Currently California is entering the fifth year of what many are forecasting to be just the beginning of a drought that could reach historic proportions. However, scientists and geologists have another slant on the current dry spell, none of which portends to be good news for this already drought-stricken state. Because of the severe shortage of water, property owners throughout the hardest hit areas are rethinking their landscaping schemes in an effort to maintain attractive grounds while avoiding overuse of water that is simply not available for anything other than keeping humans and animals hydrated. As a result of more than half a decade of life-threatening droughts, landscapers have begun working on designing gardens and lawns that require little to no water for their upkeep. Here is some of what we have learned from studying California’s historic droughts.
Relief May Be Farther Away than You Think
There was a time in the not so distant past that Southern California was known for its lush greenery and majestic palm trees. Within the past decade trees have been turning brown and dying by the thousands. Lawns are no longer as green as they once were and property owners are literally helpless to do anything about it. There are water restrictions in all areas of the state but the southernmost part is seeing the strictest regulations simply because water being piped in from other areas of the state is also limited.
Those looking forward to relief any time in the near future may be disappointed to know that a 7 or 10 year drought is not unheard of in California’s history and in fact, there have been droughts lasting over 200 years. Geologists and scientists have ascertained that one drought that began around the year 850 lasted 50 years and shortly thereafter another drought followed with a duration of 180 years. There is no way to predict just how long the current dry spell will last but it is certain that landscaping will need to take into consideration the potential for years, if not decades, more of the current drought.
Eco Friendly Landscaping Solutions
In an effort to design and maintain landscaping for homes and commercial properties that requires little to no water, many landscapers have begun designing what is being referred to as eco-friendly landscaping. With creative use of rocks and succulent plants, lawns and gardens can be just as lovely as those covered with grass and flowers, but with a ‘flavor’ that is actually more in keeping with traditional southwest design.
When planning for drought tolerant landscaping solutions it may mean that the entire surface of the grounds will need to be revamped. Often old grass and shrubbery are graded out so that a new base can be formed with sand and pebbles. Contractors will come in and quote a price based on figures derived from their landscape rock estimator. Each property has a base that is specific to the area, meaning some may require more fill than others. However, once completed, an eco-friendly landscape will require little water and even less upkeep.
Summary of Benefits Derived from Drought Tolerant Landscaping
Of course the main goal of resurfacing your grounds is to provide a lovely lawn and/or garden that requires little water to maintain. With uncertainty in the current drought forecast, it is clear that there is no guarantee how long water restrictions will be in place. It could be lifted this year and then again, water restrictions could continue for years.
Also as mentioned, drought tolerant landscaping solutions requires little maintenance. Unlike lawns that need to be mowed regularly and shrubbery that needs to be pruned and shaped at least seasonally, drought tolerant landscaping comprised largely of rocks, sand, succulents and artificial grass and shrubs requires little care. Occasional weeding may be needed, but you will find that this is about the extent of what will need to be done on a semi-regular basis.
Landscaping comprised mostly of rocks and pebbles can also blend easily into walkways and paths. From rock gardens to stepping stones is an easy transition. With pebbles forming the base and perimeter of stepping stone areas, the gradual progression is aesthetically pleasing. Here again, grass would not be growing up around the stepping stones so this particular type of walkway would be extremely easy to care for.
It is true that no one can predict just how long the current drought in California will last but savvy property owners have already begun redesigning their lawns and gardens. Many critics believe this is actually more in keeping with the history of the area and by using native rocks and succulents California residents are turning back the hands of time to what many consider to be the natural beauty of the Southwest. If you are a home or business owner looking for an eco-friendly, drought tolerant solution to the current water shortage in Southern California, there is still hope. Create lovely landscaping with rocks, stones, pebbles and sand and see how quickly your grounds are transformed into a lovely Southwestern motif.