Photo by Debbie Ballentine
Keeping your lawn green and healthy in the Aussie summer is near impossible. With rain being so scarce and temperatures skyrocketing over 40 degrees keeping your garden alive is a real test of skill. Plus it's a pain in the arse.
To get a good-looking low-maintenance lawn, you'll need to replace your high-maintenance grass with better grass, flowers, or even rocks.
Certain breeds of fescue grass, engineered to avoid the breed's typical clumping, grow slowly enough to need only a monthly mowing. Fescue is hardy enough for many types of soil in most temperate climates. The roots of fine fescues emit an amino acid that kills weeds like crabgrass.
For drought resistance lawns look towards the Zoysia, Buffalo and Couch variants. The Zoysia and Couch lawns will stay greener for longer, with a quick recovery period after dry and hot weather. Buffalo grass however is more of a consistent shade of green, being able to handle full sun and even full shade. If your lawn is either really shady or in full sun then Buffalo is the way to go.
Ferns and succulents do well in our dry air. Personally I am a big fan of the Agave plant, a huge succulent that can stand the test of any weather Australian summer can throw at it. While the plants are expensive you won't need to initially buy very many, as the plant grows its own 'pups' every year. Just clip off the new offshoots and plant them in the soil - before long you will have a garden of fully grown Agarve.
In terms of flowers the Kangaroo Paw is a lovely Australian flower with minimal mess. Originating from South Australia the Kangaroo Paw comes in over 12 different variations, each with a vibrant colour and 'paw' like flower head. They come in amber, gold, red and velvet. They are resistant to drought and frost - perfect for all over Australia.
Something else entirely
Astroturf, while easier to maintain than turf grass, still takes some spraying down and sweeping up, and it heats up in the sun. All that plastic doesn't soak up greenhouse gases, and when it's replaced it ends up in a landfill. Don't even bother.