Hugh H. wrote:
Man, those golf course membership fees must be high if water costs that much
She dropped her membership a while ago, but they snag their irrigation water from the river, store it in ponds and pump it out to water all the grass.
I'd suggest more trees for a start. Lawn just isn't going to stand those sort of temperatures in direct sun all day without browning off.
I'd like to reduce the amount of lawn she has. Towards the west is a large olive tree, and just east of it the grass hardly grows there. I'd like to omit that part of the lawn as it is more out of the view. I think some shrubs could green up that area well.
Shrubs could be another possibility. I assume hot winds would come from the south in this region - and there is a big open area on the south which will allow wind in. Even short shrubs could help to reduce hot winds blowing into the lawn area, which will help reduce grass transpiration. You could sow a native wildflower meadow on that barren slope. This could probably be established primarily with just water from rain, if you sow at the right time.
Winds come from the west. There once were blackberries that grew at the edge of the lawn & slope. Planting some new shrubs there could help a bit.
How close is the laundry to the grass area? Given the slope, a line of greywater irrigation at the house side should work its way down over the grassed area.
The laundry dumps down onto the barren lower portion of the property now. I would just have to locate the line and have it drain onto the lawn & get my grandma to stop using bleach or install some sort of diverter.
Leila Rich wrote:
Do you think if you present your grandmother with an attractive, realistic planting plan she might be up for getting rid of the lawn altogether?
I would love to try this route. I just don't know what kind of stuff I could show her. I'm sure she would love a nice green space that has some colorful flower growing year around. Nobody ever walks on the lawn. It's just there to be green and "pretty". I'd love something she wouldn't have to pay the gardeners to mow/ feed/ weed/ etc.
I'm aware how strongly many Americans feel about lawns and I imagine trying to influence someone who's generational/cultural expectations may be very different could be pretty challenging
A thick layer of chipped tree mulch planted with shrubs, trees and other perennials, along with self-seeding, draught-tolerant annuals looks great to me and can be very tidy and landscaped-looking.
I'm not familiar with American property boundaries/laws and...I'm assuming the stone 'border' by the golf course is her actual property line? I want to make sure the golf club won't kick up a stink. Is planting, be it height or whatever, a potential issue? Again, I'm clueless on 'the rules', but I read some rather intense stuff about HOA-type requirements.
There is no HOA that I know of, I think the houses were mostly build before they became in vogue. The only height issues I would have is not blocking the view of the hills and green golf course. Her property actually extends all the way to the level that the golf course is at. The dead slope is hers as well. There is some ice plant type stuff that is growing pretty well down there, but not nearly enough.
If a lawn's mandatory for any reason, but your grandmother will consider something other than grass, does clover cope in your climate? Dutch clover's pretty drought-tolerant and low-growing. Maybe a compromise: lose some lawn, plant perennials, overseed what remains in clover...I have no idea how clover competes with some of your full-on running-grasses though.
Do you know what the lawn grass is?
Clover springs up often in lawns. I don't know how a sea, so to speak, of it would do. We get quite a few hot days in the summer with virtually no rain for the summer months. A light sprinkle once every other month in the hot months if we're lucky. It also starts to freeze around late December.
jacque g wrote:
If she has to have a lawn, how about buffalo grass? My strong suspicion is that her local extension office or soil & water conservation district or even the irrigation district would have some area-specific recommendations on alternatives to traditional lawns.
And see if you can find people who are already using these alternatives, so she could have something real to look at.
I'll check into "buffalo grass" and see what it looks like.
Brenda Groth wrote:
i would like to see borders in a u shape around the 'lawn' are leaving a small lawn for a place to sit and relax between the two large trees, use drought tolerant grasses in that area, overseed the lawn..the areas that are "deadish" should be removed and planted to perennials that are drought tolerant and that you see growing well at other homes in the area..I would probably put in some well mulched dwarf fruit trees, some shrubs, perennial plants and ground covers.
Shrinking the lawn is definitely part of my agenda.
some drought tolerant ground covers are vinca and ivy and sedums and also mediterranian herbs, creeping thyme would be nice down those banks, oregano, mints, and other ground covers, and put in a few shrubs ..if there are terraces on the banks that would be a good place for some dwarf or semi dwarf fruit trees, but only if it is safe to harvest there, put a small swale on the downhill side of each tree to keep water in the soil there and fill with mulch..that will allow water in.
Rosemary does really well around here when it is irrigated, but it looks like it would do well without as well.
What do you mean if it is safe to harvest there? Slope conditions or soil?
use somewhat [s]invasive[/s] opportunistic plants in the slope area they will help to hold the soil and will fill it in, if you want privacy from the below area and can sacrifice some view..jerusalem artichokes would fill in nicely in a year or two..
It's actually not to bad at all. I've seen those 275gal containers go for as little as $15 on local craigslist (farm/garden section)... You'd be downright surprised what you can do with $100-200 bucks. Wish I we're able to help directly. I do this kinda stuff for a living.
one more thought, attracting wildlife needs to be a part of my plan as well. I would love to encourage more rabbits, grey squirrels, quail, deer, and other birds to come onto the property.
Once I get into the project I'll have to keep a lookout for some barrels. I do need to make sure whatever I install is a very passive system. My grandma isn't much of a green thumb.
Does rainwater keep well for a long time if it is exposed to sunlight?