8/14/2009

How To Be Beautiful with Dry Gardens in Southern California


We love lawns, we love lush green semi-tropical plants, and we love them in dry, desertous Southern California because they grow so well here in this temperate and sunny climate.


But did you know? Lawns and outdoor landscaping consume as much as 49% of our water use in the Long Beach area. If you've seen my past blogs on the subject, you know that Los Angeles and other Southern California cities, including the other desert areas, have been concerned about water use for a long time--for decades, as a matter of fact. Yet, we persist in our East Coast style of landscaping brought here by our forebears. This becomes more expensive with the passing of time--Long Beach is scheduled to raise its water rates this fall, although residents have done well so far in reducing water consumption by 10% through the current city-mandated watering schedule restricting outdoor use to 3 days per week at certain times.

Lawns in particular had a purpose in the past, and it wasn't related to beauty. Lawns derive from the green pastures once kept by owners of cows, because back when we were a more agricultural, less industrial society, financial status and its production could be measured by the amount of land people owned, their crops and their animals. Cows needed green grazing areas, so the more cows one owned, the more pasture was required, and this over time became the foundation for our attachment to lawns, long after the cows disappeared from the average homeowner's life.


Today, we need to fit in with our natural climate conditions, as well as the current water shortage upon us. Beautiful Long Beach Landscapes right into saving money while creating beautiful gardens using native plants. The photos above are "before" and "after" of one house selected by a Long Beach landscaping program. Another great source is at BeWaterWise for landscape and planting ideas.

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