Lawns may be green but they are less than eco-friendly and definitely aren’t ocean friendly.
The urban sprawl of Southern California has turned it from an arid myriad of plant and animal species into a vast monoculture of emerald green turf, gobbling up water and requiring tons of chemical beauty enhancers to maintain its verdant luster. According to several SoCal water districts and other sources up to 70% of potable water use goes toward landscape use…it wouldn’t be far off to guess that lawn takes up the major share of that.
But the price we pay for these lush landscapes goes far beyond rising water rates; the fertilizers, pesticides, and other chemicals required to keeps lawns green don’t stay in our landscapes. They wash into our watersheds, eventually ending up in reservoirs and the ocean, creating massive algae blooms and countless other health problems for native wildlife and humans. Gas mowers and blowers used for lawn maintenance pollute our air not to mention the carbon footprint of the dozens of diesel pumps required to move the majority of our water here from the Colorado River or Northern California. Possibly saddest of all, a vast array of our native birds, butterflies, and other wildlife are left homeless and without food when their habitat is replaced by lawn.
The good news is that by removing your lawn you are left with a blank canvas on which you can create a lush and unique Ocean Fiendly Garden full of native plants and grasses, artistic features, and, best of all, life!
The photos above show a lawn recently turned turned OFG (along with a few other upgrades) at a residence near Long Beach. His brother is now installing his own OFG a few blocks away!
For more interesting facts about the United States’ obsession with lawns check out this article: