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Water-thrifty Landscaping

March 27, 1991|LYNN SIMROSS

Trying to save water outside as well as inside? Instead of landscaping your yard with thirsty plants, trees and shrubs that don't do well in drought conditions, consider water-efficient California natives or those from Mediterranean regions that can adapt well to this climate. Some examples:

Lawns

* Plant warm-season grasses instead of cool-season ones, remembering, however, that they will go dormant in winter and lose their color. Recommended: Bermuda grasses, seashore paspalum and zoysia. If you must have color all year, the tall fescue grass uses the least water of cool-season varieties; Kentucky blue grass, the most.

Flowering Plants

* Don't plant colorful but water-inefficient impatiens, petunias and pansies in your garden. Put them in pots where you can have more control over watering them. For color in the garden, try the less-thirsty California poppy, Mexican fire plant, dusty miller, cosmos, sunshine daisy, alyssum, sea lavender, lily of the Nile and day lily.

Ground Covers

* Once established in your yard, rosemary is very efficient in drought conditions, as are verbena, gazania and ice plant.

Shrubs

* Flowering but water-thrifty shrubs include rockrose, wild lilac, cassia, lantana, oleander and bottlebrush. Non-flowering ones include manzanita, juniper, saltbush, hop bush.

Vines

* Water-conserving ramblers for walls or trellises are bougainvillea, wisteria, cape honeysuckle and cup-of-gold.

Trees

* Acacia, eucalyptus, floss silk tree, jacaranda, olive, Italian stone pine and Australian willow are considered appropriate for the Southern California climate.

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