25 Landscaping Ideas For Sandy Soil You Won’t Regret Trying

Having sandy soil in the garden means you have an extra task to make it plantable. The soil lacks nutrients and can quickly be swept away by water when it’s pouring. Also, sandy soil won’t grab your plant’s roots as tight as other soil types. Despite being tricky to handle, some flowers, shrubs, ground covers, and grasses thrive happily in such soil. And so you can try some landscaping ideas for sandy soil to transform arid areas into more vibrant and colorful outdoor spaces.

It doesn’t take tons to create one. You just have to be more playful with your creativity to design a beautiful garden with sandy soil. But you can rely on us if you don’t know where to start! We have prepared the 25 prettiest landscape ideas to adopt in sandy soil. Wanna try? Let’s dive into the list!

How Can Poor Sandy Soil Be Improved for Landscaping?

Sandy soil is generally deficient in nutrients. And worse, the remaining nutrients are usually flushed down by the water when you have heavy rain. Due to these characteristics, you might think that poor sandy soil is almost impossible for plants to grow. However, you can improve the condition and type of soil in two ways: mulching and fertilizing.

These two combos can increase organic matter in the soil. In addition to boosting soil nutrients, organic matter improves soil absorption, thereby preventing waterlogging. That said, your soil will be ready to grow healthy plants.

You can try to add and mix composted manure, wood chips, shredded leaves, straw, and grass clippings with the ground. Adjust the depth according to the preferences of each plant as they have specific growing requirements.

What Fertilizer Is Best for Sandy Soil?

Choosing the right fertilizer is the key to making your land suitable for plants to live in. Considering the soil is easily carried away by rainwater along with its nutrients, the best fertilizers for sandy soil are slow-release fertilizers. This fertilizer can provide a regular supply of nutrients without overwhelming your soil and plants. Hence, you don’t have to worry about fertilizer burn due to too many nutrients being offered at once.

So, what are some examples of slow-release fertilizers? There are two options that you can choose from, namely synthetic time-release fertilizer or organic fertilizer.

The synthetic one generally has a coating, so the nutrients added to the soil will be released in the next 3-4 months. This also applies to organic ones, only that they naturally provide and release nutrients regularly without the help of coating technology. In addition, these kinds of fertilizers also improve soil microbes, thus keeping it healthy for your plants to thrive.

How Often Should You Water Your Lawn with Sandy Soil?

Your sandy soil cannot hold too much water. It will drain quickly as it has less organic matter than other soil types. Hence, watering the lawn two or three times per week or one-third inch is enough to keep them stay hydrated. 

If you want to improve the soil’s water-holding capacity, you can try adding fertilizers. By fertilizing your lawn, you offer more nutrients and organic matter, which can help the ground retain more water. Choose slow-release fertilizers for the best results and prevent fertilizer burn. 

In addition, mulching also benefits your sandy soil, especially in keeping the soil moist. The mulch, such as grass clipping, wood chips, and compost, works excellently to boost more nutrients in the ground, keeping it healthy and ready to grow more plants. 

Flowers Landscape Design For Sandy Soil

Some may wonder that flowers thrive only on fertile and rich soils. Well, that is not entirely incorrect, though! Nonetheless, some flowering plants, like black eyed susan, lavender, zinnia, and foxglove, tolerate sandy soil and can flourish despite lack of nutrients. They bear exquisite blooms that will beautifully decorate your yards. Curious? Check them out!

1. Magenta Backyard Bed

landscaping ideas for sandy soil
Source: Pinterest (@L’Essenziale)

Growing ground cover plants may be one of the best options to transform your dull sandy soil into something cheerful. The blooms bring sparking colors that make you feel sorry to step on them. To create a striking contrast, you can cover the soil with lawns before planting ground covers. Once they flourish, you will see magenta on the deep green background that looks absolutely magnificent! Moreover, you can arrange a wooden bench facing the magenta floors to enjoy this fantastic scenery.

