How To Start A Dry Garden (Ideas and Tips For 2022)

start a dry garden

Carrying out a new project that you have not done before is usually difficult at the beginning.

But when you stick to it, you’ll discover the easy way to do it and achieve success.

The same applies when starting a dry garden for the first time. 

Some people erroneously believe that it is difficult to start a dry garden, while other people are of the opinion that the plants can’t withstand the harsh weather conditions.

I have goodness for you. Starting a dry garden isn’t as difficult as people think

. With the right ideas, you’ll build a beautiful and successful dry garden.

To start a dry garden: begin with planning, mowing, and mulching the area with gravel, then use planter pots to grow some drought-resistant plants. You should also use bold and shining plants to make the area bright.

I want to take you through steps on how to start a dry garden, how to care for a dry garden, and also show you some dry garden ideas that’ll inspire you.

Step 1: Plan Out Your Dry Garden

Every successful project started with planning. Likewise, planning is required when you want to grow a dry garden.

You need to have a mental picture of your dry garden. If you don’t have any picture of a dry garden in mind, let the dry garden ideas in this write-up guide you. These dry garden ideals are to motivate and inspire you to create the most appealing one.

What size of dry garden do you want to grow? You need to know the size. The size will help you to know the cost of materials you require to grow a dry garden; otherwise, you’ll overshoot your budget.

To have a decisive budget to grow a dry garden, you need to plan.

How harsh are the weather conditions of your location? Planning will help you to take weather into account. Weather focus will guide you to choose the right plants. I will discuss the right plants in our next step.

When starting out a dry garden, planning is a very crucial aspect you need not take lightly. Don’t just rush to start a dry garden without an idea of the materials you need and the strength of these materials to withstand drought or any other weather.

Planning is best when you have an idea of the types of dry gardens you want to grow. Every step you take will be geared toward the type of dry garden you want to grow.

Step 2: Use The Right Materials 

In this step, let’s discuss the materials you need for a dry garden. These materials will further enhance the beauty of a dry garden.

Materials like planters are important when you want to add to the existing plants in your dry garden. I discuss in detail some of the materials you need for a dray garden shortly.

There are some plants that have toxic roots, when you grow these plants with other plants it will definitely damage them. Hence you need planter pots to cultivate such plants.

You need the right materials in your dry garden. These materials will not only help you grow some shallow root plants but will add value to a dry garden.

Even after you have done planting all the types of plants you have in mind and you later want to add, you can use a raised bed to add such plants.

Here are some of the materials:

  • Planter boxes
  • Raise beds
  • Planter bags

Any of these materials can suffice when you want to grow shallow root plants that have the strength to withstand drought.

Use planter boxes when growing single plants 

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Planter boxes are good in a dry garden when growing individual plants without combining two different plants in one box.

Planter boxes will make the plant have enough nutrients to stay healthy during drought. A planter box has the capacity to hold water for a longer time. 

Clay and plastic planter boxes are better but clay is much better. The clay pots absorb water while the plastic pots do not.

Clay pots can hold water for a longer time than plastic pox. Planter pots enable you to arrange plants based on how you want them.

Clay planter pots reduce the rate at which plants are vulnerable to heat and drought.

Use Raised Bed To increase Plants Height

A raised bed is better when you want to grow plants in your dry garden that don’t have an equivalent height to the existing one even after maturity.

The raised bed will enable the plant to meet up with other plants. Raised beds enable you to take care of plants in a dry garden while standing.

Use Bags To Grow Plants In a Dry Garden

There are some plants that require moisture and enough water at the initial time of planting. This set of plants needs to be inside planter bags.

Use disposable planter bags that you can easily turn out. Because disposable planter bags will easily turn out as soon as the soil is dried and for a period of time.

Step 3: Choose Drought-Resistant Companion Plants

In this section, let’s take a look at some of the plants that you can grow in a dry garden. 

Plants are an essential element you need in your dry garden. How beautiful and eye-catching your dry garden will look depends on the type of plant you grow.

Since plants are vital in a dry garden, then you have to choose carefully. You need plants that have the capacity to withstand the harsh weather conditions. Plants that’ll bloom in the midst of drought.

Choose companion plants based on the weather conditions of your area. If your region has a long-hot-dry season, then you need to grow plants that’ll not only tolerate drought but flourish under low water requirements.

Mostly, some of the plants that have the capacity to withstand drought have deep roots. Deep roots are what they use to break up the soil and enable it to survive during drought.

