Month: January 2019

Drought-Tolerant Landscaping & Garden Ideas

The sunny, dry climate of Southern California is ideal for days out shopping and lazing on the beach. However, it means that water can be scarce—and this affects the home garden. In this blog, we’re going to show you drought-tolerant landscaping ideas that will allow your garden to survive—and even thrive—in the dry climate of Los Angeles.

1. Take Your Inspiration from California Natives

The most important choice you’ll make when designing your garden is which plants to include. While you may love the lush foliage of elephant ears, hydrangeas, and tree ferns, these plants take a lot of precious water to keep alive and are more suited to areas with high rainfall.

Fortunately, if you choose a diverse variety of California native and desert-loving plants for your Los Angeles home, you can have a drought-proof garden that requires very little water and will look fabulous into the future. Here are some drought-tolerant landscaping ideas to help with plant selection.

California Native Trees

Any garden that is self-sustaining will mimic the layers that are present in natural ecosystems. A tree layer provides shade, holds the soil together, and provides moisture for surrounding plants. These California natives are perfect for large Los Angeles home gardens:

  • Big Leaf Maple (Acer macrophyllum)
  • Palo Verde (Cercidium floridum)
  • Desert Willow (Chilopsis linearis)
  • Beach Pine (Pinus contorta contorta)
Drought-Tolerant Grasses

Grasses are an easy way to add texture, shades of green, and drama to a low-water garden and are great for small spaces. In our drought-tolerant landscaping ideas, we suggest the following grasses for your front or back garden:

  • Sheep Fescue (Festuca ovina “Glauca”)
  • Deergrass (Muhlenbergia rigens)
  • Purple Needle Grass (Nassella pulchra)
  • Giant Wild Rye (Elymus condensatus)

Succulents and Cacti

Succulents are one of the most well-known additions to a desert garden that cover the ground with diverse textures and need very little water. Plus, succulent gardens in Los Angeles front yards often become the envy of your neighbors! Many even have colorful flowers in the spring and summer seasons. Consider the following drought-tolerant landscaping succulent ideas for the driveway or along the edge of the house:

  • Chalk Dudleya (Dudleya pulverulenta)
  • Our Lord’s Candle (Yucca whipplei)
  • Aloe Vera (Aloe barbadensis miller)
  • Hen and Chickens (Sempervivum tectorum)

2. Work with Your Soil Type

When choosing the drought-tolerant plants that could be right for your garden, you will also need to take your soil type into consideration. To find out what type of soil you have, you can make some observations based on color and consistency, send your soil for testing, and locate your home on this map of soil types in Los Angeles and surrounding areas.

Here are some drought-tolerant landscaping ideas for each of the main soil types found in the Los Angeles area:

Sandy or Silty Soil

These types of soil drain very quickly and can tend not to store as many nutrients as clay or loam soil. Choose plants that need a lot of drainage (those that don’t like “wet feet”), and add organic matter to help hold in the nutrients. Drip-irrigation is the most effective form of watering.

Clay Soil

Clay soil forms a ball if you roll it in your fingers and typically retains a high level of nutrients and water—making it ideal for agriculture. The downside is that clay soil can become dry and cracked with hot weather. For drought-tolerant landscaping ideas with clay, add some organic matter. Organic material can help to aerate clay soil and stop it from becoming waterlogged.

Loam

Loam soil is thought of as the “ideal” soil as it contains the perfect ratio of sand, silt, clay, and organic matter. Most plants will do well in loam soil or a variation of it, provided that their moisture, light, and temperature requirements are also met.

3. Maximize Water Collection and Retention

Drought-tolerant landscaping ideas aside from plant choice focus on collecting and retaining water on your property for as long as possible.

To collect water in your garden, consider installing some rain barrels to collect runoff from the guttering. You can then use this for watering your garden. You can also build “check dams” and “dry creeks” in your garden out of rock to encourage the water to pool and be soaked up by your plants.

