Overwatering Is Out

Keep water in the yard, not the sidewalk.

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Planning Ahead

Everything we try to do revolves around being smart with our water. We’re better off today because we invested yesterday, and we’ll be better off tomorrow if we continue investing today. One of the best ways we can invest today is by removing grass and replacing it with smart alternatives.

Last week we talked about identifying key overwatering zones as ideal candidates to remove the turf and replace it with California Friendly plants (remember OC Garden Friendly events!) or other landscapes that require less water. There is one more area of low-hanging fruit: non-functional turf. Non-functional turf are those sections and strips of grass that don’t really get used. It is one thing to water a stretch of grass where kids run and play, but watering grass just because it exists is not being smart with our water. Consider removing that awkward stretch of grass in the corner of the yard, plant a fruit bearing tree, and add mulch until the awkward corner is a smooth arch that is easier to mow.

Next week we’ll talk through an easy method to remove grass and, as always, plan for rebates! In the meantime, take a look at your yard and try to identify your key overwatering zones or non-functional turf. Envision how it would look replaced by a native grass, a dry streambed, or a permeable garden path leading to the portions of your yard that you do use and enjoy.

Two big updates in the last few weeks suggest that the drought is going to be with us through the summer. First, the National Weather Service issued guidance predicting that the drought would “persist or intensify” through all of the State. Second, the snowpack in the Sierra Nevada Mountains contains only about one-third the normal water content and is not projected to increase. Both of those mean that the planning we do today will pay dividends throughout the summer and into the future.

Share your comments with us


  1. Elise Eriksen Says:

    April 25th, 2014 at 10:54 am

    I went on this website looking for information on drought tolerant plants suitable for my area (Fountain Valley, Orange County). I live in a nice housing tract on an oversized lot. We DO NOT USE THE SPRINKLER SYSTEM THAT IS IN BOTH FRONT AND BACK. I would like to add some variation to our landscape, but any plants I add have to be drought tolerant once established. I Was extremely disappointed that either; I could not easily find a link to provide me help in this area, or there is NO Link containing info on “drought friendly plants for OC”. I was hoping this website would provides a range of valuable info (not just cutting back on sprinkler usage, which in many ways is just a bandage to our water crisis). I did notice the events that are sponsored by a retailer that I’m sure would be happy to sell me plants. However; the closest event to where I live was last month at the HB Home Depot. I shop regularly at HD, and 80-90% of their employees in gardening KNOW NEXT TO NOTHING ABOUT THE DEPARTMENT THEY WORK IN.

  2. denise Says:

    May 3rd, 2014 at 7:52 pm

    how do you choose a xeriscape landscaper?

  3. Gnorman Says:

    May 7th, 2014 at 4:10 pm

    Hi Elise,

    Thanks for reaching out! Our April 10th blog sounds just like what you’re looking for and has a list of the top 20 California Friendly plants recommended for the area by our experts.

    Here’s the link:

    There are also a few resources that we’ve found to be very helpful but neither are tailored precisely to Orange County. The first, “A California-Friendly Guide to Native and Drought Tolerant Gardens” has a wealth of information on a range of plants throughout California.

    The second, “The Drought Tolerant Garden,” is tailored for Los Angeles County but the information on the southern most regions applies to Orange County.

  4. Gnorman Says:

    May 30th, 2014 at 2:33 pm

    Hi Denise,

    That’s a great question about how to choose a xeriscape landscaper! Every good landscape is one part inspiration and one part perspiration. The inspiration is all design and everyone has different tastes, so the best method is to look at someone’s portfolio of work and see what you like. Most landscape designers have websites where they highlight their recent work, sooo starting your search with google might be a good bet.

    The Green Gardens Group has a directory with a few Orange County xeriscapers that will help jumpstart your search. The database is much wider for surrounding regions and my gnomish intuition is that a xeriscaper from LA County would be willing to drive to Orange County.

    Best and congrats on considering taking this exciting step to transforming your home and stopping overwatering!