In recent months, the continued drought in the state of California has become increasingly problematic for both businesses and residential homeowners. In fact, there is simply not enough water to meet the demands of farmers, landscapers and the average citizen. Responding to this crisis, state and local governments have proposed a number of solutions including rationing, increased consumption fees, the use of drought tolerant grass, as well as the outright prohibition of certain types of water use.
Most prominent among the last of these is the prohibition against the watering of residential lawns. This situation leaves many homeowners in a quandary as they are also required to keep their lawns “green” by their local homeowner associations. What is the socially concerned but also legally responsible homeowner to do? Here are a few suggestions:
Use Drought Tolerant Grasses
There are at least a half dozen species of grass – including zoysia, Bermuda, St. Augustine and the fescues – that can tolerate moderate to severe drought conditions. Use them in place of the more “thirsty” varieties. Not only will you be conserving our most precious natural resource, water, but you’ll also be saving yourself a bundle on your monthly water bill. One caveat – some of these varietals are not particularly winter-friendly, so check with your local nursery to find the best one for your individual locale.
Try Other Ground Covers
Numerous creeping plants such as the herbaceous thyme and the ground cover known as sedum make excellent alternatives for covering large areas without resorting to a traditional lawn. Other choices include coyote brush, wild lilac and the Mexican daisy. Each of these plants is extremely tolerant of low moisture levels even in the depths of a Texas summer and will often bloom with occasional rainfall. The only downside is that they will not spread rapidly without enough water.
Install Completely Artificial Grasses
The technology of reproducing the look and feel of real grass with synthetic ones has taken a dramatic leap forward since the introduction of Astroturf back in 1965. These days, there are a variety of products available to suit the needs of almost any homeowner. Whether you are looking for a deep green color and intricate matting or a less dense and lighter sod, the newest synthetic grasses can simulate the look of everything from bent Bermudas to soft leaf buffaloes – all at an affordable installation price and with almost no further maintenance costs.
Think Outside the Box with Xeriscaping
Designed to eliminate – not just reduce – the need for supplemental water from the surrounding environment, xeriscaping uses gravel, larger rocks, wood chips and other non-living items to beautify a landscape so that no water is needed at all. In many cases, the use of a xeriscape is particularly highlighted as most other homes in the area will not have anything like it. Additions to the xericentric landscape can also include metal sculptures, mosses – which consume very little moisture – and petrified wood to add a more naturalistic appearance.
A Final Thought
As you can see, homeowners today have a multitude of excellent options when it comes to avoiding excessive water usage as it relates to landscape options for their yards. Choosing the right landscaping material is key and fortunately you don’t have to sacrifice aesthetics to get a grass that fits your budget and is eco-friendly. The residents of the Great Southwest have known this for years and have embraced the use of cacti, non-living landscape items and drought tolerant grass.
Looking at pictures of the homes in Arizona and New Mexico is a great place to start for the homeowner looking to reduce landscape watering requirements.
If you would like to learn more about installing artificial grass, check out the Do-It-Yourself Easy Install Guide.