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For some of us, spring showers and summer humidity bring verdant green yards. For everyone else (really, anyone living in California, Nevada, Arizona—anywhere with unprecedented dry weather), it can be increasingly difficult to keep your lawns as lush as you may want them. Especially when a third of Americans are currently living with, and landscaping around, heavy water-restrictions, according to Rachio. In a survey that polled 1,076 homeowners, the irrigation company found that those living in dry areas are more than three times likely to remove their lawns entirely. 

So rather than face disappointment every summer when your flower beds wilt and your grass gets crispy, consider making it heat-proof. Per Houzz’s 2022 Summer Trend Report, searches for drought-resistant landscaping are up 99 percent from this time last year. Not sure where to start? Here are five low-maintenance ways to ensure your outdoor space always looks good…no matter the time of year.

Try Hardscaping

Photography by Sara Liggoria-Tramp

An easy and durable alternative to laying down sod or wildflower gardens is to cover the ground with large pavers or gravel. Designer Jess Diab coated the floor of her client’s Los Angeles backyard’s firepit area with a layer of small pebbles; it’s now a cozy space to spend warm evenings. The trick is to test different size pebbles to figure out what feels best underfoot.

Ditch the Watering Can

Photography and Design by Dabito

Whether your area doesn’t get a ton of rainfall or you have water-usage restrictions, outfit your garden with low-hydration, happy plants as Dabito has done here. Mexican sage, agave, and aloe still ensure his California yard has plenty of visual interest and variety. Note: If you’re not into succulents, opt for local flora that is already used to your home’s climate. 

Go Faux

Photography by Karyn Millet

Looking for as little maintenance as possible? Abandon live greenery entirely in favor of the synthetic alternative. Designer Raili Clasen’s front lawn is clad in fire-resistant artificial turf, perfect for family bocce ball tournaments. Plus there won’t be a single muddy footprint to clean or a sunken chair leg to pry out of the ground. 

Trade Grass for a Veggie Patch

Photography by Yardzen.

Ditching a sod-heavy front yard allowed Kendra Poppy to cut her watering usage nearly in half (when she does quench her garden’s thirst, she does it at night to prevent too much H2O from evaporating). And now that she doesn’t have to spend Saturday morning mowing, she can focus on what she really loves: growing vegetables and caring for her chickens.

Keep It Minimal

Photography by Thayer Gowdy.

Inspired by a recent trip to Portugal, photographer Thayer Gowdy set out to create a yard at her Ojai, California, home that looked like it had been there for 1,000 years. Complete with stucco built-in benches, a tank pool, and Japanese yew hedges, Gowdy’s garden is heat-wave proof. Plus, any occasional rainfall can be captured and reused thanks to the clever water catchment tanks she splurged on.