The Low Water Garden

The Low Water Garden has been designed to be beautiful and practical -and to survive long, dry spells, without watering.

Global warming, climate change, water shortages, hosepipe bans and metered water, hyave all become familiar issues. Water is a precious resource, not to be squandered.

This garden shows how certain plants and techniques can be used to conserve water and minimise the need for watering. It also demonstrates that conserving water need not restrict or limit creative design. A low water garden has its own form of serenity and beauty.

The plants chosen for this garden cope well in dry conditions. They have developed ways of retaining water and of slowing down water loss from their leaves. Species from the Mediterranean and Australia have, over millions of years, adapted to the harsh conditions resulting from long periods of drought.

Covering the surface of the soil with mulch, also significantly reduces water evaporation . Mulches used here include shredded bark and 10mm pea shingle. You could also use straw, compost, leafmould, grass-clippings, or mushroom compost; depending on the situation and the effect desired.

You can save water in your own garden by:

  • Setting-up water butts on gutter downpipes
  • Recycling washing-up or bath water (“grey water”)
  • Use a watering can rather than a hosepipe, or set-up a seep-hose system
  • Avoid over-watering

Once established, most plants need little water. More house-plants are killed by over-watering than under-watering. Too much water encourages weak sappy growth, which attracts pest and disease attack.

Original Garden Design: David Keary

Some, or all of the above text may have originally been published by HDRA/Garden Organic ( and is reproduced here, with their kind permission.