As much as irrigation is essential for plants to look good, a dry garden doesn’t require any irrigation system. 

Without wasting time let’s quickly discuss some of the plants that have the capacity to withstand harsh weather conditions.

Here are 6 drought-resistant plants you can grow in your dry garden:

1). Lavender 


Lavender has the capacity to blossom under hot weather conditions. The plant originated in the Mediterranean climate — which makes it thrive in warm, and dry climates.

How To Grow Lavender in a Dry Garden?

Before you plant lavender in your dry garden, first mow the area to remove weeds. Use a plow machine to lose the soil. 

After turning or loosening the soil, mulch the place with gravel. Mulching will make the initial water of the soil stay for a long time.

You can go ahead to plant lavender. Don’t water immediately after planting because the plant doesn’t like water.

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Lavender needs a minimum of 6 hours of sunlight in a day. It needs more light than water. The major challenge with lavender is that water makes the roots rot.

Lavenders flourish under very low water requirements. Another requirement of lavender is air. Ventilation is another factor you need to check when you want to grow lavender in your dry garden.

Lavender requires space, otherwise, it will not have enough air to blossom. Blossom lavender sometimes has simple narrow oval leaves while others have wide intricate foliage. Some are compact plants while others are shrubs that can get to 2 feet tall.

Lavender produces a calming fragrance. The flower and silvery-green foliage are used to make oil. Lavender is drought-resistant that’s used for several purposes.

2). Rockrose, Cistus

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Rockrose is one of the fastest-growing plants in a dry garden. It has a wide range of fragrances. 

It does well in sandy soil and doesn’t require water to thrive. It was first found in the Mediterranean. The plant produces soft foliage in different shapes based on the species.

Rockrose is mainly used for erosion control and it thrives under salty areas and strong wind. It has 3 – 5 foot tall shrubs. 

Rockrose plants are highly attractive and you can use them to beautify your dray garden. Lavender and rock rose are both companion plants that enhance the look of a dry garden. The only difference between lavender and rock rose is the wide fragrance of rock rose.

Rockrose or cistus is an eye-catching plant that adds beauty to a dry garden. The more drought weather becomes, the more beautiful it is. 

The Rockrose plant is known for its harsh weather resistance. It thrives more when the weather gets hotter than when it’s a bit cold.

3). Bougainvillea

| Plant Gardener


Bougainvillea does well under high temperate climates. It has a shallow root, which makes it survive both container and ground.

It’s an all-year-round survival plant in any weather condition. During winter it produces fewer flowers, while during summer it produces full flowers. 

When you expose bougainvillea to water it weakens the flower. So, water doesn’t damage its root, unlike lavender. However, it thrives more during drought. 

Bougainvillea needs a minimum of 6 hours of sunlight every day. How colorful the plant looks is dependent on the amount of sunlight it’s exposed to.

One of the favorite weather conditions of the plant is heat. During heat, it produces far-range fragrances.

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4). Baptisia 

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Another drought-resistant plant that you need in your dry garden is baptisia.  It requires much sun to grow very well. 

The plant doesn’t require any pruning. The only pruning baptisia needs is the removal of the dark seed, which is done once in a while. 

The Baptisia plant is highly drought tolerant and requires a minimum of 6 hours of sunlight daily. It requires little or no care once the plant grows. 

Baptisia roots can grow up to 12 feet (3.5 meters) deep. The single clump also expands to 3 – 4 feet (1 to 1.2 m.) wide.

As a result of the nature of the roots, baptisia can grow on both ground and planters. When it grows on the ground, it maintains deep roots but in the planter box, it spreads its roots. 

Baptisia plants are very easy to grow and care for. They don’t require any watering apart from the initial watering. They can survive under once in 3 weeks watering. They are among the most heat surviving plants you can have in your garden.

5). Aloe Vera Plants

aloe vera


Aloe vera plants are known for their ability to withstand drought and infrequent watering.

Mostly, the initial watering of aloe vera plants usually suffices for a long time before any watering takes place.

Aloe can grow and do very well on both ground and planter boxes. When using planter boxes, repot aloe vera into another bigger pot if the weight is tipping out of the box.

Aloe vera thrives in harsh and in snug conditions. It needs at least 5 hours of minimum sunlight daily. It prefers more light than water. It can survive under very low-watering but hardly can it survive under no light.

Without bright and sunny light aloe vera will grow dormant and stop growing. Ensure you don’t overwater the plant at the initial stage or any time you want to otherwise; moisture causes the root to rot.

