Western states cover the gamut of having rain forests in the northwest to desert areas in the southwest. Much of the western United States is not suitable for growing lawns, yet many communities have incorporated lawns without regard to the cost, both financial and environmental, of trying to grow grass in arid regions.
In areas where reduced rainfall makes it impossible to grow a particular turfgrass without supplemental irrigation, homeowners should reconsider that option. Trying to grow a bluegrass lawn in the middle of a desert is the picture of stupidity.
Whatever your position on global warming, it is evident that there is a climate change occurring. In some areas, temperatures are actually lower than in previous years. In other areas temperatures have increased.
What originally began in Colorado, Xeriscaping has now become a popular concept throughout all of the more arid regions of the western states. In fact, many of those concepts are also being adapted across the entire country-- xeriscaping is not just for arid climates anymore.
Xeriscaping as a concept involves using naturalized plants in an extremely water efficient landscape, in an attractive design. This means only planting those plants that are natural to the local climate and geology. More often than not, it means reducing turfgrass areas or eliminating them altogether.
In practice, xeriscaping involves creating 3 general zones in the landscape: a natural zone that requires no supplemental watering, a low-water zone where only in extended droughts is supplemental irrigation required, and, a moderate water zone.
The moderate zone are relatively small areas that serve primarily as landscape focal points. These areas may require frequent watering's during dry periods.