Texas Hill Country — Your Little Piece of Heaven

The Texas Hill Country is undoubtedly a beautiful place. If you’re lucky enough to have a piece of it, why would you design your landscape to conceal it? You want to enhance it! Incorporate any existing limestone outcroppings, minimize your use of turf, save a space for wildflowers, use plants native to the Hill Country, and whenever possible just leave the landscape in its natural condition.

Texas Hill Country landscapes are dominated by native plants. Native plants have evolved to thrive in the local climate and soils. (For the record, Hill Country soils are thin and alkaline.) Very little additional irrigation is needed when the proper plants are chosen. Conversely, the use of non-native and non-adapted plants can cost you dearly in terms of time and money.

Hint: If you are trying to attract butterflies and hummingbirds, do not water plants from above with a sprinkler. It will wash away the nectar of many flowers. Instead, hand water at the base of the plant.

Some plants for a Texas Hill Country landscape include:

Trees – Hackberry, live oak, bur oak, Texas persimmon, ashe juniper, Texas mountain laurel, Mexican buckeye and Texas redbud. Shrubs – Possumhaw holly, red yucca, cenizo, evergreen sumac and agarita. Perennials – Turk’s cap, columbine, four nerve daisy and damianita. Annuals – Wide variety of wildflowers including: Pink evening primrose (buttercups), bluebonnets, winecups and Indian blankets. Ornamental Grasses – Little bluestem, muhly grass, sideoats grama, curley mesquite, Indian grass and bear grass.

Tip: If you’re using GardenStyleSA’s Find-A-Plant filter, just select “thin soil” and “Central Texas native” to see what’s growing in the Texas Hill Country.

Picture of Dana Nichols
Dana Nichols
As conservation manager at SAWS, Dana spent her days promoting beautiful San Antonio landscapes that need little to no water while benefiting Texas wildlife. While she’s no longer whipping up new landscape programs, she’s still cooking up delicious dinners made with fresh herbs from her low-water-use garden or planning the next trip with her husband, Rick -- preferably to some exotic place that requires a passport.
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