2. Lavender Landscaping

landscaping ideas for sandy soil
Source: Pinterest (@LoveToKnow)

You will think that people are bragging about the beauty of Lavender until you grow them yourself. Besides the flowers, which bear a bright purple shade to the landscape, they also emit a pleasant and calming scent. And more importantly, Lavender thrives in sandy soil. So, they suit best in your yard. Like in a lavender field, you can grow these alluring flowers horizontally. However, we recommend combining it with ornamental grasses or other flowers to decorate your garden path or fence.

3. Seaside Landscaping

landscaping ideas for sandy soil
Source: Pinterest (@Houzz)

Nothing can beat the combination of sandy soil and gravel to create a seaside setting. The warm tones make a beautiful background for the plants that grow on it. Although it is rather difficult to grow them on such soil, it will be worth it once this garden shows off its beauty in spring! You can plant lavender and Santolina side by side, where the silvery green leaves blend in with the purple flowers. In addition, growing lawns as a border will be great to offer brighter shade.

4. Zinnia Rock Garden

landscaping ideas for sandy soil
Source: Pinterest (@ohwhatabeautifulgarden-chicagolan)

Besides Lavender, Zinnia is also a flower that you can include in your backyard sandy soil landscaping. Unlike previous flowers with a purple shade, this flowering plant brings more colors to your garden. By building a rock retaining wall around the plant, you can match the blooms with a rock garden setting. In addition to making the layout look clean and neat, those stones add textures and prevent soil from flushing away by the water during the watering or when it rains heavily.

5. Raised Bed For Front Yard Sandy Soil Landscaping

landscaping ideas for sandy soil
Source: Pinterest (@Mobile Home Living)

Some people don’t like seeing an overcrowded garden with flowers or leaves. If you are one of them, a raised garden bed might be the right solution to make a neater setting. The wooden block is a planter to keep the soil and plants from hanging down to the ground. Then, you can plant sandy soil plants, like zinnia, cosmos, and phlox, in the bed. Next, add gravel outside the bed to make the colorful flowers on your raised bed look more striking.

6. Cottage Garden Style

landscaping ideas for sandy soil
Source: Pinterest (@MaryLou Seedorff)

If you fancy a cottage garden but are hopeless because you have a soil mixture of sand in your garden, worry no more! You can still arrange it into a beautiful cottage-inspired style with plants that tolerate sandy soil. Try landscaping with zinnia, whose flowers will add a colorful touch to your front yard. Meanwhile, the Russian sage will provide textures such as grass with soft purple blooms and silvery green foliage. Plant all the sandy soil plants in the same row. Then, create a border with rocks to make it look neat. Don’t forget the gravel spread as a sweetener.

7. Black Eyed Susan Garden Path

landscaping ideas for sandy soil
Source: Pinterest (@okanaganxeriscape.org)

The yellow color of black eyed susan will surely make everyone who passes in front of your garden can’t help but take a glance at the blooms! The flowers cope well with dry seasons, making these native flowers suitable for landscaping in sandy soil. To create a striking setting, we advise you to plant it in your front yard as a border in your garden path. Next, grow bison bluestem grass as a tall background behind the flowers.

8. Landscaping Island Garden Design

landscaping ideas for sandy soil
Source: Pinterest (@Avenue Calgary)

Another setting that makes your garden look neat and beautiful! This landscaping design is inspired by the shape of the islands, where you can plant sandy-friendly plants on it. The stones are arranged in such a way as to create a unique border. Thus, allowing you to set your plants so that they are not too crowded. In addition, such a garden edge also makes this area an attractive focal point with beautiful colorful flowers. In addition, the variety of flowering plants that grow in this narrow space offers diverse textures to your landscape.

9. Purple Flower Garden 

landscaping ideas for sandy soil
Source: Pinterest (@carex.tumblr.com)

Try to elevate your sandy garden by growing flowering plants such as lavender, salvia, and liatris. Although the three flowers are purple, the tones are different. When they are planted together, you will get a stunning view of the purple gradation of your garden. If you want to make your garden the center of attention, you can create two round areas filled with flowers. In addition to planting these flowers, it is better to feature lawns to bring freshness to this landscape.

