What every parent should know about “grass”

May 19th, 2003 § Eight comments

Yesterday’s Los Angeles Times Magazine has an excellent article about Southern California’s love of lawns. (You can use “pinchydotorg” as the login and password.) The author profiles a couple that replaced their lawn with native plants, only to incur the wrath of their homeowners’ association. He also discusses the history of American lawns and considers whether California’s water shortage will lead to smaller lawns in the future.

Apparently there’s a special word for drought-tolerant landscaping—it’s called xeriscaping. I suppose I’ll have to start learning these things, since I’m going to be in the same department as a bunch of landscape architects.

Eight comments

  • C-dawg says:

    Is hemp an appropriate alternative ground cover, or does that use too much water too? How about cabbage patch kids?

  • Dumptruck says:

    I bet scantily clad young women would be more popular than cabbage patch kids. The lawns in Georgetown seem to sprout half-dressed 19-year-olds on sunny days. I’m sure Southern California could come up with girls in bikinis more easily. And because there is more sun, acting as ground cover could be a regular job. Paying the girls might even be more cost effective than watering all that grass.

  • christine says:

    My boss and her partner did their own take on the native plant landscaping thing, and convinced their neighbors to do something similar as well. I dunno… unless you can actually like lie on them (which you shouldn’t if you have a messy dog) or play sports on them, I think lawns are a pain in the ass.

  • Jeff says:

    Lawns are like swimming pools or basketball courts. It’s great to have them around, but there’s no reason why everyone needs to have their own. Besides, good public parks have much better lawns than most of us could ever grow outside our front doors, with more space for playing frisbee and better opportunities for people-watching.
    Somehow I doubt that Irvine’s homeowners’ associations will allow yards filled with hemp. Now Arcata–that’s a whole different story.
    I quite like the idea of front yards covered entirely by discarded Cabbage Patch Kids. It’s a nicely surreal notion. It’s also much more wholesome than pimping out half-dressed coeds as mobile landscaping, although both ideas share a certain depravity that I can’t help but applaud.

  • RW says:

    See http://aggie-horticulture.tamu.edu/extension/xeriscape/xeriscape.html for a Texas aggie take on xeriscaping. Suggested plants probably wouldn’t be too bad in Sacramento.
    I don’t agree with all their positions, but the site is nicely laid out.

  • Jeff says:

    On the Texas aggie site, the photo for principle 5, “efficient irrigation,” seems odd. Isn’t spraying water up into the air one of the least efficient methods of irrigation? I thought that causes loads of water to evaporate or blow away before it hits the ground.

  • Matthew says:

    A somewhat unrelated comment:
    There is a group of Park Ranger botanists that reside in the hinterlands of the Presedio in San Francisco whose main purpose is ensure that as the Presidio’s signature, and rather xenoscaped, Eucalyptus trees die, they are replaced by the more native flora… low lying grassess and other dune plants. The Presidio should look more like the great highway out by 19th Ave: sandy with a lot of scrub. Xeriscaping through patience.
    The things that you learn from riding to work through the Presidio.

  • Jeff says:

    Very cool. I need to learn more about the Presidio (and, for that matter, about how the entire Western Addition was reclaimed from the dunes).
    I think “xeriscaping through patience” is going to be my new motto.

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