Home & Garden Highlight: Low-Water Gardens

Photo of an example of low-water xeriscaping using a wide variety of colorful succulents in Berkeley, California.

Much of the western United States is in the midst of an extreme drought. This has many of us with gardens thinking about how we can achieve a beautiful green spaces while also not using very much water. Thankfully, SJPL's Home & Garden collection supports water-conscious gardeners, such as yourself, with many richly photographed and approach-ably written gardening books to help you make the change.

Recommended Reading

Gardening With Drought-friendly Plants, book cover

Gardening With Drought-friendly Plants by Tony Hall

Gardening with Drought-Friendly Plants is an essential guide to growing and maintaining plants best suited to our changing climate of warmer, drier summers. Gardening expert Tony Hall profiles more than two hundred species and cultivars that are suitable for all types of planting environments, whether a large outdoor plot or a small indoor pot. Hall offers tips and advice on maintenance and pruning and shows which plants can survive with minimal tending--perfect for leaving alone during a gardener's vacation. Many of the plants Hall chooses are native to Mediterranean climates and therefore well-adapted to growing in hot, dry conditions.

The Drought-defying California Garden, book cover

The Drought-defying California Garden by Greg Rubin

The Drought-Defying California Garden offers gardeners in the Golden State everything they need to get started on a new type of garden. They highlight the best 230 plants to grow, share advice on how to get them established, and offer tips on how to maintain them with the minimum amount of water. All of the plants are native to California--making them uniquely adept at managing the harsh climate--and include perennials, annuals, shrubs, trees, and succulents.

Hot Color in the Dry Garden, book cover

Hot Color in the Dry Garden by Nan Sterman

Dry weather defines the southwest, and it's getting dryer. As water becomes more precious, our gardens suffer. If we want to keep gardening, we must revolutionize our plant choices and garden practices. Hot Color, Dry Garden provides a joyful, color-filled way to exuberantly garden in low-water conditions. Garden expert Nan Sterman highlights inspiring examples of brilliant gardens filled with water-smart plants. You'll find information about designing for color using plants, architecture, and accessories, along with a plant directory that features drought-tolerant plants that dazzle.

Further Reading

Reimagining the California Lawn, book cover
Waterwise Plants for Sustainable Gardens, book cover
The Bold Dry Garden, book cover
Drought-resistant Planting, book cover
The Colorful Dry Garden, book cover

A black toolbox open to show the contents inside: energy-efficient light bulbs, weather stripping, and a low-flow shower head.
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DIY Home Energy Savings Toolkits Available!

Available at all locations, San Jose Public Library is proud to check out do-it-yourself home energy savings toolkits to patrons. Sponsored by Silicon Valley Energy Watch, these toolkits empower patrons to take charge of their energy and water usage by finding gaps, leaks, and other ways they may be wasting energy and water.

Each DIY kit includes easy how-to installation and usage guides for all the tools found inside the kit, as well as the following, which are yours to keep!

  • LED light bulbs that save energy compared to incandescent light bulbs
  • Outlet gaskets that seal the void around your outlets and prevent heat loss
  • Weatherstripping that keeps out cold drafts by sealing leaky windows and doors
  • Low-flow showerhead that gently reduces the water you use and helps lower both your PG&E and water bills
  • Faucet aerators that help water flow more efficiently