In many parts of the country, homeowners are no strangers to droughts. When planning a drought-tolerant garden, you must design it to be tolerant of low water seasons. Each plant in your yard must withstand periods of low rainfall. Without adequate drought resistant plant planning, you could lose all of your plants and potentially thousands of dollars.
How to Design a Garden With and Without Drought Resistant Plants
1. Reduce Your Lawn Area
Grass, while lush and inviting, is one of the least drought-resistant parts of your yard. Its thirst for water can make it a challenge in drier climates or during water restrictions. If you’re aiming for a more drought-tolerant garden that’s both sustainable and beautiful, the first step is to minimize the expanse of grass you maintain. Instead of vast green lawns, envision garden beds brimming with drought-tolerant plants that add color and texture. Alternatively, consider other porous ground covers like decorative stones, pebbles, or rock gardens. These options not only conserve water but also introduce a unique aesthetic appeal to your outdoor space.
2. Hardscaping and Groundcovers
Diversifying your garden with both drought resistant plants and nonliving elements can lead to a harmonious balance of beauty and practicality. Hardscape elements, like pavers, boulders, or bricks, are not only water-efficient but also add a touch of architectural elegance to your garden. These elements require no water, making them perfect for areas prone to drought. They also introduce a delightful contrast, breaking the monotony of greenery. On the flip side, water-wise groundcovers such as thyme, sea thrift, or moss serve a dual purpose. They not only add a verdant touch to the edges of your hardscaping but also act as natural barriers, slowing down water evaporation and ensuring the soil retains its moisture for longer periods.
3. Water Features
At first glance, incorporating a water feature in a drought-resistant garden might appear contradictory. However, when thoughtfully integrated, water features can be a game-changer! Not only do they add a serene ambiance with their gentle sounds, but when properly designed, they can also serve as efficient water reservoirs. These features can capture, store, and recycle water, reducing the overall need for fresh water inputs. Moreover, they can be engineered to be completely self-sustainable, requiring minimal maintenance. Beyond their functional benefits, water features also provide an aesthetic balance, softening the often rugged appearance of drought-resistant plants and creating a harmonious blend of elements in your garden oasis.
4. Smart Sloping
Soft slopes can be great for water runoff if you plan strategically. You must place water-needy plants at the bottom of the hill, allowing them to absorb as much water as possible, reducing overall loss. If you have steeper slopes, try creating tiered garden beds that help reduce water waste and erosion in your yard.
5. Drought Resistant Plants
Harnessing the natural topography of your garden can be a strategic move in water conservation. Soft slopes, when utilized effectively, can guide water runoff to areas where it’s most needed. By placing water-needy plants at the bottom of these gentle inclines, you ensure they receive ample moisture, capitalizing on gravity’s pull. This not only quenches their thirst but also minimizes water wastage, making every drop count. For gardens with steeper terrains, a tiered approach can be a lifesaver. Creating layered garden beds not only adds visual interest but also acts as barriers, slowing down water flow. This reduces both water waste and the risk of soil erosion, ensuring your garden remains lush and intact even in challenging conditions.
6. Dense Planting
The power of shade in a garden cannot be understated, especially when it comes to conserving moisture. When soil is shielded from the direct onslaught of the sun, it retains its moisture for longer periods, creating a nurturing environment for plants. This shading effect, achieved through strategic plant placement, not only slows down the evaporation process but also offers a natural weed deterrent. Weeds, which often compete for precious water, find it harder to thrive in shaded areas. Moreover, a well-shaded garden reduces the dependency on mulches. For optimal results, we advocate for the inclusion of drought-tolerant trees, hedges, and bushes. These taller plants, with their expansive canopies, act as natural umbrellas, offering protection to the shorter plants and flowers beneath, ensuring they flourish even in the harshest of conditions.
Which Plant is the Most Drought Resistant?
There isn’t a single “most drought-resistant” plant, as various plants have evolved to thrive in different arid regions. Succulents and other cactus-style plants are among the top contenders for drought resistance. However, many homeowners desire a diverse garden beyond just succulents. The LA Times recommends various species of sage, California Buckwheat, Lion’s Tail, and Emu Bush as excellent drought-tolerant choices. But remember, every garden is unique. The best action you can take is to consult with a nursery or your landscapers. They’ll help determine the ideal plants for your yard’s specific properties: soil type, elevation, sun exposure, and more.
What plants can survive extreme heat?
It’s crucial to understand the distinction between heat-resistant and drought-resistant plants. While drought-resistant plants can thrive with minimal water, heat-resistant plants are adapted to withstand high temperatures, regardless of their water needs.
For extreme heat, some standout plants include:
- Lantana: These colorful bloomers can handle the heat and come in various vibrant shades.
- Bougainvillea: A tropical vine known for its brilliant flowers, it thrives in hot conditions.
- Portulaca (Moss Rose): This succulent displays bright flowers and loves the sun.
- Yucca: With its sharp leaves and tall flower spikes, yucca stands strong in the heat.
While these plants can endure high temperatures, their water requirements might vary. Always consult with experts like us at Design Scapes to ensure your garden is both heat and drought resilient, tailored to your specific environment.
Are hydrangeas drought-tolerant?
Hydrangeas are beloved for their large, vibrant blooms, but they aren’t typically classified as drought-tolerant. These plants prefer consistently moist soil and can be sensitive to prolonged dry periods. In drought conditions, hydrangeas may show signs of stress, like wilting or browning leaves. While they can survive occasional dry spells with deep watering, they thrive best with regular moisture. If you’re set on including hydrangeas in your garden, it’s essential to monitor their water needs closely. For those seeking a low-maintenance, drought-resistant garden, there are many other beautiful alternatives to consider. Consult with us to find the perfect fit for your landscape!
Design Scapes – Drought-Tolerant Landscaping Design
We at Design Scapes are experts in drought-tolerant landscape design and implementation. Our expert team has extensive experience in creating beautiful, drought-resistant gardens that keep your water bill low while impressing the whole neighborhood. To learn more, please book a consultation with us!