Replacing your lawn with
|Imagine your front yard entirely filled with
blooming color for most of the year. This golden
Lantana (Lantana montevidensis) could be
your answer for a drought-tolerant, easy care lawn
substitute. Even better--you can throw your lawn mower
A big mistake that people make
when they remove a water-guzzling lawn is to simply spread
rocks over the bare earth and call it a 'desert garden'.
What they don't realize is that the rocks can heat up to 150
degrees (Fahrenheit) in direct sunlight and that their air
conditioning bills will soar.
For that reason we advocate planting drought tolerant ground
covers that will grow and spread out across the rock and
keep the temperature down.
One beautiful replacement for your
lawn is low-growing, sturdy Lantana (Lantana montevidensis L.
selowiana). It grows very fast and blooms almost year
'round. Your local nursery should have young plants in a
rainbow of floral colors so you can pick one--or more--to
complement the color of your home. For example, a home
painted a white or sand color might look great with a front
yard densely filled with brilliant yellow blooms. For a home
with a pink exterior, consider purple, white or sizzling
orange Lantana. There is even a newish variety, called
'Lemon Swirl' with variegated yellow-green leaves and bright
yellow flowers. Lantana is very drought tolerant; too much
water and fertilizer will result in fewer flowers.
||Plant a mix of colors of low-growing
montevidensis to create a front yard that looks
like this for months on end. Be careful that you do
Lantana camara, a shrub that grows to 6 feet
Another xeriscape ground covering
shrub is the Acacia redolens, especially the
'Desert Carpet' variety. This plant has narrow gray-green
leaves, grows to about 2 feet in height and in early spring
puts on a dazzling show with puffy yellow ball-shaped
flower. An important virtue of this shrub is that a single
plant can spread as wide as 15 feet. And talk about drought
tolerant--Acacia redolens needs little
water beyond what rain falls from the sky.
||Another plant to consider is
Rosemary (Rosemarinus officinalis),
a classic in Mediterranean gardens. This photo also
forms a dense, flat ground covering mat. The
owners have included an aloe shooting up red blooms,
some purple statice (sea lavender) and other low
growing plants. For more about replacements in
a parking median,
is beloved by cooks and bees alike. The creeping variety
will grow to about 1 foot in height with dark green,
fragrant narrow leaves. In early spring bees swarm to its
pale purple flowers. Rosemary needs little watering, only
light fertilizer and good drainage. (A word of caution: many
bees in California, Nevada, Arizona and Texas have been
Africanized and may be dangerous in a swarm.)
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||This front yard combines
both a grass and the sturdy succulent ground cover--iceplant--with
a few agaves for accents. Maintenance is
ultra-easy: once a year the owner cuts back the
grass to six inches in height.
No doubt your local nursery will
have other suggestions of good ground cover shrubs for your
area and how to care for them. Be sure to tell them you want
a "low-growing drought tolerant ground cover."
Replacing your lawn
-- read this for what NOT to do
lawn with perennials
Replacing your lawn with ornamental grasses
lawn with pavers
your lawn with mazes and knot gardens
Replacing the lawn in your parking median