A Lawn Revolution: Water-Wise Landscapes in California

Take a look at the amazing array of drought-resistant lawns designed by Michael Thilgen and Four Dimensions Landscape Company of Oakland, Calif.
By: Amy Keyishian

Photo By: Michael Thilgen and Four Dimensions Landscape

Photo By: Michael Thilgen and Four Dimensions Landscape

Photo By: Michael Thilgen and Four Dimensions Landscape

Photo By: Michael Thilgen and Four Dimensions Landscape

Photo By: Michael Thilgen and Four Dimensions Landscape

Photo By: Michael Thilgen and Four Dimensions Landscape

Photo By: Michael Thilgen and Four Dimensions Landscape

Photo By: Michael Thilgen and Four Dimensions Landscape

Photo By: Michael Thilgen and Four Dimensions Landscape

Meadow Soprano

On the East Coast, there's the prairie movement; here in Northern California, a similar return to naturally occurring meadows would mean more environmental stability.

Contrasting Textures

The grass clumps are Muhlenbergia Rigens, surrounded by wood mulch, next to a path made of decomposed granite, which complements the dormant grass in color.

Emerald Waves of Grain

When Carex Pansa gets long enough, it lays down gently to create wave-like forms. Wildflowers such as Cistus Purpureus are a gentle yet spectacular complement.

Two Kinds of Grass

At left, Festuca Rubra, which stays green. At right, Nasella Pulchrum, which goes dormant in the summer.

A Beautiful Compromise

This lawn has the traditional Dwarf Tall Fescue lawn to the right — but only one patch of it. The rest is Iris Douglasiana (foreground) and Festuca Californica (rear), with stones and mulch for variety.

Wildflowers in Bloom

Salvia Clevelandii is a common flowering shrub that blooms all summer.

Cat Not Included

The grass here is Festuca idahoensis, with lavandula vera (not in bloom — it's a fuzzy purple stalk of a flower) and a gravel path.

Strange Flowerbed-Fellows

Festuca rubra grass with the wildflower Erigeron glauca, also known as the seaside daisy.

Native Pride

The state flower, California Poppy, with Salvia clevelandii in bloom.

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