With 2021 being one of the driest years on record for the American Southwest, and Lake Mead drying up before our eyes, mandatory water cuts may be on the horizon for many residents. One thing we can do to reduce the amount of water we use is by creating drought-resistant landscapes. When people imagine drought-tolerant landscapes they probably get ideas of cacti, succulents, and rocks. However, a well-designed drought-tolerant landscape can look attractive all year long.
Benefits of Using California Native Plants
In other areas of the country where water is more plentiful, it’s easy to plant and take care of plants that are nonnative to your area. This may have been true for Los Angeles at another time but not anymore. Landscaping with drought-tolerant plants that are only native to our climate may seem boring but it does have its benefits.
They Use Less Water
The plants that grow naturally in the Los Angeles area have adapted to our dry climate and have learned to go long periods without water. These plants, once established, require minimal irrigation and can go months without a drop of water. By planting native plants you don’t have to worry about when and how often to water your grass and it will reflect in your water bill.
Maintaining a traditional yard with grass is a lot of work requiring fertilizing, irrigation, mowing, and aeration. With a drought-tolerant lawn, there is no grass and the maintenance is pretty hands-free. Native plants also tend to be more resistant to pests and diseases. With a drought-resistant landscape, you will see a significant difference in the amount of time, effort, and money you spend on your yard.
Drought-tolerant Plants Are Beautiful
Some people think that native plants are boring and uninteresting but nothing could be further from the truth. These native plants have spent billions of years evolving and adapting to a hotter and drier climate. They are amazing plants that can tolerate some of the harshest weather in North America and that in itself is beautiful. If you are worried about a lack of color in a dry climate, don’t worry. There are plenty of native plants that can add color back to your landscapes.
There’s a Rebate!
Yes, you read that right. The Los Angeles Department of Water and Power will pay you to plant native California plants. The LADWP Turf Replacement Program extends to all Los Angeles residential and commercial property owners who want to make a difference in the fight against climate change. To meet the qualifications of a “New L.A. Yard” your yard must meet the following criteria:
- Planting California native plants
- Mulch and other groundcovers help retain moisture in the soil
- A rain capturing features like a rain garden, rain barrel, or cistern
- Drip irrigation (as needed)
So what plants should you consider? Below is just a small list of our favorite plants but by no means the entire list. If you want to see all the California native plants that qualify for the Turf Replacement Program then check them out here.
Plants That Qualify For Turf Replacement Program
Clarkias are annual flowering plants that are easy to grow in drought-tolerant gardens. Clarkia flowers bloom in summer or fall, which is why they are also called “Farewell-to-Spring”. Clarkias can grow to between 1 and 3 feet tall and spread 8 to 12 inches. Most flowers bloom in doubles or semi-doubles and have frilly petals that come in a wide range of colors.
Also known as mountain lilac, California lilac is a fast-growing annual shrub that is coveted for its tight clusters of blue flowers that bloom in mid to late spring. If you are the kind of person who forgets to water your plants regularly then this is the plant for you. The California lilac thrives on neglect, only requiring water once or twice per month after it has been established.
Anacapa Pink Island Morning Glory
The Anacapa Island Pink Morning Glory is a climbing vine with large pale pink flowers. This flower is native to the rocky areas of the Channel Islands and makes a great addition to Southern California landscapes. In coastal areas, it enjoys full sun but if you are planting inland it will require some shade from the afternoon sun. It is great for creating fence lines or concealing an unsightly wall.
Toyon is a glorious perennial shrub with a native habitat throughout the western part of California and the Sierra foothills. It is an essential part of the coastal sage scrub plant community and is a perfect fit for California yards. Toyon is also known as Christmas berry and California Holly because of the bright red berries it produces. Toyon will take up quite a bit of space, growing up to 8 feet tall and providing some shade for backyard patios. The berries are loved by birds, including mockingbirds, American robins, and cedar waxwings.
Call The Professionals at Lawnscape Systems For All Your Lawn Care Needs
Using native California plants for designing your landscapes is a great way to help out your community and reduce water use. Lawnscape Systems has over 25 years of experience providing commercial and residential lawn care services to the people of Southern California. Our experienced technicians are trained and licensed to fertilize and apply insecticides, fungicides, and herbicides to treat stubborn weeds on commercial and residential lawns. Learn now by connecting with us online or by giving us a call at 800.255.5296.