8 Clever Drought-Tolerant Ideas for a Water-Saving Landscape
Water restrictions or lack of rain got you down? Don’t worry! There are lots of pretty plants that flourish in dry conditions and landscaping techniques available to help you maximize the limited moisture you do have.
Use these drought-tolerant landscaping ideas to give yourself a beautiful yard that conserves water.
1. Downsize the Lawn
It’s well-known that lawns guzzle water, with various types of turf grass needing irrigation to remain green during a drought. Swapping out at least a fraction of your lawn with water-conserving plantings will go a long way in building a landscape that is more drought-resistant. For instance, replace thirsty grass with drought-tolerant perennials.
2. Embrace Interesting Hardscape Elements
While many plants provide gorgeous blossoms, they require a large amount of water. For a water-saving alternative, try replacing them with interesting hardscape elements, like an eye-catching walkway made of pavers or striking garden sculptures. Enhance your drought-resistant landscape with carefully chosen evergreens and shrubs that only require extra water during extremely dry conditions. Hardy groundcovers also make a smart choice to liven up hardscape elements, especially since they are quite useful for catching any rainwater that runs off the hardscaping.
3. Incorporate a Water Feature
A fountain may seem counterintuitive for conserving water, but clever landscaping design can actually allow the feature to catch and recycle water. For example, a petite raised pond with a fountain adds interest to an otherwise water-conserving yard full of water-wise foliage, groundcovers and hardscaping.
4. Go With Water-Conserving Plants
When planning a drought-tolerant garden, there are several strategies available to you. The first is incorporating a mix of hardy but brightly colored perennials, like the red-blossomed penstemon. These plants don’t need a whole lot of added moisture to flourish. Next, turn to the varieties of evergreens that hold up well in dry conditions for height, structure and color. The last suggestion? Give your garden an unexpected focal point, like an oversized rock or garden sculpture.
5. Use Porous Hardscape Materials
Picking porous materials for hardscape elements will facilitate any precipitation or water from irrigation systems in reaching your plantings, as the moisture has a shot at being absorbed rather than just running off hard surfaces. For example, using porous materials between pavers instead of mortar allows rain to soak into the soil. In addition, applying mulch between your plants aids in reducing water loss.
Tip: When looking for drought-tolerant plants, look to those with silver foliage, like lamb’s ear, santolina, lavender, and Russian sage.
6. Space Plants Closely
Tightly spaced garden beds help slow the evaporation of water by shading the soil from the sun. In addition, densely planted beds also choke out weeds. When planning your garden plot, consider incorporating water-wise plants like catmint, lavender, lady’s mantle, and goat’s beard. They all need very little water and provide a lush-looking garden.
7. Plant Groundcovers
Groundcovers create a great living mulch, which is adept at slowing down water evaporation. In addition, these low-growers can help reduce water runoff from hardscape elements like sidewalks and stairs. Some examples of water-wise groundcovers include perennials like sedum, thyme, and sea thrift. Small plants, they can easily be slipped in between stepping stones. They also feature colorful blooms.
8. Group Plants with Similar Hydration Needs
Probably the simplest approach to designing a drought-tolerant landscape is incorporating plants that don’t need much water to flourish. Native plants are often a sound choice because they are naturally adapted to the area’s growing conditions. Other smart picks are plants that originated in drier parts of the world, like lavender. These plants are naturally well-adapted to drought conditions. Remember to group plants with similar light needs and watering requirements to ensure they all thrive together.
Tip: Corral any plants that need added moisture in containers so that you can focus on a smaller area for extra watering rather than having to spread the water out over an entire garden bed.