If you live in a place with long hot and dry summers, then you already know how hard it can be keeping your plants looking healthy during those summer months. Water limits imposed in some localities are making this situation even worse. Luckily, there is an alternative to hassling with the weather and worrying if your plants will survive. One way to deal with this while retaining a luscious garden is to use drought-resistant plants that thrive on little water. However, plants and greenery aren't the only options available for creating an inviting outdoor space. An alternative is adding artistic features or structures to your garden that can give it a renewed ambiance.
One great part of perennial plants is that they do not require much watering once established. This makes them a perfect candidate for a drought-resistant garden. Just make sure when you initially plant your desired type of perennial that you water it heavily and follow the directions for sunlight exposure. The idea is to allow the roots of the plant to establish themselves and develop a better system that will allow the plant to survive during drought seasons, and it also helps deal with fungus-related issues. Some perennials you can consider that are drought-resistant include Sedum 'Autumn Joy', Silver Artemisias, Purple Coneflower, Tall Bearded Iris, and Lavender (pictured above).
Cacti are a staple of many drought-resistant gardens because they are very hardy, are low-maintenance, and will grow in even the harshest of climates.
Cacti come in many different shapes and colors. Some of the more interesting varieties include Stenoactus Lloydii, commonly called wave or brain cacti due to its crinkly appearance; Ferocactus Emoryi Covillei, a native plant of Arizona; Ferocactus Latispinus, a beautiful plant commonly referred to as a barrel cactus (see above on how to repot one); and Oreocereus Hempelianus, a plant from the Andes region with tubular red flowers that are loved by hummingbirds.
Succulents are a great choice for a drought-tolerant yard because of their gorgeous forms, textures, colors, and their hassle-free nature. Succulents will grow just about anywhere, but make sure they have plenty of drainage as they store water in their leaves. One of the more popular types of succulents is the Echeveria, which has a rosette shape with remarkable symmetry. Other succulents to consider include Crown of Thorns (Euphorbia milii), Jade Plant, Aloe vera, Panda Plant and Agave.
An alternative option to planting drought-resistant plants is to use hard materials to create features in your yard, also known as hardscaping. One feature you can consider adding is a patio. A patio can be as large or small as you want it to be, and the great part of using hardscaping materials is that you have a lot of options. You could make your patio out of stained concrete, brick, or even ceramic tile. While this may seem overwhelming, the benefit is that it gives you a lot of flexibility in your design, and you can tailor your materials to fit the surrounding environment. If you want your patio space to have a little more privacy, consider installing a brick or even wood wall to help enclose the space.
A fountain is a great way to take up some space without taking away from the beauty of your landscape. It also adds an extra element of sound that you can't get anywhere else. Placement of the fountain is key, as you may want it to drain into a larger pond, but it an also be a standalone object. Choose a spot that accents other parts of your garden to create the optimum ambiance. One great aspect about fountains is that they come in a variety of shapes, sizes, and materials, which gives you plenty of options for finding the right fountain for your space.
Whether you have some dead spots along your garden area or are just in need of a better way to get to your garden, one option to fulfill your needs is to build a walkway. You can choose from a variety of materials including paving stones, natural stones, loose materials, brick, and concrete. Pavers are a great choice due to their ease of installment, and they come in many different designs to fit whatever plans you have in mind. These materials can be placed directly on the ground for a more natural look, or installed over a layer of concrete or packed soil. The best part of a walkway is that you can get creative in your designs while also adding a more elegant piece to your garden area.
If you have a space that needs to be filled, then consider installing a fire pit. Fire pits are a great way to accent an existing space, and they add the element of community to your outdoor home area. They come in all sorts of designs and sizes, so choose one that fits into the existing theme of your space. A fire pit can be installed on an existing patio or deck, or it can be a piece that stands alone. Additionally, fire pits can be made out of brick, concrete, or natural stone, which means you have plenty of flexibility in choosing a material that fits in with the existing look.