Cities all over the West coast are struggling to provide water for their citizens. With just enough water for household and personal purposes, maintaining gardens and lawns fall far behind the list of priorities requiring water. In light of these recent events, the West coast could benefit immensely from any possible way it can reduce water wastage, including any drought tolerant landscaping ideas it can gain from its neighbour Arizona.

Lawns and gardens in Arizona have been using drought tolerant landscape designs for decades now. Drought tolerant plants are low maintenance, efficient and picturesque. Here’s a roundup of some excellent eco-friendly landscape designs which do not require you to compromise beauty to save water.

Drought Tolerant Plants

Get a single variety of a bright-coloured drought tolerant plant and mass plant it in the garden. One of your best bets is Lavender. Lavender thrives in dry soil and heavy sunlight. Its beautiful fragrant purple flowers form an alluring sight. The Purple Coneflower, a favorite of butterflies because of long-lasting flowers, is also great addition to your garden. It blooms from summer to early winter and requires very low maintenance.  For a sunny yellow version,  plant the Yarrow Coronation Gold which grows and thrives in plenty of sunlight and well-drained soil. The Yarrow flowers bloom from midsummer through early fall with grey leaves that grow about 3 feet high. Agastache Rugosa, another garden favourite, has attractive purple and blue blooms with hummingbirds hovering around them all the time.

Permeable Paving

A gravel pathway with permeable paving forms a great entry path to a garden. Its neutral tone blends easily with the surrounding areas. It also captures groundwater which keeps the surface soft and cool which makes it great to walk on. Even rainwater percolates easily into this soil. You can also use gravel under-footing for specific areas like an outdoor dining space or around the fireplace.

Ornamental Grasses

Enjoy a splash of lush green with ornamental grasses that require little or no water. Some popular varieties include Fountain Grass, Blue Oatgrass, Little Bluestem and Pampas Grass. Ornamental grasses lend softness and texture to the landscape. Most grasses last from spring to winter. Some like bamboos are evergreen, some others are annuals. It is always a good idea to pair the seasonal grasses  with evergreen ones to have consistency and volume throughout the year.

Tree Canopy

A tree such as Sycamore in the centre of a garden with an extensive canopy can provide shade and coolness during the sunny days. Complementing it with a hammock or stone bench offers the perfect outdoor retreat. A gravel path, ornamental grass and potted plants can complete the landscape all the while keeping water requirement to the minimum.


Succulents have an innate ability to store water, so even if you miss watering them for few days, rest assured they will be fine. Aloe Vera, Burro’s Tail, Christmas Cactus and Hens-and-Chicks are some of the most popular succulents used for gardens today. They are perfect for growing indoors as well as outdoors. Succulents offer you an opportunity to get as creative as possible in arranging and decorating them. Wine bottles and old window shutters make perfect containers for a small succulent garden. A DIY framed succulent garden goes great on any wall. They are also ideal for creating vertical gardens.

Artificial Grass

Natural grass wastes a lot of water and requires high maintenance. Artificial grass is an efficient alternative. Not all artificial grass looks like a professional golf or football field.  There are many realistic-looking artificial grass options available with different amounts of hatch.

Reduce Water Loss or Requirement

If you have a vegetable garden or plants that require more water, place them closer together to minimize water requirement. Reduce the amount of moisture waste by planting on sidewalks. Hardscapes typically result in heavy water loss. Add compost to your garden regularly as it helps to retain moisture. Use drip irrigation, targeted at roots, to use water efficiently.

Drought tolerant perennials and succulents amongst others offer intelligent solutions to enjoy an eco-friendly landscape even in dry regions. With the right combination of flowers, grass and pavers, you can turn your garden into an attractive landscape with a rustic, minimalistic or modern look requiring low maintenance and conserving water.