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Creating a Fabulous Front Yard in Drought Prone Climates

News | 21st Jun 2012

There’s a big push these days to create a front yard that is environmentally sustainable.  Creating a drought tolerant landscape will not only save you money, it also helps conserve precious water in drought prone climates.  If you’ve been thinking about making the switch to a sustainable landscape, but have worried that it won’t be as attractive as a traditional landscape, think again.  You can create a fabulous front yard that is drought tolerant by following the simple steps outlined below.

Check your municipality for rebate programs

In many areas, rebates are offered for taking out your grass and replacing it with drought tolerant plants.  Programs typically offer a refund on materials purchased, such as plants, compost and mulch.  Check with your local water district for available programs.  Not only will you be saving water, you’ll be saving money on your renovation, too!

Create a design and purchase plants

You can hire a landscape designer to help you plan out your new drought-tolerant front yard, but it is also possible to save money by doing it yourself.  Note the conditions in your front yard including the condition of the soil and the amount of sun or shade it gets.  Choose plants that are appropriate for those conditions.  Think about the colors and textures you’d like to include in your plan.  In areas that are drought prone, you can find a wealth of drought-tolerant plants at your local garden center or nursery.  Ask the garden center staff for assistance in choosing plants that suit your needs.

Remove your lawn

There are many methods you can use to take out your existing lawn.  One way is to simply dig it up, but that can be back-breaking work.  An easier approach is to use a chemical spray, such as Roundup, to send your grass packing in seven to ten days.  If you’d like to avoid using chemicals and have a little more time to spare, you can also use a method called layering.  Simply cover your lawn with six or more layers of cardboard or newspaper.  On top of that add 4 to 6 inches of mulch, then water.  The layers prevent any light from reaching the grass, and it eventually dies in a month or two.

Dig holes and plant

Dig holes and place plants high in the hole so that the crown is a few inches above the surrounding soil.  Use the existing soil native to your yard, there is no need to add soil amendments.  Water well and allow the soil to settle.

Mulch and water

Once you’ve finished planting, add a 4 inch layer of mulch around the entire planting area.  This will give your yard visual uniformity and also suppress weeds and keep the underlying soil moist.  There are many wonderful and attractive mulches to choose from, everything from wood shavings to decomposed granite.

Water as necessary

The benefit of the drought tolerant landscape is that very little additional water is needed other than rainfall once plants are established.  Turn off the sprinkler system, if you have one, and only water if the soil becomes extremely dry.

With a little planning and time, it’s easy to create a drought tolerant landscape for your front yard that is both attractive and will save you money on watering.  Although you may spend a little extra time making the change, once you do you’ll have a virtually maintenance-free landscape that will be the envy of your neighbors!

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