As any California dweller knows, our lovely state tends to have an incredibly arid climate. Much of the area surrounding San Francisco is naturally high desert-like. Rainfall occurs for only half of the year, and we can expect the long summer months to bring us sunshine and drought. Hills that were a fresh green during late winter and early spring turn golden brown in the summer. Hiking and biking trails crumble to a sandy dust, and, towards the end of summer, the occasional tumbleweed can be seen making its lazy way across streets and sidewalks.
Though our region is not naturally filled with green grass and palm trees, we homeowners work hard to ensure our yards are lush and livable—rain be darned. While the benefits of a lovely grass lawn are myriad, the costs of maintaining grass are harmful not only to your pocketbook, but to the environment as well. Read this short paragraph on yard landscaping impacts from the Public Policy Institute of California:
Landscape choices are considered key because Californians—like their neighbors in other semiarid western states—have tended to use plants more suited to humid climates. The typical California lawn, a cool-season turf grass, can require several times more water than native plants. Inefficient watering systems, such as incorrectly timed automatic sprinklers, can significantly compound the problem, creating overwatered lawns and excess water spillage. In addition to the resource costs associated with water waste, overwatering generates polluted run-off, which damages rivers, lakes, and coastal waters.