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Urban Redevelopment Calls For Drought Tolerant Landscaping

Drought around the world is causing serious damage to existing resources, and threatening the extinction of many others. In Brazil, the current drought situation is the worst in 50 years, and that country’s largest city, Sao Paolo, is now running on emergency reserves and rationing water usage. Brazil does not have any man-made infrastructure to respond adequately to the drought – the reservoir water is often polluted, which contaminated city water in rainy conditions.

In the US, drought conditions have been alleviated in Texas, where they recently received sufficient rain (well, floods) to recover from a four-year droughtCentral and eastern states have no “extreme” or “exceptional” drought conditions, and only a few “severe” drought conditions in Florida and the southern states.

In the west, however, every state west of the Rockies is experiencing some level of drought, and California is suffering the most. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) isn’t predicting anywhere near the amount of precipitation needed to alleviate these extreme conditions (although a possible “El Nino” weather event is predicted this winter, which may alleviate some of the drought problem). Recognizing the challenges faced by all residents of Southern California in terms of water quality and availability, modifying landscaping standards can reduce the demand for water while improving the beauty and manageability of every garden.

Xeriscape = Low Water: Perfect For California 2015!:

Thanks to decades of piped in irrigation water from across 8 states, Californians have become accustomed to green lawns and lush, tropical greenery in their private and public spaces. The reality is that California’s natural climate is composed of Desert, Cool Interior, Highland, Steppe and Mediterranean micro-climates, none of which has tropical traits. The current drought has increased the areas of Desert climate, making them excellent for a transition to Xeriscaping.

The word, “ Xeriscape” describes an area that requires very little water to maintain indigenous plans. Containing naturally drought-resistant plants, and covered in rock, mulch or low-water ground cover, a Xeriscape is designed with the intent to reduce water consumption in the garden.

Plant Varieties And Designs Are International:

Plants that thrive in Xeriscaped gardens can come from around the world, from countries where low water levels are the norm. Africa, the Middle East and Australia have several geographical areas that offer plants with  unique and fascinating foliage and structure to intrigue and impress garden visitors. Design considerations can follow indigenous patterns observed in California’s open areas or a more structured style like those suggested by formal Italian or French gardens. There is no need to lose the beauty of the garden just because the level of water is limited.

Rebates May Be Available From Local Water Districts:

Governor Brown started the trend toward low-water gardens when, earlier this year, he called for the removal of more than 50 million square feet of California lawns. The City of Los Angeles rose immediately to the challenge and, within weeks, was able to promise that half that goal – 25 million square feet – would be removed from within its limits by the end of the year. In fact, the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California (MWD) has paid just over $34 millions in turf removal rebates and has approved another $120 million in turf removal applications. The overwhelming response (2600 LA residents and more than 60 businesses have ripped up their lawns) has caused a run on the MWD rebate offer, but a waitlist has been established for others who might qualify. Local water agencies may still have rebates available for their residential and commercial customers.

Many of the rebate programs require that replacement garden materials be drought friendly plants (totaling 40% of garden area at maturity), and that materials used for pathways be permeable – allow water to drain through and not run off. Many landscaping services report renewed consumer interest in rosemary, lavender, salvia and succulent plants, all of which are comfortable in the Xeriscape garden.

The California drought has no end in sight. Water conservation is the “new normal” as formerly lush green lawns are replaced by the sandy, scrubby colors and textures of drought-tolerant landscapes. Easy to manage and beautiful to look at, every owner of a new home in Southern California will be proud of their Xeriscaped, drought-tolerant landscaping. To find your home with its Mediterranean-inspired landscape, contact us today.