A fuss-free yard doesn't have to be boring. Keep the color coming all season long with this easy-care design.

By BH&G Garden Editors
Updated November 04, 2020
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With this garden plan, you can plant it and almost forget it! It relies on a selection of tough-as-nails perennials that will thrive in full sun, tolerate heat and humidity, and reliably come back each year. Even then, these plants need little more from you than the occasional tidying up. Silvery gray-green foliage is a common thread tying together drought-tolerant perennials such as santolina, lavender, yarrow, and Russian sage. They coordinate well with a centerpiece blue birdbath, which also helps draw in feathered visitors. Plus, as this mix of perennials blooms, it'll produce beautiful bursts of pink, yellow, and purple all summer long.

Tough-as-Nails Perennial Garden Plan
Credit: Ed Gohlich

Plants for Creating the Tough-as-Nails Garden Plan

  • 4 Lavender cotton (Santolina chamaecyparissus): Zones 5-10
  • 4 English lavender (Lavandula angustifolia 'Munstead'): Zones 5-8
  • 1 Yarrow (Achillea 'Moonshine'): Zones 3-9
  • 6 Garden phlox (Phlox paniculata): Zones 4-8
  • 3 Russian sage (Perovskia atriplicifolia): Zones 5-9
  • 3 Purple coneflower (Echinacea purpurea): Zones 3-9
  • 5 Firecracker penstemon (Penstemon eatonii): Zones 4-9
  • 5 Pineleaf penstemon (Penstemon pinifolius): Zones 4-10
  • 5 Catmint (Nepeta × faassenii): Zones 3-8

If you aren't able to find the exact cultivars listed above, substitute with others that have similar colors, shapes, and sizes. And 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, yarrow can reseed itself around to the point of weediness, but 'Moonshine' is a variety that doesn't have this problem. If you need to substitute a different variety for it, make sure it isn't one you'll regret planting later.

Tough-as-Nails Perennial Garden Plan Illustration
Credit: Illustration by Mavis Augustine Torke

Get the Free Tough-as-Nails Garden Plan

Our free 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 installing the garden. Free, one-time registration allows unlimited access to all garden plans, available as printable PDFs.

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Comments (1)

Anonymous
April 27, 2021
We used several of these plants in our xeriscape yard in the desert southwest. The article mentions that yarrow can self-seed but penstemon does as well and Russian sage sends out runners and can take over a yard if you aren't diligent about it.