This is an example of what we hope to prevent with education through the Ocean Friendly Gardens program. Check out the attached newsclip to see video of the garden, the plants in front will eventually fill to completely screen the bark areas.
The property owners could resolve their issue by planting more drought tolerant plants to come up to the city’s 40% coverage requirement but the issue at hand is addressing the strict restrictions and regulations set by local governments and HOA’s regarding what is or is not acceptable in front yard landscapes.
While a bark yard with annual wildflowers is not necessarily the ideal replacement for a front yard lawn it does save water, allows for permeability, and does not require any fertilizers or other chemicals.

Jail for an eco-friendly frontyard? Couple in Orange defend themselves for ripping out their lawn

February 25, 2010 12:28 pm
If you missed the KTLA link from The Times’ home page, here’s the story: While some cities in Southern California are calling for mandatory water conservation, officials in Orange are taking a family to court because their drought-tolerant lawn alternative is not up to code.In what sounds eerily similar to the “yard cop” stories Steve Lopez has reported in the past, Quan and Angelina Han have been going back and forth with the city for more than a year about their lack of lawn. Prompted by one neighbor’s anonymous complaint, the Hans were cited for not having 40% of their yard landscaped, per city law. The couple were contacted after they tore out their lawn and left the yard bare. They have since planted drought-tolerant landscaping, including some lavender, rosemary and native wildflower seeds, which they say are germinating under wood chips. You can see the current landscape on KTLA video here: http://www.ktla.com/videobeta/?watchId=21ff7dd4-0e1b-4de6-91df-6eb2169b9d41
The Hans have been summoned to court on Tuesday. The maximum penalty: six months in jail and a $1,000 fine.– Lisa Boone
Photo illustration: Kirk McKoy / Los Angeles Times