Low-Maintenance Lawn Landscaping

a garden scene with blooming...
Shutterstock / Zigzag Mountain Art

Ellen Stanley of Poway, Calif., a suburb of San Diego, moved with her husband into their home in 1995. "Our yard was very typical of yards planted in the seventies - when our house was built," she explains. "Lots of grass, a pine tree and lots and lots of juniper with oleander."

The Stanley's maintained their lawn for 11 years. Until one day, Stanley's husband came inside after a vigorous afternoon of yard work, which included weeding and most of all watering -- 15 minutes worth a day -- and declared that this would be the last time he would put that much effort into what had become an endless and frustrating task. He was even done with mowing the lawn.

So the Stanley's did something surprising -- they tore up their grassy lawn and replaced it with native plant species.

"We use much less water now," she explains, "We water in the summer but only about every 9 days for 15 minutes. When we had grass I believe we watered every other day in the summer for the same amount of time."

With water becoming increasingly precious the world over, "xeriscaping" or waterless landscaping (also known as "smart-scaping" or "native plant landscaping") has become an increasingly viable option for homeowners.