These Low-Water Landscape Ideas Will Look Beautiful Through Drought and Heat

You can count on this easy-care landscape plan to shine all summer long—even through high temps and drought.

A dry garden spot calls for tough plants that can get by without much water. Nature outfitted drought-tolerant plants with a host of special features for survival, like thick succulent leaves that store excess water or a slight fuzz that hangs on to morning dew. Use the water-wise selections in this garden plan to create a beautiful display near your home's foundation, along your driveway, or on the streetside strip of grass in front of your house—where you may need some extra durable options. Stocked with low-maintenance plants that thrive in full sun and well-drained soil, this garden is designed to look good, even through extended dry spells.

Low-Water Garden Plan
Janet Loughrey

Plants for Creating a Low-Water Garden Plan:

  • 4 Crested iris (Iris cristata): Zones 4-10
  • 3 Sweet alyssum (Lobularia maritima): Zones 9-11, annual
  • 3 Sedum 'Autumn Joy': Zones 3-10
  • 2 Feather reed grass (Calamagrostis × acutiflora 'Karl Foerster'): Zones 4-9
  • 1 Variegated redtwig dogwood (Cornus alba 'Elegantissima'): Zones 2-8
  • 3 New England aster (Symphyotrichum novae-angliae 'Alma Pötschke'): Zones 4-8
  • 1 Spurge (Euphorbia characias): Zones 3-10
  • 1 Money plant (Lunaria annua): Zones 5-9; biennial*
  • 3 Lady's mantle (Alchemilla mollis): Zones 3-7
  • 1 Spotted deadnettle (Lamium maculatum 'White Nancy'): Zones 4-8
  • 2 Shrubby dusty miller (Brachyglottis compacta): Zones 7-10
  • 3 Stonecrop (Sedum cauticola 'Ruby Glow'): Zones 5-9
  • 1 Japanese barberry (Berberis thunbergii 'Rose Glow'): Zones 3-9
  • 3 Michaelmas daisy (Aster novae-belgii 'Lassie'): Zones 3-9
  • 1 Silver Carpet lamb's-ears (Stachys byzantina 'Silver Carpet'): Zones 4-9

If you aren't able to find the exact cultivars listed above, substitute with others with similar colors, shapes, and sizes. Because some plants can become overly aggressive and spread out of control in certain climates, always check which species are considered invasive in your area before planting. For example, Japanese barberry has escaped gardens and invaded natural areas across much of the Northeast and Midwest, so you may want to replace the one in this plan with a similarly-sized spirea if you live in these regions.

Low-Water Garden Plan
Illustration by Mavis Augustine Torke

Get the Free Low-Water Garden Plan

The garden plan for this design includes an illustrated version of the planted garden, a detailed layout diagram, a list of plants for the garden as shown, and complete instructions for planting the garden. Free, one-time registration allows unlimited access to all garden plans, available as printable PDFs.

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