Life After Lawn

Since the drought, many California homeowners are loving life after lawn.

By eliminating high-water turf in favor of planting a mixture of shrubs, grasses and perennials, homeowners will not only use less water, they will gain an attractive landscape that also supports beneficial wildlife.

Autumn, with its shorter days and cooler temperatures, is the best time of year for new planting whether you are renovating a lawn area or adding new plants to a mature landscape. Plant establishment is much easier in the fall. Thanks to Mother Nature and her winter rains (fingers crossed), soil moisture can be kept constant with less irrigation, weeds are not as prolific, and cooler temperatures put less stress on new plants. Probably most importantly, when the air temperatures are cooler than the soil temperatures, plants get more root growth without new top growth, which results in heartier root systems and stronger plants overall.

Replacing turf provides us with the exciting opportunity to select plants that do more than just look pretty. With a little effort and advice — for those just starting out — these renovated areas can also become islands of sustenance for a variety of creatures that inhabit the world around us and are integral to the balance of our ecosystem.

There are quite a few nice examples of local homeowners who have made this switch and we, along with like like-minded City of Davis water conservation staff, thought it would be helpful to feature these alternative landscapes to inspire others to make changes in their own home gardens. (LEARN MORE about these landscapes.)