Multi-tiered landscaping featuring a variety of summer plants

11 Tips for Making Your Landscaping Drought Tolerant

When you live in a drought-prone place like Texas, it’s important to make sure your landscaping can withstand periods with little water. Fortunately, there are many ways to keep your landscape beautiful throughout the hot summer and rain-free winter months. Here are 11 tips for making your landscaping drought-tolerant:

1. Incorporate Xeriscaping Techniques

Xeriscaping is an ideology of landscaping that focuses on making landscapes more suited to dry conditions and hot climates.

  • There are seven main principles of Xeriscaping:
    • Better designing and planning
    • Using drought-tolerant grass or grass alternatives
    • Incorporating plants that use water more efficiently
    • Testing the soil and adding more compost or organic matter
    • Using decorative rocks and wood mulch
    • Repairing or upgrading your home’s irrigation system
    • Seasonal maintenance

You don’t have to use all of these techniques, but considering the ones that make sense for your situation could help your landscape survive even the driest of droughts.

2. Reconsider How You Use Your Water

Maintained backyard with green grass and flowers

Strategizing about how you water your plants is an important part of creating a drought-tolerant landscape. You want to give your plants just enough water to keep them hydrated but not anymore, both to conserve water in dry conditions and to avoid causing them damage by drowning them. Watering them just enough also encourages your plants to have a far-reaching root system, allowing them to grow bigger and stronger in the long run. 

On average, you should give your lawn roughly an inch of water weekly, so watering your lawn ⅓ of an inch three times a week is a great way to start. It is usually best to water your lawn in the morning when it is cooler outside. Watering your lawn during the day when the sun is at full strength can lead to a majority of the water evaporating before your plants are able to soak it up. 

3. Use Mulch As Insulation for Your Yard

Mulch holds water better than regular soil because it reduces the heat and slows down the evaporation process. One of the best times to add mulch to your yard is before the summer season. It will help your yard hold onto rain and irrigation water better during the season when water is the most scarce.

Mulch also helps keep your plants safe from weeds by making it more difficult for them to grow through the top layer of soil. Extra mulch should be added to the bottom of slopes and wide portions of the ground where there are no plants. This traps the water and makes sure it doesn’t go to waste. It also prevents weeds from growing in these areas which saves you from having to pull up stubborn plants in the sweltering sun.

4. Take Advantage of Water Runoff

Certain areas of your yard – such as the sides of cement walkways, the areas around hardscaping, and the bottoms of slopes – are prone to creating water runoff. Instead of letting this water go to waste, put plants around these areas that will catch and make use of this water. These are good places to plant less drought-tolerant flowers and shrubs.

5. Add Shade to Protect Plants From the Sun

Making use of trees and arbors can protect your plants from being in direct sunlight for the full day. Always check the care guide for your plants when deciding where to place your shade. Remember, while some plants thrive in partial or full shade, other plants need constant sunlight. Planning your tree and arbor placement carefully can make sure that all of your plants get what they need.

6. Use Drought Resistant Plants

When creating a drought resistant landscape it is important to use drought resistant plants. In Texas, it is best to stick with native plants as they have already adapted to the soil and the climate. There are also different types of drought resistant grasses you can invest in:

  • Hybrid Bermuda Grass
  • Zoysia Grass
  • Common Bermuda Grass
  • Seashore Paspalum
  • St. Augustine Grass
  • Kikuyu Grass
  • Tall and Red Fescues
  • Kentucky Bluegrass
  • Ryegrass
  • Bentgrass
  • Buffalo Grass

Don’t think that “drought-resistant” means that you’ll be stuck with bland cacti, shrubs, and grasses; there are plenty of beautiful plants and flowers that are native to Texas which will add eye-catching color to your yard. With so many choices, you can be sure to find one that meets your practical and aesthetic needs.

7. Place High-Water Need Plants in Containers

Rock arc waterfall

Plants that need more water can be placed in high-containers. This helps you distinguish between which plants need more water and which ones need less to ensure that all of your plants are getting the water they need—nothing more, nothing less. 

8. Make Drought Friendly Walkways

Pathways made of long strips of solid pavers or cement can create clear paths in your landscape, but they won’t help with drought-tolerance. Using a porous material such as gravel for your walkways will allow water to soak through into the soil. Other drought-friendly options included spaced-out pathway stones or using a porous material in place of the mortar that is typically used to connect stones.

9. Use More Hardscaping and Fewer Plants

Not all landscaping has to involve plants. Hardscaping, or using nonliving objects to adorn your landscape, can add beauty to your yard without needing water to stay healthy. Examples of hardscaping elements include:

  • Large boulders
  • Pathways
  • Patios
  • Arbors
  • Statues
  • Rock Gardens

These different components are typically available in a variety of styles, so you can design a unique landscape that fits you.

10. Add a Drip Irrigation System

A drip irrigation system is more efficient than sprinklers for keeping your yard moisturized. Some benefits include decreasing water wastage and providing water throughout the day so that your plants can take better advantage. A drip irrigation system is also less visible than sprinklers because the system stays low to the ground. You won’t have to worry about getting sprayed with water when sprinklers go off or seeing unsightly sprinkler heads interrupt your beautiful garden.

11. Contact Your Trusted Landscaping Professionals

If you’re looking to make your yard beautiful and drought-tolerant, contact Landscape By Design. We have years of experience designing and installing landscaping that is both eye-catching and able to withstand long periods of drought, and we’re eager to use our expertise to help you! Call us today to learn how we can beautify and strengthen your property!