Replace the toilet with a low-flow model: check. Install aerators on all of the faucets: done. Lower those showers to 5 minutes: who needs more time than that?
Now that many of us have become water-saving warriors inside the house, it’s time to tackle the next drought-fighting frontier—outside in the yard. A growing number of Angelenos have gone grass-less—thanks in part to the $3.75 per square foot rebate from SoCal WaterSmart. Others have swapped their thirsty ornamental gardens with edible plants or created wildlife habitats from drought-resistant native plants. Many have made changes you can’t see by installing water-saving drip irrigation instead of traditional sprinklers.
There’s so much you can do. The question is where should you begin? Start with a little inspiration from some of the prettiest water-wise gardens in LA at the annual Mar Vista Green Garden Showcase on April 25, 2015. The free self-guided tour features five walkable clusters. All of the gardens have California native/drought tolerant plants, edibles and/or water catchment systems. A few even go the extra mile by showcasing chickens and beekeeping.
If you can’t make the Mar Vista tour, you can explore photographs of the 47 gorgeous gardens that were included on last month’s Theodore Payne Native Plant Garden Tour. (There are links to the gardens from previous years, too.) If you see something you like, head to the Theodore Payne Foundation in Sun Valley. The nursery contains more than 900 unique species of native plants and the expert staff loves any opportunity to talk natives.