How Much Does Xeriscaping Cost in 2024? (2024)

The average cost of xeriscaping can vary depending on the size and complexity of the project. However, most homeowners report spending between $15,120 and $18,400 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, we’ll cover:

  • 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
  • FAQ

Average xeriscaping costs in 2024

National average cost$17,000
Typical price range$15,120 – $18,400
Extreme low-end cost$4,200
Extreme high-end cost$29,500

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 $29,500 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 $4,200, including labor and materials.

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Xeriscaping cost estimator by project size

How Much Does Xeriscaping Cost in 2024? (1)

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 sizeAverage overall cost
500 sq. ft.$3,500 – $9,165
1,000 sq. ft.$7,000 – $18,330
1,250 sq. ft.$6,250 – $25,000
1,500 sq. ft.$10,500 – $27,500
2,000 sq. ft.$10,000 – $40,000

Here are some commonly xeriscaped areas and how big they are in square feet:

  • Patio: 500 sq. ft.
  • Pool: 800 sq. ft.
  • Front yard: 1,000 sq. ft.
  • Backyard: 1,200 sq. ft.

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 typeAverage cost (without installation, unless stated otherwise)
Xeric plants$6 – $150
Trees$30 – $185
Shrubs$12 – $90
Groundcover$2 – $45
Mulch$30 – $110 per cubic yard
Artificial turf$5.45 – $20 per square foot (with installation)
Rocks and stones$50 – $130 per ton

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-tolerant plants, you can expect to pay closer to $25 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 $5 each on the market. However, larger plants such as cacti can cost as much as $175 each.

Here is a list of some common xeriscaping plants and their approximate costs:

Plant typeAverage cost (without installation)
Sedum$6 – $16
Aloe vera$5 – $25
Native grasses$12 – $90
Hens and chicks (houseleeks)$6 – $13
Cacti$6 – $175

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 typeAverage cost (without installation)
Dawn redwood$40 – $45
Hackberry$30 – $70
Kentucky coffee tree$30 – $180
Bur oak$35 – $155
Joshua tree$60 – $700
Golden rain tree$70 – $140

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 $30 to $180 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 $60 to $700 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 $10 to $90 each without installation.

Shrub typeAverage cost (without installation)
Yucca$18 – $62
Sand cherry$20 – $56
Russian sage$18 – $28
Euonymus$12 – $35
Lantana$10 – $30
Evergreen sumac$12 – $40
Southern wax myrtle$13 – $90
Japanese holly$17 – $70
Siberian peashrub$13 – $55

The euonymus plant is a common type of shrub used in xeriscaping. Euonymus bushes are not only drought-resistant but also can thrive in diverse climates. You can expect to spend an average of $12 to $35 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 $10 and $30 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 $2 to $45 per plant without installation.

Groundcover typeAverage cost (without installation)
Juniper blue$8 – $45
Creeping phlox$8 – $15
Japanese spurge$2 – $4
Red creeping thyme$6 – $16
Woolly yarrow$10 – $12
Kurapia$2 – $8 per square foot
puss*toes$8 – $15
Moss phlox$7 – $13

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 $8 to $45 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 $30 to $110 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 $20 and $80 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 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 $60 and $170 per ton of river rocks, for example.

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.

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. Before you start thinking about cost, check out our best xeriscape ideas to help you choose the best design elements for your yard.

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 designAverage cost
Classic Xeriscape$8,000 – $18,500
Desert Xeriscape$8,000 – $18,500
Modern Xeriscape$11,250 – $19,500

Labor cost

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.

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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.

Yard grading

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 $1.70 and $4.80 per square foot.

Soil test

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 $15 and $60.

Soil amendment

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 $80 and $175. 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.

Maintenance

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 $100 per hour for xeriscape maintenance, which will likely be more oriented toward cleanup, tree trimming, and mulching.

Xeriscape vs. traditional landscape

The typical range of a xeriscape installation is $15,120 and $18,400, 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 also can 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 xeriscapingCons 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 $520 to $853. 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 materialsAverage cost
Shovel$20
Rake$25 – $65
Wheelbarrow$60
Garden hose$38
Landscape fabric for 500 square feet$225 – $400
Landscape timbers$7 each, $70 for 10 pieces (will likely need more)
Level$10
Measuring tape$18
Marking paint$10
Sod cutter (1-day rental)$18
Soil test$15 – $60
Xeriscaping materials for 500 square feet$4,500 – $5,500

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 $3,500 to $9,165, 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 cool, wet climate, the cost of xeriscaping may be higher, as you will need to purchase native plants that can survive in your climate.

In contrast, xeriscaping can be an excellent way to save money on your water bill if you live in an area with a hot, dry climate. Some states in the western half of the country also offer landscape rebates for converting traditional landscapes into drought-tolerant ones (like xeriscapes).

You can even gain more rebates by switching to a smart, water-efficient irrigation system or installing water-smart add-ons to your existing sprinkler system. It’s a win-win as you save both money and water in the long run. Here are some products that can help:

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FAQ about the cost of xeriscaping

Can I xeriscape my entire yard?

Yes, you can xeriscape your entire yard. However, you may want to leave some areas undeveloped, such as a garden or lawn.

Do I need to water my xeriscape?

You don’t need to water your xeriscape much (if at all). Xeriscaped yards 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.

What plants are best for xeriscaping?

The best xeriscaping plants are drought-resistant, water-wise, and (preferably) native to your region. However, that doesn’t mean just cacti and succulents (although they are great!). Here are some of the ones we’re fond of and why:

  • Purple coneflower. Get this if deer love your property. This deer-resistant flower blooms pink-purple flowers in midsummer that last until the first frost.
  • Showy penstemon. This is a tall plant with lavender and/or rose-colored flowers. Planting this in your xeriscape may earn you some butterfly and hummingbird visitors.
  • Golden currant. These are a pleasure for the senses. Their yellow flowers smell like cloves and attract butterflies and birds. In the summer, the flowers give way to tasty black currants. Just make sure these are allowed in your state before adding them to your xeriscape, as they’re banned in some for hosting pine blister rust.
  • Broadleaf stonecrop. This succulent’s lovely yellow flowers are loved by bees and butterflies alike. This plant is also a host plant for caterpillars. You may want to keep children and pets away as it is mildly poisonous when eaten.

Where to hire a pro for your xeriscape

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 Image Credit: Downtowngal | Wikimedia Commons | CC BY-SA 3.0

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Janine Caayao

Janine Caayao has always been fascinated with growing plants, from fruits and veggies to bonsai trees and orchids. Now, she’s interested in urban gardening with her family. She loves finding new tips and tricks to keep their plants thriving.

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