California Residents May Have to De-Green Their Yards, Here’s How You Can Spruce Yours Up

Say goodbye to lush, grassy landscapes—and hello to trendy, dessert-like layouts

Soon, “going green” may mean almost no green at all. The California Water Commission will consider a plan that would, among other things, require new California landscaping projects to cut down their grass—no, not mow it—get rid of it entirely. The ordinance states that new residential plots could only cover 25% of their yards with turf. The plan also applies to large (2,500 square feet or more) plots of land that undergo renovations. By using recycled water, residents could avoid the ordinance altogether, but why not get with the trend? Don’t panic about costs—did we mention some Los Angeles residents could get paid to remove their turf? In the meantime, there are plenty of ways to spruce up that other 75% of your yard. Here are four of our favorites:

  1. Rock Beds

    Rock beds easily consume the areas in which grass used to grow, and provide a great backdrop for softer plants.

    Photograph courtesy Flickr/Karen Roe

  2. Succulents

    Cute, colorful, eco-friedly, oh my! Succulents are as non-thirsty as plants come. Some species can survive months without rainfall. Shallow roots allow what little water they need to get to them quickly.

    Photograph courtesy

  3. Permeable Gravel

    Permeable gravel is easy to walk on, blends the surroundings, and prevents wasteful runoff. Water easily sinks through this material, allowing plants to retain it.

    Photograph courtesy

  4. Eco-Friendly Plants

    Plants native to surrounding areas are always more likely to thrive in drought-stricken environments. Eco-friendly staples such as yucca, sedum, and agave are safe bets, too.

    Photograph courtesy

Ready to pull the plug? The Metropolitan Water District of Southern California has a waitlist for turf removal; you can get up to $2 per square foot for it. Type in your address, water agency, and square footage—and get ready to go green.