In this article, we will discuss the best types of plants for these designs and include information on native pollinator plants.
With climate change, we must strive to be better stewards of our natural habitats, this includes our yards and growing spaces.
A good place to obtain information is your local master gardener, nursery, or gardening group. Decide on a layout, keeping in mind the types of plants and mediums you will be using. Creating a sketch is always I might dare to say “the best way” to start and give your vision substance.
When adding your plants you may want to consider all of the benefits of having them drip-fed instead of hand watering. Drip irrigation keeps the water from spotting on the leaves and prevents over & under-watering. One of our container kits or possibly a landscape kit or both would work well depending on your landscape design. It might require some customizing to fit your design. Or just build your own to fit your needs, the possibilities are endless.
For most drought-tolerant plants, on average, water deeply every 2-3 days for the first 2-4 weeks, then you can go to every 3-4 days. After the first year, once a week can often be enough (depending on your specific plantings). If the weather is cooler or there is heavy clay the plants need water less often. You’ll want to make sure watering times are long enough to get a deep soak; many times this can be an hour or more. Sometimes multiple start times will ensure water is soaking in.
Most perennials are fine with one gallon per hour drippers; most drought-tolerant shrubs can handle 1 GPH or 2 emitters of ½ GPH. Larger shrubs(those in the 10” to 12” could use 2 drippers on either side of at least 1-2 GPH for each plant.Or try one of the nifty watering rings. 4” plants may need some supplemental hand watering to get them off to a good start in hotter weather. You may not want to increase watering times just to cover the 4” plants at the risk of overwatering the larger plants on the same zone.
Although it may be hard to resist the urge to water your plants more during heat waves, it is best to not do so, most plants need a period to dry out between waterings.
Use different heights of plants to create visual appeal and layers that support pollinator habitats and create diversity. Tallest layer: trees and shrubs; the middle layer: tall grasses, flowers, and climbing vines; the lowest layer: short-stemmed flowers, and ground cover.
Having some plants with different heights and textures not only adds eye appeal but will offer shade for some of the slower-growing and shade-loving plants you might use.
Some local southern Oregon favorites include the yucca, agave, milkweed, aster ageratoides starshine, bleeding hearts, Oregon sunshine, yarrow, western columbine, silver bush lupine, helianthus lemon queen, Rocky Mountain penstemon, various succulents, and sword fern. Sedum varieties make wonderful variegated ground cover. If you like a flowering tree, pacific dogwood, redbud tree (aka tree of hearts), or mimosa would be a lovely addition.
Keep in mind that you want to have some pollinator flowers included to draw in those bumbles and butterflies. As they are on the decline and some are even at the brink of extinction “Franklin's bumblebee the big black and yellow ones” you used to seen all over and the monarch butterfly. Some of the flowers that attract pollinators would be coneflowers, Oregon grape, gaura lindheimeri 'whirling butterflies' hibiscus, the hummingbird trumpet (aka fuschia), milkweed, sulfur buckwheat, horsemint, red-flowering currant, and mock orange just to name a few.
Now for your ground cover! There are many mediums available, decomposed granite, pea gravel, smaller river rock, or larger if that’s your jam. These all add visual appeal and contrast to your design.
Some folks will also go with mulch in some areas for aesthetics as well as moisture retention. With all of the different materials available, there are multitudes of color and texture options to choose from.
Next, think about content or accent items, some folks like to add in statement pieces such as large boulders or natural wood pieces. Maybe a fun piece of yard art or fountain. Some will even forage in their local areas (beaches, rivers, forest) for those interesting items.
Now it's time to choose your plants! You will want to keep the like-watered plants together while keeping in mind the height and light needs of the plants you are using. You can plant as densely or as sparsely as you want. (Especially with succulents or ornamental grasses). An often-used design formula of thriller (trees and bushes), filler (grasses and mid-height plants/flowers), and spiller (low growing, ground cover, creeping vines) works well. Kind of the same theory you use when filling your planters.
It truly is up to you, the design can be as large or small as you want. You get the added benefit of a low-maintenance yard, garden, or oasis that soothes your soul. It will WOW the neighbors and offer sanctuary to the local pollinators.
Also, it won't leave you having to watch your once lush green lawn die off. Not to mention the bonus of never having to mow the lawn again!
If you have any questions, please feel free to reach out to our helpdesk at firstname.lastname@example.org. We are always happy to help!