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Transform Your Yard Into an Eco-Friendly Oasis

Forget the idea of lush, green grass covering your property. Grassy lawns require lots of upkeep and often need supplemental irrigation, especially in arid California locations. Rethink yard options and maintenance techniques to create an eco-friendly outdoor space.

Choosing Native and Drought-Tolerant Plants

Plants that don't need much water are especially important in areas like Murrieta, which only averages 12 inches of rain each year compared to the U.S. average of 38 inches. It also gets 275 sunny days per year, which is much higher than the average of 205.

California has a wide range of microclimates with varying growing conditions, so working with a local landscaping company is the best way to find native, drought-resistant plants. Some examples of native plants for Southern California include toyon (Heteromeles arbutifolia), desert mallow (Sphaeralcea ambigua), and giant wild rye (Elymus condensatus).

Changing Lawn Habits

Eliminating regular grass in favor of mulched areas, native plants, or native ground cover can reduce your need for irrigation. In grassy areas, set your mower blades higher to keep the grass taller, and don't cut more than one-third of the grass blade length each time. This helps the grass retain water and stay healthy. Leaving grass clippings on the lawn where permitted also helps retain moisture and keeps grass healthy with added nutrients.


Adding organic mulch to your landscaped areas can improve your soil quality by adding nutrients. It also helps hold onto moisture in the soil and regulates soil temperature. If you use fine mulch, 1 to 2 inches should be enough. For coarse mulch, using 3 to 4 inches is better. If you mulch around plants, avoid putting too much on since it can suffocate the plants, and leave about 1 to 2 inches around the bases of the plants with no mulch.

Maximizing Rainwater Use

Collecting rainwater in rain barrels offers an earth-friendly way to irrigate your landscaping. It can also reduce erosion that sometimes happens when water rushes down gutters.

Avoiding Chemicals

Pesticides and herbicides can kill bees and beneficial insects as well as affect frogs, fish, and other wildlife when they enter the ecosystem as runoff. Hardy native plants often withstand insect pests without chemicals. Encouraging beneficial insects that are natural predators can help. Many beneficial insects are available for purchase from garden stores, and many flowers attract bees and other helpful bugs.

Terracing Slopes

If you have a slope in your yard, consider terracing it. The terraced structure helps control runoff from rain and prevents erosion. The flat areas of the terraces give you a spot to grow more native plants.

Financing Your Eco-Friendly Home

If you plan to add water conservation features to your home, whether your just buying it or want to make improvements to your current home, you might qualify for the FHA Energy Efficient Mortgage program. It's an FHA-insured mortgage option that helps cover the costs of energy-efficient home upgrades. A home energy assessor does an analysis and makes recommendations for improvements, which could include things like water-efficient landscape projects and an irrigation system that conserves water.

Make Your Yard Eco-Friendly

Reducing grassy areas, choosing drought-tolerant plants, and being smart with water can make your yard an eco-friendly oasis. Learn more about the California-friendly landscaping options from Adams Landscaping.


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