Drought-Tolerant Garden Plan

This informal mixed garden bed features drought-tolerant trees, evergreen shrubs, perennials, and annuals.

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Ornamental grasses provide fantastic versatility in texture, color, and structure for virtually any garden, particularly those that receive less water. Even after frost has flattened other plants, grasses stand tall.

Purple fountaingrass sends out frothy seedheads that look particularly dazzling when backlit. Stunning maidengrass (Miscanthus 'Gracillimus') can reach towering heights of 9 feet, making it a perfect fencelike border for the back of a bed. The graceful, arching leaves of Japanese forestgrass stay lower to the ground—about 16 inches or so—but have a cleanly contemporary look that's perfect in restrained gardens.

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Our free Planting Guide for this garden includes an illustrated version of the garden, a detailed layout diagram, a list of plants for the garden as shown, and complete instructions for installing the garden. (Free, one-time registration allows unlimited access to Planting Guides for all garden plans.)

Garden size: 33 x 24 feet

Plant List

  • Lavender (Lavandula angustifolia 'Munstead'): Zones 5-8
  • 2 Aspen (Populus spp.): Zones 2-8
  • 2 Miscanthus sinensis ('Silberfeeder'): Zones 4-9
  • 2 Russian sage (Perovskia atriplicifolia): Zones 6-9
  • 10 Hardy ice plant (Delosperma cooperi): Zones 8-10
  • 9 Cosmos (Cosmos sulfureus): Annual
  • 20 Johnny-jump-up (Viola tricolor): Zones 4-8
  • 15 Sweet alyssum (Lobularia maritima 'Minima'): Annual
  • 20 Thyme (Thymus serpyllum 'Minor' and Thymus lanuginosus): Zones 4-9
  • 7 Blue fescue (Festuca glauca 'Sea Urchin'): Zones 4-8
  • 6 Siberian iris (Iris sibirica 'Caesar's Brother'): Zones 3-8
  • 6 Red-hot poker (Kniphofia 'Maid of Orleans'): Zones 6-9
  • 3 Pincushion flower (Scabiosa columbaria 'Pink Mist'): Zones 3-8
  • 3 Lily (Lilium 'Imperial Silver'): Zones 3-9
  • 1 Sedum ('Autumn Joy'): Zones 3-10
  • 2 Speedwell (Veronica liwanensis): Zones 4-9
  • 2 Cup flower (Nierembergia spp.): Zones 7-10
  • 1 Sacred datura (Datura meteloides): Zones 10-11
  • 5 Lavandin (Lavandula intermedia): Zones 5-8
  • 1 Rocky Mountain juniper (Juniperus scopulorum): Zones 4-7
  • 1 Rosemary (Rosmarinus officinalis 'Arp'): Zones 8-10

Reliable Drought-Tolerant Plants

Plant these self-sufficient species, and your watering tasks will be greatly reduced.

Gray-Green Foliage

Orange- and Yellow-Flowering

Blue- and Purple-Flowering

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