Tips AU

29 Cactus garden ideas for your home

By Gianna Huesch

Updated: October 26th, 2021

Bold, striking and iconic, cacti are living sculptures and a great addition to any garden

Why so much cactus love? Some say that Millennials have been behind the huge recent popularity of cacti. This is due to the minimal effort involved in their care and because Millennials are regarded as wanting to “do less but get more”.

Another reason cacti have become so popular is because they have evolved to become extremely drought-tolerant and virtually indestructible. This especially appeals to those conscious of reducing their water usage.

And then there’s the trend towards adding living plants throughout the home as well as in the garden. “Bringing the outside in” helps with air purification as well as establishing a connection with nature – and cacti make fantastic indoor plants as they are so hard to kill, only requiring decent light and rare watering.

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Source: Photo by David Sola on Unsplash

From the somewhat cliched two-armed saguaro cacti that appear to stand guard, to towering torch cacti and golden barrel or even hybrid golden rat tail, there’s a cactus to suit everyone. Are you ready to rock the desert interiors and exteriors trend? Then let’s take a look at 29 cactus garden ideas that feature this starkly romantic, if hostile looking, plant.

1. Vivid colours

The cactus is such a strong sculptural plant that it works especially well when contrasted with vivid, bold hues and that’s why you’ll often see homes featuring cacti set amongst really strong colours—whether a full coloured wall or simply a whitewashed wall with a brightly painted door. A brightly saturated door looks absolutely stunning against cacti and succulent plantings out front.

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Source: Photo by Bruno Cervera from Pexels

2. Soft desert colours

Aside from rich, bold brights, another strong aesthetic that’s ideal for a cactus garden is to channel the sandy desert landscape with a muted, soft palette of soothing, natural colours. Think calming greys, dusty neutrals, warm terracotta hues and pops of blush, and contrasted with cooler, contemporary tones in blues and greens.

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Source: Photo by Gaelle Marcel on Unsplash

3. Grouped cactus

Go for an oversized container so that you can group an interesting mix of contrasting cacti together in the one pot. This keeps everything neat and creates a single focal point. Complement the plant’s natural textures with similarly strongly textured soft furnishings.

4. Contrast with terracotta

Take one bare, plain wall, add a little curation of cacti in terracotta pots and you have one stylish and dramatic vignette. Many cactus lovers actually claim that cacti thrive better in terracotta pots than plastic ones. And traditional terracotta definitely suits the desert vibes aesthetic.

cactus-garden-terracotta
Source: Photo by Pelayo Arbués on Unsplash

5. Cactus with rattan

The trend towards woven naturals doesn’t show any sign of losing momentum any time soon. Which is great because natural materials work so well with traditional desert-landscape cacti! You can mix materials of similar textures as they will complement each other, so add plenty of wicker, rattan, jute and sisal. Then pair your woven materials with a tried-and-true colour palette of creams and whites.

6. The Palm Springs look

Cacti really suit the desert-Modernism aesthetic so you’ll often find authentic homes in this style, featuring whitewashed walls, bright painted doors and a selection of wildly varying cacti and succulents at the front door. Columnar and barrel cacti are a classic pairing.

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Source: Photo by Taylor Simpson on Unsplash

7. Cacti and soft red walls

You may have seen the iconic Spanish apartment complex called “La Murella Roja” (meaning “the red wall”) as a thousand photographers have admired it from all angles. The labyrinthine, fortress-like residence features strong geometric shapes and a striking, bold colour palette that really stand out against the landscape. The boldness of the apartment complex design requires a similarly bold planting and cacti do the job perfectly.

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Source: Photo by beasty . on Unsplash

8. Painted doors

A whitewashed home with a vividly painted door evokes a classic Palm Springs aesthetic and naturally, desert-proof cacti and succulents are the perfect match. White gravel completes the look and makes for a very low maintenance front garden. And consider giving your garden a tidy up if you want to rock this minimalist look.

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Source: Photo by G from Pexels

9. Blue cactus

Yes, cacti come in bright blue tones too! Check out the otherworldly variety of columnar cacti called Pilosocereus which features vivid blue with contrasting pale orange spines. One of these curious plants would make a stunning conversation piece, whether planted indoor or outdoors.

10. Yellow cactus

Prefer yellow? You can actually find lime-yellow toned columnar cacti out there. These are perfect for a bold, vivid colour scheme. The architectural forms of these classic cacti meld are so striking. For help with planting up your garden, why not consult an experienced gardener?

11. Cactus with pink spines

Or perhaps you love pink? Consider the Rainbow Hedgehog Cactus which features sweet pink spines that create that fuzzy warm halo around the plant when viewed from a distance. Or, consider Mexican Fire Barrel cacti, which are similar but with red spines.

12. Solo cactus garden

An all-white colour palette creates a wonderful backdrop for sculptural plants like cacti, and enables even a single one to make a huge statement. Go for a whitewashed piece of serenity with a few pops of black in the window and doorframes to create contrast and definition.

12. Sculptural seaside

For a showstopping coastal front garden that can handle tough environmental conditions, massive sculptural cacti are perfect. Hardy cacti and succulents provide the perfect dramatic look plain walls. Suggested varieties include wheel cactus, blue torch cactus and red aloes. For the perfect garden planting scheme, you might like to consult an expert in garden planting.

