The Boise Landscape
Living in Boise has lots of perks, we enjoy a mild climate that allows us to hike, bike, boat, and fish nearly year round. At the end of the day though, we live in a high desert environment, and with our rapid population growth water conservation is a very real issue in the Treasure Valley. One of the largest non-agricultural demands on local aquifers is commercial and residential landscaping. Everyone likes the look of vast swaths of green lawn but there are many other landscaping solutions that both incorporate local flora and involve much less water than traditional grass spaces.
Along with the obvious benefit of saving water, landscaping with native plants also has the benefit of requiring less nutrient supplements as the plants are already attuned to the unique soil profile of the high desert we live in.
If you’ve ever gone hiking in the foothills you have seen what a diverse variety of native plants grow in the area – its not just sagebrush out there! Depending on your landscaping needs you may be looking for groundcover, decorative plants, or trees and there are lots of options available. From biscuitroot to sunflowers southern Idaho has an abundance of varieties of flowering plants, it is entirely possible to create a yard that rivals Boise’s famous botanical gardens using purely native foliage.
Here are a few plants to consider for your water-friendly landscaping project!
Water friendly Plants for Idaho Landscaping
Sedum spurium ‘Dragon’s Blood’
This is a really stunning and low maintenance addition to any yard or landscape. Coming in many colors from bright green to deep ‘blood’ red, this ground cover plant is hardy, and will do well planted to take indoors!
‘Totally Tangerine’ avens (Geum x hybrida) – May 2017
Not only is this gorgeous, and tall flower easy to grow and water friendly, it is also a favorite for butterflies that migrate through the valley! Water friendly, bee friendly, butterfly friendly, and a striking bright orange color…what’s not to love?
Royal Purple Smoke Tree
This is a really striking plant that always grabs attention. Dramatic deep purple, smoke-like airy seed clusters backed by reddish purple foliage create a small tree or large accent shrub. Foliage holds its color all summer, then turns scarlet red in autumn.
Drought Resistant Trees to plant in Idaho
Trees can be a little trickier, and you want to make sure that your choice in trees can thrive in our clay based soil, and tolerate our hot and dry summers, and cold winters.
We’ll start BIG. The Austrian Pine is a low maintenance tree that can thrive in a variety of soils. Growing to a height of 50-60 feet with a 20-40 foot spread, this is a serious member of your landscaping plan. But with those measurements, you’re guaranteed some good shade from the hot summer Boise sun.
This gorgeous tree is surely a statement piece of any yard or landscape. The Eastern Red bud has an early blooming, almost fluorescent bright pink bud that really demands attention. It shows green in the summer, then yellow in the fall. This tree can withstand full sun, or partial shade if your area is particularly dry.
Golden Rain Tree
Another gorgeous statement tree, the Golden Rain Tree is flowering tree that has yellow blossoms in the late spring and summer, and paper lantern type in the fall and winter. This beautiful tree can handle a wide range of soil types. Plus it has a fairly robust size of 30-40 feet high. Plus, this tree loves full sun.