A Curb Appeal in a Time of Drought

According to Realtor.Mag, Westerners struggle under water-use reductions and Midwesterners, East Coasters, and Southerners grapple with storm-ravaged yards, many are rethinking the traditional American landscape. Both garden professionals and scientists are working on materials that can better survive drought and extreme weather, as home owners increasingly question the importance—and even the underlying ethics—of maintaining a perfectly manicured, green lawn.

Home owners can begin by looking at the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s plant hardiness zone map to see what works best in their area. Glassman stresses the need to fully understand one’s own yard rather than blindly aim to duplicate a neighbor’s or an attractive backyard photo in a magazine. Many factors affect water levels, including topography (where slopes create runoff), sun and shade (which change evaporation rates), and soil composition (affecting retention and saturation). “Architectural features such as pergolas, patios, and loggias can create microclimates,” Glassman says.