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Create a
Drought Tolerant Landscape

The bay area is blessed with a mediterranean climate—short, mild, rainy winters and long, hot, dry summers. However, rainfall can vary widely from year to year thus causing both floods and droughts.

The secret to creating a landscape that will tolerate both extremes of wet and dry is to choose plants that will tolerate little to no water in the summer and to have unwatered areas in the yard such as decks, gravel paths and other hard spaces.

The Gum Rockrose, the Royal Trumpet Vine, and the Peruvian Lily are just a few examples of plants that will thrive in the bay area. For more ideas, EBMUD has published a great book, Plants and Landscapes for Summer-Dry Climates. This book can help even the novice gardener understand the benefits and challenges of the mediterranean climate and has an extensive index of plants suitable for the bay area.

Another place to look for inspiration is The Ruth Bancroft Garden in Walnut Creek. The garden specializes in water conserving plants, particulary succulants. It’s a wonderful place to walk around and see a wide variety of possibilities for the yard. The Ruth Bancroft Garden also offers a variety workshops for the home gardener.

Hiring a designer who understands drought tolerant or xeriscape (dry) landscaping can be a big help. Check out the Association of Professional Landscape Designers (APLD) for a list of certified designers in the bay area.