Check out these 8 Southern California front yard landscaping ideas to revamp your garden without the guilt.

Southern California weather, although nice, can be tough on landscaping. Especially when the region is experiencing a drought. Lush grass is extremely difficult to maintain under water restriction mandates which can leave your outdoor space lack luster.

However, ditching your water hungry lawn doesn’t mean you can’t have an inspiring landscape. Whether your space is limited or vast, a yard that complements your lifestyle is within reach!

Here are some of the top drought tolerant landscaping ideas in Southern California. These 8 landscape ideas can help you conserve water without losing life in your garden.


1. Xeriscaping.

Maintaining a lawn in a desert environment area can be a drain on your time and your wallet. Switching to a water-wise front yard landscape design allows you to keep your oasis without the hefty water bill.

Xeriscaping is a design style that aims for aesthetically pleasing gardens with minimal water use. It’s a low-cost option to update a yard, and its minimalist look fits most modern-style homes. For example, a decomposed gravel pathway accompanied by indigenous Southern California is just one stye of xeriscaping popular in Los Angeles.

You might assume that xeriscaping lacks color, but with the right drought tolerant landscape designer it can be a vibrant and inviting design option.

2. Filling the space with drought-tolerant and native plants.

With new water conservation regulations throughout Southern California, switching to water-wise features will help you enjoy your yard guilt-free. If a lush garden is what you are looking for, you may be weary about switching to drought tolerant plants.

Despite the misconception, your plant choices don’t have to be limited to succulents or cactus plants. In fact, some of the best California native drought tolerant plants are vibrant and colorful. Some examples of drought tolerant plants include California Mountain Lilac, Purple Sage and Manzanita; all of which have vibrant hues. Native plants are less vulnerable to diseases and can provide habitat to local animals.


If you’re in San Luis Obispo, here are some of the native plants you can consider:

  • California Buckwheat
  • Manzanitas
  • Climbing Penstemon
  • Milkweeds
  • Sages
  • Deer Grass
  • California Fuschia

Ask one of our top drought tolerant landscape designers for more information about what plants would be right for your home.

3. Starting a rock garden

Boulders can breathe new life into your front yard. Rock gardens create a focal point in your landscape design. Tiered and artfully positioned, big rocks can make your space look modern, perfect for some homes in Los Angeles. A rock garden is far from the typical lush lawn, but it can be suitable if you’re looking to update your yard with a low budget.

Be sure to hire professional landscape designers so they can prepare the ground and set up the rocks to ensure safety and stability.


4. Focusing on hardscaping

Outdoor living trends won’t be complete without hardscaping. Trade your thirsty lawn for more relaxation areas, and make the most of your new outdoor space.

If your property has extra space, explore landscape design ideas that let you do more than walk to your front door. This could include a patio with cozy couches, a paving stone pathway with seating areas, or an ornamental water feature set in the middle of lush, drought-tolerant landscaping.


5. Switching to artificial turf

If you’re not yet ready to lose your lawn, consider artificial turf as an alternative.

High-quality products have the look and feel of real grass, without the tedious upkeep. Your loved ones and pets can enjoy a safe and comfortable landing space, and you get to reduce yard work and the cost to maintain it.

To hear more about artificial turf options, chat with one of our artificial turf experts.

For a more comfortable outdoor living experience, consider maximizing your entertaining space while minimizing the time and energy upkeeping a garden.

6. Starting a rain garden

A rain garden is something you can start and keep even past the drought. Rain is a precious resource, but without proper management, it can cause issues around your yard.

Stormwater runoff can carry toxic particles and cause water pollution. Swapping your lawn with a rainwater system helps you prevent this. It’s worth discussing with your landscaper if your main concern is erosion and flooding.

A rain garden collects, filters, and delivers rainwater back into the soil. Ideally, it’s placed where rainwater collects the most in your yard. Use perennials and native plants for your rainwater collection and add a fresh look to your property.

landscapers los angeles

7. Include a Stunning Water Feature

Although it may sound counter-productive, you can still add a water feature even if you’re aiming for a low-on-water front yard design. One stand-out installation is enough to make your landscape livelier and more soothing. Water features actually use less water than many landscape designs and can bring a soundscape to your space.

There are various water features that you may consider depending on your budget. Water feature options range from a small fountain, a water wall, or a pondless water feature.

8. Growing a Water-Wise Garden

A water-wise garden can be done if you have the right landscape designer. It’s important to choose a designer that’s well-versed in drought tolerant landscapes so they can recommend the proper plants to choose for your space. The appropriate plant choices can vary depending on the part of the yard you’re tackling. If your front yard is sloping, for example, your designer may look into plants that can help hold the soil and prevent erosion.

At Pacific Outdoor Living, we’ve helped thousands of homeowners convert their gardens for water-efficient spaces that require minimal upkeep.


Letting go of lawns to build your water-saving retreat in Southern California

The lawn has been a tradition and symbol of the American landscape. This is being swiftly replaced with more sustainable trends, and not only in Southern California.

With the calls for environmentally friendly gardens, removing the lawn is only a first step. Think about what matters most for you and your household and design from there.

Is a play area for kids or an outdoor kitchen non-negotiable? The best front yard landscape design is unique for every homeowner.

Our experienced team at Pacific Outdoor Living can work with you to map out a plan that fits your budget, lifestyle, and specific requirements.

Get in touch with one of our award-winning southern California Landscape Designers today.

Scroll to Top