I have a useless tiny front yard because I situated the house closer to the road, to give me a larger rear yard. Here where I live in Melbourne’s Western Suburbs, we have a climate that can be quite extreme. Summer days frequently exceed 35ºC (95ºF) and winters see a frost, even occasional snow. Add the extra complication of water rationing and it can be a tricky task to keep a lawn alive here, throughout the year.
The local hardware was selling all these great looking turfs but I noticed, in our first summer, few people had green lawns because of the heat and water rationing. Not only did their lawns die back but the exposed soil turned to dust, which tramped through the house. Our area was mainly grain farms and has that read earth that stains carpets. Some people gave up and used fake grass but to me fake is fake and not an option!
We had two Huskies that I used to walk daily and on these walks, I started to pay attention to people’s lawns and the grasses that survived the summer heat in the parks. The survivors, I saw, weren’t the grasses being sold in the local hardware. They were from the couch grass family – grasses that spread by underground layering, rather than by seeding.
I’m not not going to go into detail which grasses I used, because your area will have a different requirement to mine. Rather , use the method I did, to create a lawn that can handle your climate. Now I have other shrubs and bushes to reduce the wind, my yard has a different micro-climate to what it had when I started and that is reflected in my lawn today.
You need to go walkabout like I did, in your own area and see what your survivors are. Both in the heat of summer and the coldest part of winter. Once you have found the survivors, identify them and learn how they propagate or spread. It might be by seed, root or by plugs. It will be a mix of grasses; some that thrive in the heat and others that thrive in the cool.
When you have decided on your mix, work a small section of lawn, say about a square metre (or square yard). Get the soil perfect in this spot because this is going to be your outpost in the desert. It is this area that will be sectioned, dug up in a few months and replanted, to create other square metre outposts that will tame your desert into an all weather lawn, perfectly adapted to your climate. It will consist of a variety of grasses, some for the cold and others for the heat but will endure long after the expensive turf carpet laid lawns are scorched to nothing.