Are you wondering how to create a drought tolerant yard? If you live in a part of the country that’s going through a dry spell, reevaluating your front yard design for drought tolerance is a great way to keep your surroundings looking beautiful while minimizing water waste. After all, the U.S. uses nearly 9 billion gallons of water for home irrigation every day, according to the EPA.
Whether you’re simply watering more conservatively or embracing a full xeriscaping overhaul, you have options. Instead of watching your lawn wither away, follow these easy ideas to make your lawn more drought-tolerant.
What Is Xeriscaping?
Xeriscaping became popular in the Western U.S. during the 1980s as more and more homeowners were seeking information on how to create a drought tolerant yard. In Latin, the word xero means dry, and the word scape means landscape. So, xeriscaping is simply landscaping with a focus on the unique requirements of arid climates.
Today, some people fully embrace all seven xeriscaping principles, while others pick and choose according to their needs and goals. Here are the seven principles of xeriscaping:
- Better designing and planning
- Reducing the amount of grass and/or using drought-tolerant grass varieties
- Using more water-efficient plants
- Testing the soil and adding compost or other organic matter
- Using decorative rocks and wood mulch
- Repairing or upgrading the irrigation system
- Ongoing seasonal maintenance
How to Incorporate Xeriscaping Principles at Home
As you discover how to create a drought tolerant yard, you’ll find that there’s no one-size-fits-all solution. For example, someone with a large backyard with lots of hills may take a different approach than someone looking to landscape their small front yard design for drought tolerance purposes.
Of course, the best approach is to consult a professional, but that’s not always a realistic possibility. Fortunately, there are easy and affordable steps you can take on your own. Follow these straightforward tips and ideas to reduce waste and keep your outdoor areas looking amazing.
1. Reconsider How You Water
If you plan on keeping your grass, the first step in learning how to create a drought tolerant yard is creating a better watering plan. In short, your goal is to water your lawn just enough to give it the hydration it needs without going overboard. This helps to create a deep, far-reaching root system, which is so important during times of drought.
Your first instinct might be to keep watering your lawn regularly, only using less water. It’s actually better to water your lawn less frequently with a few deep waterings per week. On average, you should be giving your lawn roughly an inch of water weekly, so watering ⅓ of an inch three times weekly is a great starting point.
It’s also important to water your lawn in the morning while it’s cooler out. Watering during the afternoon causes a significant amount of the water to be evaporated before it reaches the roots. If you’re wondering how to create a drought tolerant yard, this simple step can go a long way in reducing water waste.
The right irrigation system can also be quite beneficial. If you already have one in place, make sure it’s only watering the grass, and not your driveway or fence. Using an underground irrigation system is also an effective way to ensure that all of the water is being used.
2. Insulate the Roots from Heat with Mulch
If you’re trying to fortify your back or front yard design for drought, wood mulch can be a powerful ally. Mulch acts as an insulator for your plants, reducing heat and slowing evaporation. As you learn how to create a drought tolerant yard, you’ll find that you don’t necessarily need to get rid of your favorite plants — you just need to reevaluate how you care for them.
3. Improve Plant Health with Organic Compost
Organic compost is packed with moisture and nutrients. During times of drought, compost can go a long way in helping your plants to weather dry spells. Organic compost retains moisture for much longer than soil on its own, and it helps to deliver moisture to the roots. It works kind of like a sponge. The compost absorbs the water and retains it more efficiently than standalone soil.
4. Replace Grass with Drought-Tolerant Plants
If you’re researching how to create a drought tolerant yard, you might be trying to save your grass. However, there are outside-the-box solutions that involve removing the grass entirely, or just keeping it in key locations.
For example, instead of a traditional grass lawn, you could put down decorative stones, sand, and drought-tolerant plants such as cacti and succulents. This kind of setup requires very little water, and it can be visually stunning. You don’t need to sacrifice the look of your back or front yard design for drought tolerance. Get creative with it!
5. Use Drought-Tolerant Grass
If you’re committed to keeping your classic green lawn, you may want to consider using a grass variety that better tolerates dry climates. After all, a big part of discovering how to create a drought tolerant yard is simply knowing which plants don’t demand as much hydration. In order of most to least drought-tolerant, here are some grass varieties to consider:
- Hybrid Bermuda grass
- Zoysia grass
- Common Bermuda grass
- Seashore paspalum
- St. Augustine grass
- Kikuyu grass
- Tall and red fescues
- Kentucky bluegrass
- Buffalo grass
Visit FGS for Drought Solutions For Your Yard or Farm
Knowing how to create a drought tolerant yard is a great step for homeowners looking to improve their back or front yard design for drought. It’s up to large businesses to reevaluate water consumption in order to make the most of limited water supplies on the large scale, but by changing up your home garden, you can make a difference, too.
We offer a wide range of agricultural products and services that keep your home garden or farm looking beautiful. Our shops stock all the tools you need to get down and dirty with your xeriscaping adventure, including lawn and garden supplies, fertilizers, rugged workwear, and much more.
And if you happen to be looking for commercial irrigation solutions, we can help you with cutting-edge irrigation system designs, all individually catered to your specific crops. We also offer customizable sizes so you can find an irrigation system that makes the most out of every drop.