Planting a conventional turfgrass lawn is not a water-wise solution in the arid West. Nor is paving a big area always practical,
since that much hardscape creates a lot of heat and glare, says Nate Downey of Santa Fe Permaculture.
But if you lace paving stones with ribbons of native buffalo grass (Buchloe dactyloides), you'll achieve an eye-calming "soft patio" effect, as Downey calls it, that needs much less water than a traditional bluegrass or fescue lawn.
More: Barefoot patio