The Gardener’s Guide to Xeriscaping

Updated: Aug. 19, 2022

What is xeriscaping and is it right for your yard? Use this drought garden strategy to conserve water in any environment.

All About Xeriscaping

rain barrel, xeriscapingLeon Harris/Getty Images
Want to try xeriscaping? Using a rain barrel is one way to save and conserve water in drought tolerant areas.

No matter where you live, conserving water helps you, the plants and our environment, too. There are many things gardeners can do to reduce their water use. This is called xeriscaping. One tip that tops the list is to grow water-wise plants. Here’s even more xeriscaping ideas that you need to know.

  • Look for plants that can survive on your average local rainfall. You may have to water them during unusually dry periods, but they won’t need constant watering if Mother Nature cooperates. Try these drought-tolerant plants that can handle dry weather.
  • Let nature be your guide. Select native plants that are suitable for your area and growing conditions.
  • Group plants with similar water needs. This saves time and water, concentrating your efforts to specific areas rather than individual plants scattered throughout the yard. Learn the best time to water your plants.
  • Limit moisture-loving plants to high-visibility areas. This gives you the greatest impact and curb appeal for the water, time and effort. Also try these flowering drought-tolerant ground cover plants.
  • Improve your soil! Add compost and other organic material to improve its water-holding capacity. Here’s how to make a DIY compost bin.
  • Design landscapes that conserve water rather than waste it. Create windbreaks and shade structures that help reduce water loss.
  • Mulch your plantings with organic materials. This conserves moisture and reduces erosion. Is it OK to use rubber mulch?
  • Let your lawn grow to its the tallest recommended height. Tall grass forms deeper roots and tolerates drought better.
  • Let your grass go dormant during periods of drought. Believe it or not, the grass will bounce back better once the rains do come. Here’s more tips for beating the heat in your summer garden.
  • Recycle water from downspouts and other areas. Many new water-collecting systems and rain barrels are designed to store water but keep out mosquitoes. Check with your municipality for any local restrictions. Here’s how to plant a rain garden.

Next, follow these expert tips for growing a drought tolerant garden.