Reducing evaporation can help to retain water in the soil for a longer amount of time and keep your plants alive with minimal watering. For drought-tolerant landscaping ideas to reduce evaporation off the soil surface, cover the soil with mulch or pebbles. Pathways made out of decomposed granite can help water to drain into the water table below, decreasing urban runoff and keeping our waterways clean.

4. Hire an Ecologically-Minded Landscaping Firm

If you want to make your Los Angeles garden attractive and environmentally responsible, but you are not sure where to start, we are here to help.

Simply tell us what you’re thinking about in terms of front and back yard garden areas, and we’ll take care of the drought-tolerant landscaping ideas for you!

To learn more about our landscaping and hardscaping services, you can take a look at the photos on our website and contact us to schedule a free landscaping consultation.

Our clients believe in us.

Here is what a few of them say.

  • Kobi R.

    It’s been years since I’ve done any work to my home so I was nervous about the whole project. Thankfully, I found a company that not only provided me with a patient ( I am very particular) and punctual contractor, Rani, but the job came out better than I expected. After doing such an amazing job on the kitchen, I expressed to Rani that I would like to do some more work with him but money, unfortunately, doesn’t grow on trees. Fortunately, Rani found an affordable way for me to redo all the bathrooms and flooring throughout the house.

  • Beverly S.

    Our initial meeting with Rani was excellent due to him giving us information and ideas we hadn’t thought of. He returned a week later with a presentation for our kitchen. Again, we were surprised at his additional ideals and his presentation. We had previously had two of the big-box stores come out so we had an idea of cost. Rani was more reasonable and offered us better and more creative ideas. Our kitchen is completed and we feel we qualify for Better Homes & Gardens. We would recommend our experience and job to everyone.

  • Warren M.

    After about a year and a half after we remodeled our bathroom, we had some minor electrical issues and reached out to A-List Builders. Ben followed up consistently and in a timely manner until my needed repair work was done.

  • Debbie W.

    Everyone was professional, nice and knowledgeable. I am so happy with their work and I will be using them again for my next project. In addition, I will be referring them (which I don't do unless I completely trust a job well done) to my family and friends. Thank you, again, for such a positive experience.

  • Deborah B.

    I hired A-List for a large restoration project. The project involved wall replacement with framing & drywall, stucco, exterior & interior painting, foundation reinforcement, a new exterior gate, fence repair, brick & tile walkways. Ben was the only contractor I interviewed who recommended that an engineer inspect the foundation as part of the evaluation process. Megan cheerfully worked through the process with my insurance company. All of the on-site workers were a pleasure to work with. They arrived early, were professional, & kept the work-site clean & organized...even the city inspector commented positively about A-List's knowledge & organization. A-List Builders did a great job & their follow-up was excellent.

  • Lou D.

    Like so many people in LA we bought a fixer upper. Over the last 5 years we have searched intently for a contractor we could trust. Never has a contractor come on our property that affected us the way Ben and Megan from A-List Builders have. They immediately understood our needs and made brilliant suggestions. They answered every question, every call, and it was such a difference dealing with them than any company we've ever hired before. They did not waste a minute of our time, nor did they try to get us to do more than we wanted. Their pricing is more than fair. They are so good at what they do and completely trustworthy and make hard things much easier. There actually IS a really good General Contractor out there and a company that does all that it promises and more.

  • Anonymous

    I used A-List Builders for my Bathroom Remodel and my bathroom is more beautiful now than I could have ever imagined...I met with Ben who gave me a free estimate for the job and knew right away that A-List Builders was the company I was going to use for the job. Their estimate was fair, and their communication throughout the entire process was fantastic. I always knew there was going to be someone else on the other line if I needed to get a hold of them for any reason. Their workers were true pros that did an immaculate job, excellent craftmanship and very good at keeping the renovation area very clean. I absolutely love my new bathroom and have already recommended them to two of my friends. Truly a great experience!

So, what do you think?

If you’re ready to start talking about your project,
pick up the phone and give us a call at


877-582-7770