Low water landscaping, how do I make it look right?

Native plant landscape in Dallas 5, originally uploaded by espeedy123.

Talking to so many people about rain barrels and water conservation has started me thinking about converting my own landscape to a low-water using one.

People accomplish this by reducing water-hogging turf and incorporating efficient plants, especially those native to the area.

Rather than figure this all out by myself, I went looking for good examples. Serendipitously, the Save Dallas Water group is hosting a low water landscape tour and posted a map in advance on its website.

I’ve started driving around taking snapshots of these yards, and several were featured in today’s DMN Home section. What I’m struggling with is how to plan this out and keep it at least somewhat in line with what a traditional suburban landscape looks like. I feel like that balance can be achieved, but I’m not necesarily seeing it in the ones I’ve driven past. They’re great for those who have them, just not what I want for my own patch of land.

If anyone has other really great native landscapes on suburban lots, please do comment.

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5 responses to “Low water landscaping, how do I make it look right?

  1. Wondering what you mean by “traditional suburban landscape”? The photo you show looks quite nice, maybe a little native. Why not try finding the yards you like then replacing each plant with a similar “green” one. Keep in mind that grass can be the biggest water hog.

  2. I just don’t want my yard to stick out like a sore thumb. An example is the “parkway,” which is that 3 ft. strip of grass between the street and the sidewalk. A conservation expert told me that this little strip wastes a huge proportion of water, so much so that in places like California and Arizona, it is illegal to plant turfgrass there. Somthing like 90% of the water ends up in the street or on the sidewalk. Despite this, every single house on my block has the same St. Augustine turf in that same spot. I want to replace it with something more ecologically sound, but I don’t someone to look at my yard and say, “What were they thinking there?” I suppose someone always has to be a first.

  3. But, you don’t necessarily want to damage resale appeal of your “best investment” by being first on the block. So the key is finding a blend of green planning and beautiful execution. The parkway could be a good place to start.

  4. Or a bad place. Might stick out more than replacing some of the turf closer to the house.

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