Earlier this year, I moved from an area that gets about a meter of rain per year to a locale that rarely gets as much as a quarter of that. Per local weather data, this past year has been drier still, with only about 13 centimeters of rain during the most recent dozen months. Water rationing has not yet been fully imposed, but residents are required by local ordnance to limit any landscape watering to the periods of early morning, late evening, or nighttime. More and more areas that previously tried to be “lawns” have been converted to less water-thirsty designs.
Because of pandemic restrictions, some of the in-person resources that had been available for teaching “water wisdom” have been curtailed. Still, there are online resources, such as https://www.watersmartsd.org/residential/landscape-resources/, and some visiting allowed at an area “water conservation garden (https://thegarden.org).”
While on neighborhood walks, I’ve also been surveying our vicinity for inspiration before making any further changes to our small yard. It’s pretty amazing what can be accomplished using varieties of mulch, stone, and other pavers, sometimes with a dollop of desert plants, sometimes using a broader set of shrubs and grasses. My guess is that “xeriscaping,” also know as “drought-tolerant landscaping” is also more erosion-resistant if and when the rains do come. A time for this newly minted southern Californian to gather more stones together?