How do I begin landscaping my front yard after a long drought?
I live in California where we've been in a severe drought for 5 years. We had good rains this last winter, but still we are on a regulated watering schedule. I want to design my front yard a bit better and need to know where to start.
That California drought promises to go on for a very long time. I would consider replacing as much of that lawn as possible with patio paving and/or landscaping rocks. You could have a covered outdoor area in conjunction with the patio work. For decoration, use artificial plants in movable pots or hanging baskets. Aim to reduce the need for watering to as close to zero as you can.
Start looking into replacing grass with plastic liners covered with decorative stone, as they do in Arizona. Another option is ripping out the grass and putting in astroturf. There are cities in my area that paid you when you did that because it eliminates watering.
Or switch to drought tolerant species if you must have grass.
I agree that live plants are a better choice. They support both habitat and healthy soil. First think out a design plan. Are you going to reduce your lawn or completely eliminate it? Once you've got an idea, you'll need to remove the unwanted turf. There are a few ways to kill it: clear plastic solarization, sheets of cardboard to keep sunlight out, or glyphosate application (Round-Up.) You can remove the turf w/ a sod-cutter, but you'll still need to kill the roots w/ round-up. Next is loosening and prepping the soil, laying out the beds and irrigation, then planting. Best choices are waterwise plants: shrubs or non-invasive ornamental grasses in different sizes, ground cover plants, rock accents, and mulch. A good resource is Lawn Gone by Pam Penick.
Catherine, this is great advice. I will keep some of the grass and design around it. I rather not use Round Up because of the chemicals, but can find a natural way to get rid of the unwanted roots. I will take the rest of your advice and go from the
Glad the advice was helpful. Round-up gets bad press, but, used properly, it is the safest most effective herbicide with short-lived toxicity and no lingering residue. Porous weed barriers work too but eventually breakdown.
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