Looking for how to replace lawn or grass on a budget? Many Southern California residents are struggling with how to replace their thirsty out-dated lawns. For decades large green lawns were considered an essential for any Los Angeles or SoCal landscape. Today we are faced with increasing water restrictions and sky-rocketing costs for lawn care making traditional lawns both impractical and unaffordable for the average home-owner.
Luckily, there are a variety of AMAZING Lawn Alternatives that can re-create the traditional lawn feel or re-imagine it completely. While many citizens rush to rampantly fill their former lawns in with gravel or Decomposed Granite I encourage you to research the variety of fabulous low-water no-mow plants that can add the romance of low-growing greenery as opposed to the desert of parched rockscapes. Keeping plants in the ground helps keep our air clean and retain water in the soil adding to biodiversity and ecological growth.
Removing a lawn is an exciting opportunity to create a green scape that works for your personal tastes and local environment. Drought tolerant ground cover and small grass options abound for those who want to keep usable green space for themselves, children or pets in the increasingly hot and dry climates of Southern California.
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Here at Califia ECOdesigns we believe in creating gardens that are functional AND fashionable (preferably exceptionally beautiful). What do I mean by functional?
In this design for a large front yard in Altadena we have a mix of edible and useful plants as well as conventional ornamental landscape accents. Western sword fern and Chinese Mahogany (fragrant spring tree) provide edible shoots in the spring. Sedum ground cover makes a striking accent and also offers an emergency forage crop. Little river wattle (acacia cognata) and again sword fern serve to improve the soil by acting as dynamic accumulators of nutrients. Strawberry tree, blueberry and strawberry plants provide berries in the summer. The smaller more sensitive plants are located under heavy shade to reduce their water needs.
Finally we planted striking Japanese maples right in the foreground in the understory of larger trees to bring the garden's asian-inspired design to life.
This type of landscaping was inspired by extensive training in Permaculture and food forestry. We've developed a long list of native and beneficial plants for usage in Southern California to help convert landscapes into settings that are productive as well as ornamental. Hopefully their ecologically balanced too! For example the heavy usage of ornamental grasses in this design helps to provide habitat for beneficial insects. There are so many great ways we can re-imagine drought tolerant landscapes.
Hi! I'm Briana, Lead Designer and Founder of Califia ECOdesigns in Pasadena, CA. I've organic farmed all over Western North & Central America and love designing drought tolerant and sustainable landscapes. I earned my Permaculture Design Certification in 2011 from engineer Rob Avis.