SoCal Residents Ripping Up Their Lawns for Cacti


cactilawnBeckie Brown was fed up with wasting money on the uphill battle to keep her lawn looking green. She and many other California residents are throwing money into the wind when it comes to keeping the grass as green as possible, but now there is a cheaper alternative that Brown has bought into.

Now there is nothing but native shrubs in her yard all thanks to great water district rebates that allow her to save some serious cash every year by having a low-maintenance yard.

“It was just ridiculous to me that the norm is for people to have green lawns when we live in a desert,” said Brown. “I think we need to evolve and get a little more enlightened.”

Brown is not the only one converting her lawn to a desert landscape, many homeowners across Southern California are opting for a more natural environment by ripping up their grass in order to save both money and natural resources. This is one of the worst droughts in history, and water agencies are offering huge rebates to customers who convert their lawns and install drought-resistant plants instead

Proper landscaping services can provide homeowners with trees, shrubs, and other plants that shade air conditioning units and reduce energy costs. With these new drought-resistant plants, people can save even more. One water district company is offering a rebate rate of $2 per square foot.

In a good year, Southern California receives an average of about 14 inches of rain, but lawns need more than 48 inches of water a year to stay green in the area. Using this much water is impractical for the region and many agree that lawns don’t belong in Southern California.

After Governor Jerry Brown declared a drought emergency, the water depletion issue was a major wake up call for residents and the choice for drought-tolerant landscaping gained in popularity since the announcement in January. Some districts such as the Municipal Water District of Orange County, are seeing more than 150 applicants per month.

There is a bit of a trade-off: The rebates will usually not be enough to cover the labor, equipment, and plant costs for the landscape design makeover, but in the long run residents will be saving quite a bit of money on water bills.

Landscaping companies in the area have stated that drought-tolerant or native plant species attract more wildlife and give a distinct, modern look that is unique against the other green lawns.

For Brown, her 2,100 square foot backyard is already a meeting ground for wildlife.

“I spent so much time just looking at it,” Brown said. “It’s like Christmas came early for me.”

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