Transitional boundary layers on low-pressure turbines (LPTs) are prone to separation on the suction surface of the blade under strong local adverse pressure gradients. Intermittent freestream turbulence, periodic wakes shed by the upstream blades, and surface roughness due to in-service degradation of the blades are shown to suppress the separation. Although this generally leads to a profile loss reduction, some of the benefits are offset by a loss increase associated with an increased turbulent wetted area. In this work, we explore a strategy where the losses in both the transitional and turbulent boundary layers can be reduced. In particular, we employ surface roughness in the transitional regime to reduce the separation bubble-related losses and riblets in the turbulent regime to further reduce the losses due to the turbulent wetted area. The efficacy of this ‘rough-riblet blade surface’ is studied using high-fidelity eddy resolving simulations on the configuration of a flat surface subjected to streamwise varying pressure gradients. Two riblet shapes, sawtooth and scalloped, are considered. When compared to the roughness alone configuration, scalloped riblets reduced the skin friction drag by ≈10% and are much more effective than the sawtooth riblets. Through the streamwise evolution of the boundary layer parameters such as trailing edge momentum thickness, maximum turbulent kinetic energy, and Reynolds stresses, the additional losses incurred at the junction between the smooth wall and riblet leading edge are highlighted.