10. Front Landscape Bed

landscaping ideas for sandy soil
Source: Pinterest (@freshideen.com)

Combine sand-tolerant flowers with the green foliage of plants that thrive on sandy soil. They will form a beautiful combination, where the green serves as a background, and purple blooms become the focal point. Make sure they grow next to each other but do not overlap to allow proper growth. In case you want to experiment with other plants, try the feature grass. Apart from being versatile, the texture of the plants offers diversity to this front landscape bed.

11. Garden Border With Salvia

landscaping ideas for sandy soil
Source: Pinterest (@forum.gardenersworld.com)

Notice void space along your garden path? Give a chance to Liatris and salvia to decorate it. These perennials grow on sandy soil, so you don’t have to worry about their growth. Their flowers share two tones of purple, which look contrasting but blend in smoothly when lined up. Don’t forget to cover the sandy soil with lawns to ensure optimal watering. You can also feature small trees for sandy soil, such as the crabapple tree if you want your landscape to be more eye-catching.

12. Desert Garden 

landscaping ideas for sandy soil
Source: Pinterest (@Paul Kenning Stewart)

Landscaping with desert style is one of the favorites of those whose garden has sandy soil. Instead of growing cacti or succulents that are too mainstream, it is better to feature Salvia or Liatris. They will give a touch of light color in the arid desert. To highlight the desert theme, you can spread brown gravel around and broaden the planting area with stones. Also, install a huge rock on one side of the garden as a characteristic of an arid region.

13. Lush Flowers Backyard

landscaping ideas for sandy soil
Source: Pinterest (@flickr.com)

Those who have an abandoned backyard because they think its sandy soil can’t be planted will probably love this design. It features dense purple blooms from several flowering plants, including lavender, zinnia, salvia, and liatris. The combination of the purple tones of all the flowers is like creating a flower bed with color gradations that will spoil the eyes of anyone who sees it. Not to mention the small trees that stand tall around the area add greenery to the landscape.

14. Contemporary Sandy Garden

landscaping ideas for sandy soil
Source: Pinterest (@Adam Christopher Design)

After discussing house gardens, it’s time for us to move briefly to contemporary designs that are simple but extraordinary. Not only relies on flowers as a sandy garden decoration, but it exposes the beauty of ornamental grasses that exquisitely melt away with the flowers. The touch of brown color offered by the grass manages to accentuate a modern, elegant impression. Meanwhile, the flowers balance the atmosphere, so it’s not too plain.

15. Perennial Sandy Landscape

landscaping ideas for sandy soil
Source: Pinterest (@Cannon Ivers)

Indeed, you can never go wrong with Liatris. This flower can be paired with various plants, trees, and grass. The golden brown color of the grass looks graceful and elegant in the sun. Meanwhile, the soft purple color Liatris flower blends beautifully with the grass. If you want to adopt this setting, it would be nice to plant both along the garden path or the walkway leading to your front gate. We guarantee that your guests will be amazed at how beautiful this perennial sandy landscape is.

16. Beautiful Garden Path

Beautiful Garden Path
Source: Pinterest (@ok.ru)

Don’t let your garden path look empty in the green grass! Let’s try to decorate it with beautiful flowers of Lavender and Salvia that can flourish even though they grow on sandy soil. You can determine where to plant it from the color of those blooms. Make it alternating so that they create a catchy color contrast. To give it another touch of color, you can plant Santolina, whose foliage stands for silvery green.

Green Landscaping On Sandy Soil

Getting bored with flowers? No problem! You can try landscaping with leafy plants and ornamental grasses. They are hardy and most importantly, perform best on sandy soil. You can mix and match them to offer more textures to the landscapes. Find out some inspo to enhance your sandy soil garden below!

