It’s regularly been on the news—Jerry Brown’s mandate to cut California cities’ water usage by 25%. And you probably are aware that the Metropolitan Water District (MWD – Visit their site) has all the turf rebate information you need to make your property SoCal Water$mart.

Did you know that you can use part of your rebate to add rock, pebbles, decomposed granite (DG), and wood chips to your new, drought-resistant landscaping?

Drought-Tolerant Landscaping

Landscaping combinations of grass, plant and stones

Landscaping combinations of grass, plant and stones

Drought-tolerant landscaping doesn’t only include natural turf removal and then just looking at a bunch of dirt on your property. Indeed, it includes adding drought-resistant plants, both native and non-native to your landscaping. Then you can complement this new landscape with rocks, pebbles, DG and wood chips for pathways, walkways, landscape beds, and driveways. Additionally, you can add bark and mulch to help retain moisture in the ground, as well as add color to your entire lawn and landscaped property.

There’s no doubt that water fines are coming. At Western Materials, we’ve heard that there may be water rations again and water fines could be from $500 – $1,000. You should apply for your turf removal rebate by June 30, 2015.

Drought-resistant landscaping is also called xeriscaping. It comes from two words: The Greek word, “xeros,” which means dry and “scape” that’s part of the word, “landscape.” Sometimes xeriscaping is called “zeroscaping.”

Xeriscaping or zeroscaping doesn’t mean dull brown and gray colors reminiscent of the desert. There are many plants and colored mulches, bark, stone and rock that can add a punch of color to your new landscape.

According to “Total Landscape Care,” there are 7 xeriscaping principles:

  1. Design and planning are the crucial first steps. You need to take into consideration property sloping, sun exposure, and soil evaporation because that will determine where plants and other landscaping materials are placed.
  2. Soil testing tells you how porous and healthy your soil is for xeriscaping. You need your soil to be able to absorb water and retain it so plants’ roots can go down deep to get to those moisture reserves during our driest months. Further, soil lacking in vital nutrients will not be able to sustain plant life. A soil test sent to a lab to test for pH balance and nutrients needs to be done.
  3. Use stabilized DG, decorative, gold, gray and colored rock, and pebbles. Since live grass is a no-no in California, you can use stabilized decomposed granite, as well as various rocks and pebbles to line pathways, walkways and as a ground cover under shrubs and trees. Wood chips, crushed stone, and pebbles work well under shrubs and trees to keep weeds out of your gardens. Also, rock gardening is another form of xeriscaping and crushed stone, pebbles and rocks are perfect for it. Stabilized DG, colored, gold, or gray rock, including ¾” gray rock and pebbles work well along long, narrow walkways too.
  4. Use drought-tolerant grasses, trees, and other plants to add beauty to your property. For the rebate to work, you not only need to remove your natural turf, but you need to replace it with real, live, drought-resistant plants that take up 40% of your yard when they reach maturity. However, you’re not limited to just cacti and yucca plants. You can add drought-tolerant grasses, such as buffalo, sheep fescue, deer, giant rye and purple needle grasses that grow in clumps, as well as add texture, interest and color to any landscaped bed. Additionally, you can add a variety of flowers, such as common yarrow, western columbines, big leaf lupines, and bush sunflowers for a variety of color and to add height to your beds. There is also a wide variety of shrubs, vines and groundcovers you can use to keep your xeriscaped beds beautiful. All of these plants help you to conserve water and cut your water bill.
  5. Use smart irrigation to keep your drought-tolerant plants alive. To avoid water fines, make sure your irrigation installer adds rain and moisture sensors as well as timers. Consider switching to drip irrigation which is built underground to deliver water directly to the plants’ roots. Thus, you eliminate wasteful watering.
  6. Use bark, mulch, and wood chips. Mulch, bark, and wood chips will help in retaining soil moisture—further saving you money on your water bill and avoiding water fines. They also aid in reducing weeds from germinating, as well as keeping the soil temperature cooler in the summer and warmer in the winter. Thus, mulch, bark, and wood chips protect your drought-tolerant plants from extreme temperature changes.
  7. Use smart maintenance practices. Your new xeriscaped yard can last for years if you’re diligent in its maintenance. And smart maintenance practices include conserving water by installing sensors and timers on your irrigation system or installing drip irrigation. Good maintenance also includes pruning, weeding, proper fertilization and pest control.

A good California yard will use a little of everything that’s available in drought-friendly materials for the home landscape. Some of these drought-friendly materials include rock, stone, wood chips, drought-resistant plants, shrubs, trees, as well as artificial grass. At Western Materials, we can provide you with the dry materials, like wood chips, bark, rock, pebbles, various types of stones, and mulch to complement your new xeriscaped lawn.
If you’d like to add DG, rocks, stones, bark, mulch or pebbles to your xeriscaped lawn in southern California, call us toll free at (888) 944-9994 or fill out our contact form on our Contact Page.