Maintaining Curb Appeal During a Drought

It is no secret that California is facing one of the most severe droughts on record. (As a matter of fact, while researching this blog post I discovered that HuffPo has even created a whole page dedicated to news about it. ) And given that California is a state with an environmentally conscientious population, people are scaling way back on their water usage. And since nearly 60% of a person's household water footprint can go toward lawn and garden maintenance, many are letting their front lawns and landscaping die. Understandable, right? Commendable even? Of course! BUT...

An otherwise beautifully maintained (and recently expanded) home with a neglected front yard (image blurred). 

An otherwise beautifully maintained (and recently expanded) home with a neglected front yard (image blurred). 

Let's not use the drought as an excuse to stop maintaining an attractive front yard. After all, high curb appeal can add thousands of dollars of value to your home. And even if you're not planning to sell anytime soon, your lack of yard maintenance could negatively impact your neighborhood's perceived value, not to mention community pride and morale. 

At the very low-cost, low-effort end of the spectrum, you could simply add a decorative mulch over the old lawn and it would be dramatically more attractive than dead grass alone. A step up from that, you can add some native, drought-tolerant plants and shrubs to add some visual variety and interest to the yard. Further still, you can add decorative rocks, gravel or boulders. The Los Altos Town Crier has a very helpful DIY article on the topic and here are some beautiful water-efficient front yard examples from my own neighborhood that will hopefully inspire you: 

Modern landscape with black mulch, moss rock and raw steel planters. 

Modern landscape with black mulch, moss rock and raw steel planters. 

Vintage landscape with decorative rock and highly stylized shrubs. 

Vintage landscape with decorative rock and highly stylized shrubs. 

My own front yard prior to lawn removal 

My own front yard prior to lawn removal 

My own front yard now

My own front yard now