The average cost of xeriscaping can vary depending on the size and complexity of the project. However, most homeowners report spending between $10,000 and $19,000 on their xeriscaping projects. For a standard-size yard, the average cost is around $17,000 nationwide, including labor and materials.
Xeriscaping is a completely different way to approach a garden and usually requires professional help. The average cost for professional installation ranges from $5 to $20 per square foot, including materials.
The cost of plants and materials is the other major factor in xeriscaping costs. Xeriscaping is a water-wise approach that uses native plants, which are typically more drought-resistant. These plants can be more expensive, but they will require less water and maintenance in the long run.
In this article:
- Average costs
- Cost estimator by size
- Cost for plants and materials
- Other factors that affect cost
- Related services
- Xeriscape vs. Traditional landscape
- Pro cost vs. DIY cost
- Cost by location
Average xeriscaping costs in 2023
|National average cost||$17,000|
|Typical price range||$10,000 – $19,000|
|Extreme low-end cost||$4,000|
|Extreme high-end cost||$24,000|
On average, Xeriscaping can cost as little as $5 per square foot and as much as $20 per square foot. Prices vary depending on the type of plants used, how much labor is required, and other factors. Generally, expect to pay around $17,000 for a 1,200-square-foot xeriscaping project. This includes the cost of plants, mulch, gravel, and other materials and labor costs.
If you live in an area with a hot, dry climate, you may need to invest in some specialized plants and materials. Cacti and other succulents, for example, are well-suited to xeriscaping and can add a unique look to your landscaping. If you have a large project that requires specialty materials, be prepared to spend up to $24,000 or more.
On the other hand, if you have a small yard or only want to xeriscape a portion of your property, you can do so for much less. On average, a simple xeriscaping project costs as little as $4,000, including labor and materials.
Xeriscaping cost estimator by project size
The price is typically calculated by how many square feet the project will require. On average, homeowners spend between $5 and $20 per square foot on xeriscaping.
The table below provides a rough estimate of what you can expect to spend on xeriscaping, depending on the size of your project.
Note: You don’t necessarily have to include the whole square footage of your yard. Project size refers only to the area where you want to install xeriscaping features.
|Project size||Average overall cost|
|500 sq ft||$2,500 – $10,000|
|1,000 sq ft||$5,000 – $20,000|
|2,000 sq ft||$10,000 – $40,000|
|3,000 sq ft||$15,000 – $60,000|
Cost for xeriscaping plants and materials
There is a wide range of materials that can be used in xeriscaping. From plants and trees to artificial turf and mulch, the type and quality of materials you use will affect the project’s overall cost.
|Material type||Average cost (without installation)|
|Xeric plants||$9 – $70|
|Shrubs||$25 – $45|
|Groundcover||$10 – $25|
|Mulch||$45 – $130 per cubic yard|
|Gravel||$25 – $55 per cubic yard|
|Artificial turf||$5 to $15 per sq. ft.|
|Rocks & stones||$40 – $140 / per cubic yard|
In general, native plants are going to be the most drought-resistant and require the least amount of water. As a result, they tend to be more expensive than other plants. If you live in an area with a hot, dry climate, you may need to purchase specialized plants that can tolerate the conditions.
The national average cost of xeriscaping materials ranges from $9 to $11 per square foot without installation. But, if you need to purchase high-quality, drought-resistant plants, you can expect to pay closer to $45 or more per square foot.
Cost by plant type
For xeriscaping, you’ll want to choose plants native to your area. These plants are typically more drought-resistant and require less water and maintenance. As a result, they can be more expensive than non-native plants.
You can find succulent plants for as little as $9 each on the market. However, larger plants such as cacti range in price from $16 to $70 each.
