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Enjoy a beautiful, water-wise yard that's easy to maintain and suited to Calgary's unique climate.  

With Calgary and much of southern Alberta continuing to experience drought conditions, we all need to do our part. YardSmart’s online resources and practical advice helps Calgarians establish and maintain yards and gardens that are well suited to Calgary’s growing conditions and use less water.   

Together, we can make every drop count during this drought.   

YardSmart plant guides


Use our YardSmart plant lists to help you choose plants at your local garden centre or native seed supplier.

Garden bed design guides


View our professionally created garden bed design guide series that includes layouts for all areas of your yard. 

Once established, these gardens take little time, effort, and water to maintain.

Steps to success


Following basic YardSmart principles will set you up for gardening success in Calgary.

1. Design your yard

2. Consider removing some lawn or using alternatives

3. Have good soil and lots of it

  • Add a base of at least eight inches of good quality soil for a healthy garden or lawn.
  • Visit Top Soil Calculator to determine how much soil you need for a project.
  • Improve your soil by adding compost. For directions on how to apply compost in your yard, visit Compost.org.

4. Choose plants that thrive in Calgary

5. Add mulch for beauty above and below

  • Add bark, wood chips or stones to reduce evaporation from your soil, slow weed growth and decrease erosion.
  • To find out how much mulch you need to buy for a flower bed, visit Plan Your YardSmart yard.
  • Get free mulch at the East Calgary Landfill.

6. Water wisely

  • Use a rain barrel as a free source of soft, warm water for your yard.
  • Water low and slow - low targeting the plant roots and slow with a watering can, soaker hose or drip irrigation.
  • Visit our Watering 101 - mature landscaping or new landscaping guides for watering tips.

Download our YardSmart Basics brochure (Arabic, Hindi, Punjabi, Simplified Chinese, Traditional Chinese) for more information on each of the steps.

YardSmart translation library


Visit our YardSmart translation library to find all of our gardening guides in one place and in a variety of languages, including Arabic, Hindi, Punjabi, and simplified and traditional Chinese.

YardSmart translation library

YardSmart how-to videos


Pollinator Friendly Yards

Pest Free Gardens

Creating a New Garden Bed

Fertilizing Plants

Effective Watering

Plants for Calgary's Climate

How to Garden on a Budget

Planning a Garden Bed

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