Ideas & Resources for Drought Resistant, Sustainable Landscaping

Drought is a concern for many people in many parts of the country and frankly, the world. While Michigan is still one of the greener parts of the country, it too, is in the worst drought in recorded history.


Whether you are trying to be better stewards of precious water resources, save some hard-earned dollars on utility bills, or just trying to improve the curb appeal and value of your home, utilizing drought resistant and sustainable landscaping will help. Here are some good ideas and helpful resources to use in planning your next landscape project that will be sustainable for years to come.



Regardless of what state you live in, Extension Offices at local universities and state/local governments can be one of the best resources for your localized landscaping needs. Researchers and horticulturists in your region can give you the best advice on what plants and landscaping solutions are best for your specific zone. They will also provide you with a list of native plants that will thrive and that are insect/pest resistant as well. Contact the MSU Extension Office today.

Other Resources:



Idea: Xeriscaping

If you are planning some new landscaping in areas where the curb appeal is nonexistent or lacking, consider xeriscaping. It is one of the best landscaping approaches for drought-proof and sustainable curb appeal. Here is how to do it.


1) First, select plants that don’t need much water in full sun during the steamy months of July, August, and even September.
Those include:

  • Cacti
  • Sage
  • Lavender
  • Stonecrop
  • Penstemon
  • Sedum
  • Yarrow
  • Blanket Flowers
  • Yucca
  • Coneflowers
  • Blackfoot Daisies
  • Butterfly Weed


2) Install a drip irrigation system which is best for conserving water while maintaining your xeriscape.


3) Utilize mulch and compost to maximize the water retention in your xeriscape. The mulch and all natural compost will help the soil stay moist longer.





Caring for the landscaping you have

Again, as with xeriscaping, make sure to use compost in your soil – this will help your soil hold more water. It also minimizes erosion during fast and hard rains that are a consequence of climate change.


Add mulch to your landscaping. Add a layer that is 2-3 inches. Make sure the mulch is organic. It will provide the dirt with shade to maintain a more moderate temperature and it will keep the moisture in where it can be used by your plants. The mulch will also break down over the warm months and make your soil even more resistant to drought.


If you have plants in pots, make sure they are native and drought resistant so they require less water and will be more hardy during the hottest weeks of summer.


Water in the a.m. to prevent evaporation and avoid cool evenings when the water may sit all night and develop fungus.




Managing your lawn

While one might think by mowing and making the grass shorter, it would require less water; there is less of it after all! But the opposite is true. By cutting the grass short, it actually causes it to lose water. So make sure to mow early in the morning or later in the evening and leave the cut grass on the ground. Also, just trim the tops. The top of the grass acts as shade for the soil which in turn helps it retain more moisture.


Many people in Michigan let their turf grass go dormant. The lawn will turn brown naturally but not because it is dead but because it is conserving water and keeping moisture in the most important spot, the roots. Eventually the lawn will start to come back to its brighter color as the hotter months turn cooler.


Water your lawn using soaker hoses and drip irrigation in order for the water to get to its destination–the soil–rather than the air where a lot of it evaporates. Water deeply and less often to encourage deep roots that will flourish in soil that stays wet longer.




Drought resistant doesn’t have to mean, UGLY 

These drought resistant gardens from some of the best landscapers are anything but UGLY. They will not only appease the conservationist in you, but also the homeowner who wants to enjoy their home and increase its value.


7 Smart Ideas for a Low-Water Yard


Weathering the Drought: How to manage your yard sustainably



11 Drought-Tolerant Landscaping Ideas That Save Water and Look Amazing



For referrals of local landscaping companies that can improve your curb appeal and improve water conservation at your home, contact 616 REALTY today.

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