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Landscaping & Design/changing from grass to rocks


We have a rental property in Albuquerque that has (had) a nice front lawn the tenant didn't water for about a year and it's pretty much dead.

Does grass that hasn't been watered in a while ever come back?

We're thinking now might be the time to replace it with rocks - the question is should we cut & roll up the sod before putting the rocks down?  I've been told we could just put down plastic sheeting over the grass. Probably easier but not sure it's the best in the long run.  Low maintenance will be a real plus for new tenants as water in Abq is quite expensive.



Grass that is dead won't come back, but there probably dormant grass seeds in all that grass, and water will cause them to sprout and grow.

I have done the Southwest landscaping both ways, leaving the sod and removing it. I usually left it and covered it with plastic if I was doing rocks. If re-landscaping with drought-resistant grass and xeriscape plants, I removed the sod.

Hope that helps.


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Russel Ray


I can answer questions about water-wise landscaping, xeriscaping, and using native vegetation, cactus, and succulents to create a home paradise that won't increase your water bill.


My wise ol' grandmother got me started with cactus and succulents 42 years ago. The rest, as they say, is history.

National Association of Certified Home Inspectors, Better Business Bureau of San Diego

After graduating from Texas A&M University, I started a plant-sitting business in Houston to take care of the house plants when people went on vacation. That went on for five years before I moved back to College Station and started several businesses, one of which was a landscaping business specializing in "dry" landscaping.

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