Drought-tolerant landscaping: how to grow a garden without water

Morgan Sanchez

In many parts of America, a drought is, unfortunately, a normal occurrence. If you live in California, Arizona, or another state with below-average precipitation, maintaining a lush and lively landscape feels like a near-impossible task. You don’t want a graveyard of dead plants and flowers, but you don’t want a landscape of dead rocks and bark, either.

Drought-tolerant landscaping really comes down to a science, but it’s worth doing the research. With the right tools and knowledge, you can create a vibrant landscape in a dry environment, despite the odds.

The importance of research in landscaping

While you may do some preventative landscaping to cut down on lawn maintenance, if you want a truly drought-proof landscape, you’ll need to understand the true importance of landscaping right from the start.

For drought-tolerant landscaping, creating a less water-intensive environment is key. Research a bit on your own to get an idea of where to start relative to your geographical area. For starters, you should:

  • Research the local flora. In order to maximize the drought efficiency of your space and ideally create a great environment for local species, learn about the plants that grow in your area.
  • Ask yourself what you use your lawn for. Do you use it to entertain? To maximize curb appeal? Use this to influence the design of your landscape.
  • Consider pests and fungi. If you’re using landscaping bark or other organic materials, you should be conscious of certain threats.

Once you get a grasp on your preferences and your area’s conditions, you can start working on a plan.

Low-water plants to try in your landscape

The first plant that comes to your mind when thinking about drought tolerance is probably cacti. However, you don’t need these desert-loving plants in order to get a gorgeous landscape (though you certainly can; many cacti species bloom beautifully).

Some perennial flowers require less water and space than others, including purple coneflower and bearded iris. Other plants that are resistant/tolerant to low-water environments include:

  • Lavender
  • Thyme
  • Aster
  • Lamb’s ear

Ideally, some of these are native to your area, and you can transplant them into your landscape with minimal effort. Unfortunately, while you’re setting up your ideal drought tolerant space, you may end up with a few unwanted visitors in the form of pesky weeds or errant plants that want to take advantage of your new spot.

Use our vinegar-based herbicides to get them out of the way quickly so that you can get back to saving water and the environment. It’s a win-win!

If you don’t want any plants in your yard, there are plenty of other ideas and materials to use in order to create the perfect space. Decorative stones or boulders add a bold touch of flair if you don’t want to deal with grass at all. You can also add turf and bark to supplement your plants. 

There are so many options to consider that it really all comes down to personal choice. How do you maintain a vibrant landscape without water? Let us know in the comments.


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