Ornamental grass with fluffy foliage

Ornamental grasses are an excellent drought-resistant and contemporary choice
Image: Pennisetum alopecuroides from T&M

Drought-tolerant plants keep their cool when the going gets tough. Scroll through this collection of helpful articles, YouTube videos and Instagram posts for advice on how to drought-proof your garden when the weather warms up. If you’re looking for planting schemes that thrive with less water, we’ve got you covered. These inspirational design ideas are sure to get you reaching for the sketch pad. 

Whether you want to fill your dry garden with bright colours, fancy foliage, quality succulents, ornamental grasses or flowering perennials, browse our full range of drought-tolerant plants for ideas.

Drought-tolerant grasses are a great starting point for dry borders

Dry garden and ornamental grasses against brick wall

Ornamental grasses are drought-tolerant and provide striking textures
Image: The Sunday Gardener

An ornamental grass is a great place to start, but what should you pair it with? At The Sunday Gardener Carol Bartlett comes to the rescue with a great selection of her favourite grass and plant partnerships. One of her most stunning photos was taken in a walled garden in an Oxford college. It contains a mix of sedum, Verbena bonariensis, aster and the fabulously fluffy Pennisetum alopecuroides. Visit the article to see all nine of her inspirational, drought-tolerant planting schemes.

Suppress weeds with drought-resistant ground cover plants

Pink and white daisies

Erigeron ‘Stallone’ makes excellent ground cover and works well in large drifts
Image: Erigeron ‘Stallone’ from T&M

Go for dreamy Erigeron ‘Stallone’ for a delicate cloud of airy daisy-like flowers that cascade over dry walls, softening paths and hard edges. It’s perfect for filling gaps in the dry garden, writes garden expert Olivia Drake at Thompson and Morgan’s blog. Whether you’re looking for interesting ground cover, flowering shrubs, show-stopping perennials or specimen trees, you’ll find a wealth of drought-resistant suggestions in this comprehensive article.

Encourage bees and butterflies to visit your dry weather garden

Verbena flower in grass

Verbena bonariensis flowers are beautiful mauve clusters
Image: Katie Townsend Garden Design

Designer Katie Townsend of @katietownsendgardendesign knows a thing or two about creating year round interest in her clients’ fabulous gardens. A drought-tolerant flower that’s a ‘magnet’ for bees and butterflies, she loves to use Verbena bonariensis. Looking for something to underplant these perfectly towering purple flowers? The low-growing, delicate Erigeron karvinskianus (Mexican fleabane) also makes her list of dry weather beauties! Read Katie’s Insta post for great drought-proof suggestions and an essential planting tip.

Choose perovskia for dry chalky soil

Pervoskia and echinacea flowers

Perovskia and echinacea make a striking pair
Image: @fanaticalgardening

Designer Henry Agg’s dry, chalky garden is the perfect place for Perovskia ‘Blue Spire’ to thrive. His number one drought-tolerant hero, the luminous blue spires light up his summer garden and look beautiful paired with orange crocosmia or pink echinacea. Over at @fanaticalgardening Henry says, “you can create a fantastic planting scheme by only selecting drought resistant perennials.” Watch his short Insta reel for tried-and-tested tips.

Water your drought-resistant plants until they get established

Two women sitting in front of ornamental grasses

A drought-resistant scheme ensures your garden looks its best even in a very dry summer
Image: The Middlesized Garden

Despite the name, drought-tolerant plants do need watering. In a YouTube interview with Alexandra of The Middlesized Garden, expert Jane Beedle explains that you need to help these plants get really established in their first year. Her top tip? Encourage the roots to go right down into the soil by watering them really well once a week. This will stand them in good stead for dry spells in the future. Watch this excellent video to see bomb-proof sedums, climbing evergreens and dreamy Erigeron karvinskianus thriving in Jane’s enviable drought-proof garden.

Prune drought-proof English lavender straight after flowering

Person pruning lavender plant in pots

Don’t be shy, give your drought-tolerant lavender a hard prune at the end of the summer
Image: Paul T’s World

The harder you prune your young English lavender plants, the more healthy and bushy growth they’ll put on the following year. That means more glorious flowers too! Paul prunes his established lavender hedge and his pot grown plants as soon as flowering starts to slow at the end of summer. See his excellent and laughter-filled demonstration over at his YouTube channel – Paul T’s World.

Protect tender drought-tolerant succulents from frost through the winter

Potted up succulent on earth

Potted succulents make a lovely winter display indoors
Image: John Horsey Horticulture

Does your garden get frost in the winter? Don’t worry! You can still enjoy tender drought-tolerant succulents like sempervivums and echeverias. After growing outdoors during the summer, John Horsey of YouTube channel John Horsey Horticulture simply pots up his lovely succulents, tidying them up in the process, for overwintering indoors. They like really well-drained soil so use plenty of grit in your potting mix.

Take cuttings of salvias to spread the cheer

Gardener holding up petals of red salvia

Salvia ‘Hot Lips’ brings borders alive with its bright crimson flowers
Image: DIY Home & Gardening

There are few things as eye-catching as salvia ‘Hot Lips’ and they’re great drought-tolerant plants once established. Expert gardening YouTuber Ian at DIY Home & Gardening multiplies his sizzling summer salvias for free by taking cuttings. Don’t worry about damaging the mother plant, he says. Taking cuttings in spring gives the whole plant a boost of bushy summer growth and encourages plenty of gorgeous flowers.

Design a dry planting scheme that retains interest in autumn

Tall grasses like miscanthus in a drought tolerant garden

Tall grasses like miscanthus create vertical interest in a border
Image: @arcadia_landscape_design

There’s more to a dry weather planting scheme than summer flowers! Doug and Charlotte at @arcadia_landscape_design showcase just how good a well-stocked dry garden can look in autumn if your plan incorporates multiple textures, seedheads and foliage colours. These professional landscape designers really know their stuff!

Plan a garden redesign to cope with the hotter and drier summers to come

Drought tolerant garden with circular floor mosaic

Geoff’s fresh design showcases drought-tolerant perennials combined with clever hard landscaping
Image: Geoff Stonebanks

Do you want to reduce the need for labour intensive watering in your garden? After the summer droughts of 2022, so did the owner of the award-winning Driftwood Garden, Geoff Stonebanks. In a highly topical guest post for the Thompson and Morgan blog, Geoff explained how he went back to the drawing board to completely transform a thirsty part of his show garden into an oasis of dry planting. The results speak for themselves! Read his full post to see the step-by-step process that culminated in exotic alstroemeria, hardy mangave and eye-catching hard landscaping.

Share your fantastic drought-resilient planting schemes with us on Instagram using #YourTMGarden. We love to see your photos! Discover everything you need to know about using plants for a purpose including advice on planting for drought, shade, coastal locations and wildlife over at our helpful hub page. 

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