Here is a list of some common xeriscaping plants and their approximate costs:
|Plant type||Average cost (without installation)|
|Sedum||$10 – $15|
|Aloe vera||$12 – $25|
|Native grasses||$12 – $35|
|Hens and chicks||$9 – $11|
|Cacti||$16 – $70|
Cost by tree
Trees can be a great addition to any xeriscaping project. They provide shade and help regulate temperature. While trees are a bit more expensive than other plants, they can last for decades with proper care. The average cost of planting a tree is $300, including the cost of the tree and labor.
|Tree type||Average cost (without installation)|
|Dawn redwood||$11 – $15|
|Hackberry||$10 – $14|
|Kentucky coffee tree||$15 – $25|
|Joshua tree||$10 – $37|
For example, a Kentucky coffee tree is an excellent option for homeowners looking to xeriscape their property. It is well-suited to hot, dry climates and requires little water or maintenance. The average cost of a Kentucky coffee tree ranges from $15 to $25 without installation.
Another common tree used in xeriscaping is the Joshua tree. These trees are native to the southwestern United States and can reach heights of 40 feet. The average cost of a Joshua tree ranges from $10 to $37 without installation.
*Note: you may need a permit to plant certain trees on your property. Check with your local municipality to see if there are any restrictions.
Cost of shrubs
Shrubs are a versatile addition to any xeriscaping project. They can provide privacy, act as a windbreak, and even produce flowers. The average cost of drought-tolerant shrubs for xeriscaping ranges from $18 to $60 each without installation.
|Shrub type||Average cost (without installation)|
|Yucca||$30 – $60|
|Sand cherry||$40 – $60|
|Russian sage||$18 – $34|
|Euonymus||$22 – $30|
|Lantana||$12 – $40|
The euonymus plant is a common type of shrub used in xeriscaping. Euonymus bushes are not only drought-resistant but can also thrive in diverse climates. You can expect to spend an average of $22 to $30 per bush.
The Lantana bush is another ideal plant for xeriscaping. It is known for its vibrant flowers and requires little water or maintenance. On average, Lantana bushes cost between $12 and $40 each.
Cost of groundcovers
Groundcovers are great for filling open spaces and adding color to your xeriscaping project. They act as a low-maintenance, water-wise alternative to a traditional lawn. The average cost of groundcovers ranges from $10 to $25 per square foot without installation.
|Groundcover type||Average cost per square foot (without installation)|
|Juniper blue||$16 – $30|
|Creeping phlox||$8 – $20|
|Japanese spurge||$10- $20|
|Red creeping thyme||$8 – $30|
The Juniper blue rug plant is a drought-resistant groundcover that can be used in xeriscaping. These plants are tolerant of a wide range of climates and typically cost $16 to $30 each.
Cost of mulch
Mulch helps to retain moisture and keep weeds at bay. It also gives your landscaping a finished look. Many different types of mulch are available on the market, from wood chips to gravel. The average mulch cost is $45 to $130 per cubic yard.
Cost of gravel
Gravel is one of the most popular xeriscaping materials. It is attractive, low maintenance, and easy to install. Gravel comes in various colors, sizes, and shapes, so it’s easy to find one that suits your needs. Pea gravel is a good choice for walkways and patios, while larger rocks can be used for landscaping beds.
The cost of gravel varies depending on the type you choose. Pea gravel is the least expensive, while larger rocks can be quite pricey. The average gravel price is $25 to $55 per cubic yard.
Cost of artificial turf
When it comes to creating a beautiful and functional outdoor space, artificial turf is a great option. It’s perfect for those who want to create a low-maintenance landscape that looks great all year round. On average, artificial turf costs between $5.50 and $19.75 per square foot, making it a relatively affordable option for xeriscaping.
Cost of rocks and stones
Rocks and stones are a key component of xeriscaping. They help with drainage and can act as barriers to prevent water evaporation. They also add visual interest to your yard.
You can find rocks and stones at your local home improvement store or landscaping supply company. The cost of rocks and stones will vary depending on the type and size you choose. Expect to spend $40 to $140 per cubic yard.
Other factors that affect cost
While the size of your project and the materials used are the most significant determining factors in the cost of xeriscaping, a few other things can impact the price, such as:
Cost by area
The cost of xeriscaping will vary depending on the size of the area you are landscaping. A small area, such as a patio or walkway, will cost less to xeriscape than a large area, such as a front or backyard.
The average cost to xeriscape a patio of 500 square feet is $2,500 to $8,000, including materials and labor. On the other hand, the average price to xeriscape a front or backyard of 1,200 square feet is $6,000 to $22,000.
