Municipalities across the country are offering cash incentives to homeowners to tear out their water-guzzling lawns. Here in California alone, there are dozens of programs to encourage homeowners to make the move to a grass-free yard. Cities like Sacramento, Los Angeles, Roseville, Palmdale, Victorville, and Napa have all implemented similar programs, and with rebates up to four dollars a square foot in some areas, it's easy to see why many are taking advantage of this opportunity. The money is intended to defray the cost of lawn removal and replacement with drought tolerant landscapes commonly known as xeriscapes. The results can be truly distinctive and beautiful.
The replacement plants are more drought tolerant, native varieties that are hardy yet attractive Some of the more popular ones are lavender, oleander, salvia, butterfly bush, yarrow, ceanothus, red bud, manzanita, toyon, and penstemon.
The water that will be saved is critical to many areas. A quick look online finds these 'cash-for-grass' offers not only in the typically arid regions of the country, but in the East and Midwest too. Underground sprinkler systems are being removed or replaced with parts that can convert an existing riser pipe to half-inch mainline or quarter inch drip line. For ideas, check out our sprinkler to drip conversion page.
Besides saving money, doing away with your lawn reduces air pollution by eliminating the need for mowing. According to a recent Swedish study, running a lawn mower for one hour spews as many pollutants into the atmosphere as a 100 mile car trip. In addition, you save hours of personal time and energy in yard work.
Attitudes are shifting as to what constitutes an attractive yard. So give yourself a break! Who doesn't want less work, more time, more money, and a uniquely attractive yard? Money may not grow on trees but your lawn is another story.