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We recently had a new septic system installed in the front yard. The installation went fine but the front-yard is quite bare now (almost all dirt). I want to have a nice lawn in front but am paranoid of having to water it too much and creating a problem later (as mentioned in this prior post).

I'd like to know if there is a specific type of grass that would be ideal for this type of scenario; something that wouldn't require much water. Any suggestions?

Our house is located in Aptos, CA. Here's a brief weather summary:


Weather is mild during summer when temperatures tend to be in the 70's and cool during winter when temperatures tend to be in the 40's/50's.

The warmest month of the year is September with an average maximum temperature of 75.60 degrees Fahrenheit, while the coldest month of the year is December with an average minimum temperature of 39.60 degrees Fahrenheit.

Temperature variations between night and day tend to be moderate during summer with a difference that can reach 22 degrees Fahrenheit, and moderate during winter with an average difference of 21 degrees Fahrenheit.

The annual average precipitation at Aptos is 30.67 Inches. Winter months tend to be wetter than summer months. The wettest month of the year is January with an average rainfall of 6.49 Inches.


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It might be useful to describe your climate / climate zone. IIRC from other questions, you're in California, but it spans a huge climate range. –  Niall C. Oct 10 '10 at 22:20
    
@Niall Great idea -- added details. –  Mike B Oct 10 '10 at 22:48
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I'd recommend asking at your local garden center -- they'd know the issues with the weather and soil in your area, and if there's any special issues (if you're in a valley, or south-facing slope of a mountain, etc.) Also, be aware that if you're in an area with an HOA, some require a specific type of grass (which may not may not grow well in your area) –  Joe Oct 11 '10 at 19:44
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Are you sure you need to worry about drought? The septic drain field will keep the ground moist year-round. –  Jay Bazuzi Oct 20 '10 at 14:52
    
@Jay I didn't think of that, thanks! I just want to keep watering to a minimum so the ground beneath it can be as dry as possible. –  Mike B Oct 20 '10 at 15:40

2 Answers 2

Sorry, I can't help you with the type of grass. But I do have some suggestions that will work with any type.

Don't just leave it dirt. Improve the dirt. Add compost to the soil. If necessary, have the compost roto-tilled in.

Organic matter helps the soil to retain moisture. Periodically aerate the soil (yearly is a good idea if you can do so. A pull-behind aerator is not that expensive if you have a small tractor, and well worth the expense.) After each aeration, add more compost on the surface. Grass with a deep, robust root system can survive a period of no water for longer than otherwise.

You may also find it a good idea to check your soil for problems. Is it heavy clay? Sand? Are there problem trees in the area, like walnut? Is the soil too acidic?

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Ask your septic designer for advice.

My septic designer knows a lot about local soils, local climate, and local foliage. He also knows about my specific septic system, and how it would be affected by tilling, ammendments, etc.

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