Drought Tolerant Gardens

drought tolerant gardens

Making your way to a water efficient garden can be done in a few steps. Use the guidelines below to start your drought tolerant garden:

Check your irrigation system

  • One of the biggest problems in a garden comes from a leaky, broken irrigation system.
  • After fixing repairs to your irrigation system, set a watering schedule adjusted to the seasonal weather.
  • If you don't have an irrigation system, we offer rebates that will save you money and water. Check our rebates out here!

Soil and Mulch

  • When soil is not aerated, it becomes an impenetrable surface. If you have a compacted soil, use a hand tool to gently turn it over. This process will break the hard surface and allow water to seep in to give your plants the nutrients it needs.
  • Get to know your soil; there are three types of soil which are classified by particle size:
    • Clay: smallest particle size and least permeable
    • Silt: medium particle size and good permeability
    • Sand: largest particle size and most permeability
  • Adding mulch to your soil will also help prevent water from evaporating and will provide your plants with additional nutrients as it evaporates. In addition, it will reduce weeds from competing for soil water and it will reduce runoff and soil compaction.
  • There are a few guidelines when using mulch: keep 2 - 4 inch minimum layer of mulch over soil surface and a minimum of 6 inches from the base of the plant.

Garden Design and Plant Selection

A drought-tolerant garden uses California native plants that do not demand large quantities of water. A plant is described as drought-tolerant if is able to thrive in high heat and low water conditions while still maintaining its visual and functional characteristics. Follow these guidelines to transform your garden into a drought tolerant landscape:

  • Local climate may affect your plant selection, check for aridity and wind Examine your local soil conditions
  • Visit local demonstration gardens
  • After you have an idea of the plants you find appealing, visit your local nursery and ask for native and drought tolerant plants. For a list of some California's natives click here.
  • When selecting plants, keep in mind their water needs:
    • Very low water
    • Low water
    • Moderate water
  • When you are ready to transform your garden create hydrozones, which is the grouping of plants in the landscape according to similar water requirements Consider including mulch in your landscaped area because it will help prevent water from evaporating and will provide your plants with additional nutrients as it evaporates