Increasing concerns about California’s drought conditions have prompted homeowners to explore ways to have beautiful yards with drought-resistant landscape design. Sustainable and environmentally-friendly planting, however, certainly doesn’t mean ripping out everything that’s green in favor of rocks and pebbles. In fact, just the opposite is true. So, whether you’re are building a new home or remodeling one in the Bay Area, your landscaping and hardscaping plan is as important as what your interior building plans.
If you look toward the horizon, chances are you will see levels of green — trees, shrubs, grasses and ground-hugging plants. All serve a purpose and help to prevent erosion. Native California plants are interdependent, providing habitats for birds, wildlife and insects. The total environment functions well together, an ideal you can mimic in your home’s drought-resistant landscape design. Use existing land contours to your advantage.
Look Around You
Getting the hang of drought-resistant landscape design is relatively easy. Look to the undisturbed land, and then consult with nurseries and local gardeners to find trees, shrubs and flowering plants that thrive with minimal upkeep and need little additional water. Plan a landscape that includes natural materials in accents or walkways. Introduce other features such as low walls or berms to create definition and add dimension.
Don’t Force It
Professional gardeners and landscape designers can help you design a drought-resistant plan. A phased approach can help your garden mature over time, evolving with your lifestyle. Just as decorating your home’s interior takes time, be patient with your landscape efforts.
Create Mini Environments
There are many ways to integrate shade trees, ornamental species, flowering plants that include seasonal bloomers and splashy specimen varieties, and even food-producing plants into the same landscape. Create specialized mini-gardens: herbs that you can harvest for favorite recipes, a wildflower area to attract pollinators, birds and butterflies, a vine patch that yields tomatoes and cucumbers, or even a children’s garden. Plant a “midnight garden” with all white blooms if you have a romantic spirit. Or line a front walk with mossy ground cover or spreading low juniper for a forested look.
Mix It Up
If you’re looking for a hands-on experience, UC Master Gardeners can provide advice and assistance. Local nurseries and community colleges hold gardening classes as well. Courses on permaculture and xeriscaping are becoming more popular as our drought conditions persist year after year. Experiment and be open to options for your yard. Even with native plants, you’ll need to investigate irrigation systems that include traditional sprinkler watering or efficient drip watering. Lastly, think about ground cover rather than grass, paving stones or flagstone or decomposed granite paths in lieu of poured concrete sidewalk.
Ready to start a remodel where your indoor and outdoor living spaces are in harmony? Call us today at 408-248-8000.
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