There are many benefits to living in a dry climate, including warmer days and a general avoidance of rainy downpours. Unfortunately, a climate like this also brings a fair few downsides, especially when it comes to your garden.
While this may not have been on your radar when you moved to the area, dry weather is notoriously challenging for gardeners to manage and can result in desert-like gardens where it’ll often feel like nothing grows.
And, when left to their own devices, it’s true that gardens in areas like these probably won’t be the most fruitful. But, that’s not to say that you can never get things to grow in your dry climate garden if you want to.
Simply keep on reading to find out how you can get your garden to thrive come sunshine or, well…more sunshine.
Lose the lawn
Losing your lawn is perhaps the best thing you can do for your dry-climate garden. After all, lawns that require at least an inch of water around once a week consume copious amounts of any family’s outside water usage. Worse, even well-watered lawns in a dry area are liable to become dry, brittle, and yellowed by continual sun exposure. The result? A patchy, unhealthy-looking lawn that isn’t exactly inspiring to look at or spend time with.
By comparison, garden alternatives like decking or patio slabs offer a low-maintenance option that will largely do well in a hot, dry environment. This is especially true if you treat your decking slabs to protect them, or choose typically heat-resistant natural stole patio tiles over something like porcelain.
Choose the right plants
While it might seem tricky to keep plants happy in a garden that doesn’t get much rain, this is a goal that you can achieve by simply thinking hard about your plant choices. After all, there are plenty of plants that don’t require much watering, and some of them can even thrive in rocky or sandy areas. The best way to choose plants for this purpose is, often, to simply think about plants that are native to you, and make use of those. After all, if they’re local, then they’ll be perfectly adapted to your environment and requirements, meaning that they’re way more likely to thrive.
Of course, sometimes, the fun of gardening comes from introducing out-of-town plants that you don’t get to see every day. You can do this too, but you should always be mindful of plants that have a chance of doing well. Luckily, there are a fair few hardy dry-weather plants that you’ll be able to choose from, including Blue Arrow Juniper, Lavender, Artensia, and more. In each instance, just check plant specs before you buy, and make sure that you’re opting for drought-resistant, naturally hardy options that don’t mind dry or sandy soil.
Find ways to retain moisture
While it might not be the best option for truly drought-resistant plants, you may often find it beneficial to find ways to retain moisture in your garden. After all, even a plant like Lavender needs some water, and if you experience limited to no rainfall in your area, then you’ll need to create that moisture yourself.
Luckily, there are a few ways to do this, and they include simple solutions like composting and mulching, as well as more complex setups like slow-drip irrigation systems. If you’ve chosen dry-weather plants as mentioned, solutions like composting should be all that you need to nurture your plants and help them to hold more moisture. If, however, you have your sights set on a slightly more risky range of plants from different climates, then you may find an irrigation system to be your best low-stress chance at success.
Get wise with your watering
Watering your plants is always important for gardening success, but this step takes on even more relevance if natural rainfall is out of the question in your area. But, with hot days guaranteed, it isn’t enough to simply get outside with a watering can at some point in the day. Instead, you’ll want to get wise with optimized watering methods.
As mentioned, perhaps the best of these is an irrigation system that ensures drip-style watering deep in the soil. By keeping water out of this sun, this option helps your plants to stay hydrated throughout the day, without the risk of scorching. If irrigation isn’t an option for you, however, it’s important to only water your plants in the morning before the sun truly takes its toll, thus ensuring that they’re able to drink up everything they need. Note, too, that established plants will need less watering than young plants, so make sure to pay extra attention to newer plant additions that require water to establish their roots and do well despite the climate.
Create your own microclimates
Your overall climate may be hot, hot, and more hot, but that doesn’t mean you can’t still play around with climate variations across your yard. In fact, there are plenty of creative ways to create microclimates, and most of them are surprisingly effective for helping unexpected plants to thrive.
During your garden design, pay close attention to creating confined, shaded areas in some instances. Then, you’ll have an instantly more protected, and moisture-laden area for your less hardy plants. It’s also well worth planting plants like these in groups, which can provide shady areas in itself, and will generally reduce moisture loss. If you feel brave enough, introducing some sort of water feature or pond within your shady areas could help to enhance moisture even more, meaning that you may have no problem enjoying plants that would likely seem out of the question for your climate otherwise.
Dry climates can seem like an undeniable downside for the keen gardener, but there are plenty of great dry-climate gardens out there, and there’s no reason that your outside space can’t join them. Simply get creative, know your options, and have fun with a dry-climate garden that will quickly become the best-looking on your street!