This summer has been absolutely brutal on gardens and lawns. Over 40,000 individual heat records were scattered throughout the country, before July alone. Landscape design barely recovered from the blistering initial weeks. Grey patches and withering are abundant and widespread drought has crippled the most delicate gardens.

The good news is that the worst is behind us. If your home garden has survived this long, chances are you’ve taken the proper precautions to handle the worst of what the summer can do to your garden design with affordable New Orleans landscape design. However, if your garden landscape is still barely holding on, the following are some of our best drought precautions and treatments to maintain a healthy home garden during extreme conditions, for now and for future summers.

Nutrients

The first thing to consider when planting a fresh garden landscape, or bringing your garden back to life, is to pack the soil with nutrients. Nutrient padding will hold water and aid your fragile plants in making the best out of the water that they are given. Mix up the soil with some well-rotted manure or compost for the most nutrient efficient garden possible.

Young Plants

Planting younger flora is more so a tip for starting a fresh garden, but it will pay off during these harsh conditions. So many home gardens are pre-grown, potted plants that are transplanted into the soil. These plants are adapted only to nursery and greenhouse conditions, not the harsher conditions that natural plants learn to survive in. It’s like trying to release a domesticated animal into the wild; it won’t last on its own. Only plant younger plants during harsher conditions, and as the plants grow they will learn to adapt better to drought because they grew accustomed to the weather at a young age; their biology made it work.

Mulch

Mulching is a safe bet for water conservation. Mulch will hold water in the soil, protect the water and roots from evaporation, and discourage the growth of nutrient and water stealing weeds. Generally, a 3-6 inch layer (depending on the need) of mulch will be most effective, and make sure to maintain the layer as the mulch decomposes. However, avoid over-mulching as it could lead to overstressing the roots and may provide a nice little bed for rodents to call home.

Water

Optimize each drop of water during conditions when your plants need it more. Especially for more mountainous terrain, watering is difficult during drought because the brittle nature of the ground can cause sprinkler water to simply run-off the impenetrable soil. If you don’t have a functional irrigation system, utilizing a soaker hose will provide the slow, deep soak that will permeate the soil and get to the roots more efficiently.

Plant Choice

Once again, a tip for planning drought resistant garden design, plant choice can make the difference in home garden survivability. Some plants are more resistant to heat, and conserve water more efficiently, while still maintaining the beautiful colors and aesthetics of more delicate flora. Rather than stumble through a specific list of drought resistant plants, here are a few characteristics to look for when selecting young plants:

– fleshy or thick leaves, holds moisture better

– aromatic leaves, indicates compounds that cool the plant as they evaporate

– hairy or narrow leaves, sheds warmth without sacrificing water

– spikes or spines, these act as efficient vents for releasing heat