Lush Lawn, Low Water
Even though the drought is officially over, we are still living in an arid climate. Based on our climate and drought history, we can be sure that another drought will be upon us in the not-too-distant future.
With permanent restrictions in place and future rainfall uncertain, many residents opt to remove their thirsty lawns in favor of drought tolerant grasses and landscaping. However, some people still want to maintain a patch of grass for their kids or pets. Fortunately, there are now lots of grasses and turf that require minimal watering.
Install a water miser lawn!
There are many options for replacing your thirsty lawn with a more drought-tolerant grass that will weather future droughts and remain green. Other benefits include less watering and maintenance, which saves you money while conserving precious water. A diversity of drought tolerant grasses are available, including varieties of fescue, Buffalo Grass, Bermuda and Zoysia.
One example is UC Verde Buffalo Grass, (shown in photo above) designed to withstand hot, dry California weather with 75% less watering than traditional turf grasses. UC Verde ® can be allowed to grow for a tufty, flowing lawn, or mowed every few weeks for a hardy turf lawn perfect for running, playing, and foot traffic. UC Verde ® buffalo grass may be mowed as a lawn or left long for a landscape meadow. Unlike other lawns, this grass only requires weekly watering during the warm season to maintain its appearance. Its slow growth means mowing is required once every two to three weeks for lawns or once a year for a meadow, to invigorate growth. Environmental and health benefits of planting UC Verde ® can be found here.
Other lawn varieties create a lush, long look that's still soft to walk on, made up of native fine fescue grasses. Once established, you can almost forget about them: they don't require regular mowing and only need to be watered during extremely dry periods.
Seeds can be ordered online or at a local nursery specializing in drought tolerant plants. Information on choosing, purchasing and planting drought tolerant grass seeds can be found on Porch, Treehugger, the LA Times, Gardening Know How and the City of Thousand Oaks website.
Bee, Butterfly and Hummingbird Friendly Options!
If you want to do more than replace your lawn, there are also resources to help with drought tolerant flowers and shrubs. One great way to build a drought-tolerant garden is to “go native.” By using native plant species, you bring the beauty of California into your own garden. In addition, native plant gardens require less maintenance and reduce the need for pesticides. They also provide important habitat for wildlife including butterflies, hummingbirds and pollinators. Plus, you’ll be saving big on your water bill! Consider joining the California Native Plant Society, which offers resources and information on native plants and gardening. The Matilija Nursery in Moorpark is a local retailer that specializes in native plants and offers gardening advice.
More Resources for Drought Tolerant Gardening
Here are some more resources for aspiring drought-tolerant gardeners. With these materials in hand, it will be easy to make your garden more resilient to drought conditions AND look fabulous.
- The Ventura County waterwise website provides design advice, plant lists and annotated drought tolerant garden photo galleries.
- The State’s recycling agency, CalRecycle, has xeriscape web pages that provide information about dry landscaping, aka “xeriscaping.”
- Sunset Magazine has a water-wise design guide for the different regions of California.