Eco-Friendly, Native California Landscaping

I had a friend ask about re-landscaping her yard with native and drought-tolerant plants, and while I feel like I steered her in the right direction, I also felt like I didn’t know as many options off the top of my head as I wanted to. I know that lavender and sage are popular and need very little water, but I don’t think they’re native; and I know there are lots of pretty, hearty grasses on the market, but have no idea what their names are; and I think artichokes are utterly fabulous plants (and I like to eat them too), but I don’t know how much water they need; so I decided to do some research and come up with some good options for eco-friendly landscaping here in Northern California.

Turns out I knew several plants by sight, but not by name, that are native to California and also drought tolerant (the two often go hand in hand here); and I learned that artichokes are neither native to California (they are from the Mediterranean) nor drought resistant.

slender hairgrass

Slender Hairgrass - I am a big fan of clumped native grasses. From www.laspilitas.org

farewell to spring herald of summer

Farewell to Spring, Herald of Summer - Is there anything more that we need to like about this plant than its name? From www.wildflower.org

chaparral false bindweed

Chaparral False Bindweed - This is from the morning gory family. I've loved this flower since I was a kid. From www.wildflower.org

live forever

Live Forever - This one likes rocky outcroppings and attracts butterflies when in bloom. From www.wildflower.org

california aster

California Aster - I've seen this one growing all over the place and like the way it fills in, especially in a large garden or hillside. From www.laspilitas.org

Sandhill Sage

Sandhill Sage - Gorgeous color! - from www.wildflower.org

white sagebrush

White Sagebrush - I see this one in lots of neighborhood yards and quite like it. From www.laspilitas.org

sandgrass

Sandgrass - This is so beautiful when it blows in the breeze. From www.wildflower.org

purple needle grass

Purple Needle Grass - Wild California grasses are so gorgeous. From www.laspilitas.org

wild mock orange

Wild Mock Orange - Is there anything more fabulous than orange blossoms?

Native California Plant Resources:

GrowinNative.com – Drought resistant native California plants

Laspilitas.com – Native California plants

MyNativePlants.com – Resource site with software that will help you or your landscaper design your entire yard in native plants, taking into account that the same plant may not like your front and backyard equally, due to sun exposure, soil content and other factors.

Wildflower.org – Resource and listing of native plants, not just for California

Wildflower suppliers in California

I share this viewpoint on native landscaping that, “Taming is not the operative word, rather living with, experiencing, and enjoying the vitality of a native garden instead.” – MyNativePlants.com

As I sit in my backyard garden while I type this, I’m looking around thinking just where all of these fabulous plants will fit.

-Jocelyn Broyles

75 comments

Jenny H.
Past Member 6 months ago

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Lindasy G.
Past Member about a year ago

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Past Member
Past Member about a year ago

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Akon F.
Past Member 3 years ago

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J.L. A.
JL A.3 years ago

great to know!

Melinda K.
Past Member 5 years ago

natives are a great way to go

Kathy K.
Kathy K.5 years ago

Thanks.

Nicole G.
Nicole Gorman5 years ago

Thanks for the infor and the pictures! I now know the names of some of the beautiful grasses and flowers I've been admiring since moving here from the east coast!

Elena Arutiunova
Elena Arutiunova5 years ago

Thx for the info!

Dawid P.
Dawid P.5 years ago

nice article, I can say this as a biologist