Water-wise landscaping amid California drought

LA CAÑADA FLINTRIDGE, Calif. (KABC) -- More Southlanders are giving up their lawns to save water amid the drought. Check out some helpful tips on water-wise landscaping.

FormLA Landscaping created Descanso Garden's new Center Circle Garden in La Caada Flintridge. The company's goal is to inspire Angelenos to create their own water-wise gardens at home.

"The whole garden has been designed to illustrate a handful of really simple ideas that anyone can do to get started," said David R. Brown, executive director of Descanso Gardens.

Those ideas include underground irrigation that directs water straight to the roots of plants to avoid evaporation and runoff.

Also key - keeping lots of mulch on the surface of the soil to keep water in as well as plant selection. Try growing plants and even turf that are either native to California or from places with Mediterranean climates. Such plants require 40 to 70 percent less water to thrive.

"You don't have to do everything in order to do something," Brown said.

Brown suggests starting at home by removing a portion of the turf or grass in your lawn. That's what Descanso Gardens started doing several years ago to reduce its water use. The park also improved water features and its irrigation system.

Another tip - try watering your yard just once a week. You may find out you were over-watering your plants all along.

"We're never going to be a place that has consistent rainfall every year, so let's build our garden so they can be beautiful for every year not just the years that we have a lot of rain," said Rachel Young, director of horticulture at Descanso Gardens.

Water conservation and keeping a beautiful yard can go hand in hand.

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