Create a Garden Wall: Complete your dry stack wall with drought tolerant plants

A homeowner on the Wornall House Garden Tour took a rock wall that is the backdrop of a water garden and created a living garden wall.

Begin this project with a dry stack stone wall. With this method of rock wall construction, concrete isn’t used to fill in between the rocks. These gaps can be filled with plants.

Not only will this soften the hardscape, the plants will add color and texture. To plant your garden wall, soil will need to be added to the areas in the wall where you want plants. As you plant, work soil in around the roots and the base of the plant.

When selecting plants, think about the mature size, foliage color, flowers, drought tolerance, preference for well drained soil, and texture. Look for plants described as xeriscape, rock garden, alpine, water wise, and drought tolerant.

Although you are using plants with low moisture requirements, additional watering will be needed as the plants in the living wall get established. The homeowner of the project in the photo used small perennials, keeping the plants in scale with the long short wall.

With a larger wall, you can be more ambitious with your project by using a more diverse plant mix including shrubs. In the Island Garden, Powell Gardens boasts of having the “longest living wall in the United States.” There are many heat loving, drought tolerant shrubs in their wall.

A few plant suggestions to get you started:

  • Candytuft
  • Creeping Thyme
  • Creeping Basket of Gold
  • Donkey’s Tail
  • Evening Primrose
  • Firewitch Dianthus
  • Hardy Ice Plant
  • Hens and Chicks
  • Mazus
  • Poppy Mallow
  • Sedum
  • Walker’s Low Catmint
  • Woolly Speedwell