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Source: Photo by VJ Von Art on Unsplash

13. Privacy screen

A row of stately columnar cacti grown as garden edging makes a fantastic natural privacy fence and the varying heights of the plants create interesting filtered sunlight and shadow play. You might also like to read our article on garden edging for loads more edging ideas.

14. Cacti courtyard

Courtyards full of cacti ooze with Boho character, which you can amplify with comfy outdoor cushions, lanterns and layers of textiles. Despite being out in the open, it will feel intimate and cosy. For more courtyard garden ideas, see also our recent article.

15. Agaves

Have you ever come across the hashtag #thatpinkdoor on Instagram? In keeping with the Palm Springs aesthetic featuring brightly coloured doors, this famous bubblegum pink door looks stunning against its whitewashed façade and two massive agaves standing sentry at the entrance. Agaves are the perfect choice of succulent to pair on the front porch, as they are so pleasantly symmetrical.

Need some advice on how to plant up your front garden? Why not speak with an expert in garden design.

16. Formal entranceway

Cacti are awesome for front gardens as they are such low maintenance plants – you can practically set and forget them – and yet provide such a rich decorative touch.

17. Layer your cacti

Planting differing heights and varieties of cacti (trees, groundcovers and shrubs) is a great idea as it allows them to create their own depth, darkness and shadows amongst themselves, even in the scorching sun.

Need help planting up your garden path? Find someone who can help with that.

18. Snakeplants and breeze blocks

For a backyard cabana that’s the epitome of cool – both temperature and style-wise–breezeblocks are currently a thing. And snakeplants are a wonderful low maintenance succulent that provides contrast and texture to a plain outdoor setting. To tidy up your pool area, you could also get some help with your garden maintenance.

19. Poolside cacti

Deserts have oases–and so do desert-style homes! So if you have a little (or a large) oasis of your own, make a real statement poolside with a massive cactus positioned to generate a striking reflection in the water. Or, why not get the designer’s touch with the help of an expert in pool landscaping?

cactus-garden-poolside
Source: Photo by Марина Хорошилова from Pexels

20. Cactus garden with hot pink walls

Bold colours definitely suit the boldness of this architectural plant. I love a sponged magenta wall alongside the textural contrast of a gravel floor.

21. Graphic planters

Containers that feature stylised patterns bring all the South American vibes to your cacti grouping. Seek out pots with patterns in an array of natural tones and materials (terracotta, ceramic, concrete and handmade glazed vases) for an authentic look.

22. Cactus and concrete

Concrete and cacti make a great visual match. Industrial-looking concrete is still very popular in interiors, whether rough or smooth, and its toughness can be amplified with the addition of a sculptural statement cactus. Glass is another material that looks chic with cacti.

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Source: Photo by DESIGNECOLOGIST on Unsplash

23. Go for Mexican vibes

Be inspired by the natural colours of Mexico, with sunset-hued walls balanced by numerous shades of rich greens. When choosing your planters, consider opting for containers featuring ethnic patterns and designs, as these will reinforce the South American flavours of the plant.

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Source: Photo by Scott Webb from Pexels

25. Mini cactus garden

Thanks to this plant’s endless variety of unusual sculptural forms, a group of different-shaped cacti always makes for a cool grouped display. If you’re keen on a black and white aesthetic, choose a range of dark, rugged cacti and just pop them in a selection of bright white pots.

26. Prickly pick

People often want to go for the prickly pear cactus, one of the most recognisable in the world. However, it’s actually been declared a weed in three Australian states. So you need to be really careful with prickly pear. There are, however, plenty of other stunning cacti choices, so don’t be disheartened if you had your heart set on the prickly pear.

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Source: Photo by Anna Guerrero from Pexels

27. White moonstone succulent

Apart from cacti, there are plenty of other amazing succulents out there that look spectacular when grouped together. One of the most popular and highly prized varieties is Pachyphytum Oviferum, aka Moonstones or Sugar Almond Plant. This Mexican succulent comes in a variety of colours including a gorgeous ghostly grey-white, which looks so beautiful nestled into a series of white containers and cups.

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Source: Photo by Laura Link from Pexels

28. Pink succulent garden

Moonstone succulents also come pretty in pink, with cute chubby leaves that are covered in white powder. This is a very sought after variety due to the plant’s striking colour and form, like a mini pink palm tree. Add white rocks to create a lovely contrast and look lovely and clean.

For more succulent garden ideas, see also our recent article on succulent garden ideas 

29. Micro minis

And finally–think you don’t have room for a cactus garden? Well, think again because one burgeoning trend is to collect miniature cacti. Adorable incy wincy plants in their tiny cute pots, they’re just as easy-care as their bigger siblings.

cactus-garden-mini
Source: Photo by Rovelyn Camato from Pexels

And that’s my pick of 29 gorgeous cactus garden ideas on how to display these showstoppers around your home. Don’t forget to check on the legality of any cactus species you intend to buy! And if you have any hints or tips for growing cacti, why not share them in the comments below?

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Gianna

I'm an interiors writer living in coastal Australia and discovering all the joys of DIY renovating.

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