Drought conditions have plagued the U.S., including California, Nevada and across the Southwest during recent years. Now bordering on severe to extreme in some states, the drought calls for drought-resistant plants and landscaping that helps conserve water. The good news is that a new outlook on your yard with drought-tolerant plants can help save cash, too.
Not so long ago, emerald green lawns featuring pristine carpet grass used to be a homeowner’s ultimate outdoor space. Yet, those water-hungry, lush turfs got their start in the second half of the 19th century when seed companies touted rain-soaked English gardens as the ideal.
In recent years, homeowners have been looking at more environmentally-friendly landscaping options. Today, the latest spin on yards and outdoor spaces calls for a native look – less manicured, more efficient and eco-minded. Think drought-resistant plants and landscaping that nurture the environment – and your pocketbook.
With some tried and true tips, you can achieve beautiful, yet drought-resistant landscaping that helps conserve precious natural resources.
Valleycrest, an integrated landscape services company, provides information on top drought-tolerant plants for California.
Start with native plants.
- Transition from water-greedy grasses to more drought-tolerant options. Look for alternatives such as yarrow, ribes and Lamb’s Ears.
- Ask your local gardening expert or nursery about water-hardy plants that require minimum water to reach maximum growth. Choose drought-tolerant ground covers such as Rock rose and California poppy, drought-resistant vines including Bougainvillea and jasmine, plus water-shirking shrubs like lavender, rosemary and deergrass and trees including crepe myrtle and Catalina cherry or native California walnut and oaks.
- Consider making your xeriscape your landscape of choice. According to the LA County Waterworks Districts’ website, about 70 percent of water consumed by the average single-family home is used outdoors. Xeriscape, landscaping with plants that use less water, can reduce outdoor water consumption by as much as 50 percent.
- Native plants create a more natural look and require less water. Bonus: no mowing required!
- Even drought-resistant plants need an occasional drink. Schedule watering early in the morning or late in the day to prevent water loss from evaporation.
- Tuck water containers or a rain barrel unobtrusively in your landscaping. Catch runoff from rain and use it to water your plants.
- Install drip irrigation systems to regulate water use.
- Regularly check sprinkler systems for broken and clogged sprinkler heads. Replace broken heads right away.
- Consider installing pathways made of a porous material, such as gravel instead of non-permeable concrete, so soil can absorb water before it runs off.
- In the same vein, gaps between pavers provide spots for water to soak in, too.
- Ornamental grasses offer cover and structure in drought-resistant landscapes and can help prevent runoff if placed along border areas.
If you would like to know more about Pardee Homes’ WaterSmart® homes, contact one of our New Home Specialists.
NOTE: Before selecting plants or undertaking any landscaping, you’ll want to check with your homeowners’ association and city or county for any special restrictions.