Water-Wise Shrubs

  Water-Wise Purple-Leaf Sand Cherry (Prunus x cistena) Photo credit: F.D. Richards Flickr CC By-SA 2.0
  Water-wise Woods Rose (Rosa woodsii) is native to the western US and Canada . Photo credit: J.N. Stuart Flickr CC BY-NC-ND 2.0
  Different cultivars of water-wise Shrubby cinquefoil (Potentilla fruticosa) are available at garden centers and nurseries.
Photo credit: ekenitr Flickr CC BY-NC 2.0

Many commonly planted shrubs are water-wise. Unusual or native water-wise shrubs are increasingly available at …

Water-Wise Perennials

Water-Wise Perennials

  Water-wise Oriental Poppies make a striking backdrop for other plants  (Papaver orientale). Photo credit: F.D. Richards Flickr CC BY-SA 2.0

Water-wise Daylilies (Hemerocallis fulva) come in a variety of colors and sizes. Photo credit: normanack Flickr CC  BY 2.0

A water-wise perennial is a plant which, once established, requires infrequent watering (usually less than two times per month) while retaining its aesthetic value. Keep in mind that a perennial considered water-wise in the …

Using Bedding Plants in the Landscape

The main purpose of using bedding plants in the landscape is to provide lasting color throughout the growing season. A bedding plant can be an annual, biennial, or perennial plant.

Some basic guidelines to follow when choosing bedding plants:

  • Look for plants that provide color accent for your existing landscape
  • Use annual plants to fill in “holes” while perennial plants become established
  • Avoid too many different varieties of plants
  • Flower beds should be prepared before purchasing your plants
  • Plan

Water-Wise Traditional Garden Styles


Stourhead is an excellent example of the English landscape garden tradition. Photo credit: MarilynJane Flickr CC BY 2.0


Example of an informal English cottage-style garden. Photo credit: Karen Roe Flickr CC BY 2.0


Garden in Florida influenced by the Italian Renaissance villa style. Photo source: Kansas Sebastian Flickr CC BY-ND-ND 2.0


Versailles Palace garden and park designed by Andre le Notre and others for King Louis XIV is the most famous of all French gardens. Photo credit: Renata Barros Flickr

Diversity Encourages Landscape Sustainability

Diversity and Why it is Important

Diversity in biology is referred to as biodiversity. This includes the diversity of plants, animals, and their habitats as well as their genetic diversity.

Habitat loss is currently considered the most important threat to biodiversity. Habitat loss includes development for housing and other human activities that disturb and fragment native habitat.

Diversity of life acts as a buffer against disease and other pests. Genetic diversity protects against species loss as well. Higher diversity …

Invasive and Noxious Plant Problems

An invasive plant is ” an alien species (non-native) whose introduction does or is likely to cause economic or environmental harm or harm to human health.”

Highly invasive plants that are threats particularly to agricultural production and clog waterways are considered ‘noxious‘.  These plants are highly regulated and are illegal to buy, sell, or grow.

Why are invasive and noxious plants a problem?

According to the United States Forest Service invasive and noxious weeds are a problem for …

Design Features of Native Landscapes


Naturalistic prairie style meadow. Photo credit: Jamie and Marina Berger Flickr CC BY-NC-ND 2.0


Native woodland garden in spring features different plant layers (Brooklyn Botanic Garden). Photo credit: dogtooth77 Flickr CC BY-NC-SA 2.0


Native plants in an Arizona demonstration garden. Photo credit: Susan Buffler

The use of native plants in the landscape is becoming increasingly popular. Native plants are adapted to local conditions and, if planted properly, can thrive on sites non-natives may not tolerate. This can reduce the need …

Water Conserving Groundcovers for Shrub and Perennial Beds

Groundcovers are simply plants that are used to cover an area of bare ground. Although groundcovers are generally considered creeping or spreading plants, other plants, when planted densely enough, can be used in the same fashion.

Water conserving groundcovers can be herbaceous perennials or woody plants and generally are less than 24 inches in height.  They can have interesting textures, colors, and flowers. Space appropriately to create the desired effect.

Use of Groundcovers

Groundcovers are a great way to visually …

Water-Wise Annuals


Portulaca or Moss Rose (Portulaca grandiflorum) Photo credit: douneika Flickr CCBY-NC-SA 2.0

  Zinnia (Zinnia spp.) Photo credit: Selena N.B.H. Flickr CC BY 2.0
  Shade tolerant plants in hanging baskets provide summer long color and conserve more water than those in full sun.
Photo credit: Bankside Nigel Paine Flickr CC BY-NC 2.0

Water-wise annual plants can provide bold color and texture in the landscape all summer. Water-wise annuals are available in many colors and flower types and …

Water-Wise Vines


Virginia Creeper (Parthenosissus quinquefolia). Photo credit: Susan Buffler


Trumpet Creeper Vine (Campsis radicans). Photo credit: Anne McCormack Flickr CC BY-NC 2.0


Grapes (Vitis spp.). Photo credit: Susan Buffler


Wisteria (Wisteria sinensis) in early bloom.  Photo credit: Simona Flickr CC BY NC 2.0

Water-wise vines can be a valuable addition to the landscape. They can be used to provide vertical or horizontal accents and are a great choice for small areas. …