Everywhere I look, I still see homeowners with lawns of green grass or brown yards with dead grass. Lawn care even with the hardy Kentucky bluegrass requires constant running of water sprinklers, scattering of seeds, spreading fertilizers, spraying powerful herbicides that kill everything but the grass, and mowing.
In the arid West, about 70% of residential water is used for landscaping, and most of this water ends up on grass.
I made the landscaping decision to remove the grass and have a natural garden to provide pollen for bees and nitrogen for the soil. I planted aloes, succulents, cholla cactus, pulled weeds by hand, spread thick mulch, and put decorative river rocks in front of the house to reduce the space I needed to water. I installed a water catchment system to collect rain water and I watered as little as I could.
After a year without fertilizers, pesticides or mowing, the yard did not look like the conventional grassy lawns of my neighbors, but it thrived in its own wild way. Catalina Cherry trees provide shade and food for the squirrels. They have very shiny green leaves all year round without any watering. Aloes, and cholla flowers attract bees, lacewings, birds, and butterflies. The yard did not look like the conventional grassy lawns of my neighbors, but it thrived in its own wild way.