Dry-Farmed Gardens: How to Recreate with these Waterwise Plants

Dry-Farmed Gardens: How to Recreate with these Waterwise Plants

Dry-Farmed Gardens: How to Recreate with these Waterwise Plants
Botanic garden with a wooden bench surrounded by a variety of water-wise plants such as lavender and tall grass.

Waterwise gardens don’t have to be all broccoli and no ice cream. You can have a garden that's low maintenance and uses water sparingly. Bonus if it's also filled with colorful plants that are really, really lovely, too. Case in point is this crazy-good Denver, CO garden of grasses, perennials, and ground covers.

Let's begin with a few more examples of low-water landscapes. Then take a dive into our extensive inventory of drought-tolerant plants.

Yes, we’ve had a wet winter in droughty parts of the country, but it pays to take the long view. (Bonus! Here are a few more beautiful, waterwise shrubs for you to consider.)

If you have questions or need specific recommendations, please use our comment section below. Trust us, we can talk about this stuff all day!

Low-Water Garden Inspiration


There’s just something about a flowery, colorful Tuscany-inspired garden full of waterwise perennials that’s totally seductive. And this one is classic with very easy to grow plants. Love it? Here are a few of the plants that bring it to life:

lavender and maiden grass with terra cotta urns and garden walls

A garden that's wild and billowing has its considerable charms. However, sometimes keeping it clean yields an elegant, understated, less-is-more, chic style. Do this by adding geometric lines and mass plantings of lavender, and warming it up with terra-cotta-toned hardscape elements. This one’s easy to pull off, and we predict you’ll be the envy of the ‘hood. Here’s what makes it work:


Picture it. Strolling up this meandering flagstone pathway filled with rich color and loads of texture. All of it water-wise and nearly work-free. The secret here is a limited plant palette, but lots of plants! If you want to try this style, remember that more is more–at least a dozen of each plant. (Groundcover between the pavers is Dymondia.) This is the recipe:

More Really BEAUTIFUL Drought-Tolerant Plants

Drought-Tolerant Trees

Zone: 7 – 11

Improved variety with large orange-red blooms in summer and large, burnished, delicious red fruit in early fall.

Zone: 6 – 9

Spectacular drooping clusters of pure white, crinkled flowers are displayed over an extra long bloom period.

pink desert willow flowers
Zone: 7 – 9

Willowy branches with fragrant, trumpet-shaped, burgundy-pink flowers that will draw hummingbirds.

Drought-Tolerant Shrubs

Zone: 8 – 11

Very bright-flowering, spreading shrub with soft-grey foliage. Ideal for reducing maintenance in dry gardens.

Zone: 8 – 11

This easy to grow shrub puts on a show from summer to fall with vibrant orange and red blooms.

Zone: 9 – 11

Huge clusters of vivid deep-blue flowers cover this sprawling, vine-like shrub most of the year.

Drought-Tolerant Vines

Zone: 9 – 11

Evergreen woody vine or sprawling shrub with showy trumpet-shaped flowers that appear in clusters.

Zone: 8 – 11

Lacy sprays of bright pink flowers with deeper pink centers adorn this rapid climber. Thrives on hot walls.

Zone: 9 – 11

Glossy dark green leaves are a lovely contrast to the light lavender, trumpet-like flowers over a long blooming period.

Drought-Tolerant Perennials

deep purple verbena flowers
Zone: 7 – 10

Beats all verbenas for summer performance – it takes the heat better, and stays in flower longer!

Zone: 8 – 11

Quickly forms an upright hedge of aromatic foliage; profuse clear blue flowers add to the effect.


Kudos Gold Dwarf Hummingbird Mint      Zone: 5 – 10

Shades of gold adorn this long blooming, upright, and compact perennial. Attracts hummingbirds.

Drought-Tolerant Groundcovers

orange gazania
Zone: 7 – 10

Vibrant, four-inch orange blooms appear atop a silvery, spreading mat of finely textured foliage for months on end.

Zone: 8 – 10

Deep cobalt blue flower clusters cover this low mounding evergreen shrub in spring, providing a striking display.

Zone: 5 – 10

Stunning tri-colored flowers cover a tight, fast spreading mat of succulent evergreen foliage.

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2017-03-24 12:03:00

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