Does Your Yard Have a Landscaping Theme?

Dry, Sandy Soil? Follow These Landscaping Tips

by Dan Mckinney

When your soil is dry and sandy, growing lush, green plants is more of a challenge than when you have rich, loamy soil to work with. However, this does not have to mean your yard stays empty and barren. With the tips below, you can have a lovely landscape in spite of your sandy soil.

Work compost into the top layer.

Removing all of the sandy soil and replacing it with loam is probably not an option unless you have an enormous budget. However, you can take some small steps to improve the quality of the top few inches of soil. Purchase a load of compost from a local garden center, and work some of it into your garden beds. Use a metal rake to integrate it into the sandy soil, and keep mixing until you have a pretty uniform soil. The compost will help hold the water while also adding nutrients to your sandy soil.

Use mulch to your advantage.

Mulch is helpful for any garden, but it's even more important when you have sandy soil. Keep a thick layer of wood mulch on top of your garden beds. Add another inch or two of mulch to the beds each month to replace the mulch that breaks down and works its way into the soil. The mulch will trap moisture in the sandy soil and also slow down the rate at which moisture, whether from rain or a sprinkler, enters the soil. It will also supply a steady flow of organic material as it breaks down, which is important since sand tends to be lacking in organic material.

Choose plants that thrive in dry soil.

Even with the tips above, sandy soil will never stay as moist as other soil types. You can work around this by choosing plants that have lower water needs and do well in dry soil. Good options include:

  • Lavender: a fragrant plant that develops light purple flowers
  • Rosemary: an herb you can use in your cooking
  • Giant allium: tall stems capped with fluffy purple flowers

Water more often.

Sandy soil will get moist, but then the moisture will dissipate very quickly. You can somewhat make up for this by applying less water more often. For instance, instead of watering your plants for an hour every three days, you can try watering them for 15 minutes every morning. Experiment with different watering frequencies until you find the frequency that keeps your soil moist between watering sessions.

Companies like Joey's Landcare can help with other tips.