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.