How Much Does Xeriscaping Cost?

by Team HomeServe

If you've always dreamed of a backyard with beautiful landscaping and foliage but balked at the costs of keeping it watered, you're not alone. Watering a lawn and plants in arid and semi-arid areas can be unaffordable for many homeowners. You can save a lot of money — and water — by opting to xeriscape your garden.

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Xeriscaping involves designing your garden so that it doesn't require any irrigation by using specialized turf, hardscape and native plants. By choosing plants that thrive naturally in your local habitat, you can also save money on fertilizer. Below, you can find a breakdown of how much you can expect to pay to xeriscape your outdoor space.

How Much Does It Cost to Xeriscape a Yard?

How much xeriscape landscaping costs depends on various factors, including the size of your yard, where you live and which features you want. On average, xeriscaping costs around $16,000 to $18,000 (CAD 21,700 to. CAD 24,400) for a 1,200-square-foot garden, based on data from Fixr. This price includes ground covers, drought-resistant plants and other water conservation features like rockeries.

Labor Costs

One of the most expensive parts of xeriscaping a yard is hiring a professional contractor to do the work. It's usually best to hire a xeriscaping company instead of attempting the job yourself. They will understand the principles of xeriscaping and know which plants and groundcovers will suit your climate and soil type.

Designers usually charge around $200 to $300 (CAD 270 to CAD 405) per hour and between $2,000 and $7,000 (CAD 2,700 and CAD 9,500) for the full project. You should expect to pay $50 to $100 (CAD 70 to CAD 135) per hour for installation.


One area where you may have a little more wiggle room is whether you install an irrigation system to keep your plants hydrated. The most common system is drip irrigation, which costs between $1.60 and $4 (CAD 2.15 and CAD 5.40) per square foot to install. However, it may be possible to skip the irrigation system altogether and rely on rainwater alone. As xeriscape costs are relatively high to begin with, you may decide you're better off investing in an irrigation system to protect your plants and shrubs.

Xeriscaping Costs Per Square Foot

Contractors usually calculate xeriscape costs per square foot. The quote should include installation costs, materials, groundcovers and plants. While prices can vary widely depending on the features you want, you should expect to pay between $5 to $20 (CAD 7 and CAD 27) per square foot.

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How Do You Xeriscape Cheaply?

If you're on a tight budget and want to keep xeriscape costs to an absolute minimum, you could try designing and installing your own xeriscaped backyard. However, it's essential to do your research to find the best xeric plants for your area and plan your layout before starting. Some companies offer package deals on drought-tolerant plants for different climates to help you save money on xeriscape landscaping.

Hardscape items like boulders and flagstones are expensive, so you could also save money on materials by using reclaimed rocks or molding your own stepping stones out of concrete. Save on the costs of xeric plants by growing them from seeds instead of purchasing fully-fledged plants.

Is Xeriscaping Cheaper Than Grass?

You'll need to account for long-term costs when considering whether it's better for your budget to xeriscape your garden or stick to regular grass. Initially, at least, it's far more expensive to xeriscape your yard because standard grass is quick and easy to install and can be done yourself.

On the other hand, a xeriscaped garden is cheaper to maintain over time because it will require minimal watering. According to Native Land Design, xeriscaping your backyard will save you around 36 cents (CAD 0.48) per square foot per year, which can add up significantly over a lifetime. Furthermore, xeriscaped landscapes don't cost much in terms of time or money to maintain, so it could save you even more in lawn care service fees.

All CAD conversions are based on the exchange rate on the date of publication.