An arid garden uses drought tolerant plants or desert plants when landscaping in an environment that receives very little rainfall, intense sunlight, and experiences fluctuating temperatures. Indigenous South African water wise plants lend themselves well to arid garden design.
It is a well-documented fact that 2016 saw global temperatures at their highest on record.
Future climate change predictions for South Africa include a temperature rise of 5 to 80C, with increased dry spell duration as well as increased intensity of rainfall events.
Along with increased costs of water this makes it a necessity to look at how one can help the garden to cope with a scarcity of water. This can be done very effectively through plant choice and water wise garden design.
This arid garden at Random Harvest Indigenous Plant Nursery inspires with interesting combinations of indigenous water wise plants that will keep looking good through long, hot periods without rain. A little water will keep it looking great, but it won’t need nearly as much as a regular garden.
The colours and shapes in the hard landscaping enhance the beauty of the indigenous plant species chosen for this garden.
Strong, straight lines and muted colours of the metal framework, corrugated iron, wood and cement paving used contrast with the organic plant shapes and accentuate them.
Gravel is included to give a textural contrast as well as creating surface area for rainwater to soak into the ground.
A small raised patio area gives horizontal interest as well as being strategically placed to borrow shade from the surrounding landscape.
The South African indigenous plants used have been selected not only for their beauty, but also for their vigour, toughness and reliability despite unreliable water availability and fluctuating temperatures.
Indigenous succulents are ideal to use in a drought tolerant garden. They are generally neat, compact plants that do not drop lots of leaves. The foliage of many species provides permanent and striking colour in the garden. However, not all drought tolerant plants are succulents.
Most grasses and some bulbs, shrubs and trees are very well adapted to long dry, hot periods.
For smaller spaces such as an urban arid garden, we suggest choosing species that are less messy and are either slow growing or very easy to prune and keep in shape.
A list of the plants used in our inspirational arid garden is included below the labelled photograph.
Please see the following articles for further reading:
For more information about arid gardens, succulents or water wise indigenous plants, please contact us.
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