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

Achillea millefolium + cvs

Common Name: Common yarrow
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.

Bouteloua gracilis

Common Name: Blue grama
Plant Type: Grass
Water Needs: Low 2
Exposure: All day sun
Height: 18 in. - 24 in.   Width: 12 in.

Carex pansa

Common Name: California meadow sedge
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.

Carex praegracilis

Common Name: Western meadow sedge
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.

Dymondia margaretae

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

Phyla nodiflora

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