Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Goodbye to the Green Lawn

California is suffering through its fourth year of devastating drought. Croplands are drying up, lakes and reservoirs are alarmingly low, and the snowpack in the High Sierra is AWOL. To cope, folks in Los Angeles are tearing out their green (and very thirsty) lawns and planting drought-tolerant landscapes, with gravel or bark paths and lots of hardy, native plants.

The Hubby and I have loved our white-picket-fence, rose-bedecked, lush green lawn for years. The pugs enjoyed it, too:

But it's time to change. We can no longer justify using all that water to support non-native grass. For a minute, I thought about installing a fake green plastic lawn. A few neighbors have gone that route, and their lawns look surprisingly realistic.

But then I realized: I have a one-time opportunity to create a microclimate that will attract birds, bees, and butterflies. I can't chase all those critters away with an ocean of green plastic.

So we're tearing out the front lawn. In its place will be a mix of decomposed granite paths (a figure-eight path in the center and a "racetrack" oval around the edge, for the pugs' amusement) and a variety of blooming bushes that birds, bees, and butterflies will love.

For the pugs' comfort, there will be no cacti, nothing prickly or sharp, no oddly placed boulders for them to trip on, or senseless pathways to nowhere.

I'm crossing my fingers and hoping it will be beautiful. I know it will be different, and it'll take getting used to.

And I'm keeping the roses along the picket fence.

Some things are non-negotiable.


  1. Kudos! I have to say, I’m so relieved to know you’re keeping your beautiful, newly planted bed of roses (yay!); but your plans for replacing the lawn sound fantastic! Our lawn is as old as our house (50+ years),and not in good shape at all. We’re barely watering it, proudly displaying its obvious poor health as a badge of honor in this critical time of drought. We’re seriously thinking of replacing it the way you are (I, too, want to be a part of helping the birds, bees and butterflies flourish), and look forward to seeing your final product. The plans sound terrific!



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