What was there before it got wasted?
It could be a whole city that was abandoned.
Desert is small rocks, a few large rocks, some sand (not much) and hilly, with little vegetation.
Many wastelands are near mountains, with dry valleys, dry gorges,
mesas, flatlands with scrub,
low hills, interesting erosion, large boulders, canyons, ridges,
some mining, mine shaft,
waste piles from the mining,
tools and debris from the mining,
abandoned mining shacks,
abandoned mining towns ( booze, food, clothing shops, bathing and barber, women, gambling, shipping and stagecoach, horses ),
at least one source of water (spring, wells),
any run-down building from some group wanting to get away from