17. Layered Green Border

Layered Green Border
Source: Pinterest (@Monrovia)

Who says sandy soil can’t make a stunning garden design? Let’s prove them wrong! You can be more playful with stones as a loyal friend of sandy soil. Arrange the rocks to form a tiered retaining wall. Then, choose sandy soil-loving shrubs or ground covers, such as artemisia and rosemary, to grow within the wall area. Make sure the low-growing ones sit on the front, so they are not covered by the mid-size shrubs. Lastly, give a touch of ornamental grass to offer various textures to your landscape

18. Easy Grass Landscape

Easy Grass Landscape
Source: Pinterest (@Rockenit)

Ornamental grasses are often the right choice to grow on sandy soil. And also for people who want a beautiful garden with minimal maintenance. They come in many variations, ranging from short, tall, bearing fluffy florets with brown to golden shades. To get a beautiful setting, you must blend them in one area. But please ensure that the tall grasses stand behind, as the background. Meanwhile, the fluffy or short ones sit on the front. In addition, combine it with small trees to have a high and sturdy setting.

19. Bordering With Mondo Grass

Bordering With Mondo Grass
Source: Pinterest (@tulsalandscape.com)

Still talking about grass, this time we provide green grass bordering. It balances the green lawns and shrubs that grow in your garden. The grasses also protect the unplanted area. While it may seem too plain, let us help you to improve the design. You can add rocks at the base to cover the sandy soil. These stones may also help the ground to hold the water and prevent water erosion when it rains. Either gravel or river rocks; choose one that suits the space. Don’t let a tidy lawn look dirty because of the scattered stones.

20. Desert House Landscaping

Desert House Landscaping
Source: Pinterest (@Mia Hu)

Suppose you are a person who does not have time to regularly check on your plants. In that case, desert house landscaping is the right choice among other landscaping ideas with sandy soil. It features a variety of drought-tolerant plants, such as agave, cacti, and succulents, that can grow on sandy and even barren grounds. They also don’t need frequent watering. To spice up the garden design, you can make a dry river bed with river rocks and gravel. Find the stones that have a different color from the soil to make them stand out.

21. Native Plant Garden

Native Plant Garden
Source: Pinterest (@tflandscapes.com)

Native plants are one-go because they easily adapt to the growing conditions, including sandy soil. Thus, you can rely on it to landscape your front yard. But, avoid choosing types of plants that are similar or the same. Instead, choose several variations that offer diverse textures and accents to the garden. We recommend mixing bluestem grass, sedum, and yarrow. The sedum or ground cover is in the lowest position, then next to it grows the grass. Meanwhile, on the top tier is the yarrow, whose blooms will add bright orange and yellow colors to this outdoor space.

22. Drought Tolerant Landscape

Drought Tolerant Landscape
Source: Pinterest (@ashadeofteal.com)

Besides desert gardens, making landscapes filled with drought-tolerant plants is worth trying! Especially when you have a garden with sandy soil. Among the many plants that can withstand dry climates, we recommend feather reed grass, whose florets are similar to wheat and Lavender, combined in one setting. The grass bears blue-green foliage, and fluffy broken white florets look elegant alongside purple blooms of Lavender. Moreover, plant them along garden walkways to decorate the area.

23. Ornamental Grass Setting

Ornamental Grass Setting
Source: Pinterest (@Garden Weasel)

Imagine you have a setting as enchanting as this in your sandy soil garden that is considered unfit for planting! Unlike other gardens that highlight the beauty of their flowers, this yard stands out for its stunning ornamental grasses. The tall white pampas grasses stand tall behind a wooden bench, making it a beautiful natural background like no other. Meanwhile, reed grass, silver grass, purple fountain grass, and several others look beautifully lined up, showing off their aesthetic florets color. In addition, you can grow lawns to add greenery or pour gravel to balance the grasses’ colors.

