Top 5 Things to Do When Your Garden is Too Dry

Dried plant.
Forget about your garden woes: you can turn your dry garden into a pleasant and bountiful space.

It’s the dry time of the year. It’s the time when no matter how much you water, your plants always look parched. Your rain barrel is running low, and you’re feeling miserable about how your garden looks. It doesn’t need to be this way. Gardening can be bountiful even if you’re gardening in a dry climate.

An effective gutter system can play an important role in directing rainwater.  Download our free gutter guide to learn more.

1. Improving Your Soil Improves Your Garden

While a garden might be dry due to the heat, it can also be dry due to poor soil conditions. Very sandy soil allows water to drain through the soil and away from your plants. You could pour water on this soil, and your plants would still be parched. What’s the solution? Add organic material such as compost and mulch to add complexity to the soil and slow down drainage. Other sources of organic material include: 

  • Grass clippings 
  • Animal manure 
  • Hay 
  • Coir 

2. Protect Your Garden Beds 

Soil seems sturdy, yet it can be delicate. By protecting your garden beds, you prevent your soil from becoming too dry. Prevent the rain from pounding on your soil by protecting the garden bed with a shrub, tree, arbor, or awning. Watch for problems with overflowing gutters that pound on your garden beds, making them muddy and damaging the soil structure. Make sure that no one steps on your garden soil as well by making garden beds small enough to reach across or adding pathways across the beds. Soil that’s been eroded or compacted has a harder time maintaining the complexity that slows down water movement. 

3. Plan For Strategic Garden Hardscaping

If you notice that there are certain areas of your garden where the sun pounds on the garden or water flows away, plan to place gravel or landscaping structures there rather than struggling to grow plants. A rocky terrace can house a few plants, or you can have a Japanese garden that mostly focuses on rocks and a few plants. Grow in other garden spaces where the microclimate is more amenable to plant growth.

Bumblebee resting on a flower.
Choose plants that love to live in dry climates, such as sedums.

4. Be Sensible About Your Plant Choices

According to Roy Roberts Landscapes, “The most powerful tool is how we choose plants and what plants we choose.” Consciously choose plants that love to grow in places that are dry, and you’ll have a more abundant garden with little water. These include plants such as: 

  • Sedums 
  • Lavender 
  • Sage 
  • Yarrow 
  • Coneflower 
  • Sunflower 
  • Poppy 

Look for fleshy plants or plants with silvery leaves: two signs that plants are adapted to store water or to reflect heat off of the plant. Heritage plants found in gardens many years ago are also potentially good choices, since years ago people spent less time watering their gardens. 

5. Create New Water Pathways 

Water moves through the soil. If you want to water your plants, you can do so with a hose, but you can also do so via your landscaping. If you do want to garden in a more challenging space, set yourself up for success by relandscaping so that water moves into the area. For instance, you can dig a trough or a hole in a part of the garden, creating a natural resting place for water that moves through the soil.

At Harry Helmet, we’re here to help your home and garden work together to create your ideal home environment. Talk with us today about awnings, gutter covers, and more: schedule a free estimate.

Written by Del Thebaud

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