The Basics for Drought Resistant Grasses

The basics for drought resistant grasses.

Written by Wendy M.

California is one of the most beautiful states in the country when it comes to sun, surf, and turf. For all of the water that is along the coastline, it can be difficult to keep the plants on land hydrated during the droughts that California has had a history of. Professional garden experts have found the key to beautiful gardens is to use grasses and other plants that are native to the area. These drought-resistant beauties can add depth, rich color, and soft texture to create the perfect little oasis for your home. A few of the most common drought-tolerant grasses are included in the following:

Drought Tolerant vs Drought Resistant
If you live in California and are looking for the plants that are well suited to your area, it’s best to have plants that are drought tolerant. A drought tolerant plant is one that thrives in a dry, desert climate because it evolved there. It developed into the plant it is today because it adapted itself over time. Drought resistant plants may be able to survive in a dry, hot climate, but they may not thrive. Drought resistant plants are native to areas that are semi-arid, meaning they can handle drought conditions, but not as well as drought-tolerant plants that are native to the desert.

Using Decorative Grass to Fill Out Your Landscaping
Decorative grasses come in several sizes and shapes. Some are referred to as “bunch” grass because the base appears as a ball or bunch. This type of grass works well when you are filling in areas toward where there is a large gap or next to a fountain or pond. Tall, decorative grasses can be used toward the back of your landscaped area to add both depth and height to the area. Placing taller grasses at the back or along one side makes the garden appear much deeper than it actually is. Shorter species of grass can be used along walkways as a ground cover. Most of the shorter varieties tend to handle heavier amounts of foot traffic without being damaged or dying off.

Certain types of grass have small seed heads that range from purple to blue to silver adding a touch of color that will not only attract butterflies and birds, but will also accent the bigger blooms that you may have included in your garden. Grasses also come in a wide range of colors. Some may start out with varying shades of green and eventually turn to a brilliant golden wheat or vivid rust color as the season progresses. The decorative grasses you add to your landscaped areas will do so much more than just take up space if you know how to place and care for them properly.

The Best Way to Care for Your Decorative Grasses
Just like the other plants in your landscaping, you will need to make sure your grasses have the water and sunlight they need to thrive. Some grasses need very little water and several hours of direct sunlight every day, Others may only need a touch of water and can still thrive even in a heavy shade. When you start to plan your landscaping, one of the first things you must do is to observe the area. Learn how much shade the area will get throughout the seasons. Once you know the area and what type of lighting your plants will have, the next step is to start choosing the plants you want to include.

Visit your local Green Thumb Nursery and speak to one of our professional garden experts to find out what they recommend. Show them the area you plan on using and what type of plants you were hoping to include. Remember to include two or three varieties of grasses to add both color, texture, and depth. Once they have an idea of what you are trying to accomplish, they can show you what they have available as well as what will work for the area you have picked out.  You may also want to consider our free landscape design program that we offer at our Lake Forest Green Thumb Nursery store location when customers purchase or plan to purchase $500+ worth of plants, it is one of the very best promotional offers we have at Green Thumb!  If you’d like to find out more about this program you can do so by visiting our Professional Landscape Design page.

Different Types of Grass Serves Different Purposes
Decorative grasses are one of the most versatile of all plants. If your landscaped area doesn’t have a set backdrop, you can easily create one by placing a trellis at one edge. Place your flowering plants and shrubs in front of the trellis and create the oasis you have planned, but use tall grasses behind the trellis to cover the back and provide a wall of thick, luscious grass that will gently wave in the breeze.

If you are landscaping an area of the lawn where you are using one of the walls of your home as a backdrop, you can still use the trellis, but in this case, spread the grasses out on either side. This makes the trellis and any other statues or pieces the focal point. If you don’t want to use rocks, pavers, or wood rails to create a border, choose a decorative grass that only grows a few inches high so that it creates a thick, beautiful ground cover. Your professional Green Thumb garden expert can show you several ways you can use decorative grasses to bring your landscaping to life.

California weather runs the gamut. When drought strikes, it can be devastating for your landscaping. One way to ensure the damage is kept to a minimum is to use drought-resistant grasses and other plants that can withstand the vast differences in climate from one year to the next. While you can switch flowering plants and shrubs from year to year, once grasses are established, they will continue to thrive. Choose the right type of grass for your intended purpose. Tall, decorative grasses work well when placed towards the back to add depth to your area. Shorter grasses can be used to frame other plants or create a natural border. If you have questions, call our store and speak to one of our garden pros to get the most up-to-date information on many of the plants you want to include in your garden and visit your local Green Thumb Nursery today!


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