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:
* 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.
* 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.
* Once established in your yard, rosemary is very efficient in drought conditions, as are verbena, gazania and ice plant.
* Flowering but water-thrifty shrubs include rockrose, wild lilac, cassia, lantana, oleander and bottlebrush. Non-flowering ones include manzanita, juniper, saltbush, hop bush.
* Water-conserving ramblers for walls or trellises are bougainvillea, wisteria, cape honeysuckle and cup-of-gold.
* Acacia, eucalyptus, floss silk tree, jacaranda, olive, Italian stone pine and Australian willow are considered appropriate for the Southern California climate.