Wednesday, January 18, 2012

One way to have a drought resistant lawn

Out here in the Western U.S. we have an issue with little amounts of rain.  In Northern California we kind of ignore the real effect of the lack of rain, and continue growing lawns with grass as if we lived out east where it rains all the time.  Regular grass just doesn't make ecological sense here because we don't get rain for most of the year.  Most years the rain starts around November and ends in March and the rest of the year it's blue skies and no rain, except the last couple years the rain hasn't been starting until February (can you say "global warming"?). 

This morning on my walk I saw this:-

In case it's not clear - this yard is full of rocks.  Specifically the smooth rocks often called "river rock". 

Rocks don't need to be watered, meaning that this part of this family's yard does not require any expenditure of water, meaning that it's drought friendly.  Right?

There are other ways to do "drought friendly" of course.  Such as choosing plants that make sense in the local climate, rather than importing plants that make sense for other climates.  I would rather that this yard have drought friendly plants than rocks, because having more plants in the world helps the atmosphere, but at least they're doing their part to have drought friendly landscaping.

By the way the house across the street had a different take on "drought friendly".  Bare dirt.  No grass or other plants, means the yard doesn't require watering, but it's rather sub-optimal.  The yard next to that one had yet another take -- mulch that suppresses plant growth.  Again, a nice way to avoid having to water the lawn but sub-optimal to the preferential method of planting drought friendly plants.