Hypothetical question, since I neither have a garden, nor live in a region seriously affected by drought (yet).

In context of the current drought along the western US coast, experts and scientists ask citizens to save water, e.g. by not watering the gras, or even completely removing it (source: last paragraph of this german news article https://www.tagesschau.de/ausland/feuer-oregon-101.html).

This left me wondering, how such a garden could look like, especially since vegetation has a cooling effect. I am thinking about a few (fruit) trees, maybe some pots with plants adapted to dry/hot climate, some low bushes and otherwise mostly bare dirt, e.g. like the mediterranean Garrigue.

Are there any concept studies out there, or maybe even real examples?


1 Answer 1


This concept is called xeriscaping, a term coined in 1981 by the water authority of Denver, Colorado, USA, in efforts to encourage residents to reduce water usage in their gardens and yards.

Xeriscaping focuses on selecting plants which are appropriate to the local climate in arid regions. Usually this means selecting native plants.

There are many different ways this can be implemented -- here are a few example images from a google image search:

A mixture of lawn and mulched areas:

Xeriscape example

Plantings surrounded by gravel:

Xeriscape example

Simulated prairies with trees and grasses:

Xeriscape example

  • While I get the idea behind the concept, some examples look similar to the rather frowned-upon gravel gardens, which are nowadays somewhat popular. But thank you for putting a name to the idea.
    – Erik
    Jul 19, 2021 at 14:22
  • @Erik: Gravel can be used for its "decorative" aspect, to mimic a particular type of natural landscape, but it can also be used as a mulch. It can easily be replaced by conventional mulch sourced from biological materials.
    – Fred
    Jul 20, 2021 at 5:59
  • 2
    @Erik: I think the point is also that while gravel in Britain is mimicking an alien landscape, in these examples it is appropriate to a droughty environment.
    – PJTraill
    Jul 26, 2021 at 10:52

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