When I’m designing gardens the subject of climate change sometimes crops up and I’m being asked whether it is possible to ‘drought proof’ a garden. One garden that has succeeded famously at this is the Beth Chatto Gardens in Essex and her ‘Gravel Garden’ has been an inspiration to gardeners and designers alike. Her gravel garden works with nature and does not fight against it, she used plants that will cope in dry conditions for example, Lavender, Cistus, Bergenia, Allium, Sedum and drought resistant grasses that have not been artificially watered since around 1992!
If you are thinking about having your garden designed and are starting with a blank canvass you could consider installing an underground rainwater harvesting system, a huge undertaking to be completed before the hard landscaping begins but well worth considering. Harvested rainwater has many uses around the house for example flushing the toilet and washing machines but it can also be used to water the garden. Today a lot of people have water butts - which are great - but they don’t last long during a period of drought which we all saw this April when we had no rain for most of the month! It is also very important to choose your plants and the location of them carefully; you need to include plants that can cope with little water yet look good most of the year; after all you do want a beautiful garden.