Orange County averages about 13 inches of rain per year (Metropolitan Water District of Orange County), which puts us a few inches away from being a desert, which averages ten inches of rain per year.
Recent drought years have focused attention on the amount of water we use in our landscape. By reducing the amount of water we use in our landscapes, we have more water available for essential uses, less runoff, which can carry pollutants to the ocean, and often, healthier plants.
Can we use less water and still have beautiful landscapes? Sure!
Five Things You Can Do Today
If you don't want to redo your whole landscape, there are still some ways you can reduce your water consumption.
Turf and turf alternatives
A lawn is the largest consumer of water in most landscapes. Consider replacing a cool season lawn with a warm season lawn or an alternative. Replacing traditional sprinkler heads with rotators can save water. Consult your water provider for information about rebates for water-saving sprinkler heads and smart controllers, which will turn on your irrigation system only when needed.
Choosing plants adapted to our climate will reduce the amount of water your landscape requires. California native plants from the Coastal Sage Scrub and Chaparral communities and Mediterranean plants grow well in our area, as do many succulents.
The link below is a searchable database of 100 hardy plants with information about their water needs, bloom season, sun exposure, and wildlife value.
UC Davis Arboretum All-stars