24. Low-Maintenance Grass Garden

Low-Maintenance Grass Garden
Source: Pinterest (@Patio Productions)

This layout may be the best bet for those who are not into gardening but still want to decorate their sandy soil garden! It doesn’t feature flowers that generally require extra care. Instead, the garden is beautifully adorned with blue oat grass, which shows off the bluish-green color of the leaves, just like its name. Meanwhile, the other one boldly stands as a texture variation to make it balanced. To keep this grass from growing too wild, build a border around it. You can use rocks or bricks and then cement.

25. Gravel Garden Layout

Gravel Garden Layout
Source: Pinterest (@wpr.org)

Lastly, we have another easy and simple garden layout for your sandy soil areas. It doesn’t take tons to create it. Just prepare the ornamental grass you want to plant. We prefer those with green foliage so that the colors can stand out among the sand and rocks in your garden. Then, combine it with some flowering plants such as yarrow and Joe Pye weed to add cheerful vibes to this setting. Don’t forget to leave a narrow space as a garden path that looks natural, dividing the garden.

Final Thoughts

Landscaping ideas for sandy soils are not tricky as long as you know what to plant, since not many plants can thrive on such soil types. You can also hone your creativity with rocks and gravels to create stunning settings. In addition, these kinds of garden designs are affordable. So, you can easily try them at home!


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FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions)

What is sandy soil good for?

Sandy soil will work great for plants with solid root systems since this kind of soil is easy to swap away from water. Strong roots will ensure a sturdy plant structure. In addition, those plants must be able to thrive with poor nutrients. Several flowering plants grow on sandy soil: black-eyed susan, lavender, zinnia, and butterfly weed. Meanwhile, some vegetables like carrots, beets, and radishes also grow well on sandy soil.

What is the best ground cover for sandy soil?

In addition to vegetables, such as carrots, beets, and radishes, ground cover is also an alternative choice to grow on sandy soil. Some of the best ground covers that are favorites of gardeners are Bugleweed, Bugloss, English Ivy, Goutweed, and Lemon Balm. If you want flowering groundcovers, you can choose between Bugleweed, Bugloss, or Goutweed. Meanwhile, the rest are leafy varieties.

How can I make my sandy yard look nice?

Unlike loamy soil gardens, where plants are easy to grow, sandy yards can be pretty challenging to handle. But don’t worry, there are some tips that you can try to make your garden look attractive.

  • Turn it into a seaside setting. You can use the sand to plant coastal plants, making your garden area more attractive. Don’t forget to add rocks as a decoration to sweeten this area.
  • The Desert landscape will look great! Besides the seaside, you can conjure your sandy area into a desert garden. Instead of ground cover or flowering plants, you can dominate the space with cacti and succulents to highlight the desert vibes.
  • Design your garden path with sand. You can try making a garden path out of stones. Then, decorate both sides with flowers, such as black-eyed Susan, lavender, or even ornamental grass, to offer a cheerful touch.

What evergreens grow in sandy soil?

Two evergreen plants popular for sandy soil are the Western sword fern and the evergreen spurge. These two plants thrive in the US hardiness zones 6 to 8, so you can welcome them in your garden for those who live in those areas. Moreover, the two plants perform well in both sun and shade. They also thrive in a dry climate and tolerate drought, making them versatile and easy to care for.

How do you plant shrubs in sandy soil?

Due to its characteristics, growing shrubs in sandy soil needs extra effort. But no worries! We have easy step-by-step to grow shrubs and perennials easily in sandy soil:

  • Loosen the soil bed to make it easier to plant the root balls.
  • Then, remove the soil to the correct depth to grow the root ball.
  • If you think the soil is too sandy, replace it with good-quality soil and blend it away.
  • You can also add fertilizer and mix it with the soil.
  • Next, prepare the shrub and a sharp knife to cut the old pot.
  • After that, observe the original circling pattern and rough up the roots from it.
  • You may cut the root ball one inch if you notice heavy circling roots.
  • Now, dig the soil to make a hole where you can put the shrub.
  • Add soil to the hole and firm it with your hands.
  • Mulch the soil with wood around 2 inches in depth.
  • Don’t forget to offer water to the plant thoroughly.

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