In the following table, we have compiled xeriscaping costs for common areas that homeowners may want to landscape. These prices are only estimates and will vary depending on the materials used, the size of the area, and the labor costs in your area.
|Patio (500 sq.ft.)||$2,500 – $8,000|
|Pool (800 sq.ft.)||$4,000 – $16,000|
|Front yard (1,000 sq.ft.)||$9,000 – $16,500|
|Backyard (1,200 sq.ft.)||$6,000 – $22,000|
Cost by xeriscaping design
When it comes to the design of your xeriscape, you have many different options to choose from. You can opt for a simple, modern design or go for something more elaborate with water features and desert plants. In general, a modern xeriscape will cost less to install than a classic one.
In the following table, we have compiled xeriscaping costs for common styles that homeowners may want to consider. These prices are only estimates and will vary depending on the materials used, the size of the area, and the labor costs in your area.
|Cost by design||Average cost|
|Classic Xeriscape||$10,000 – $18,000|
|Desert Xeriscape||$8,000 – $18,500|
|Modern Xeriscape||$8,500 – $15,000|
If you plan to hire a professional for your xeriscaping project, expect to pay $50 to $100 per hour for their services. Completing a small xeriscaping project, such as a patio or walkway, usually takes two people about eight hours to finish. This will cost you between $800 and $1,600 total in labor costs.
For a xeriscaping project, it is recommended to hire a professional landscaper, as it will take significantly less time than doing it yourself, and the results will be much better. A pro will know what plants are best for your area, how to install them properly, and how to care for them.
There are a few related services that you may want to consider when xeriscaping your home. These services can help you save water and money while making your yard more beautiful.
Grading is the process of removing dirt and other materials from your yard to create a level surface. This can be done to prepare your yard for new landscaping, improve drainage, or other reasons.
The cost of yard grading will vary depending on the size of your yard and the amount of work that needs to be done. Expect to spend $770 to $3,000 for this service.
*Note: you may need to get a permit from your city or county before you can have this work done. Nationwide, the average cost of a grading permit runs between $150 and $485.
Irrigation system installation
An irrigation system can help you save water by delivering the right amount of water to your plants at the right time. Drip irrigation is the most common type of irrigation system used in xeriscaping, as it is very efficient.
Drip irrigation delivers water directly to the roots of plants. This is a more efficient way to water plants, as it minimizes evaporation and water waste. The installation of a drip irrigation system typically costs between $1.60 and $4 per square foot.
A soil test can help you determine the best type of plants for your xeriscape and the best way to amend your soil. This test will assess the nutrient levels in your soil and provide recommendations on how to improve it. A soil test typically costs between $14.50 and $100.
Adding amendments to your soil can help improve drainage and increase the amount of water your plants can retain. This is especially important in desert climates, where water is scarce. A soil amendment typically costs between $10 and $50 per cubic yard. The cost will vary depending on the type of amendment you choose and the amount you need.
Landscape designer or architect
If you want a truly unique xeriscape, you may want to hire a landscape designer or architect (which are two different things) to help you create a one-of-a-kind landscape tailored to your home and needs.
Landscape architects typically charge $60 to $175 per hour for their services. If you work with a landscape design firm, the design costs, on average, $1,960 to $7,220 total. All said and done, landscape designers usually cost less to hire than landscape architects.
Once your xeriscape is complete, it will require very little maintenance. You may need to water your plants occasionally in prolonged droughts, but other than that, there is not much to do.
The best way to water your xeriscape is with a drip irrigation system. This type of system is very efficient, as it delivers water directly to the roots of your plants.
From time to time, you may also need to remove weeds or trim plants. This is a very easy process; you will only need to do it occasionally. A professional landscaper typically charges $50 to $250 per hour for maintenance.
Xeriscape vs. Traditional landscape
The typical range of a xeriscape installation is $10,000 to $19,000, including the cost of materials and labor. The average cost of traditional landscaping is $3,300 to $13,200 nationwide.
The cost of a xeriscape can be higher than the cost of a traditional landscape because it requires more specialized materials and labor. Additionally, a xeriscape design may be more complex, which can also increase the cost.
