Valley Oak Landscaping, Inc. Industry Info

(707) 207-6829

Owner Greg Baker stands next to one of Valley Oak Landscaping’s service vehicles.
If you’re a homeowner, consider the benefits of replacing your lawn with a drought-tolerant landscape.

A growing trend among Bay Area homeowners is swapping water-guzzling lawns for more economical alternatives. Drought-tolerant landscaping (also known as xeriscaping or smartscaping) offers a fresh approach that seeks to minimize a property’s water consumption while maximizing its functionality and aesthetic value. For some, the term “drought-tolerant” may evoke desert-like images, but most homeowners are surprised at how lush and colorful water-conserving gardens or yards can actually be.

In order to fashion yards that are simultaneously water-wise and eye-catching, drought-tolerant landscaping places a heavy emphasis on creative design. Unlike traditional lawns, which easily fill out large areas of properties, drought-tolerant landscapes require more innovative strategies and arrangements. For instance, a diverse grouping of succulents and California-native plants situated within a mulched area and accented with ornamental grass can offer aesthetic intrigue while minimizing water consumption. Additionally, the incorporation of hardscape features like flagstones and artistic elements like stone sculptures can further enhance a drought-tolerant yard’s visual appeal.

For those who prefer the look of a uniform green lawn, there are several alternatives that replicate the properties of traditional grass while requiring a fraction of the water. Lawn-like substitutions (often referred to as “ground covers”) range from clover and moss to varieties like Blue Star Creeper and Elfin Thyme. While each variety emphasizes different qualities—for example, some are purely ornamental while others are more tolerant of foot traffic—by doing some research, you can find a lawn substitute that best fits your needs. Another option that’s growing in popularity is synthetic lawns, which have come a long way in terms of offering an authentic look and feel.

Although drought-tolerant landscaping’s top priority is water conservation, this often goes hand-in-hand with a secondary goal: minimizing maintenance. While this is already a natural byproduct of installing plants that require less water, the installation of a sublevel drip irrigation system can make maintaining your yard or garden practically effortless.