Life After Lawns

For the first time in history the State of California has implemented mandatory water cuts. We don’t need to belabor the point about California’s water crisis we’ve all heard enough bad news. The real question becomes “Can anything be done about it?”

I don’t claim to be an expert on water policies or water politics, but I do know what can be done in your home to cut back on water and still have a beautiful garden.

Echium, Pride of Madeira, drought toleant, landscaping ideas, garden design ideas, Montecito, Santa Barbara

Echium, Boraginaceae, aka Pride of Madeira

The Great Lawn Debate

Okay, there is really no debate, here’s why: about 50-75% of residential water is used outdoors and if you have lawns, the majority is used to keep your lawns alive and green. So, if you eliminate lawns from your landscaping, you’re done! And you still have water for your trees and other plants. Plus, think of all the maintenance you have eliminated!

Not everyone will agree with this approach, we love our green lawns! Is there another solution? That is a good question. And there isn’t an easy answer. Before we get into that, let’s delve into a bit of history.

The Secret Story Behinds Lawns

Have you ever wondered where the “lawn as landscaping” idea came from? I certainly did. No one would imagine that is was the result of a massive advertising campaign. The popularization of lawns was the result of a public relations campaign put together by the American Garden Club. They convinced Americans that it was their civic duty to maintain a lawn. They went so far as to stipulate that the only appropriate lawn was “a plot with a single type of grass with no intruding weeds, kept mown at a height of an inch and a half, uniformly green, and neatly edged.” Wow, that was quite a successful campaign that is still working over 100 years later. Crazy!

Still Need That Green?

There are many alternatives to lawn and rather than buy into the PR campaign devised over 100 years ago, why not think outside the lawn box? Next week I’ll give you some alternatives to the green stuff.

Until next time, fill your garden with joy!