How To Maintain a Lawn When You Live in an Arid Climate

Taking good care of a lean and keeping it green and full all year round is a challenge even in the best conditions. When you live in an arid area like the American Southwest it can seem near impossible to have a nice lawn. The unforgiving sun does a number on anything green that isn’t a palm tree.

There are a lot of options, fortunately. Between looking for specialty products and also changing your maintenance habits, you can have a lawn that your neighbors will surely envy. You can make that dry, crunchy, and dusty lawn a thing of the past with just a few changes.

In this article, we will go over several ways that you can take back control of your lawn even if you live in an area with harsh conditions working against you.

Get rid of it

Let’s begin with probably the most extreme option. That is getting rid of your lawn and forgetting about having lush green grass. Some people would rather not try to beat nature and will work with some different elements instead of trying to grow green grass.

For example, there are landscape architects that love to promote working with what the natural surroundings are like. Rather than have a deep and green lawn, you can go with a rock garden and some evergreen shrubs that work well in an arid climate.

You can make a beautiful landscape by using what would naturally happen in that area. Edges of the yard can have things like gravel or crushed stone for a very eye-pleasing border where you can put some cactus or small palm trees for decoration. Rather than have the rest of the lawn covered in grass, you can put some stones and a patio with a pergola to be able to enjoy the yard out of the sun and also spend less time on the landscaping.

If you have searched for “artificial turf near me,” you have probably chosen the right thing. Another alternative is to take up all of the grass and call an artificial grass company. This will give you a lush green lawn without it actually being a lawn. These days artificial turf looks as real as can be. They feature deep and realistic-looking grass that can easily be confused for the real thing.

An artificial lawn doesn’t need any water so it is a natural choice for an arid area. Plus, if you have pets, clean-up is easy as it can be washed with a hose when they do their business.

Get the right grass

Some people naturally want to have grass instead of going with a stone yard or artificial grass.

Fortunately, for those people, there are some varieties of grass that do well in arid areas. Choosing the right grass is essential in these types of areas. With the right maintenance strategy and the right type of grass, a green lawn is within reach.

Not sure what to plant or how to even know what kind of grass you have now? Use reputable lawn maintenance services to get the pros involved and take the headaches out of your hands.

Look for drought-tolerant varieties that will stay green and require very little water. One thing to keep in mind, however, is that all grass will require some water at least. There is no type of grass that can live without water. What needs to be done is to choose the variety that can survive on less and then use some water-saving tricks to give it the little bit that it needs.

Look for varieties like Bermuda grass that is dense and very hardy. It can get by on very little water and can also handle fluctuations in temperature. For instance, it can even handle cold weather snaps that do occur even in arid and desert areas in the winter.

Other types of grass that do well in an arid area are Kentucky bluegrass and several bentgrass species.

Change the routine

Once you have the right grass, it now needs to have a different maintenance strategy than you had been using.

Mowing needs to be different, for instance. Cutting too close to the ground is a sure way to end up with a dried-out and dead lawn even when using a drought-tolerant variety. Leave the lawn longer than you normally would so it can protect itself and even retain some moisture since the sun can’t dry out the soil. The frequency should also be slowed down to give the lawn a chance to survive.

If you are allowed to water the lawn then do so at night so the water has a chance to get into the ground before it evaporates. Make sure it is really soaked.

Fertilize the lawn in the spring with the right kind that will get into the roots quickly. This will not only help the blades of grass but allow the roots to spread out much better so they are more tolerant to dry conditions. This should be done early in the spring so it has a chance to strengthen the root system before the strong heat of the summer occurs. Use things like granulated manure or blood meal to keep it natural yet productive.

Try to also change how you use the lawn. Have the kids and pets stay in a certain area where they are less likely to put too much pressure on a particular area. If there is a lot of activity happening on the same spot over and over it will compact the grass and end up killing it when it gets very hot. If they have a certain play area with their toys then move it around occasionally so the area has a chance to rebound and repair itself.


Unfortunately, a lean is not a set-it-and-forget-it type of scenario. If you live in an arid area then it is going to take some effort and planning ahead. Also, there will be some trial and error involved. Some drought-tolerant grasses may not work where you live so finding the right one may take a few tries.

Once you have a strategy and schedule, then stick with it and the sought after results will come with time.


Jeff Campbell