Low-Water Landscaping: The Best Water-Saving Plants

Low-Water Landscaping: The Best Water-Saving Plants
  • Opening Intro -

    The threat of drought and water shortages has forced landscapers to get creative with their plant selections.

    A growing number of professional gardeners now specialize in low-water landscaping, also known as xeriscaping.


This requires assembling beautiful landscaping using attractive trees, plants, and shrubs that don’t require much water to flourish and look their best. These water-conserving landscapes use combinations of stunning, drought-resistant plants to accomplish a lush, verdant look without the massive amount of water typically required to do so.

Colorful Low-Water Plant Combinations

If you want your low-water garden to stand out, you need a creative combination of plants that add color on the hottest and driest of days. Many see it as near impossible to have a garden with a range of textures, shapes, and colors without daily watering, but nothing could be further from the truth. The following are a few combinations that can brighten up your garden while requiring very little water and almost no maintenance.

The Mediterranean Plant Combo

The Mediterranean Plant Combo combines Italian Cypress, Olive, Mexican Sage, Lily-of-the-Nile, Lavender, and Santa Barbara Daisy. This group of plants features a range of colors, sizes, and textures and can make your garden look great. Want full, drought-resistant foliage? A popular combo of Euphorbia characias, coral bells, and New Zealand Flax will provide coverage in the driest of months without demanding too much water. Another great combination is New Zealand Flax, Oat Grass, and Aeonium ‘Star Burst’. Either of these groupings can brighten up any landscape and require very little water.

Color and Retreat Groupings

Want a combination of colorful plants to add a dramatic flair to your landscape without requiring a dramatic amount of water? Plant Flowering Plum, Rosa Bonica, Coast Rosemary, Bower Vine, Sweet Lavender, and Aster species. For those who want a drought-resistant garden to use as a summer retreat, try the following grouping: Jessamine, Lavender, Mallow, Italian Cypress, and Mirror Plant. These will give you a colorful landscape which smells great and can help you relax on hot, sunny days.

Sod Choices

Many believe that starting a low-water landscape means having to sacrifice their lawn. This couldn’t be further from the truth—there are several hardy, drought-resistant sod varieties which will retain a healthy, full look with minimal watering. Zoysia grass, for example, will tolerate drought well and absorb water well after dry seasons (learn more: http://www.sodatlanta.com/). Some varieties of Bermuda grass do especially well in hot, dry weather and require very little water in comparison to others.

Low-Water Plants

There are a number of other trees, shrubs, and flowing plants that need little water but deliver stunning beauty to your landscaping all year round. They make your garden and landscaping look unique. Low-water annuals include calendula, periwinkle, cockscomb, feverfew, dianthus, African daisy, snow-on-the-mountain, globe amaranth, strawflower, zonal geranium, petunia, rose moss, creeping zinnia, and marigold.

Trees and shrubs like junipers, Nanking cherry, lilac, and honeysuckle and perennials like Creeping Baby’s Breath, Blanket Flower, Purple Coneflower, Daylilies, Evening Primrose, and tulips are not very thirsty. There is a whole host of vines including moon flower, morning glory, Virginia creeper, nasturtium, and riverbank grape—sometimes called Manitoba grape—that subsist on a negligible amount of water. Do Douglas Fir, Ponderosa Pine, Concolor Fir, and Colorado Spruce, if you want an alpine look to your landscape.

You can have beautiful landscaping which requires virtually no water. There are a few things you must do, however, to ensure the health and survival of your plants. Low-water landscaping requires proper planning and design to flourish. You must select the appropriate plants for your zone, nourish the soil, irrigate efficiently, employ mulches, and perform timely maintenance. Do these things and you can create a colorful, healthy, landscape with a diverse collection of plants.



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