The Drought Tolerant Garden
November 9th, 2007
Planning will reduce your water usage.
When most people think about drought tolerant landscaping they conjure up images of rock, cactus and succulents. And while they can have a place in some drought tolerant gardens (if you live in the desert) most modern drought tolerant designs don’t rely on them and are filled with the beauty and color of many favorite mainstream plants.
Most existing landscapes already have plants that can survive periods of drought. The key is to select plants for your particular growing conditions when planning and designing (or re-designing) your landscape and then placing these plants together according to their water needs.
Your goal should be to create three basic divisions of plant groupings: a very low water zone, a low water zone and a moderate water zone. Each area should be irrigated separately, according to specific water needs. In this way you can have one area that uses more water than the environment naturally provides and another area where you might need no extra water at all.
Consider foliage texture and color, bloom period and the shape of each plant when selecting plants for your garden. Also incorporate some plants with grayish foliage; these have a natural reflective quality that allows them to survive in low-moisture, high-heat situations.
Along with proper plant selection are a couple of other very important principles which should be incorporated into any drought tolerant garden. Make sure to use a soil amendment when planting. Cover open areas around plants and trees with a two inch layer of mulch to reduce evaporation, keep the soil cool, and help prevent weeds.
Last, a drought tolerant garden needs to be watered correctly in order for you to succeed in your water saving goals. Each water zone should be on a separate station and timer. Make sure to irrigate in the early morning to help reduce evaporation. Make sure to pull weeds as needed to reduce competition for water, and feed your garden at least quarterly to help your plants stay healthy and strong.
With careful selection, planning and execution, drought-tolerant landscapes can be as pleasing as those needing heavy irrigation. We have a great selection of colorful drought tolerant plants, and our staff of garden experts is available to help you every step of the way.