In Utah, our landscapes can’t rely on very much natural precipitation, so we have to rely on sprinkler systems. Keeping lawn in a central open shape in your yard will allow your sprinkler system to work as it was designed, not force it to water oddly-shaped or positioned lawn areas. With this design, all of your lawn will be available for recreation use while containing a single edge to trim and maintain. A central open shape also creates calm within your landscape. Without it, landscapes can seem chaotic or unorganized. On the flip side, if all you have in your landscape is grass, there’s not much interest. Your central open shape can also be other materials like gravel, pavement, pavers, ground cover, or any low-lying, relatively flat material—especially if you want something even more water thrifty

A water-wise landscape must meet the needs of the users, and if that means recreation space, grass is the best and often only appropriate ground cover. Lawns are a very practical surface for many urban landscapes, but sometimes it is used where the function isn’t recreation. In these situations, more water conserving plant materials might be used. So, lawn can be a practical and beautiful component of a water-wise landscape. As a design component, lawn invites participation in the landscape while providing unity and simplicity. When using grass, here are a few basic guidelines:

  • Only use lawn in areas where it is functional. If the only time you step on a lawn area is to mow it, then perhaps a lower maintenance plant would work in that location.
  • Consider choosing grass species with lower water requirements.
  • Do not plant lawn in narrow, small, or oddly shaped areas that are difficult to irrigate.
  • Hydrozoning in a water-wise landscape is critical. This concept is discussed under efficient irrigation, but just to mention here; lawn should be irrigated separately from other landscape plants.

Taken from Localscapes Guide and USU Extension publication Water-wise Landscaping: Practical Turfgrass Areas.