Are you ready to give up that water-hogging grass lawn? Last year, many people ditched their lawn for artificial turf, drought-resistant shrubs, plants, and non-plant materials. By doing so, they received a rebate from the Metropolitan Water District.
The program was so successful, however, that MWD’s $340 million turf removal rebate fund was depleted and is no longer available. But that may be changing. According to MWD’s spokesperson, Bob Muir, their board will be presented with a landscape program in April that may include some type of turf removal rebate plan. Stay tuned.
If you live in Anaheim or certain parts of Los Angeles County, your water department still offers turf removal rebates.
Rather than wait for a possible rebate, why not decide now which lawn alternative is best for you? Lawn alternatives not only save water, they also increase your home’s curb appeal.
No more mowing, weeding, fertilizing, or watering when you replace that lawn with lush-looking artificial turf. It stays green all year long and is hypoallergenic and safe for kids and pets. Today’s artificial turf is available in various green shades and blade heights, and has a permeable base so rain and other liquids absorb into the earth. Artificial turf is not recyclable, but it’s expected to last 20-25 years.
Drought-resistant Shrubs and Plants
There are many choices of beautiful, native plants that require only sips instead of gulps of water to thrive in your garden. Replace that lawn with colorful bloomers such as Manzanitas, Salvia Pozo Blue, and buckwheat, planted alongside green and flowering shrubs such as Japanese boxwood, Anchor Bay Ceanothus, and deer grass. All are beautiful as well as welcoming to birds and butterflies.
Cacti and Succulents
For a striking addition to your new landscape, intermingle an assortment of cacti and succulents with other drought-resistant plants and shrubs. One of my favorites is the barrel cactus, as it produces bold pink or white blooms from spring through fall in our area. The blossoms are breathtaking, but forget about picking them to enjoy indoors as they bloom for the day and usually close up by nightfall.
Do you know the difference between cacti and succulents? There is very little variance between the two, except cacti have small, velvety, usually white puffs where their thorns crop up. Now you know.
Add even more color and texture to your alternative landscape by combining plants with decomposed granite, colored wood chips, or pavers, accented by real or faux garden boulders. Decomposed granite is used in many park playgrounds and trails and is perfect for the kids’ play area. It’s soft, natural, permeable, and long-lasting.
Spring is the perfect time to start your lawn alternative garden. Get started now!
Terri Daxon is a writer, author, and contributor to several newspapers and other publications in southern California