Drought-Tolerant Landscaping Design: Resilience Meets Beauty in California

At Farmscape, we believe that every outdoor space can be transformed into a harmonious blend of beauty and sustainability. Sustainable landscaping and gardening at Farmscape is an integrated philosophy that guides every decision by our design, installation and maintenance teams. In practice, that means we work with site conditions to enhance the rhythms of nature and nourish people, pollinators and soil on all our projects.

In California’s summer-dry climate, drought-tolerant landscaping is essential. This approach not only conserves water but also offers an environmentally sustainable solution. By choosing Farmscape, you’re choosing eco-friendly landscaping, thereby contributing to water conservation while enjoying a beautiful garden and great homegrown organic food all year round.

Farmscape specializes in water-wise practices like drip irrigation and rainwater harvesting, offering innovative solutions for water-efficient landscaping. We start off with a sustainable landscape design that focuses heavily on drought-tolerant plants. From there, we develop drip irrigation systems that focus on water-efficient gardening, using smart timers with weather trackers to adjust water usage automatically. In addition, we calculate the amount of rainwater runoff your hardscape will generate, and direct that toward drains and drywalls. That allows the water to percolate deep into your landscape, storing it for drought years and nourishing your big trees. These dry soil gardening techniques are a critical part of our work as practitioners of sustainable landscape design in California.

Our expertise in drought-tolerant plants ensures a vibrant garden, even in dry conditions. Whether it’s Southern California’s arid climate or the cool, foggy, wetter conditions of Northern California, we tailor plant selections to suit each region’s unique needs, creating a lush, sustainable garden design. Some of our favorite plants to use are our local succulents like Dudleya, a ghostly white native plant that stands out in a landscape. Hesperaloe “Brakelights” and many agave subspecies native to the Mexican desert landscapes are also great dry soil plants. Finally, an edible prickly pear cactus, or Nopales, with its delicious prickly pear “tuna” fruit, can provide both food and funky structure to California gardens.

In addition, there are many drought-resistant flowers you can use as part of your modern landscape design to differentiate your front or back yard landscaping and stand out from the herd. Many Northern California salvias pair beautifully with succulents, providing movement and variation to stiff succulents and a habitat for pollinators. Native grasses like Berkeley sedge provide friendly pops of green. And our native coastal strawberry provides food for pollinators as well as a vigorous ground cover for water-conscious gardening projects.

Xeriscaping is the practice of designing landscapes to reduce or eliminate the need for irrigation. Some arid Southern California landscaping projects can adopt full xeriscaping principles, focusing on extremely low-water native plants and gravelly compost soil amendments. This extreme drought-resistant landscaping method significantly reduces the need for watering (some purists don’t even use irrigation!) and relies on natural rainwater to keep plants alive. While some modern landscaping companies only use xeriscaping, at Farmscape, we’ve folded in some of its principles for our food crops, like using low-water perennial plants and drought-resistant irrigation. As a general rule, we prefer adopting the best sustainable landscape management techniques from many different styles and disciplines, to conserve water and adapt eco-friendly landscaping to each homeowner’s specific site.

Our sustainable landscape designs are not only practical, they are visually stunning. Our drought-tolerant landscaping integrates seamlessly with your aesthetic preferences, so your backyard design matches your home’s color palette and materiality, while draining water away from your foundation and toward your tall trees. Take a look at our portfolio of successful drought-tolerant landscaping projects, which highlight our ability to transform outdoor spaces into sustainable and inviting areas:

Understanding the unique characteristics of your site is crucial. Our team provides personalized landscape design services, ensuring that every aspect of your garden, from front yard landscaping to backyard design, is thoughtfully planned and executed. During the planning phase, we will observe the topography of your site, using gravity to distribute rainfall, aiming to disturb the soil as little as possible to preserve soil health. Our team of garden design experts will also interview you about how your family wants to use the site, while providing areas for collaboration.

In addition, our design team will observe the materials already in use at your home, to make sure your garden landscaping complements the rest of your property. We use sustainable hardscaping materials that will enhance your drought-tolerant landscape, focusing on permeable hardscape like decomposed granite and permeable pavers that allow rainwater to percolate through the soil. In addition, we work with many local green landscaping companies that can provide organic mulch and compost, minimizing the project’s carbon footprint and keeping green waste out of landfills. Our sustainable landscape architecture team will work with you to determine the best eco-friendly landscaping practices to elevate your home while keeping the focus on the environment.

At Farmscape, we believe you don’t have to trade beauty for sustainable landscaping. We’re committed to tailoring our professional landscaping services to your specific needs — including water-wise gardening — while respecting California’s unique environmental challenges. Contact our Southern or Northern California office today to discuss how we can help integrate drought-tolerant landscaping into your outdoor space.