By Kathleen Brenzel
If you live in the drought-ravaged West and are looking to replace your lawn with a less thirsty grass, here's one option -- Eco-Lawn. A mixture of deep-rooted fescues, it makes a resilient ground cover that's as lively looking as a wind-whipped sea. And it's drought-tolerant once established. Other choices follow; they're all from the new Sunset Western Garden Book of Easy-Care Plantings.
A "frosty " ground cover
A mat of gray Dymondia margaretae, dotted with an occasional island of green Carex divulsa and 'Bronze Carpet' sedum, recalls the smooth greenish look of a glacial lake in this Los Altos, California, garden designed by Rebecca Sweet. The silver tones of its leaves complement the pink Jupiter's beard, blue penstemon, and silvery white lamb's ears (Stachys byzantina).
Blue catmint and yellow 'Moonshine' yarrow, planted en masse on either side of a curving walkway put on an exuberant show in a Santa Fe front yard designed by Faith Okuma. Red valerian weaves through both beds.
A widely spaced grid of deer grass creates the feeling of the desert in this Phoenix front yard, designed by Christy Ten Eyck. A few blue agaves (A. weberi) and mesquite trees are accents; the planters contain Pedilanthus and Euphorbia.