Drought Tolerant Lawn Alternatives

Last week we started a series on making lawns more water-efficient, starting with a piece on drought-tolerant types of grass. This week we’ll look at groundcovers that can function as lawn alternatives, with a variety of different looks and characteristics to fit different situations and preferences.

Drought tolerant ground cover lawn alternatives for San Diego

  1. Dwarf Mondo Grass: A beautiful deep green or black, this Japanese grass forms small clumps that spread to fill in and look almost like a traditional lawn with its short, stocky blades. Tolerant of sun as well as some shade, mondo grass requires even less water than the most low-water-use sod. Available as flats or small plants, it is best to space 6″ apart for coverage within 12 months. Tolerant of foot traffic. Traditional mondo grass (as opposed to dwarf) will give a more lush look less suited to walking.
  2. Dymondia: Also called silver carpet, this miniature relative of the daisy has small, wavy leaves that are green on top and silvery white on bottom. Lower-growing than mondo grass, it is also planted from flats or small plants at the same spacing, and grows to fill in over the course of a year. Thrives in full sun with low water. A benefit is that it has little bright yellow daisy-like flowers throughout the summer!
  3. Woolly Thyme: Sometimes called “elfin” or “creeping” thyme, this herb has the same fragrant aroma and small purple flowers as the sort used in cooking. Thyme is less tolerant of foot traffic so is good for low-use areas or inbetween pavers or other hardscape. Thrives in full sun and requires very little water but grows in fast.
  4. Sedum: These small, spreading succulents come in a variety of different colors from deep red to orange to blue to bright yellow-green. Different varieties are suited for different purposes, but most tolerate lots of sun with very little water. Succulent stems are very delicate and should not be stepped on. These plants can take a while to form an attractive-looking mat, so patience is key!

See something you like? Call or come by North Park Nursery today to get started on your project! Or call our friends over at Mooch Exterior Designs to talk about your own lawn conversion, and even if you might qualify for a rebate from the city!


Author Bio

We are a locally owned and operated retail nursery and garden center based in North Park, San Diego.

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