With as many as 12 million dead or dying trees in California forests amid the drought, one has to ask – is the West any place for a lawn? Things have gotten so bad due our lack of sufficient rainfall; we not only have to cut back on watering our plants and lawns, but we’re also down to taking shorter showers, not to mention, washing our cars in our driveways becoming a no-no. And, as proud homeowners who pay property taxes and homeowners insurance to protect our investment…homeownership has become a concern as many of us watch our lawns and plants die.
Unfortunately, California is only learning what Nevada learned years ago – lawns and drought are incompatible. When Governor Jerry Brown recently ordered that California rip up 50 million square feet of lawns to conserve water in the midst of the West’s brutal drought, everyone gasped. After all, lawns look so much better than dirt and cactus.
But, Nevada, whose arid climate has contributed to its own serious drought, has been doing the lawn removals since 1999. In fact, a virtually continuous population boom over the years has driven officials to seek water-saving methods to solve the regions thirst. By using community outreach as well as cash incentives, the state’s popular Water Smart Landscaping Program has removed nearly 4,000 acres — 173 million square feet — of lawn space. That’s equivalent to covering nearly 3,000 football fields – or stretch an 18-inch-wide strip of backyard sod almost entirely around the world.
The chronic water shortage across the West may lead to what was once unthinkable: the demise of the American lawn. What used to decorate the front yards of the West’s suburban tracts with lush greening could become desert landscaping – or worse – artificial turf and faux grass.
In Los Angeles alone, officials want to take out 25 million square feet of grass by year’s end. But, there is pushback from residents who love their lawns and do not wish to part with them. And, for good reason. The look of a home with a nice green manicured lawn adds to the property value. Aesthetics is everything when selling a home.
There is also push-back from the $25 billion-a-year grass industry, which stresses that lawns are good for the environment, producing oxygen, preventing soil erosion, and dissipating heat. All good points…but, in the deadening drought all options should be considered.
You should also consider all your options when shopping for insurance for your home to be sure you’re getting the best homeowners insurance rates possible. Why not get a free homeowners insurance quote today?
Would you ever rip your lawn out and replace it with desert landscaping or artificial grass? Feel free to share your thoughts in the comments section below.