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Shrubs help improve any view, so be sure to plant your favorite flowering variety where you can enjoy it the most.
When to say NO to lawnBy Sandy Metzger, Master GardenerSometimes I think lawn is just a state of mind.
They can serve as a simple backdrop to focus attention on colorful perennials, or draw the eye to a single, spectacular shrub planted in a mixed border. Shrubs also can offer shelter for birds, and their flowers and fruits help feed bees, butterflies, and other watchable wildlife. The lavender flowers bloom in mid-spring on long, arching branches that attract butterflies to the clusters of tiny, nectar-filled blossoms.
The common lilac (Syringa) outside my bedroom window provides flowers and fragrance for a short time each spring, but I appreciate every second it’s in bloom. After all, besides the aesthetics of the green carpet between the sidewalk and the house, what real function does it have?
Even when butterfly bush is not in bloom, its willowlike branches add an extra dimension to the landscape. Errors will be corrected where discovered, and Lowe's reserves the right to revoke any stated offer and to correct any errors, inaccuracies or omissions including after an order has been submitted. This shrub rose has an upright and spreading habit that fits well in a corner garden.Potentilla is a low-growing shrub with a spreading habit, and it mixes well in informal or xeric gardens.


Shrub roses can make a lovely border along a front sidewalk, or grow into a flowering fence to provide privacy.
We live in a Mediterranean climate: five or six months of sporadic rain, six or seven months of drought (much like the Mediterranean Basin, the Western Cape of South Africa, central Chile, south and southwest Australia).
In Sonoma County, a 500 square foot lawn needs about 2800 gallons of water each month, although many folks unnecessarily use up to 5000 gallons for that lawn. According to the Sonoma County Water Agency, here's how a three-person family in a single detached home uses about 150,000 gallons of water annually: 51% in the yard and mostly for lawn, 17% for toilet flushing, 15% for bathing, 11% for clothes washing, and the balance, 6%, for all other household uses.
It is beautiful, satisfying, creates a lovely first impression, and we're accustomed to having it; it's almost an inalienable right. No one suggests getting rid of your lawn; in fact, some homeowners' associations will not permit you to not have one.
However, there are plenty of ideas for using water more efficiently by reducing the size of a lawn, or by replacing all or some of your mowed turf grass with other materials, living or otherwise. Some folks in Sonoma County may not appreciate that look, but I've driven through many residential areas here and have seen some beautifully landscaped front yards in just that style.
You could reduce the size of that lawn and replace it with native California and other drought tolerant plants, so many of which are quite beautiful, colorful, have lower maintenance needs, and attract beneficial insects, butterflies and birds.
Think about various types of our native Manzanita, our electric blue Foothills Penstemon, our knock-your-socks-off Fremontodendron (Flannel Bush) and Ribes sanguineum (Red Flowering Currant), our natives Ceanothus (Wild Lilac), Blue Flax and Checkerbloom, plus salvias, oreganos, thymes, santolinas, yarrows, verbenas, and of course ornamental grasses.


Remember, California native plants, in particular, have evolved in our weather cycle of winter rain and summer drought. Your natural landscape may consist of some rocks, dry creek bed, gravel, native plants, grasses, and wildflowers.
A cottage garden is wilder-looking with a more colorful array of plants of all sizes, shapes, and forms including flowers, sometimes vegetables, herbs, and small fruit trees; annuals and perennials, including sunflowers and hollyhocks, are often used as well.
And you will definitely attract a multitude of birds, bees, butterflies, and bugs into this style garden.
Your town water department, the county water agency, and Master Gardener help-desk (707-565-2608) can provide free brochures and CDs on these topics as well as lists of native and drought tolerant plants.
In the meantime, here are a few easy tips to help you reduce your water use and water bill: Install lawn as an extension of your entertainment area, for sports, or children's play areas.



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