Low-Water Gardens: Sustainable and Beautiful

See how beautiful sustainable landscaping can look in these low-water gardens.
Similar Topics:

Photo By: Image courtesy of The Fockele Garden Company

Photo By: Image courtesy of The Fockele Garden Company

Photo By: Image courtesy of The Fockele Garden Company

Photo By: Image courtesy of The Fockele Garden Company

Photo By: Image courtesy of The Fockele Garden Company

Photo By: Image courtesy of The Fockele Garden Company

Photo By: Image courtesy of The Fockele Garden Company

Photo By: Image courtesy of The Fockele Garden Company

Photo By: Image courtesy of The Fockele Garden Company

Photo By: Image courtesy of The Fockele Garden Company

Photo By: Image courtesy of The Fockele Garden Company

Photo By: Image courtesy of The Fockele Garden Company

Photo By: Image courtesy of The Fockele Garden Company

Texture, Color and Variety

Instead of a lawn that requires watering and regular maintenance, why not consider reconfiguring part of your yard for a landscape design that requires little to no water depending on your choice of plants and minimal care? You can create a much more sustainable and striking visual result with an assortment of conifers, flowering plants like the Swamp Hibiscus (note the red flowers), ornamental grasses and non-fussy perennials like this configuration from The Fockele Garden Company.

Go Native

Using native plants for low water gardens usually result in a much more hardy, low maintenance landscape because natives are well adapted to a region’s climate and weather conditions. Evergreens, shrubs and dwarf perennials like the purple Ice Plant (pictured) along with crushed rock particle pathways create a water-wise solution for this Southeastern setting.

Make It Permeable

Make sure you design your low water garden so that the pathways are permeable, plant friendly and absorb rain water easily like this one or route it naturally across the garden area. Small walkways are also a good idea over small ravines and dry beds for occasional storm runoff which can be effectively carried away.

Sun and Shade

Another advantage of a low water garden is the ability to mix together shade and full sun plants for visual interest. The taller sun-loving plants such as cactus or conifers also provide protection for the lower ground level shade friendly vegetation.

Attract Pollinators

Verbena is an ideal candidate for low water gardens in many climate zones because it is native to North America, has a high heat tolerance, enjoys a long bloom season and is a magnet for bees, butterflies and hummingbirds.

Versatility is Key

Just because you have a low water garden doesn’t mean you are restricted only to plants which require little water. You can still include some of your favorite annuals and perennials in the design. Just make sure you plant them in an area that is close to a water source for your own convenience.

Rainwater Basins

If you don’t want to deal with watering at all, you can opt for a no-water garden like the above which shows a bed of yellow Iris thriving by a pond of water from a rain collection basin. This is an ideal way to trap and impound rain water for plants in your yard and dispense with watering entirely until it is absolutely needed.

Iris Envy

If you create shade areas in your low water garden that are accessible to rainwater basins you can expand your repertory of flowers and plants, such as choosing from various Iris varieties and other flowers that prefer moist, shady conditions.

The Lawn Alternative

Creating a low water garden is a highly effective way to cut down on your water bill but also a way to bring together a colorful mixture of flowering and ornamental plants that are drought-tolerant such as succulents, False blue indigo (on the right in the background) and yellow Columbine (foreground). To get started, make sure you enrich your soil with a composted landscape mix and then mulch the garden thoroughly after planting.

Swamp Thing

Among the many shrub-like perennials with colorful flowers that perform well in low water gardens in the southeast are Hibiscus coccineus (Swamp Hibiscus). These plants can grow up to heights of 7 feet tall and produce spectacular five petaled scarlet or crimson flowers. 

Mediterranean Transplant

Another first rate addition to any low water garden is the Phlomis fruticosa (Jerusalem Sage) which is a moisture-conserving, Mediterranean native that produces lovely yellow flowers with furry, lance-shaped leaves. 

Harmonious Convergence

Here is an idyllic design by The Fockele Garden Company for a low water garden in Georgia that includes from left to right,  a conifer, Baptisia alba and Baptisia australis (false white and false blue indigo,) Salvia gregii or perennial salvia, and the yellow is Aquilegia chrysantha or yellow columbine.

As Green As You Wanna Be

A low water garden doesn’t necessarily mean you are only growing plants for dry, arid conditions that you associate with desert climates. You can enjoy lush green vegetation year round by selecting your favorite native trees, shrubs and flowers that have low watering requirements. And you can always supplement that as the need arises.