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Planning your garden

  • Drought-resistant, native turf, plants and shrubs are easiest to maintain.
  • Let plants grow naturally instead of pruning them into balls or other shapes.
  • Choose plants, shrubs and trees that require little irrigation and that fit in with the landscape to minimize pruning.
  • Different plants have different water needs. Try grouping plants that share the same water requirements together.
  • Minimize the use of slopes in your yard.
  • Practice intermittent watering to allow enough time for water absorption.
  • Use drought-resistant grasses like Bermuda instead of traditional Kentucky bluegrass, and avoid over-seeding in the winter.
  • Use a mulching lawn mower to slow evaporation and allow your lawn to withstand the heat.
  • Adjust the irrigation timer quarterly and turn the irrigation system off when it is windy or rains.
  • Water in the early morning or late evening to avoid evaporation.
  • Know how much water your plants need; many plants die from overwatering.
  • Water for deeper absorption but less often. This lets the water sink into the ground and pulls the plant roots away from the hot surface.
  • Don't water cacti.
  • Use a broom to sweep sidewalks, not a hose.
  • Don't leave the water running while washing your car, boat or RV. Always use a spray nozzle.

Making use of micro-climates

  • Some areas of your yard will naturally be hotter and drier or cooler and wetter than others.
  • Use plants that make use of these natural assets. For example, plant cacti or yucca in very hot, dry spots, rather than using large amounts of water on thirsty plants that may not be suited to such a location.
  • Ask at your garden center if the plants you're buying will thrive in a given micro-climate.

The best drought-tolerant plants