I have always secretly, or not so secretly, wanted to do away with the lawn in our backyard. This is not to say I have not enjoyed it over the years. It has served as a good picnic location, a runway for leaping over sprinklers, and as a soft place to land while practicing cartwheels. But, alas, it is so hard to justify in Southern California’s semi-arid climate. Now, with the a severe drought looming, it seems almost absurd.
I have been thinking about water use a lot lately. So have many of us. Replacing the lawn felt a little urgent until a friend of mine recently posted this article to her Facebook feed. According to a report put out by the Pacific Institute in 2012, a whopping 93 percent of California’s water is used for agricultural purposes. Based on that, Los Angeles’ water use is some percentage of what is left over (small in comparison). Between 40 and 70 percent of Los Angeles’ water use goes to landscaping. So, in the big picture, my patch of lawn uses an almost immeasurable amount of water.
So, why get rid of it then?
I think choosing to get rid of the lawn, while it will save a little water, is more about a mind set. Even if half the residents of Los Angeles refused to water their lawns this year, the amount of water savings would be tiny compared to the water
used wasted on many industrialized farms. However, if it did happen it would mark a cultural shift (or mandatory water conservation regulations). So, I am choosing to do it because it reflects something I value – a closer more respectful interaction with our planet. I hope that more people will follow me and one day we can say that half of the lawns in Los Angeles have been converted to landscaping that better matches our climate.
Now, don’t get me wrong. You can have the mindset, but not the means to act. If I were working full-time this would not be happening. I have the desire and the time, and am going to dig it up myself. Yikes!
And, I have another motivating factor – the lawn is in the sunniest section of our backyard. My veggie garden is getting too much shade as of late, and will be much happier when I move it to replace the lawn.
Now that I have started digging, the lawn all of a sudden seems a lot bigger.