Drought is all too familiar to folks in the Dallas area. Gardening and lawn care in the Texas summer can be difficult, especially when faced with water restrictions. The stage three drought conditions the area is experiencing can wreak havoc, but here are some pointers to help your garden, lawn, and sanity to survive unparched.

Making the Most of the Water You Have

When confronted with water restrictions, you have to learn to make the water you can access go farther and last longer. Watering at night, as many of the city rules require, is actually a great way to do this. Watering in the evening or the early morning is the best way to avoid the evaporation that results from water being heated by the sun. There are also many water-saving methods you can employ when working on your lawn, such as using mulch and other water-retaining products including crystals and certain types of clay. Organic materials—compost, for example—in your lawn also help to make the limited water quantity last longer.

Chilling in the Shade

Just as you flock to the shade during the hot summer months, your plants want to do the same during times of water restrictions. Drought-hardy trees, especially palms, can protect your plants by providing cooling cover. In addition, try to design your gardens around areas in your yard where they will receive some shade from your home during the hotter parts of the day. Even allowing your lawn to grow a little bit higher during the summer months can provide some protective shade.

Be Picky About What and How You Plant

Put some time into considering what and how you plant. For example, if you take the initiative to grow more plants in pots or small movable boxes, it is easier to move these plants to a more protected area during the sweltering heat. When considering what you plant, the realization that Texas often faces water restrictions should be in the back of your mind. There are numerous choices out there for beautiful and unique plants that can withstand the heat and the lack of water. For example, avoid small shrubs, particularly flowering ones with delicate leaves; these tend to be the hardest hit during drought conditions. Instead, choose plants with small leaves and flowers, which is a plant’s survival adaptation to reduce evaporation and transpiration. Consider native plants when doing your landscaping. They are native for a reason: they have figured out how to thrive in the conditions the Dallas area experiences. If you aren’t sure what plants have already adapted to the area, contact your local nursery or gardening clubs.

You can’t magically control the amount of rain or the heat that Dallas has experienced over the past few years. Water restrictions look as though they have become something to which you and your lawn must simply adapt. All the same, there are techniques for you to utilize to ensure that your plants survive another few hot, dry months.