Any tips for a Northern xeriscape would be great. Hardy plants etc ..........................thnaks for any and all.
One of the best xeriscape gardens in the West is located at the Summerland Ornamental Gardens in the South Okanagan zone 6. The biggest problem I see is growing xeric plants in Vancouver's temperate rainforest climate. Too much precip in Fall and Winter. Check out the xeriscape section of the website or better yet, come by for a visit!
Here is a link that might be useful: Summerland Ornamental Gardens
Check out High Country Gardens on the web and look at the catalog, they have some xeri plants that they comment on the plants ability to live in the midwest. That is the kind of plant you are looking for. You will need to find plants that can stand heat and stand extra moisture. I know HCG has some like this because I remmeber reading that in the catalog (Yes, I read and re-read that catalog and dream of plants I wish I could grow).
I'm in Victoria and have been making a "droughty" yard for a few years; let me know if you have specific questions.
What exactly do you mean about "droughty"? You want your yard to look like its in a drought like a desert area?
I agree with wierdo - the Summerland xeriscape collection is great. (I live in Peachland, the next town north from Summerland, and can easily copy their ideas without worrying too much about climate differences.)
I would expect a "droughty" yard to be one that still looks good in August when it hasn't rained in 2 months, there's been a watering ban on for six weeks, and your neighbors' grass lawns are uniform brown carpets. (As an added bonus, you don't have the fire hazard of all that dry grass next to your house - like San Diego, we lost a lot of houses around here in wildfires last summer.)
Climate differences from Vancouver to Summerland are pretty substantial - Van gets a lot more rain and cloud cover, has substantially more humidity in the air, and doesn't get freezes as often or as deeply as the Okanagan Valley.
Clumping ornamental grasses, sedums and other semi-succulents, big round rocks, yarrow, sumac, and lilies all do really well in our garden. (The rocks are more than decoration - they trap moisture. An ancient xeriscape orchard in the Negev desert used a pile of rocks as dewcatchers by the base of each tree.)
I lived in Seattle for 5 years and I think I understand some of what the original poster may have been asking for. I had what I call a psuedo-xeriscape...my garden didn't require watering once established, but I also chose plants that could deal with the heavy winter rains. It's the winter rains that will kill most "true" xeriscape plants - at least southwestern xeriscape plants.
I relied on Pacific NW native plants a lot (found at local nurseries), including penstemons, vaccinium, and native grasses and ferns. I also had:
-bearded iris (in a raised bed)
-tons of roses
-bearberry (Arctostaphylos uva-ursi)
-beargrass (Xerophyllum tenax)
-and more that I can't remember
Now that I live in Colorado where it's REALLY dry, I can't imagine growing most of this stuff anymore. I still grow penstemons, but different species now. I can also grow lavender and iris, but that's about it! Good luck!