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Start a Garden That Can Thrive in a Drought

Not all plants need lots of water to make a big visual impact.

relates to Start a Garden That Can Thrive in a Drought

While the Pacific Northwest has gotten the most attention for its heat wave—temperatures in Portland, Ore., reached 116F on June 28; Seattle didn’t fare much better, hitting 108F—a quarter of the state of California remains in an “exceptional drought,” the most severe category possible. Almost 98% of the land across 11 Western states is abnormally dry, and more than 90% is covered by some category of drought, the worst levels in the U.S. Drought Monitor’s 21-year history. Considering that California produces more food crops than any other state in the country, it’s crucial to protect and conserve water there. It’s important to conserve water in every state, really.

One solution for gardeners is to adopt xeriscaping, a style of landscaping designed to reduce water use. ‘Xeric,’ or dry, doesn’t always mean cacti and succulents—it can mean using native grasses and other plants adapted to dryer regimes or hardscaping features such as boulders, pavers, and gravel instead of thirsty lawns.