Guide to low-maintenance gardening

From low-water plants to simple projects, our guide to easy gardening will make a green thumb out of anyone

12 great drought-tolerant plants

These unthirsty succulents, flowers, and grasses will thrive with little care — even on a roof

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California rooftop garden
Photo by Thomas J. Story

Look up for low-water plant inspiration

Rooftop gardens face special challenges: Since they’re constantly exposed to direct sunlight and wind, they demand super-tough, drought-tolerant plants. So if you’re looking for plants that’ll grow well in arid ground-level landscapes, a thriving green roof would provide plenty of inspiration.

Especially when that roof belongs to the much-lauded Margarido House, the first residence in Northern California to earn LEED-H Platinum certification. For this Oakland project, landscape designer Lauren Schneider mixed California natives that thrive in hot, dry conditions with plants that evolved in similar climates.

“I love the juxtaposition of the coarser and finer plant textures,” she says. “And I like to use the foliage colors as streaks and splashes.”

Design: Lauren Schneider, Wonderland Garden and Landscape (510/836-3990)

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