Description

Some of our highly popular suburban lawns have been recognized to be one of the highest water needy plants in our landscapes. This tends to be true if it is a cool season grass that needs regular summer moisture, and if it takes up overly large areas of our home and commercial landscapes. In fact, it is often the expansive size of our lawns that could be the primary source of our conservation concern. Lawns that sized and dedicated to functional uses, and appropriately managed can be an appropriate part of water-wise gardens.

In the search for an alternative to conventional turf grasses, a number of plants have been tried over the years. Several of these are included in this list; there are also some newer warm season grasses included. Each of these alternatives to the traditional turf grasses perform in different ways and should be carefully evaluated. Many are best treated as meadow-like plantings where foot traffic and play is limited, and infrequent mowing produces a casual appearance. Others are tight ground-hugging creeping plants that can be prone to weeds and bare spots.

Plant List

Perennials

Blue grama

Botanical Name: Bouteloua gracilis
Plant Type: Grass
Water Needs: Low 2
Exposure: All day sun
Height: 18 in. - 24 in.   Width: 12 in.

Buffalo grass

Botanical Name: Buchloe dactyloides 'UC Verde'
Plant Type: Grass
Water Needs: Low 2
Exposure: All day sun
Height: 3 in. - 6 in.   Width:

California meadow sedge

Botanical Name: Carex pansa
Plant Type: Ground cover, Grass, Sedge, Native
Water Needs: Moderate 4
Exposure: Morning sun, Moderate shade, All day sun
Height: 8 in. - 10 in.   Width: 12 in. - 24 in.

Common lippia

Botanical Name: Phyla nodiflora
Plant Type: Ground cover, Perennial
Water Needs: Low 2
Exposure: All day sun
Height: 3 in. - 6 in.   Width:

Common yarrow + cvs

Botanical Name: Achillea millefolium
Plant Type: Ground cover, Perennial, Native
Water Needs: Low 2
Exposure: Moderate shade, All day sun
Height: 18 in. - 30 in.   Width: 18 in. - 30 in.

Silver carpet

Botanical Name: Dymondia margaretae
Plant Type: Ground cover, Perennial
Water Needs: Low 2
Exposure: All day sun
Height: 1 in. - 3 in.   Width: 1 ft. - 2 ft.

Western meadow sedge

Botanical Name: Carex praegracilis
Plant Type: Ground cover, Grass, Sedge, Native
Water Needs: Moderate 4
Exposure: Morning sun, Moderate shade, All day sun
Height: 12 in. - 15 in.   Width: 12 in. - 15 in.