Nationally, eight out of ten homes have a lawn. No information is available for Southern California, which might be a bit less, but probably not significantly. Many of these lawn spaces serve no function. They are not utilized for recreation or similar purposes and are primarily a decorative legacy.
These non-functional lawn spaces consume two to five times the irrigation of other living landscape options. Additionally, these lawn spaces contribute significantly to groundwater and coastal water pollution and green waste issues. Even more important might be the addition of carbon to the atmosphere from the regular mowing and green waste collection and transfer.
Yes, to lawns at schools, parks, cemeteries, dog runs, where children regularly play or where there is a true function. But NO to non-functional decorative lawns. Lawns are no longer a status symbol; it now might be a symbol of arrogance or ignorance. Lose the lawn!”
We realize this will be one of the most sensitive of all landscape topics. Here is a little fact-based math exercise:
Let us say that seven out of ten homes have at least some lawn area (it’s eight out of ten nationally, so we’re being conservative). Then, let us say that of those homes the lawn comprises 40% of the landscaped area; that is reasonable. Finally, let us say that lawns use three times more water than other landscape plants. Scientific research here in California says it’s anywhere from two to five times more water, so again we are being conservative.
Ok, now let us say water restrictions get really serious and you don’t know what to do. If those home lawns stop getting watering completely, we will save 47% of our outdoor water!
Stop watering home lawns and that’s a savings of 47%
of the total outdoor water use in the neighborhood.
And this is with NO change to anything else in the
landscape – the same flowers, roses, vegetables,
habitat providing trees and shrubsnd other plants.
Let us step back a little from this most dire situation and assume we do not stop watering those thirsty lawns completely, but we convert them to some other form of landscape (not necessarily drought tolerant, just a “normal” mix of plants), and apply the same formula. We now have a 31% water savings – in the entire community, not just those homes with lawns.
If we are just willing to lose the lawn, we can still have our beautiful landscapes and our habitats.
We have sourced the information below to help you
understand more about water conservation.
Here is a well written summary by Princeton University about the conflict between lawns and climate change.
And here is another short article from Scientific American discussing the environmental issues connected to an overabundance of lawns.
For those that want to look at the more technical and societal challenges of artificial turf use, we suggest this research by King’s College
If you are convinced, here is an excellent step-by-step about how to kill and remove your thirsty, habitat unfriendly lawn.
|<<<||Gardens Promote Healthy Environments, Habitats & Mitigate Climate Change||Artificial Turf is Not Ecologically Correct||>>>|