Low-water plants and gravel paths that widen into patios: Water wise landscape design for southwest and Rocky Mountain areas

Wooly thyme, among others, makes a perfectly behaved lawn alternative. Sweet smelling, drought tolerant and never needs mowing or fertilizing. What could be better? The feel of it on bare toes is a textural treat, and the look of a happy thyme lawn adds romance and an established feel to the xeric garden. Plant some among pavers too.

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Lawn substitute. Once planted with thirsty turf, this dymondia "lawn" in Los Altos offers the same utility - a visually soothing expanse of green.

alternative to grass, Green Carpet (Herniaria Glabra). drought tolerant, rarely flowers, sun or shade, handles foot traffic

Surprisingly nearly as rugged as ordinary grass, Blue Star Creeper (Isotoma fluviatillis) ground cover is fast growing and can take heavy foot traffic. It creates a floral meadow in the spring and summer.

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