Fake Your Lawn ‘Til You Make It

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Fake Your Lawn ‘Til You Make It

A few months ago, we discussed the benefits of drought tolerant plants for your yard. However, we understand that some people still just love that classic green lawn in the front yard. However, in Southern California it has become nearly impossible to maintain a perfectly green lawn. Some are able to maintain this green lawn by spending precious time and money, but we have personally found the better solution to be artificial grass. Artificial grass has come a long way, and the newest artificial grass is almost indistinguishable from real grass. In this article, we will look into the benefits of artificial grass and why you should consider it for your lawn.

Pros of Artificial Grass

Like drought tolerant plants, an artificial lawn conserves water and saves you precious money on your water bill. Artificial grass also provides the advantage of less maintenance than any other option, as you simply just have it installed and only worry about the occasional quick cleaning. Artificial grass also has an aesthetic appeal similar to a traditional lawn and can often be indistinguishable to a simple passerby. Artificial grass may be more expensive than drought tolerant plants or a traditional lawn, but this money is saved in the long term due to water and maintenance conservation. Artificial grass has come a long way over the past few years causing its look to be nearly similar to that of a traditional lawn; thus, if you want to keep a green lawn without constant watering and hassle then an artificial turf lawn may be right for you.

Cons of Artificial Grass

The major downside of artificial turf is its negative impact on biodiversity and the environment. Artificial turf offers no soil or food value for other plants and animals, and it is non-permeable meaning water will not be absorbed and thus recycled to the environment. Artificial grass also has a heating effect, which anyone who has played a game on a turf field can tell you, meaning that every artificial grass lawn makes the local environment slightly warmer. Finally, artificial turf is produced using petroleum. Thus, artificial grass helps you conserve water while maintaining a similar look, but in doing so you may be slightly damaging the environment and local species.

Artificial grass has come a long way from the ugly, abrasive grass that used to dominate the market – nowadays you can get artificial grass that looks real and feels soft to the touch. Artificial grass offers very low maintenance as you never have to cut it or water it, but with this all comes the negative environmental impact. Artificial grass restricts access to soil which birds and insects feed upon while also causing heating and water runoff. With all this being said, we don’t think it should deter you if you want an artificial lawn. Switching your traditional lawn to artificial grass will not ruin the environment – after all you are only one person – we just wanted to share the slightly negative impact it may have.

Drought Tolerant or Artificial Grass Lawn

California may be out of its drought, but there is no guarantee things will remain this way. With a lack of rainfall, California is a perfect place to have a lawn that does not rely on water. Even if you love a classic grass lawn, perfect lawns are almost impossible to achieve hence why you see yellow and brown lawns all around the neighborhood. Drought tolerant and artificial grass lawns are two great alternatives that allow you to minimize water use while maximizing aesthetic appeal.

Drought Tolerant

Variety of plants that rely on little water including:

You can ask your local nursery about drought tolerant plants as well! Drought tolerant plants go great with hardscape designs. Hardscape has a lot of flexibility and allows you to tailor your yard in several ways. Hardscape has become more and more popular due to its aesthetic appeal and practicality.

Artificial Turf

Benefits

  • No watering, mowing, or feeding while still maintaining traditional front lawn grass look.
  • Life expectancy can be upwards of 25 years making investment worth it in long term.
  • New artificial grass can often fool most into looking like real grass.

Drawbacks

  • Provide no food or habitat for local birds or insects. Biological zero meaning you are not promoting biodiversity.
  • Feel is just not the same as regular grass.
  • Often made with recycled materials but not biodegradable.

Selecting the Right Plants for Your Landscaping

There’s a reason landscaping is a profession – selecting and installing plants is no easy task. You can go to the nursery and pick what you think looks good, but there’s no guaranteeing that those plants will work well together and in your yard. Plant selection can make or break your yard and there are some do’s and don’ts of landscaping. In this blog, we’ll cover a few of the basic rules that come with landscaping, so keep reading if you want a few tips on plant selection.

The Do’s

drought tolerant plantsDrought Tolerance

Putting plants in your front yard used to be easy, as you could just get some nice green grass and be done, but now the drought has forced us to move on from grass and adapt to new more drought tolerant solutions. Hardscape is one of the ways to dodge the drought as brick, stone, and concrete can help cover your yard. Drought-tolerant plants like cactuses and succulents are another good option and look better in a yard than one would think.

Correct Zone

Plants are not universal – specific plants grow better in specific areas. Here in Los Alamitos we are in the 10b range, meaning the average annual minimum temperature is between 35 and 40. Once you know your zone you can then look up plants that grow in your zone. This should not be a big deal as the local nurseries mostly have plants that grow in this area, but this is much more important if you are into gardening and want to know the right plants to plant and when to plant them.

Location for Growth

Plants grow. A small bush that you planted yesterday is not going to stay a small bush forever; thus, when planting your plants, you want to ensure that you give them plenty of space to grow and not have to overlap and compete with other plants.

plants by poolCorrect Lighting

Lighting is a key element of any yard as it can determine not only how your yard looks but also which plants will survive. If a plant needs a lot of sun, then you have to ensure that it is placed in the sun rather than under a tree. You want to place eye catching plants in the sun, drawing attention, while other shrubs and bushes can be placed in the shade to fill space. Lighting is equally as important at night as you want to keep your yard lit and approachable rather than letting it fall dark and harrowing.

The Don’ts

Running Plants

Running plants are plants that reproduce on their own and spread. The best known example of a running plant is bamboo. Some people may want bamboo and that’s okay just you should try to get clumping bamboo; otherwise, the next thing you know your entire yard will be covered in bamboo.

Messy Plants

Nothing looks worse than messy plants that look like they aren’t being taken care of – especially around a pool. Certain plants litter a lot, and, while this isn’t a huge issue for non-pool owners, these plants can be a real nuisance if their mess gets in your pool. Some plants may look amazing, but be sure to do your research before buying them and make sure they aren’t high maintenance and messy.

Poisonous Plants for Pets

There is a long list of plants that are poisonous to pets and can even cause death in some cases. If you have a pet, then you should look up any new plant you buy and confirm that it is not poisonous. You may assume your pet would never eat a plant, but you want to avoid any poisonous plants just to be extra cautious. Check out this link to see a list of poisonous plants: http://www.aspca.org/pet-care/animal-poison-control/toxic-and-non-toxic-plants

Allergic Plants for Gardening

Gardening is a great way to make the most of your yard, but you want to be careful and ensure that you avoid any allergies. Allergies are a terrible thing and it seems like everyone knows someone with serious allergy problems. Thus, when gardening you want to be extra cautious and avoid any plants that could possibly lead to issues.

fountain in garden

Gardening is awesome and a fun hobby because gardens not only look good but taste good as well! Let us know in the comments which plants are your favorite and look best in your yard?