New Look Landscapes Calgary Landscapers - Blog - 5 Ways to Use Landscaping for a More Drought-Resistant Yard

5 Ways to Use Hardscaping and Landscaping for a More Drought-Resistant Yard

With increasingly frequent and severe drought conditions in Alberta, it’s becoming more important to consider ways to upgrade your outdoors to create a more drought-resistant yard. Alberta’s hot and dry conditions mean that Calgarians face mounting challenges in maintaining lush, green landscapes while conserving water resources. Water restrictions have become more common in Calgary, and according to the City of Calgary, “if we don’t get the precipitation we need, Calgarians should be ready for outdoor water restrictions as early as spring” this year. (source)

This can make water conservation at home a bigger concern for more Calgary homeowners as drought conditions like this can take a toll on your yard. But, with strategic landscaping and a few smart upgrades, you can make your front- and backyard more resilient and water-efficient. Outdoor upgrades like incorporating more permeable surfaces, drought-resistant plants, rainwater harvesting systems, and other water-saving features can help create an outdoor space that is better able to thrive in challenging, hot summer conditions with less reliance on heavy water usage.

New Look Landscapes Calgary Landscapers Blog - Hardscaping to Help Drought Proof Yard
Stonework and other permeable surfaces help support soil moisture.
Here are five ways you can use landscaping to help make your yard in Calgary more drought-resistant for summer:
1. Create Elegant Foundations with Permeable Hardscaping Surfaces

Replace traditional impermeable surfaces with permeable alternatives allowing rainwater to penetrate the soil. Permeable pavers, gravel or decomposed granite, reduce water runoff and help replenish groundwater. These materials can easily be used on driveways and pathways to support your soil. This is a sustainable hardscaping approach that promotes better water absorption and helps prevent erosion during heavy rainfall. 

2. Improve Water Usage with an Irrigation System 

Upgrade your watering practices to a more water-efficient setup. Drip irrigation, soaker hoses, and intelligent sprinkler systems can deliver water directly to the roots to minimize water wastage. You can also incorporate rain sensors and weather-based controllers, which adjust watering schedules based on weather conditions. This can help ensure your lawn and garden receive just the right amount of water. We often recommend irrigation systems that include programmable apps. These can make it super easy to schedule and manage your watering. This helps you adhere to any current water restrictions and ultimately save a little more money on your water bill! 

3. Upgrade Your Garden with Xeriscaping and More Drought-Resistant Plants 

Xeriscaping means planning your landscape designs to have minimal reliance on water. It is an excellent way to craft a low-maintenance yard with better water conservation that still keeps a beautiful aesthetic.

New Look Landscapes Calgary - Blog - Drought-Resistant Shrubs Nest Spruce (Photo Credit City of Calgary Yard Smart Program)
Norweigan Spruce Shrub
Photo Credit: City of Calgary Yard Smart Program

You can incorporate this into your landscaping plans by:

  • choosing drought-resistant plants (like Calgary-climate-appropriate trees, shrubs and perennials) that are better able to thrive in dry conditions
  • grouping plants with similar water needs, or
  • utilizing more decorative rocks or gravel. 
4. Improve Water Conservation with Rainwater Harvesting

Install rain barrels or another rainwater harvesting system to collect and store rainwater. You can use this harvested water for non-potable uses, like watering plants, cleaning, or even topping up decorative fountains. This is a great way to conserve water at home and help reduce demand for local water supplies during dry spells. You can buy rain barrels at your local garden centre or through organizations like Green Calgary (on sale beginning April 1st at

5. Protect Your Yard with Strategic Shade and Windbreaks

Shade helps reduce evaporation and keeps the soil cooler. This, in turn, helps to preserve moisture and reduce the need for a more frequent watering schedule. Integrating hardscaping elements such as pergolas, trellises, or even strategically placed trees is an excellent way to provide shade for your yard (and for you!). Adding elements like privacy screens, fences, or shrubs can prevent excessive wind from drying out the soil. This can help maintain a more stable and humid environment for your yard. 

Drought-proofing your yard can create a more sustainable and resilient outdoor space that can thrive in challenging, hot summer conditions.

“Creating a more drought-resistant space can help future-proof your yard against Calgary’s increasingly hot and dry summers,” says our owner Ryan Tovey, adding: 

“From experience, we know that investing in hardscaping and xeriscaping can seem like a significant upfront cost for homeowners, but it doesn’t always have to be done all at once. Your yard can evolve with smaller projects each year, or you can overhaul it all at once. We work with clients to create a plan that not only brings more drought-resistant elements, like hardscaping, to their yard but also helps add more livable outdoor space in a way that works for them. We want to help Calgarians create an extension of their home with both beauty and function: a place they can enjoy with friends and family that reflects their home and style.” 

By implementing these tips, you can ensure your yard remains beautiful and functional, even in times of water scarcity. You will help contribute to water conservation efforts and support any local water restrictions in place. You will also very likely save more money on your next water bill!

Use these tips (in full or in part) to enhance your yard’s resilience and enjoy a beautiful outdoor space throughout the hot summer ahead.