15 Cactus Garden Ideas (Photos)


If you live in a desert area where rain is not a common occurrence, then having a garden may be a difficult task. The solution? Create a cactus garden that does not require a lot of water to thrive. You can easily add other plants to your garden, but you will want to stick to the cactus family and succulents. I created a cactus garden a few years ago, and without much care and maintenance, the garden became one of the highlights of my yard.

This guide is designed to help you create a cactus garden that you will adore. We have an inspirational list filled with images of some great cactus garden ideas that you can create with cactus, but before we begin considering the specific ideas, let’s take a look at some tips that may be helpful while you are creating your cactus garden.

Cactus Garden Tips

  • Cactus plants do not do well when they sit in water. This is a desert plant, so excess water should be avoided. The best way to make sure that your cactus garden does not sit in a pool of water is to ensure that the pot that the plants are planted in and the soil are both well-draining. A layer of pebbles helps ensure that the soil in a pot does not block the drainage holes.
  •  During the summer months, cactus plants can be watered when the top of the soil is dry, but during the colder winter months of the year, these plants should not be watered at all until new growth begins the following spring.
  • Sand Mulch is a great type of soil to use because it allows the water to drain away from the plant quickly.
  • If a cactus is planted in a pot that confines the plant and makes it difficult to water, you can place the pot in a container of water and allow the root ball to suck the water to it for a short period.

Types of Cactus Plants for Your Garden

When you think of a cactus, chances are that you envision a large cactus with three arms. This is because the movies have skewed our idea of what a cactus is and many of us have forgotten that there is a large variety of cactus plants that you can put in your garden to make it truly beautiful. Here are some of the types of cactus plants that you may want to consider:

  • Eastern Prickly Pear Cactus – If you are planting a cactus garden, this variation is known for tolerating harsher climates than most cactus plants. In fact, it has been known to grow as far north in the United States as Minnesota.
  • Crow’s Claw Cactus – This is a globe-shaped cactus that produces bright pink blooms during the growing season, which makes it a colorful addition to any garden.
  • Pipe Organ Cactus – This is a slow growing cactus that is tall, green, and spiny, but it is a cactus with a unique look that will add flavor to your garden.

Now that you know the different cactus plants that you can plant in your garden, let’s take a look at some specific ideas.

1. Succulent Cactus Garden


The first thing that you see in this delightful little rock garden is the bright pink blooms on the top of a few of the cactus plants. The front of the garden features a variety of succulents that helps to make the garden look fuller.

2. A Patch of Cactus Plants

Source: Garden Design Magazine

When you look out across the desert plains in this next idea, you can see a large amount of small rounded cactus plants that stretch out into the distance from the deck. There are also taller cactuses of to the side.

3. Mound of Cactuses


I love the way that this idea implements a mound of cactus plants in the center of the garden. There is a sand-shaded wall in the background that looks great behind a cactus garden, especially a blooming one.

4. Red Cactus Garden


This idea is one that is created using a few different types of cactus plants, but the aspect that will greatly enhance your garden is the red shale that surrounds the plants.

5. Spiny Aloe Surprise


The cactus plants in this idea are blooming beautifully, but they are slightly overshadowed by the massive aloe-type plant that is located directly in the center of this intriguing garden.

6. Desert Retreat

Source: Landscape Design West

Nothing looks more at home in the desert than a few cactus plants. This homestead is complete with a table and chairs to relax as well as a lovely cactus garden that only features a few plants on each side of the path.

7. Arizona Homestead


Sandstone and tan coloration are common in Arizona, which is where this home feels like it belongs. The rock garden is filled with a few different cactus styles that create an inviting entryway.

8. Reaching for the Sky


In this next idea, the white building in the background is bright in the desert sun, but the contrast of the tall green cactus plants creates a charming atmosphere that is perfect for your garden.

9. Red Spines


One of the most noticeable features of this next idea is the glowing red spines that are jutting from the plant. The sunlight hits the spines in just the right way to create an almost angelic glow that will catch your eye.

10. Colorful Cactus Creation

This small cactus garden features plants that are spread out. The stones in the garden are different pastel colors to help create a fun and exciting cactus garden.

11. Shady Hideaway

Typically a cactus garden requires a lot of sunlight, so if you have a shady back yard, this idea is for you. The plants are spread around the garden in locations where the sun will reach them.

12. Indoor Cactus Garden

Not all cactus gardens need to be located outdoors; in fact, many smaller gardens are actually located directly in your home. This idea is perfect for an indoor display that your guests will adore.

13. Rock Garden of Symmetry

If you want a minimalist cactus garden, then recreate this rock garden that displays the plants in a circular fashion. Use two contrasting stone colorations to keep the pattern as perfect as it is in this image.

14. Prickly Pear Amongst the Rock


This image is a bit less perfect than the last, but it is just as amazing. The prickly pear cactus plants look like they are busting through the rocky ground to their current positions.

15. Potted Cactus Plants


Planters are also a great way to start a cactus garden, especially when you do not have space or the materials to make one on the ground. These plants can be positioned on top of a table, stool, or other raised garden ledge.