Everyone wants a lush, beautiful yard, but this can be difficult to accomplish during a water shortage. A NASA study on lawns found that grass covers 50,000 square miles of the U.S., and the Safe Drinking Water Foundation adds that between half and three quarters of all municipally treated water in North America is for watering grass. If you’re trying to save time and money by watering less, use these great drought-tolerant landscaping options to help keep things green this summer despite any drought conditions in your area.
Plant Drought-Tolerant Grass
While a majority of North American lawns consist of thirsty bluegrass, this isn’t your only option for creating a lush, green carpet for your kids to play on. Spring is a great time to make big changes to your yard, so choose this time to replace bluegrass with one of these options, depending on your climate:
- Zoysia grass: Good in sun and shade.
- Bermuda grass: Loves sunny, sub-tropical regions.
- St. Augustine grass: Prefers dappled shade.
- Buffalo grass: Slow-growing grass, does best in warm climates, but tolerates cold as well.
- Bahia grass: Good choice for poor soil in full sun.
- Fescues: Cool season grass for northern climates.
A grass-less landscape is preferred if you want to conserve the most water. After all, you can still enjoy green in your yard without having grass. By foregoing a traditional lawn, you don’t only save water – you also eliminate the need to mow, aerate, fertilize and perform other grass maintenance tasks.
Replace Grass with Dwarf Mondo
Since this plant loses its drought-tolerant qualities when used in large areas, you may not want to cover your entire lawn in Dwarf Mondo. However, it makes for an excellent grass substitute for filling in bare spots. Dwarf Mondo is soft under foot, remains weed-free, and naturally aerates and conditions the soil as a nitrogen-fixing plant.
Plant Perennial Groundcover
Low-growing perennials withstand drought conditions much better than bluegrass and eliminate the task of mowing the lawn. Groundcover offers appealing texture, and some plants feature seasonal blooms and beautiful green foliage. Some popular options include:
- Oregano: An edible herb with attractive foliage and flowers.
- Thynme: An edible herb that needs full sun and attracts bees.
- Plumbago: Great for large areas in full sun. Produces deep blue flowers and goes dormant in winter.
- Japanese Ardisia: Great for both accent and mass plantings.
- Vinca minor: An everygreen groundcover that blooms purple flowers.
Plant Flowering Perennials and Ornamental Grasses
With varying plant heights and colors in your garden, you enhance its visual appeal, lower maintenance requirements and increase drought tolerance. Examples of flowering perennials and ornamental grasses include:
- Salvia greggii: A wide variety of salvias offer everything from lavender or light blue flowers to red and white or hot pink flowers.
- Butterfly bush: Blooming shrub with lilac-like flowers can reach six feet or taller in height.
- Cistus: Vigorous evergreen flowering shrub that reaches four to six feet tall.
- Japanese blood grass: Upright, green foliage flushed with dark red offers a vivid garden accent.
- Fountain grass: Mid-size, warm-season grass grows in a graceful arch, making it an ideal border plant.
If you live in a warm desert climate, water-retaining succulents are a perfect accent to your yard. Their swollen leaves for storing moisture give them a plump, attractive appearance. Some options include:
- Burro’s tail: Spreading, drooping leaves offer a unique look to your garden.
- Agave: Wide, spiky leaves have a pronounced desert appearance.
- Sedum: Forgiving of sun and bad soil, sedum is easy to grow and rewards you with beautiful seasonal blossoms.
Include Rocks and Mulch in the Mix
While rocks and mulch don’t contribute directly to the green in your garden, they help slow evaporation to give your plants a chance to soak up more water and stay green. These additions also reduce water runoff and cover any section of bare dirt for an overall better garden appearance. Large rocks can also break up different areas for greater visual interest.
With these ideas, you’ll save time and money by watering your drought-tolerant landscape less this summer. Even after drought conditions pass, you’ll still enjoy the savings that come with a drought-tolerant landscape for many years to come.
Need help replacing your thirsty grass with perennial groundcover and succulents? The Grounds Guys® are here to help. We offer both landscape and hardscape design to help ensure your yard works for you this summer and well into the future.
CLICK HERE for an overview of how we can help you meet your landscaping needs.