Monday, June 22, 2015

Turf No More

  As drought marches on, we are asked by the State of California to reduce home water consumption by 20% in our county. I took out my front lawn many years ago- not because I was a pioneer of water conservation, but because I needed room for more plants. Don't we all ? Since I had little interest in maintaining lawn it looked pretty crappy most of the time anyway. 
 In the city of Napa, emergency drought regulations are in place subject to a 500.00 fine for non-compliance. Water during rain or within 48 hours of measurable rain (a moot point this time of year) watering on consecutive days, excessive run-off and hosing off sidewalks or driveways are a few of the new restrictions in place. None of these are in any way a hardship for me-common sense procedures one and all, most of which I already practice.My garden gets watered once a week or less, I never hose off sidewalks or driveways, and why would anyone water within 48 hours of measurable rain ? Useful guidelines they are for people who are not particularly interested in their landscape and have a set and forget approach with regard to their irrigation controllers. It's unfortunately not rare to see lawn sprinklers spewing that precious resource in December or January.
   Around my neighborhood, it would seem that many are heeding the restrictions. I took a stroll early Sunday morning with the camera , interested to see up close what I had noticed only fleetingly when driving in and out on my commute.

  Several lawns appear not to be being watered at all -or mowed in some cases as seen in the first photo below. Others, as in photo two, are continuing to trim and mow . Perhaps the goal in some of these cases is to let the lawn expire and then remove it.



 This former lawn is gone and the resident has made a decent effort at planting for our summer dry climate. I think it will look nice once it fills in.



 No lawn here, but judging from the appearance of the soil (such as it is) they are diligent about their herbicides and have signed on to the school of meatball landscaping. I never see these folks outside so I assume they have a mow-blow outfit coming in to keep the weeds and debris out of the bon-bons. No water needed though !



 This house has not had a lawn in years , though I expect  it's a pragmatic solution to the challenge of landscaping a tiny front yard in the root zone of  a mature Redwood. Once the Agapanthus (snail motels) have gone over there won't be much to see.



 Here we have our first faux-lawn in the neighborhood.


 It doesn't look too bad on an overcast day, though it has a bit of a sparkle effect when the sun hits it. The plants in the stock tanks are not legit either. They certainly don't need to put one drop of water on this  front yard but it is rather a jarring sight when compared to the withering and sparsely watered lawns of the neighbors around them.


   A recent removal and xeric installation..hopefully they have a plan for weed control.



 This resident removed half of the front lawn, a nice compromise with good plant choices. 



 This was one of my favorites ..the plantings are well maintained, on drippers , and clearly there is more planting to come . Construction here (note plywood) is a chimney re-build from the August 2014 South Napa Quake.




 These folks no doubt removed the lawn so they could continue to water the  thirsty Brugmansia. Note that the house is painted to match the plant.  I will be interested to see what they do for winter protection with this Brug..but who can fault anyone who loves a plant enough to re paint their house ?


 Really nice rock work and plant selection here. This one gets my no-lawn first prize.


Another recent installation-it includes a dry steam bed that is out of the photo.



I guess they meant well...


      The homeowner just finished removing his lawn last week. Since I drive past here almost every day  I will be able to observe the progress ..




 Our neighborhood park has dialed down the irrigation too-glad to see the city is compliant with their own rules.



 I guess this household has given up laundry and showers.


16 comments:

  1. Cool post. Fascinating to see what various Californians are doing about landscape water use. Some are definitely better than others. I love the house that was painted to match the Brug flower.

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    1. I'm watching for new developments daily...!

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  2. Wait...people are actually installing astro turf?? Great post, Kathy!

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    1. lol Sue they've come a long way since the days of astro turf -- but, it's still fake !

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  3. This is a really interesting post. I can't get over someone putting in a fake lawn. And also, how strange the real green only watered lawn looks in the midst of the dry surroundings.

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    1. There must have been 4 or 5 vendors selling faux lawn at the SF Garden Show this year. There are only a handful of people who are full on watering their lawns this summer-most are letting it go .

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  4. Cool observational post Kathy! That lush and verdant lawn looks so odd isn't it, when everyone else is brown, gone, or replaced with something else.

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    1. It does indeed ! They may start to get glances from neighbors who are letting theirs brown out.

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  5. I love love LOVE seeing other people's neighborhoods, thanks for the photo tour. Now about that house with the fake-turf and stock tanks. Wow. Just wow.

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    1. You should see their back yard..they have a full tropical latin style tiki bar with little table and chairs- it looks like the al fresco section of a Mexican restaurant !

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  6. Your neighborhood could be Lakewood....
    Nice to see some diligent efforts!

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    1. It will be interesting to see what transpires here by summers end. I'm waiting to see what the many dead-lawn peeps are going to do.

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  7. Love this. It reminds me if my own strolls around my hood where I wonder what prompts neighbors to do what they do in their yards. I guess I get the astro turf, but the fake plants in the stock tanks mystify me. Cindy H.

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  8. Most of the signs of transformation I've seen have been outside my immediate area, which is amazing as all of Palos Verdes Peninsula has a 36% water reduction target. A house across the canyon from me, visible from my office window, just put in new sod, which I found amazing. (I assumed it was a fake lawn until the lawnmower came out.) I haven't seen any of the visible expanses of lawn rolled up yet in my own neighborhood but I'm waiting until fall to take out my 2 remaining sections of "lawn" (brown weeds) so maybe others are too - that's my hope anyway. Pool covers may be a bigger issue here as every other house seems to have a pool. The first water bills are arriving now so maybe that will jolt some into action.

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  9. That house with the plastic lawn is a little frightening. I think about Cali gardeners a lot lately, and I am so grateful we are not faced with such choices here.

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  10. Most interesting survey of how people appear to be handling the drought. Same type of thing here--some people are irrigating as much as ever, others taking moderate measures, a few, extreme...a few plastic lawns here--I find them pragmatic, but of course I have one for the dogs. Right place, right fake plant.

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