Two years ago, I spent a week in California, mainly at a conference held in Davis on the University of California campus. Like this year, forest fires raged north of Davis, and the campus was closed due to smoke.
Central Park in downtown Davis features a garden installed by the local Master Gardeners to reduce maintenance and watering of the central grassy area in the park.
It is a wonderful example of “xeriscaping” or “dry landscaping,” a landscape design principle started in the 1980s that relies on drought-tolerant, mainly native plants that don’t need irrigation after establishment.
In the Lowcountry, xeriscaping might be useful for coastal and barrier island gardens or those with sandy soil. Whether drought-tolerant plants survive in other locations often depends on how tolerant they are to excess moisture.