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

Water-wise garden design guide

Everything you need to give the hose a rest, from unthirsty plant picks to inspiring gardens

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Container combos
Jeffery Cross

Container combos

Though plants in pots usually need more water than their counterparts in the ground, there are plenty of unthirsty options too. Click through to see garden designers' favorites, but first, here are some tips for pots:

Choose the right pot. Glazed ceramic (pictured), metals, and plastic prevent evap­oration better than porous materials such as terra-cotta.

Mulch. Cover the bare soil surface in pots with 1 to 2 inches of bark, compost, gravel, or stones to slow evaporation.

Monitor moisture. Water when the soil is dry an inch or two beneath the surface. Or install a drip-irrigation kit designed for pots (available at most garden centers) and put it on a timer.

Repot as needed. Rootbound plants dry out more quickly than ones whose roots have some room to grow. Put them into containers that are about a size larger.

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