“Dry Matters” describes a dual interest. The phrase reminds designers that drylands are active contributors to our collective futures and advocates for an expanded material palette to design resilient arid landscapes. It is also the conceptual framework of a graduate design studio that I teach at the University of California, Berkeley which is predicated on the assumption that aridity is an intrinsically valuable ecological condition. In this essay, I recount how dryland policies, attitudes, and perceptions manifest materially through design and planning. Grounding this research, I show how engaging the history of place can be a pedagogical framework for students to design speculative dryland futures.