Drought-Proof Your Landscaping

Drought-tolerant landscaping includes the traditional cacti and sedums but extends far beyond that as well.

What if there was a landscaping strategy that was beautiful, simple, and environmentally-friendly? Would you jump on board? Thankfully, there is such a landscaping trend. Drought-tolerant landscaping can reduce your water use and increase habitats for native animals. Drought-tolerant plants aren’t just tough, they’re beautiful as well.

Why Drought-Tolerant Landscaping?

People want to have beautiful homes, but that beauty can come at a price. If you live in California or in another place that is increasingly affected by drought, you know that water-hungry landscaping plants are not very practical. They need more maintenance, they struggle in the heat, and they simply require too much water. Luckily, you can have a beautiful yard that uses less water.

Use shade trees and mulch to help plants grow.

What Does Drought-Tolerant Landscaping Look Like?

Is a drought-tolerant yard all about cacti and nothing else? Surprisingly, there are many plants that are flexible and require less water, and they’re not all the plants that you’d expect to see. Drought-tolerant plants come in many colors, shapes, and sizes. Plants that use less water often have smaller leaves or waxy leaves to keep the moisture in.

Many bee plants are also amazingly drought-tolerant. Lavender and Russian sage make pretty, bee-attracting border plants. The big, boisterous coneflower is a wonderful bee plant and can thrive in just about any soil, including dry soil. Spiky agastache is an eye-catcher at 3 to 5 feet in height.

Choose Native Plants

If you live in a place that historically has droughts, look to your native vegetation for clues as to what grows well in your area. Some native plants also have cultivated varieties that are drought-tolerant but also boast bigger blooms or other characteristics. Another bonus of native plants is that they’re very friendly to native animals, providing them with food and habitat.

Reduce or Replace Your Lawn

About 50 to 70 percent of our residential water use is used for landscaping, and although some of this is used on food and flower gardens, much of it is used for lawns. You may use your lawn as a place to hold picnics and for the children to play. However, like many of us you may be able to reduce your lawn, and with it all of the water use and maintenance involved. Install flagstone pathways or bark mulch around beds, or choose a drought-tolerant lawn alternative like elfin thyme. If you keep your lawn, choose to let it go dormant in the summer months to save water.

Give Your Plants Some Help

If you have established plants that you love, you may be able to keep them, even if they’re not entirely drought-tolerant. Add drought-tolerant shrubs such as hydrangea, viburnum, winterberry, and flowing quince. Use these to provide shade for other, more tender plants. In the fall, add mulch to build soil that is more complex and allows water to stay in rather than flow over the surface, and mulch again in the spring to protect plants against the summer’s heat.

Put the Right Plant in the Right Place

Most of all, use your plant sense. If you have a water-loving plant that you must plant, plant only one, plant it in a cooler part of your garden, and place it in an area where it’s easy to water. Put your drought-tolerant plants in areas that are hard to water, and choose more of these than you do of the water hogs.

Consider rain harvesting as a way to collect water that can be used for watering plants. Getting started is simple: just collect water from your downspouts. The right gutter systems make this easy. And when you want to install gutters, contact Harry Helmet. Our unique gutter products allow you to enjoy gardening again, free of the need to climb ladders and remove leaves. Simplify your landscaping – call us today.

Written by Del Thebaud

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