Many who move to California from other states where full, lush green lawns are just the norm fear they may have to give that up due to dry local climates and scarcity of water - but this need not be the case. With a little effort and investment, you can create a grassy "classic lawn" on your lot that will remain healthy and vibrant for the long term.
How do you create the perfect natural turf lawn in your own back (and front) yard? First of all, you need to map out exactly which areas will be covered with grass and how that will interact with pavements, paving stones and walkways, decks and patios, fences, pools, gravel or pebbles, well mulched trees, flowers, and plants, and other landscaping elements. Carefully plan out your hardscapes and softscapes to achieve a good balance both for aesthetics and functionality.
Next, it's important that all areas to be planted with turf or grass seed be fitted out with a good irrigation and drainage system in advance. This will ensure your yard can stay healthy and strong for years or decades to come, with regular maintenance.
Finally, take care in choosing which grass type(s) you use and in selecting drought resistant plants, many of which are native to California, to make your classic lawn hardier and more eco-friendly.
Here are some of the most drought resistant types of grass, or "turf grass," that you might consider:
Saint Augustine grass
Of course, there are other specific grass options as well. Bluegrass of some variety is most commonly used for lawns in the US, and you may prefer it - and that's fine. But mixing in some more drought tolerant varieties at least in certain parts of your yard would still be a good idea. When choosing a grass, you have to think about its tolerance of shade vs sun, heat and cold, irrigation requirements (how "thirsty" it gets), how fast it grows, how thick of a lawn covering it produces, and how well it stands up to foot traffic.
It can take an expert landscaper to identify which grasses would most thrive in each particular situation. And there are specific requirements for getting the turf well established and keeping it healthy through future lawn care as well. We can help you make a decision you won't regret and give you key advice on how to make your lawn lush and beautiful for the long term.
You may also want to add tall grasses for edging and decoration in certain parts of your lawn. For this, consider native grasses like carexpansa, California/Red Fescue, or purple needle grass. And for non-grassy ground cover, you can add plants like creeping thyme, sand strawberries, and yerba buena - none of which require a lot of water to keep healthy.