20 Drought Tolerant Landscaping Ideas for Modern Garden Design


Drought tolerant landscaping means a landscape and its plants that can survive in a drought season. Nowadays, it has become more popular, especially in a region with a lack of water or little rainfall.

People who live in a less water area face a problem where they want to have a garden but it has no water. Another problem may arise in a long drought season where usual plants might die due to the overheat.

Dry and parched plants are not interesting and refreshing again. It will lessen the aesthetic value of your garden. In this case, we need drought tolerant plant for our garden that is able to grow or thrive during or in spite of the drought.


Common Drought Tolerant Plants

Before we discuss further drought-tolerant landscaping, it is a good way to start to think of the drought-tolerant plants that you will use to fill your garden. Keep in your mind that drought-tolerant plants are able to grow or thrive with minimal water or rainfall.

Why draught tolerant landscape is important? It is because many people love to have a garden in their home, yet they live in a shortage water area, thus we need to modify the garden with drought-tolerant plants.

  • Cactus
  • Succulents
  • Zoysia grass
  • Thyme
  • Woolly yarrow
  • Lavender
  • Lupine
  • Artemisian
  • Aster
  • Coreopsis (most popular drought-tolerant plants)

Now you have an idea of drought-tolerant plants, let’s move on to ideas of drought-tolerant plants.

Replace Your Grass with Artificial Grass

We know that grass is the largest water waster in the yard and it is the highest maintenance item. Besides water issue, grass needs some treatments, such as mowing, mulching, aerating, fertilizing, re-seeding or re-sodding. A lot of things to do, right?

By having artificial grass, you are free from that duty and water problem. Don’t worry, your landscape will look lovely, green and fresh because of the artificial grass. You do not need to buy artificial grass like in a professional football field. There are many options for artificial grass that looks realistic and fresh.

Replace Your Grass with Gravel and Stone

While artificial grass gives a fresh and green impression, gravel and stone will give the contemporary and minimalist look of your garden. It is low maintenance and more important thing is, it needs zero water. Have a table and chair with the uniform color to make it more stunning. It is a great counterpoint to succulents too.

Use Succulents for Your Garden

We know that succulents are drought tolerant plants. It can survive in a low water area. They are also colorful so it can cherish your garden without worrying about the water needs. Have many different types of succulents in your garden, combine and mix them and you will get amazing texture and color. You can have aloe, burro’s tails, and hens and chicks for the combination.

Use Ornamental Grasses

Many types of grasses that are not included in green blanket lawn grasses are drought tolerant and perfect for a low water garden. There are some beautiful and low ornamental grasses, such as little bluestem (grey-green blades that go to shades of purple and red), fountain grass, blue oat grass, purple fountaingrass, blue fescue, pampas grass. When you plant grasses, mix it up. Use both tall and short grass along with a few of the more colorful grasses thrown in a pop.

Replace Flower with Perennial

You want to have a colorful flower in your garden but you are worried about the water? You can have succulents and colorful grasses. Yet, if you want to have flowers in your drought-tolerant garden, maybe you can have perennials to replace flowers. Perennials are sturdier and require less water.

The examples of perennials that need less water, are: blanket flower (red, yellow and orange daisy-like flowers), Russian sage (fragrant, delicate silver leaves with fine lavender-color flowers), yarrow (normally yellow flowers, but there are other color varieties available), salvia (bold crimson-red blooms), lavender (fragrant and colorful), kangaroo paw (exotic plant with beautiful, bright red, orange or yellow velvety flowers). By adding these plants, you can have colorful drought tolerant water with minimal water.

Circle Garden

We can design our garden in a way where we can have various plants but still, save water. First, we can have ground cover, such as thyme to catch water that might be lost on the gentle slope. Then, we need to add two sculptures, a whimsical cat and an orb.

Next, we can have mulch as one of the plants which are essential to conserve moisture (and it keeps down weeds). After that, add pavers and series of circles, furnish visual interest. Once it is done, have shrubs and evergreens, such as arborvitae that needs very little water. It can offer bountiful structure and color.

Charming Cascade

Having a mini fountain is not impossible to build a drought-tolerant landscape. Even, a fountain which is designed correctly can keep and recycle water. Around the fountain, plant showy foliage, such as Japanese forest grass to provide dramatic visual interest.

If you want to have the warm effect of pavers, consider groundcovers to cool key areas, such as wide gaps between stones. We can add herbs too that can tolerate drought, like oregano and thyme. Planted and mulched areas on a slope also provide a spot for water to soak into the ground.

Down the Garden Path

We can have a beautiful drought-tolerant garden by having a garden path. However, an attractive garden bed relied on native plants. So, look for native plants, such as yarrow which is tolerant in drought. Then, spread 2-3 inches of mulch between widely-spaced plants.

It can reduce water loss and suppresses weeds. Then, install a drip irrigation system. It saves water and delivers directly to the plants. Besides, a porous material between paving stones provides a way for rain to soak into the soil. Add birdbath and wooden bench to offer subtle focal points.

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Those are some ideas for having a drought-tolerant landscape. Even though you live in a low water area, it is still possible to have a beautiful and splendid garden. Have a try!


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