Consider the rocky approach
If you’re the kind who would rather be enjoying your outside space – despite the late summer heat – things have to look good in the landscaping. For this you’ll need plants that like it hot, and perhaps some inspiration from xeriscape designs typical of the Southwest.
This may involve more open space than plants. Sweeps of decorative rock mulch allow plants to become focal points instead of mere greenery. Natural stone edging and the occasional boulder add to the effect.
As long as the area is well-drained, many semi-desert plants (such as East Texas natives) can be used effectively. 1-inch gravel added to the bottom of planting holes may help prevent root rot in South Louisiana’s sometimes-saturated conditions.
When installed properly, xeriscaping provides the ideal low maintenance garden that looks great all summer. Once the plants are established, they need no extra watering. Plants for this theme include yuccas, sages/salvias, ornamental grasses and various drought-tolerant shrubs.
Texas sage provides beautiful texture and flowers which bloom sporadically throughout the warm season. It needs good air circulation to keep its foliage healthy, and benefits from rock mulch which reflects heat to the plant.
Red yucca stands out nicely against light-colored rock mulch, and produces spikes of red tubular flowers in spring favored by hummingbirds. ‘Color Guard’ yucca looks great in mass plantings, while soft-leaf yucca makes an impressive specimen. None of these have dangerously sharp leaves like other yuccas.
Mexican bush sage makes a stunning display of purple flowers with white accents in late summer through fall. Many beautiful salvias – all of which attract butterflies and hummingbirds – thrive in hot, dry conditions, becoming mounds of color that persist from summer to first frost.
For an edible twist, include pineapple guava shrubs. Their grayish-green foliage, beautiful flowers and delicious fruit are irresistible.