3. Cultivate ground cover
Plants that grow to form a carpet need little rain as they cover the surface of the soil and so hold in moisture. For the best drought-proofing, aim not to leave any bare earth showing.
• Plants with small leaves and woody stems that creep along the ground, such as flowering thyme and small-leaved hebes .
• Anything that comes from a part of the world with low rainfall, such as the Mediterranean countries. Cotton lavender (santolina) and dwarf lavenders are good examples.
• Small annual and perrenial grasses such as blue fescue .
• Sedums, sempivivums and saxifrages.
• In very dry conditions, blue fescue grass looks like sleek burnished metal.
• Sedum 'Carl' has huge flower heads that will attract butterflies.
4. Add drama with showy survivors
If you want a lush-looking tropical-style garden, these are the plants that will look the part but can survive on very little water. It's all about scale - choose plants with big leaves or flowers.
• Large, spiky plants such as phormiums and cordylines.
• Big and bushy varieties such as euphorbias, which will survive even in gravel, and acanthus.
• Honey bush (Melianthus major) and smoke bush (Cotinus coggyria), which have the big, lush leaves we associate with tropical plants.
• Begonia rex for its dramatic colours and foliage.
• Yuccas, which have a dramatic shape and a convincing 'jungle' feel.
• Acanthus is a tough plant with huge leaves and strange spiky flowers.
• Euphoria characias has enormous green flower spikes in early summer.