Since Governor Brown declared California to be in a state of extreme emergency drought in early 2014, tips on water-conscious lawncare have proliferated. It makes sense, given that outdoor (i.e. lawn) use comprises more than half of California’s residential water use. You can’t live without drinking water and you can’t stay hygienic without washing with water, so it makes sense to cut in the place where our lives don’t depend on water: nobody’s ever died for want of grass.
Unfortunately, there’s a lot of lawn-advice out there, and some of it is contradictory. How’s a homeowner to know the best solution for their water-guzzling grass? By checking out your Drought Diaries, of course!
Let’s begin with a mea culpa: we’ve given bad advice on this in the past, but at least we’re big enough to admit when we’re wrong. Right around the beginning of our production process, we were big advocates of letting it brown – or in other words, just shutting off your sprinklers altogether and letting your lawn die. On the surface, it sounds like a natural solution. Don’t spray water outside, save water. Right?
Wrong! Large, plant-filled areas (like lawns) keep the earth soft and aid water in trickling down into groundwater basins. Of course, that doesn’t mean that you need grass. You could switch out for a drought-tolerant landscape to reduce your watering and still keep your soil happy and healthy.
Even better, consider a greywater system. Greywater is water at that “halfway” point between drinkable and unusable. Think shower water. The nice thing about greywater is that it doesn’t use any more water than you were using in your household anyway – you’re recycling what otherwise would have gone down the drain.
Even better, greywater can be used on a drought tolerant lawn, or with more useful flora, like fruit trees and other edible plants. You can make your water count three times: once on its first use out the tap, second to irrigate your garden, and a third time when you enjoy your produce. That’s why we’re fully in favor of greywater systems.
Are there any lawn-care options we missed? Share your own thoughts in the comments!