7 Ways to Get a Low-Water Yard

A low-water landscape with lavender and other drought-tolerant plants.

Creating a low-water yard saves you not just on water, but also on time and worry. Implement various strategies to turn your yard into a drought-resistant, beautiful oasis that requires little water to thrive and survive. You’ll get to spend much less time watering and maintaining your yard, and that much more time actually enjoying it.

1. Replace the Grass

A little bit of grass is always nice, but there's no law requiring you to have sweeping square feet of green everywhere. Replace the grass in your seating and grilling areas with gravel, crushed stone, or landscaping rocks. Stones require very little upkeep and no water whatsoever, and they're a great way to break up all those sweeping green areas. Take the idea even further by installing a rock garden somewhere, rather than a traditional garden, to add an interesting feature to your landscaping.

2. Go Native

The low-water front yard of a house with xeriscaping plants.

Make garden and landscaping maintenance easier on yourself with native plants. Choose plants that already grow naturally in your home region, and they will require little extra maintenance. These plants naturally thrive in the conditions that occur where you live, which means you'll use a lot less water keeping them alive than a bunch of exotic plants that require constant time and care.

3. Put Plants in Pots

Try potting your plants instead of planting them in the dirt. This way, they can be moved around at will, and they require much less water than large, landscaped areas where everything is planted directly in the ground. Choose plants that don't require a lot of water, like lavender, to add low-maintenance color to the garden. Lavender is a natural bug repellent as well, which is an added bonus to any garden area. Place your potted plants within landscaping and garden areas to double their value. Water that drains from the bottom of the pot will go right into the soil to nourish everything else around the pot, so you get extra use out of that precious water.

4. Add Non-Growing Features

Plants in pots on gravel.

Fill your landscaping and garden areas with features that never need to be watered, such as decorative stone benches, walkways, and birdhouses. These features look lovely in outdoor areas without requiring water. Add some big pieces of driftwood or large rocks to your landscaping to add extra points of interest, and you can grow fewer plants to cover up bare areas.

5. Grow Drought-Tolerant Plants

Many plants thrive in low water environments and grow beautifully even in the face of drought. These plants survive on very little water, which means you'll spend very little time giving them moisture. Yucca, sage, yarrow, and white fir all grow well with little water. Fill your garden with these and similar plants, and you won't have to go out there holding a hose every other day. Any plant that grows in desert environments will thrive with very little water in your garden. (Just make sure they can survive naturally in your geographical area.)

6. Replace Groundcovers With Moss

Low-water moss planted in the shade.

Traditional groundcovers are pretty garden features, but they can also consume lots water. Swap them out for moss instead. Moss has the ability to draw the moisture it needs from the air, which makes it a perfect groundcover in any garden. Moss also grows well in the shade, which makes it ideal for planting beneath other plants and garden features.

7. Add a Rain Barrel

Place a rain barrel in your yard so it can catch the moisture that falls from the sky, and use this to keep your landscaping and garden plants watered. The barrel adds a pretty, rustic touch to the garden while serving a practical purpose as well.

Design a yard that can live well without much water, and design a beautiful outdoor area you can be proud of without doing a ton of maintenance on it. A low-water yard is still a beautiful yard, and you can still enjoy grass, plants, and beautiful features everywhere you look. Keep looking for ways to switch out all those water-guzzling plants and needy grass with low-water alternatives, and your yard will keep looking beautiful with a lot less moisture.