Wildlife and Gardening | Xeriscape Plants | Drought Tolerant Landscape

by Lisa P.
(San Antonio Texas)

Here is a question about xeriscape plants and creating color in a landscape design.


We live on 2 1/2 acres in San Antonio Texas, we are in middle of town but with all the oak trees and natural landscape we feel like we are in the country. We have just added 2200 sf on to the original cottage style home, we used stone and cedar with huge windows all over. Now my question! We have a ton of wildlife, lots of deer, huge variety of birds, small critters, etc., We are wanting to build a 3 or 4 tiered garden around the home, what can I plant that will not be eaten overnight?!! I love xeriscape and due to the intense heat and sun, what would you plant that is beautiful and can handle the heat? What kind of plants do well with limited water? Again our home is stone in different shades of brown, lots of windows, cedar wrap around porch, I just would like colorful, beautiful plants, bushes, and trees! Thanks!!

Lisa P. :)

ANSWER

Hi Lisa,
Your house sound lovely!

I am currently doing a design for someone who lives in Texas, and they also wanted xeriscape plants. Between that design and my own garden area with drought tolerant plants, this topic is definitely on my mind.

Many of the Junipers will survive nicely with little water. Junipers are not really one of my favorite landscape plants, but I have to admit I have come to appreciate them for certain features. Along with the fact that they do not need a lot of water to be happy, they come in some very nice textures and colors.

Procumbens Juniper is a lighter green with lots of short, needle-like foliage. It has a nice form, as it mounds towards the top. It also gets quite wide so that you can use fewer of them and of course Junipers are evergreen.

Shore Juniper is another pretty one. This has a blue cast which adds great color when next to green landscape plants.

If you want lots of color you can actually do a perennial garden. This can have some shrubs also, but mostly perennials.

Sedums are a very hardy perennial, both the low growing ones and the taller ones, such as 'Autumn Joy' (a late bloomer). Many of the lower ones have very pretty foliage...blue, blue-green, reds, and variegated.

Thyme is another one...lots of different textured plants and extremely drought tolerant. Nepata, or Catmint, is carefree and blooms with purple flowers. My favorite variety is 'Walker's Low".

These are just a few to get you started! There are lots to choose from. Arrange them in groups for maximum impact. Locate plants with very different textures next to each other for interest and try to choose perennials that bloom at different times of the year.

Lavender 'Hidcote' is one more...very fragrant! And if you have room, also add some taller shrubs and/or landscape trees for scale and to provide a little shade.

Here are some links on my site that you might like:
Perennial Flowers
Xeriscape Plants

Here is a link to a list of deer resistant plants from Rutgers University. This is very valuable!!
Deer Resistant Plants


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"Susan,  what a pleasure it was to work with you.  You made me feel like I was your only client - responding late at night and always so quickly!  Your design is amazing and we only hope we can do justice to it when we plant.  You have such fantastic ideas and you are so open to suggestions and changes.  Loved working with you - now if you could only come to Canada and plant it!!!"
Helen, Ontario-Canada 

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