This 800-foot-long demonstration hellstrip designed by Lauren Springer Ogden and Scott Ogden in Colorado features waterwise plants, including red and yellow flowered pineleaf Penstemon (P. pinifolius) and Blue of the Heavens (Allium azureum).
A hellstrip is an opportunity to establish a xeric, or waterwise, zone by using plants that won't need irrigation, says Evelyn J. Hadden, author of "Hellstrip Gardening" (April 2014, Timber Press). Tough plants can be beautiful too, as a border in Evanston, Wyo., uses varieties of yarrow (Achillea millefolium).
Rugged good looks earn Maney juniper (Juniperus chinensis ‘Maneyi’) a place in any landscape. This tough evergreen tolerates salt, cold winters and drought (once established). Plants have a naturally spreading growth that reaches 4 to 5 feet tall and wide. Count on Maney juniper as part of a foundation planting, waterwise drought-tolerant garden or mixed border. Hardy in Zones 3-8.
Rosemary forms an evergreen hedge packed with fragrance. Blue flowers cover the plant in late winter to early spring, and needle-like leaves offer an aromatic perfume. Leaves can be used in cooking. Use rosemary in waterwise plantings, where its drought tolerant nature shines, or plant it as an informal hedge. Most rosemary plants, including ‘Tuscan Blue,’ are hardy in Zones 8-11, but you can find varieties like ‘Arp,’ ‘Madeline Hill’ and ‘Alcade Hardy’ that survive winters in Zone 6 and protected spots in Zone 5.