However, over time, a xeriscape will save you money on your water bill, as it is a more drought-resistant landscape. Additionally, a xeriscape requires less maintenance than a traditional landscape, saving you a lot of money in the long run.
There are several pros and cons to consider before deciding whether or not to xeriscape your yard.
|Pros of xeriscaping||Cons of xeriscaping|
|✓ Reduced water usage|
✓ Low maintenance
✓ Drought resistant
✓ Attractive landscape
|✗ Higher initial cost|
✗ Requires more planning
✗ Needs to be designed for your climate
Pro cost vs. DIY cost
Xeriscaping can be a complex process, and it is essential to make sure you do it right. Unless you are confident in your landscape design and construction abilities, it is best to hire a professional.
However, if you are willing to put in the time and effort, it is possible to do it yourself. The cost of doing it yourself will depend on the materials you use and the complexity of the design.
On average, expect to pay between $9 and $11 per square foot for materials. Additionally, you will need to factor in the cost of necessary tools, which is around $650. So, for a 500-square-foot yard, the cost of DIY xeriscaping would likely be between $4,500 and $5,500, including xeric plants, landscape blocks, mulch, and tools.
|DIY tools and materials||Average cost|
|Pencil and paper||$10|
|Landscape fabric||$0.45 – $0.80 / sq ft|
|Landscape timbers||$6 each|
|Soil test kit||$14.5 – $100|
|Xeric plants (xeriscaping materials)||$9 – $11|
The average cost of xeriscaping runs between $5 and $20 per professionally installed square foot. So, for a 500-square-foot xeriscape, the total cost would be between $2,500 and $10,000, including labor and materials.
There can be a significant difference in cost between doing it yourself and hiring a professional, but it is essential to consider the quality of the finished product. A professional will have the experience and knowledge to ensure your xeriscape is installed correctly and will last for many years.
Additionally, a professional can provide you with a warranty on their work, which gives you peace of mind in case something goes wrong. If you decide to do it yourself, you will not have this safety net.
Xeriscaping cost by location
The xeriscaping installation cost will vary depending on where you live. In general, the cost of labor and materials is higher in urban areas than in rural areas.
Additionally, the cost of xeriscaping can be affected by the climate. If you live in an area with a hot, dry climate, xeriscaping can be an excellent way to save money on your water bill.
In contrast, if you live in an area with a cool, wet climate, the cost of xeriscaping may be higher, as you will need to purchase native plants that can survive in your climate.
The first step is to conduct a soil test to determine the pH of your soil and its nutrient levels. This will help you choose the right plants for your xeriscape. Next, you need to develop a plan. This should include a sketch of your proposed xeriscape and a list of the plants and materials you will need.
Once you have a plan, you can begin to prepare your yard. This includes removing any existing plants, grass, or debris. You may also need to till the soil and add amendments, depending on your soil test results.
The best xeriscaping plants for your climate will depend on the local conditions, such as the temperature, rainfall, and soil type. Some of the most popular options include cacti, succulents, and other drought-resistant plants.
Xeriscaping is most popular in hot, dry climates, such as Arizona and California. However, it can be used in any climate, as long as the plants are chosen carefully to suit the local conditions.
Yes, you can xeriscape your entire yard. However, you may want to leave some areas undeveloped, such as a garden or lawn.
No, xeriscapes are designed to be drought-resistant. However, you may need to water your xeriscape during the establishment period, which can last up to two years.
Xeriscaping has many benefits, including reducing water usage and maintenance. Additionally, xeriscapes can be very attractive landscapes if done well.
The drawbacks of xeriscaping include a higher initial cost, the need for more planning, and the need to design for your climate.
Xeriscaping can be a great way to reduce your water bill and the amount of time you spend watering your plants. It is also a very low-maintenance landscaping option. If you are thinking about xeriscaping your home, be sure to consider the cost of materials, as well as the cost of hiring a professional.
To get an accurate estimate of the cost to xeriscape your property, contact a landscaping professional in your area. They will be able to give you a more specific price based on the size and scope of your project.
Note: Lawn Love may get a referral fee for matching you with contractors in your area.
Main Photo by: Downtowngal – Wikimedia Commons – CC BY-SA 3.0