The Californians' Guide to Drought Tolerant Garden Design

With the on-going drought in California, residents and homeowners continue to face problems pertaining to the water shortage. From increasingly exorbitant rates for water usage to incurring penalties for excess water use, the drought has become a serious matter that has affected everyone in California.

Fortunately, when it comes to creating a drought tolerant garden, there are simple solutions.

Landscape Expert Shares Exclusive Garden Tips:

To teach us about drought-tolerant garden design, Steve McShane (a locally-renowned landscape expert and the Owner & General Manager of McShane’s Nursery & Landscape Supply in Salinas, California), shares his exclusive tips for creating a beautiful, drought-tolerant garden in California.

In addition, he provides helpful ideas about plants that are deer-resistant, as well as ground cover alternatives, since many homeowners are no longer investing in expensive and cumbersome turf grass lawns.

Landscape Expert Steve McShane

Drought Tolerant Garden Design:

CLP: With the on-going drought in California, water usage has become a major concern for many homeowners. What drought-tolerant plants are good options for gardens?

SM: Water is and always will be precious in California. Once established, natives make so much sense as they conserve water and are often not the first choice for deer and other varmints.  I am a huge fan of manzanita. Emerald Carpet is a low grower with small pink blooms. I’m also a big fan of ceanothus. It is available in many sizes and features glossy, deep green foliage. For a real show in the garden, I recommend Matilija Poppy. When in bloom, the showy white flowers will be the centerpiece of your garden.

The Californians' Guide to Drought Tolerant Garden Design

Deer-Resistant Garden Tips:

CP: In many areas (like Pebble Beach and Pacific Grove, California), deer are a factor to consider when deciding on plants. What plants are recommended that deer won’t eat? What types of deer repellents (preferably natural) can people use?

SM: Deer are opportunistic and lazy feeders. As such, a homeowner can protect much of their garden by simply selecting plants that contain spines, wooly foliage or lots of sap / pungent scents. For those that must have color and other plants susceptible to browsing, there are numerous products on the market to deter deer. Without question, the most effective is called liquid fence. Your local garden center will be well prepared to aid you in handling deer.

The Californians' Guide to Drought Tolerant Garden Design

Turf Lawn Ground Cover Alternatives:

CP: Since grass lawns have become very costly to maintain, what other ground covers (that are low-maintenance and drought-tolerant) are good alternatives?

SM: By far the best alternative to turf grass is no turf grass at all. I am a huge proponent of rock gardens that contain a wide variety of color and diversity along with select drought tolerant plants. I always recommend weed fabric and showy boulders that require no maintenance at all. Some of my favorite ground covers include creeping rosemary, thyme and succulents.

The Californians' Guide to Drought Tolerant Garden Design

From evergreen plants that don’t require a tremendous amount of water to low-cost alternatives to turf lawns, Steve’s top tips for drought tolerant garden design should help you create a lush, beautiful oasis in your yard without costing a fortune in water bills.

For more landscape and garden design ideas, visit McShane’s Nursery & Landscape Supply.

For more fab tips, pics and videos, follow Inspirations & Celebrations on Google+, Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, YouTube and Twitter.

  1. Such a relevant topic for west coast gardeners dealing with the drought. I always tell folks that healthy plants can withstand disease, pest and environmental pressures. Always remember to feed your plants with compost and a dose of organic fertilizer at least once a year prior to the onset of spring.

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