Unless your utility costs mean nothing to you, there are methods you can use to yield a colorful, bird-friendly landscape, even during our 100-degree days. But you've got to prepare for it NOW. During my 30+ years as a Landscape Architect, I've arrived at these guidelines for getting your landscape through a north
|The edge of the lawn|
Leave your yard alone during the heat! During my tenure as a Landscape Architect in north Texas (and more as a homeowner) I've seen, over and over, that landscapes do much better in the heat if they're left to grow how they want. Cutting the lawn, and occasionally watering, is all you need to do.
Minimize your lawn area
A manicured lawn is a real ego-builder. It also takes a huge amount of work. You know; sweating profusely while you mow, trim, fertilize, weed and kill bugs. Then there's the expense! Entire industries have sprung up just to primp your lawn and exhaust your checkbook. Yet, on any given weekend, you can spot scores of exhausted homeowners out working on their lawns.
Mulch just about everything
Simply put, a top-layer of mulch cools the soil and holds in moisture, so you need to water less. It also keeps out all but the most determined weeds. Mulch can be just ground-up bark chips, shredded leaves or composted grass clippings or other yard waste.
Use native plants
Native plants grew up in this type of summer (their ancestors did, anyway) and with our poor soil. They're used it. Once a native
This is "landscape-speak," for anything in the landscape that's not supposed to be alive and is relatively immobile. Examples: a driveway, a deck, a fence, a wall or a patio. Clearly, these take almost no maintenance. Just don't let hardscape dominate.
Divide the yard into zones
There's the active zone with a few potted plants and maybe some outdoor chairs on a patio. Probably there's a garden zone with flowerbeds and such. Maybe there's a natural zone, which is favored by birds. And there's the ubiquitous lawn zone. (You get the idea!). Zones let you do yard maintenance in short, targeted spurts.