Slowly but surely, California is ditching the green lawns typical of front yards in favor of more drought-friendly landscaping. CityLab recently reported on the change, which comes after several prolonged droughts over the past two decades.
California offers incentives for converting lawns to landscapes that require less water, which has been a big draw for homeowners looking to reduce their water footprint in a state where agricultural water needs already outpace water resources in drought years. In the worst of the last drought, between 2015 and 2016, the state paid 8,000 homeowners to rip out their lawns.
However, while lawn conversion remains on the radar of many Californians, widespread grass removal remains a controversial issue. Many homeowners don’t like the aesthetics and maintenance that comes with turf. And the sense that the drought is over has taken away the urgency of switching to a less thirsty landscape.
State officials hope that new, permanent water restrictions that are set to go into effect over the next 10 years, will lead to a resurgence in lawn removal. Those restrictions, along with continued discussion among California homeowners about the heavy water needs of standard turfgrass, holds the promise of a resurgence in lawn conversion over the coming years.