Use Water Wisely
About 50 percent of residential water use goes to the landscape. With drought conditions continuing in the Southwest, effective watering is essential. The Water, Use it Wisely site contains lots of useful information on saving water, including an interactive, landscape watering guide for either lawns or plants.
Growing the Perfect Lawn
Author Tom Ogren admits he likes a good-looking lawn as much (if not more) than the next guy, but I appreciate that he doesn't go overboard trying to achieve it. His book, What the Experts May Not Tell You About Growing the Perfect Lawn (Warner Books, 2004; $12.95), contains practical advice for growing healthy, vigorous grass that will outcompete weeds and difficult growing conditions. He shares tips from his years of experience with lawn care ranging from "immediately useful" (what features to look for when buying a lawn mower) to "amusing, but don't try this yourself" (having goats mow your lawn). If you choose to have a lawn, this book will help you choose the appropriate grass species and maintain it efficiently. Or, if you use a landscape maintenance firm, you'll know when they should be fertilizing, aerating, and dethatching.