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Create a thriving garden for drought tolerant plants


–Lawns are giving way to drought tolerant landscaping. More and more people in dry climate areas, including the Central Coast, are actually removing lawns and replacing them with amazingly beautiful drought tolerant gardens. Not only do drought tolerant gardens save water, they fit into just about any yard and landscape. For those who have been wondering what to do with that funky spot in the backyard, a drought tolerant garden might just be the solution!

Central Coast Landscape Products, providing landscape supplies to Arroyo Grande and the entire Central Coast, has been providing solutions to gardeners since 2006. The company stocks and delivers the materials that help create healthy drought tolerant gardens in any location on your property.

“I don’t want a bunch of rocks and cactus in my yard,” is one of the worries expressed by people who are exploring drought tolerant gardens. Although, there is much to be said in favor of cacti and rocks, there are many choices for other kinds of plants. Want radiant color? Want fragrance and a wild natural look? How about bees, butterflies, and birds? Shady spots? Sunny spots? Drought tolerant gardens offer it all. And, they use very little water. Some plants, once established, thrive on the normal Central Coast rainfall and in drought years with a weekly rinse.

The experts at Central Coast Landscape Products have some tips for creating thriving drought tolerant gardens. The staff can answer questions, help with planning and deliver the necessary landscape supplies from Arroyo Grande to Paso Robles. The company recommends that gardeners focus on the following four topics before starting the actual work on a drought tolerant garden.

  • The right plant in the right spot
  • Soil amendments
  • Mulching
  • Irrigation

The right plant in the right spot

Popular drought tolerant plants include lavender, rosemary, irises, sage (salvia), sedum, various types of decorative bunch grasses, cacti and many more. All have a special beauty and there is a growing trend among many gardeners to growing plants that are native to their regions.

The California Central Coast is blessed with an abundance of stunning and interesting native drought tolerant plants. As a rule of thumb, if you see an intriguing plant growing in the wild in this area, you can grow it in your yard. In almost every case you can buy starter plants from your landscaper or local native plant nursery. A word to the wise, don’t dig up plants in the wild. It’s illegal. For the most success, purchase the plants you want, native or non-native, from a landscaper or nursery with a solid reputation for healthy plants.

Some research is important because you want to group plants according to similar soil, water, and sun or shade needs. “Drought tolerant” for plants growing near the coast does not mean the same thing as another plant that thrives in triple-digit inland summers. An example is the spectacular Hummingbird Sage (Salvia spathacea) that grows in direct sun on the coast near Arroyo Grande, but needs a little shade and an occasional misting in a Paso Robles garden.

Resources for information include the California Native Plant Society, the University of California Master Gardner program, and the USDA Plant Hardiness Zone Map.

Soil amendments

Soil amendments help root health and plant growth, but which amendments? Let the plants be your guide. Soil amendments help create nutrient and micro-nutrient balance for your garden. If you are planting California Central Coast natives, they will rarely need amendments, but other drought tolerant plants that are not native to the Central Coast might need the soil amended for the best results.


Mulching reduces soil moisture loss during hot days and accents your plants. Some drought tolerant plants only need a small amount of mulch, some do better with a few well-placed rocks as mulch. The type of mulching is important. Some plants do best with oak chips and others with pine chips or gravel. Group your gardens so that the right plants get the right mulch. For a dramatic look, try different mulches in geometric patterns.


Once established, different drought tolerant plants have different watering needs. Some thrive with just winter rainfall. Some, like lavender, do very well with drip irrigation that would eventually kill some varieties of salvia. A number of California natives only need an occasional misting to keep them happy and healthy.

Irrigation systems reduce water waste and direct the water and the kind of watering exactly where it’s needed. Be aware of the water needs of what you are planting and plan the irrigation accordingly. When you are planning the irrigation system, be sure to include shot-off valves at critical points to give you more precise control.

Call the experts

Don’t be overwhelmed! The experts at Central Coast Landscape Products are always ready to answer your questions and help with planning details to make sure your drought tolerant garden have the right materials to flourish. Check out their supply of mulching products, soil amendments, topsoil and more for you gardens, the give them a call today.