10 Great Backyard Plants For The Desert

If you are looking for the ultimate way to spruce up your yard, installing some climate-friendly plants can be a great addition to your landscape arsenal. The weather in the desert is dry most of the year, although we do get quite a bit of rainfall during the summer months due to Monsoon season. That being said, you will want to make sure to select the right types of plants that will be suitable all year-round. That way, you won’t have to spend more time and money than you need to. When it comes to making a big impact with a small backyard renovation, any professional desert landscape design company will tell you that plants are the way to go. Desert-friendly plants are a low-maintenance option that can really make a space stand out and inviting.

If you are unsure of where to begin or are simply curious about the available options, listed below you will find some of the most popular plant choices for landscaping among homeowners and businesses alike. The best thing about these plants is that they are ideal for the desert climate and landscape design. They don’t need to be watered nearly as often as others and they flourish in the sunlight. Beautiful and decorative, these plants will be certain to turn heads and make your yard the talk of the town!

Fairy Dusters


Fairy Dusters are the perfect solution for anyone who wants a colorful perennial that can survive even the driest of conditions of desert landscaping. Fairy Dusters are relatively inexpensive, easy to prune, and can be found at many garden and nursery centers.



The Oleander is widely regarded as one of the most popular plants in the desert, due to the beautiful white, pink and red colored flowers it blooms. In addition, this plant can survive quite a bit of abuse when it comes to the weather. Even if your yard has less than perfect soil, you will have no problem growing an Oleander. Since they can grow upwards of 20 feet in height, routine trimming and maintenance is required.



Lantanas are vining shrubs and can be used both as a ground cover or hanging potted plant. They are great for homeowners who want to create a full, lush landscape, since they are fast growing and get pretty big in size. They also bloom flowers all year-round, which is a huge perk. They are very low-maintenance, only requiring deep watering on occasion and protection from frost damage in inclement weather, although we don’t tend to have many freezing nights in the desert.

Pampas Grass


Pampas grass is considered ornamental due to the large flower stalks that bloom up its center. It is well suited for the desert climate and definitely looks the part, lending pops of color to any landscape. These grasses will spread outward if left untrimmed, so be sure to maintain them on occasion.



Simply gorgeous, Bougainvillea is an elegant selection for any home or business owner looking to make an impressive statement with their landscaping. Bougainvillea’s bright purple flowers are stunningly beautiful and the plant itself is low maintenance. The versatility factor of this plant is what makes them a hot commodity, as they can be shaped into vines or bushes, or be used as ground cover foliage. Make sure to keep this plant away from any nearby pools, however, as it tends to drop red bracts.

Purple Sage


The Purple Sage is a shrub that does not dissatisfy. These plants bloom flowers multiple times each year and perform at their best in full sunlight. To avoid losing that gorgeous foliage, make sure to prune the purple sage when the flowers have not yet bloomed to enjoy the beautiful colored flowers as often as possible in your landscaping.

Desert Lilies


Desert Lilies, as their name indicates, grow flawlessly in dry, arid climates, which makes them a must have for any desert homeowner interested in adding something special to their landscaping. Their white flowers will complement any backyard retreat.


Dessert landscape with appropriate dessert plants.
Dessert landscape with appropriate dessert plants.

If you live in the desert, you can’t go wrong with adding some cacti to your landscape design to create the ideal desert backyard retreat. They come in all different shapes and sizes, and most are rugged and extremely low maintenance, which is perfect for low water, high sun climates. Some cacti can grow pretty tall though, so make sure you take height into account when designing your backyard landscaping.

Butterfly Weed


The Butterfly Weed is a highly drought-tolerant plant that can be grown in a number of spaces, including rock gardens and flowerbeds common in desert backyards. The Butterfly Weed’s bright orange flowers are beautiful and colorful, and, overall, it is a very low-maintenance plant.

Sweet Alyssum


The low-lying Sweet Alyssum is another plant ideal for people who want to create a colorful flowerbed in their desert landscaping. This plant can grow in virtually any type of soil and grows best when exposed to full sunlight, both of which are important elements for landscaping in the desert.

Today’s guest post is by Brian of Blooming Desert Landscape Design, a part time blogger and respected influencer in the pool and landscaping industry.