You can also use planter pots to grow aloe vera. It does very well with planter pots because of the roots.

Read Also:- Should You Put Rocks In The Bottom Of A Planter?

6). Coneflower



Coneflower has a fibrous root that is highly drought tolerant once it has been established. It requires a minimum of 8 hours of sunlight to blossom on a daily basis. 

It requires pruning of the dead branch to make the plant remain healthy and strong. Pruning will allow the new branch to sprout out and germinate.

The plant survives under a low watering system. It can stay for weeks without water but will hardly survive when there is no sunlight.

Coneflowers produce beautiful flowers that increase the beauty of dry gardens. It has a nice fragrance which is why most people use it in their dry gardens.

Apart from the pruning, coneflower requires low maintenance. It’s among many other plants you can grow in your dry garden.

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Step 4: How To Care For a Dry Garden

Now you know how to start a dry garden, it’s important you know how to take care of it. How to protect the plants against pests and some other diseases that affect plants.

A dry garden doesn’t require frequent watering and you can choose not to water the plants. However, if you choose to water the plants, ensure you do it moderately at least once every 3 weeks.

When watering the plants, avoid moisture. Moisture soil causes some plants’ roots to rot. Moderate watering at least once in 2 weeks will make the soil good for the plant’s roots. 

Dry garden plants require little nitrogen fertilizer. Don’t apply fertilizer when there is drought because it will burn the plant.

The application of fertilizer should be at the initial time. Especially when you are done with mowing. Apply fertilizer before you mulch the ground. The fertilizer nitrogen will help the plant to germinate and get strong before drought.

After the application of fertilizer, mulch the area. Mulching helps to keep moisture in the soil and makes the roots cool. 

Read Also:- Should You Put Rocks In The Bottom Of A Planter?

Gravel is preferable for mulching than rubber or saw-dust because it prevents weeds from growing and it helps to keep the soil cool for a long time.

Feeding plants during drought delay their growth. You can feed plants when there is no drought. 

Dry garden plants don’t have the capacity to withstand pests and insects because they’re mostly without nutrients and water.

One of the ways to protect drought-resistant plants from pests and insects is to grow repellent plants around the dry garden. Repelling plants around the dry garden will protect it from pests and insects. 

Repelling plants is toxic to pests and insects. Pests and insects hardly come near repelling plants because of the toxic nature of the plant. 

Pruning is another way to keep the plant healthy. You need to regularly and continuously prune your plants.

Pruning will help to remove the dead branch and make the plant grow new branches. It also makes the plants receive proper ventilation. 

Inspiring Dry Garden Ideas

I trust by now you have better information on how to start a dry garden and how to take care of a dry garden to make it thrive irrespective of the weather conditions.

What you need to start a dry garden are creative ideas. Therefore, here are dry garden ideas that can guide you to grow your own.

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Landscape Your Dry Garden With Aloe Vera And Gravel 

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After you have selected plants that have a long, hot, dry season, and low water requirements, which are in your region, then you need to know how you can properly grow the plants and how best you’ll arrange the materials to bring out the best look.

Creativity matters when growing a dry garden. A dry garden that’s not well planned out will not bring out the best beauty. That’s why you need to plan out your designs first before starting out your work.

You can use a dry garden to control erosion in your house. You can also build a dry garden in one section of your yard.

Gravel is always common within the majority of dry gardens because it has the capacity to hold water within the ground.

Different Companion Plants in a dry garden

Plants form an integral part of a dry garden. The types of plants you have in your dry garden are what determine beauty during drought.

You need drought-resistant plants in a dry garden. Drought-resistant plants will help you save cost and time.

Ensure your dry garden is protected against pests and insects otherwise, your plants will not only struggle to thrive under drought but pests and insects.

U-shape Dry Garden

This is a good landscape dry garden designed with rocks and plants. The most important aspect of a dry garden is the types of plants you choose to use.

A dry garden can save time and reduce the cost of maintenance.

If you follow the steps on how to grow a dry garden in this post, you’ll be inspired and motivated on how you can grow your dry garden.

U-shape dry gardens with plants require planning on how best you want to arrange materials. 

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Haven read this article, starting a dry garden will no longer be a challenge for you anymore. 

The very first point to starting a dry garden is planning. That’s where you’ll mentally grow your dry garden before starting out. 

Once you have a complete list of the materials you need then go-ahead to begin and let these ideas here guide you.

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