Up the serenity in your own garden room with these easy-care, low-water plants.
All low-water and easy-care
Magical outdoor room
"Everything about this garden is magical," says designer Vera Gates of Liz and Chris Dressel's hillside hideaway in Woodside, California. "The light is magical. So are the plantings around the native oak." Thoughts of yard work won't break the spell here: These plants are all low-water and easy-care. A decomposed-granite patio means no lawn to mow. And the chairs around the portable firepit? Bewitching. "Guests just want to recline in them and enjoy the view. No one ever wants to leave." Design: Vera Gates and Scott Yarnell, Arterra Landscape Architects, San Francisco (arterrallp.com).
More on creating "rooms" in your backyard
Santa Barbara daisy
The tiny white and pink flowers make a great border accent when planted in the forefront of tall grasses.
Mexican feather grass
These clump-forming grasses produce large, open, airy inflorescences that can add lightness and motion to the garden.
More on low-maintenance gardening
This aromatic variety of lavender is lovely when used as informal hedge or edging.
This bushy plant is fairly short lived, but to make up for it, it produces lots of trumpet-shaped blooms over a long period. Deep purple "Midnight" is a standout for its vivid hue.
These small, fragrant blossoms grow in spikelike clusters and attract butterflies to your garden.
More on attracting butterflies and other pollinators to your yard
New Zealand flax
This dramatic plant with fanning evergreen leaves makes a good garden focal point. It provides year-round color, which intensifies in cool weather.
(Lavandula x intermedia "Grosso")
Like other varieites of lavender, this will succeed in cool coastal or mountain climates or inland valleys and deserts--essentially a great pick for a low-water garden.
More drought-tolerant plants
(Sold as Carex tumulicola)
This ornamental grass is a lovely choice to grow for foliage effect.
The herb's small, pungent leaves grow on stems up to 1 foot tall, yielding white to lilac flowers, making it a good choice for low edging.
Will these plants grow in your climate zone? Find out here. And if you don't know your climate zone, you can look it up here.