost to build an outdoor kitchen, your hardscaping costs could reach as high as $100,000. Like the cost of landscaping installation, hardscaping costs range from a few hundred dollars to many thousands, and how much you'll pay depends on the size of your yard and the look you want for your outdoor space.

Rocks and boulders create a more eco-friendly landscape, diverting water and, in the case of gravel and river rock, acting as a mulch. River rock and landscaping stones cost $40 to $100 per cubic yard, so they're reasonably budget-friendly, too. Decomposed granite costs $30 to $50 per cubic yard and is another popular option for hardscape mulch. Concrete comes in slab form for pathways and patios, creating walkways and limiting the areas that require planting. You can also use concrete for landscape edging, priced at $10 per square foot


Plants for xeriscaping cost between $3 and $100 per plant, depending on their type and age. Ground cover, for example, starts at around $3, while mature shrubs and succulents can cost up to $100 each. If you want to save on plants but still want a good mix of plants, shrubs, and trees, opt for smaller, younger plants, which cost significantly less. Then you'll have the pleasure of watching them mature, too. 


Drip irrigation costs between $1,800 and $2,500. The price you'll pay depends on the size of the system and any extra plumbing that goes along with it. While some people want to only rely on rainfall, this puts your plants at risk during extended hot or dry periods, so a drip irrigation system for supplemental watering is a smart move.


Mulching costs around $150 to $400 for a typical 1,200-square-foot xeriscape. For a yard of this size, you'll likely need up to three cubic yards of mulch, billed at $10 to $60 per cubic yard. Mulch conserves water and provides ground cover to prevent excessive evaporation from the soil.

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Xeriscaping Plant Costs

Expect to pay anywhere from $1,000 to $5,000 for plants for your xeriscaped yard. Although most people just think of succulents when they think of xeriscapes, there is, in fact, an array of drought-tolerant plants available. And you can get plenty of color with your plant choices, too, with the bright purple of creeping thyme or the bright red tips of sedum rubrotinctum. The cerise of the purple poppy mallow, the eye-catching yellow of the Russian Stonecrop, or the striking black of mondo grass all let you bring personality and vibrance to your yard. 

Ground cover costs between $3 and $17 per quart and include:

  • Creeping thyme

  • Sedum rubrotinctum (pork and beans)

  • Black mondo grass

  • Lace aloe

  • Pussy toes

  • Wooly yarrow

Shrubs run from $6 per plant to $100 per plant, depending on size and variety. Options include: 

  • Sage (Sonoma, Germander, Russian, and others)

  • Saskatoon berry

  • Harry Lauder's Walkingstick

  • Siberian saltbush

  • Rat stripper

  • Ribes jostaberry

Other popular plants will run you anywhere from $7 to $100 per plant. They include: 

  • False shamrock

  • Yucca

  • Equinox flower

  • Crocodile aloe

  • Stinking hellebore

  • Mexican cardinal flower

  • Lindheimer's bee blossom

Trees for xeriscaping start at around $15 but can cost as much as $80, depending on maturity and species. Common low-water trees for the xeriscape include: 

  • Northern or western catalpa

  • Golden rain tree

  • Common hackberry

  • Big-tooth maple

  • Russian Hawthorne

  • Kentucky coffee tree

  • Tartarian maple

DIY vs. Hiring a Xeriscaping Pro

Xeriscaping is either DIYed or installed professionally. More labor-intensive projects—or ones that require retaining walls, major irrigation systems, or expert knowledge of the land and plants—are better left for a xeriscape pro.

If you choose to hire a local professional landscaper, your pro can recommend the best plants for your location, inform you of what kind of hardscape would work best, and install the most water-efficient drip irrigation system that will help you get the most out of your xeriscape project.

Cost to Install a Xeriscaping Yourself

Unless you have a firm understanding of how to plan a xeriscape effectively, you should still use a xeriscape designer. However, there are ways you can save money. For example, you can minimize hardscaping, which is where a lot of the money goes for a xeriscape. Another option is to do as much of the labor as you can, such as planting and laying mulch, as this cuts down on labor costs. 

One key way to save money is to be patient and instead of going for full-size plants, go for small, young plants or even start your own plants from cuttings. And choose non-invasive plants that spread quickly with minimal help. The Santa Barbara daisy is a great example. As the plants put off starts or runners, you can lift them and move them to new areas. Creating your own mulch is another money-saving option to help you minimize your xeriscaping budget.

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Can I use a sprinkler to water my xeriscape garden?

No, sprinklers can’t fully reach underneath the hardscape of most xeriscape gardens. If you try to use a sprinkler system, you’ll waste most of the water as runoff, or it'll evaporate before it reaches the soil. Instead, install a drip irrigation system. This gets the water to the right places with minimal waste and encourages the development of strong, deep root systems.

How do I maintain a xeriscape landscape?

Many xeriscape gardens don’t require much maintenance. Besides yearly maintenance checks on your drip irrigation system, you might also need to add more mulch and gravel to your landscape. Pruning, aeration, fertilizing, and soil testing are other ways to keep your garden in tip-top shape. Encourage your plants to grow deep root systems for the best plant health and the least reliance on supplemental water. 

What are the principles of xeriscaping?

The principles of xeric landscaping include:

  • Eco-friendly planning and design

  • Water conservation

  • Improve soil health

  • Minimize turf

  • Efficient irrigation

  • Use native and low-water plants

  • Apply much for water conservation

The core principles of xeriscaping center around creating an environmentally friendly landscape that minimizes wastewater and runoff, conserves water, and builds healthy soil in low-water areas.

What are the advantages of xeriscaping?

There are many benefits to xeriscaping. One of the key benefits is its water-conserving design. And, once the landscape is established, it's super-low maintenance, particularly if you've chosen native plants that naturally thrive in your region. Xeriscaping is beautiful and is a key selling feature. The low-maintenance, low-water yard saves money in maintenance fees and utilities—and saves you time, too.