Climate Friendly Landscaping

Photo Credit: Tim Good: Photography by Tiwago via Compfight cc
Photo Credit: Tim Good: Photography by Tiwago via Compfight cc

It seems like with most of the earth covered in ocean that we would never ever run out of water. Safe and usable water of course though is something that can be pretty scarce. Here in LA we’re in our third year of drought and our governor has asked us all to conserve water. There are incentives now to convert grass to astro turf and landscapes to desert type plants that use much less water.

I’ve always tried to conserve water but after buying a house it’s been much harder! If I could just not water the grass and garden then I would save a ton of water. Of course everything around me would be brown and dead too. Not really something anyone wants to see. We even have the hardiest grass possible. It’s this slow growing kind that is pretty tough compared to the usual lush grass that most people have. Saves a ton of water though and it doesn’t die easily. To really save water though we need to think of what we can convert to a desert landscape with plants that don’t need a ton of water to stay alive.

Better off in the long run
It’ll take a ton of work to dig up plants and convert the soil to be ready for new types of plants. There’s a small portion of our front yard that used to be a pretty nice garden but now is pretty ragged. The only thing I really like there is a hydrangea. Other than that there is a very spiky succulent (which I want to get rid of because I’ve run into it before), a tree stump, a lot of weeds, and some random small trees and bushes. It takes a lot of water to keep those things alive. If we have cacti or succulents instead then we would only have to water it once a week or every two weeks. That’s a lot of water and money saved!

Still visually appealing
It’s not quite what I initially think of when it comes to gardens, but a rockscape with cacti and succulents can be done beautifully also. Some of our neighbors have converted to it and it looks pretty low maintenance and beautiful. One house nearby has converted their entire yard while another just parts of it. Most likely the latter is what we’ll go for since we still want some grass.

The water utility companies are offering residents credits for if they convert their lawn to astro turf or use desert friendly plants. It’s not enough to cover the cost of it all but it’s better than nothing!


It’s going to be a long time before we actually get this done! First thing we have to do is figure out how to get that tree stump out. We need to fix up that portion of the yard anyway and now is a pretty good time to turn it into something that saves water and money.

Have you converted your yard to save money?

6 thoughts on “Climate Friendly Landscaping

    1. Not literally. Was walking past and got snagged when I got too close. It looks like an aloe vera plant with very very tiny spikes on the edges of the leaf.

  1. I love the look of rock and succulents. It is very popular in Phoenix. As for the lawn, I lived in Texas with a terrible drought and I never watered my grass, but it stayed green because I kept it a little longer. You might want to try that.

    1. Good advice since we’re in a drought now! We only water our lawn three times a week and go a few minutes longer. It seems to be doing just fine!

  2. Another solution that helps environment and water preservation is to have brick paved driveways instead of asphalt or concrete one. When the driveway is concrete rain water runs off it into the drains but brick paving allows the water seep through to the ground and retained in your garden.

    By the way, why people immediately think cactus? Figs and olive threes are strong and don’t need much water. You can plant them instead of cherries and peaches. Nice to have trees if you have a garden
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    1. Many houses around here have desert landscapes with cacti and succulents. Those seem to be the most water friendly. There are plenty of other plants that use less water but still more than cacti and succulents! Most likely I’ll end up with a mix! Thanks for the suggestions! It would be fun to have an olive or fig tree, but we’re also going for low maintenance. Just so happen to already have 7 fruit trees that require work!

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