Home & Garden

Water bill too high? Consider these changes to your yard

Point Cierra (Ceanothus maritimus)
Point Cierra (Ceanothus maritimus)

Q. What steps can I take to eventually make my yard less thirsty?

— Karen B. Paso Robles

A. Now that the punishing drought is officially behind us, it’s the perfect time to retool our landscapes to better adapt to a drier future. This is especially true when you consider it often takes about three years for drought-tolerant replacements to become fully established.

This Saturday’s UCCE Master Gardener’s “Advice to Grow By” workshop is designed to get you started.

Master Gardeners will discuss two planting strategies that home gardeners can use to reduce water demand while enhancing their landscapes and reducing maintenance.

Groundcovers, including low-growing shrubs and perennials, are one option. California native and Mediterranean-climate plants adapt well to the Central Coast’s wet winters and warm, dry summers. Since many of these groundcovers grow only 2 to 18 inches tall, they make excellent lawn replacements or transitional plants between lawns and taller shrubs. They also provide opportunities to add color, texture and movement to landscapes.

Several drought-tolerant grasses native to California and other Mediterranean climate areas offer another option to replace traditionally water-hungry lawns. These use substantially less water and many require little to no mowing or fertilizers to remain attractive and healthy. Workshop attendees will see examples of how these plants vary in appearance depending on the amount of water provided and how they look if mowed or not.

The Sept. 16 workshop will be held from 10 a.m. to noon at the Garden of the Seven Sisters, 2156 Sierra Way in San Luis Obispo. Garden docents will be available after the workshop to answer questions until 1 p.m. You may want to bring sunscreen and a bottle of water.

For more information about UCCE Master Gardeners or to register for workshops, visit their website at www.ucanr.edu/sites/mgslo.

Are you interested in becoming a UCCE Master Gardener, but need more information? Join us at the new Master Gardener class informational meeting on Thursday, Sept. 14, from 1-3 p.m. in the UCCE auditorium.

Leslie E. Stevens is a UCCE Master Gardener.

Got a gardening question?

In San Luis Obispo call 781-5939, Arroyo Grande, 473-7190 and Templeton, 434-4105. Visit us at http://ucanr.org/sites/mgslo/ or email us at anrmgslo@ucanr.edu. Follow us on Instagram at slo_mgs and like us on Facebook. Informative garden workshops are held the third Saturday of every month, 10 a.m. to noon at 2156 Sierra Way, San Luis Obispo. Garden docents are available after the workshop until 1 p.m. To request a tour of the garden, call 781-5939.