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4 Tips for Creating a Drought Tolerant Yard

If you live in the arid West, then you are no doubt concerned about conserving water this drought season. The great news is there are many incredible ways you can create a beautiful and drought-tolerant yard. Here are some innovative ideas from some of the top landscaping experts in California to help you save water while enjoying a lovely landscape.

  1. Remove the Grass and Replace it with Drought-Tolerant Alternatives

A yard full of grass is the main source of water usage. You can save water and maintenance costs every year by replacing the grass in your lawn with drought-tolerant alternatives like a ground cover, or a product called IdealMow from FormLA Landscaping. IdealMow is a water-conserving effort that uses California native grasses. The result is a lush, live lawn that uses only 30% of the water traditional lawns need, and eliminates the need for chemical fertilizers and pesticides.

  1. Incorporate Xeriscaping

Xeriscaping uses native plants to provide color, depth, and texture in an efficient way. Varying native plants can be used instead of a drought-tolerant lawn, or to accent it. Josh Rosenthal of Eco Minded Solutions says that Xeriscaping can “save water and energy without sacrificing beauty by using drought-tolerant succulents like Panda, Medicine, Jade, and Snake plants.” Eco Minded Solutions is in San Diego so be sure to choose plants that are native to your region in California to best improve water usage. Robert Kourik, the author of Understanding Roots, explains, “All native plants are not equal. The ecosystems within California range from the lowest, hottest desert in America to lofty, chilly alpine-meadows.”

  1. Use Smart Irrigation

No matter if you have native, drought-tolerant plants in your yard, using the right irrigation system is important. A subsurface, drip irrigation system is installed beneath the top layer of soil, and can help you conserve water because it significantly reduces the amount of evaporation that would otherwise be lost to the sun’s rays. Both Eco Minded Solutions and FormLA Landscaping recommend drip irrigation for its smart water-conserving powers. Additionally, drip irrigation “can significantly reduce the risk of flooding your plants,” says Josh Rosenthal, because the water is able to reach the deepest layer of the root system to secure the plant in place.

  1. Replace Landscaping with Hardscape Structures

When it comes to designing your yard, it’s all about what you value most. According to Eco Minded Solutions, “eliminating water altogether with a hardscape yard makes space for activities, requires less maintenance and overall uses less resources while still looking good.” When creating walkways and patios, permeable pavers are a great option because they allow rainwater to seep into the surface of the pavers and the ground, offering nourishment to surrounding plant life. FormLA Landscaping uses this product in many of their client’s yards, like this example here, because it also helps prevent toxic runoff water from flowing into rivers, lakes, and reservoirs.

When it comes to creating a drought-tolerant yard, the possibilities run the spectrum from simple add-ons, to large-scale replacements. The most important thing to remember, according to Robert Kourik, is that “drought-resistant landscapes can be as beautiful as any real landscape.”

About Philip Travers