The California Drought is big news in California, including the Sacramento and Roseville CA areas! It’s covered on the news nightly – and morning-ly. It’s usually on the front page of the Sacramento Bee. It’s all the buzz on Facebook between friends and on group pages. As you can see by the picture graphs, NASA is certainly monitoring it. We were even discussing it in my weekly Bible study group. It’s definitely a cause for concern. BUT is it a time to totally stop watering our lawns? I would recommend a strong no!
SUN CITY AND OTHER 55+ RETIREMENT HOME COMMUNITIES HAVE GREAT ALTERNATIVE IDEAS
Now granted, grass lawns use a lot of water. I’m certainly not saying we shouldn’t look at alternative options. According to the Huffington Post, “Grass lawns account for 30 to 60 percent of residential water use in the U.S., according to the Environmental Protection Agency.”
There are lots of other great options though. I was walking in West Roseville a couple of weeks ago, sharing neighborhood and real estate news, and noticed a GORGEOUS front yard with lovely plants and a delightful, albeit faux, dry creek bed made out of rocks and a little bridge over it. I’ve seen a couple of those and they look so cute. They are also easier to maintain AND they use very little water.
Sun City in Roseville CA and other low maintenance 55+ homes and communities have proven you can have an easy maintenance, low-water-needs, drought-friendly lawn and still look good. They were doing it long before the drought, because it’s just plain easier to care for. Little or no lawn mowing definitely sounds great to me. And there are many great ways to accomplish this.
POSSIBLE CALIFORNIA DROUGHT REBATES AVAILABLE IN VARIOUS COUNTIES
Right now, Placer County and Roseville are offering rebates periodically to help pay for the cost of taking out your grass and replacing it with something else just as lovely – or even prettier. Roseville’s has used up their current year funds, but hope to have more in a couple of months. It’s VITAL to check with them BEFORE you start working on your lawns. In discussing this with some friends last week, a couple of them mentioned they started the project before they heard about the rebates and as a result, missed out on the opportunity to be reimbursed hundreds of dollars +.
ROSEVILLE CA DROUGHT RESISTANT GRASS, LAWN DESIGN AND PLANT IDEAS
Roseville even has some great looking and free drought landscaping plans on their website to help you plan out a drought-resistant lawn, whether you use the rebate or not. From active-boomers-and-senior-citizens-style to kid-and-grandkid-friendly, to pet friendly and more, there’s sure to be something that might interest you. Worried about your existing cottage or other style garden? They even have a great list of Roseville-Sacramento-area drought tolerant plants so you can add a couple to your existing garden decor.
One of my real estate clients is thinking of putting in artificial turf in the backyard of his new house, along with a big enough concrete patio to allow for fun basketball games with his kids. Again – easy maintenance and less water needed. I wondered how artificial turf would work with his dogs. He explained that he had researched it well and many dog kennels have found it quite pet friendly so they are using the “fake grass” and very happy with it. You do have to use water regularly to clean and hose it, but overall it’s much less water than a full-on lawn.
Worried it might feel hot on bare feet? Here’s an interesting article that delves into that (complete with a brand recommendation for New Grass’ new cool grass), as well as discussing the issues it can cause when you go to sell your home. The article discusses how it hurt resale on one particular house for sale. I would think, though, that a lot depends on the quality of the artificial turf, where it is located at, etc. As a matter of fact, in the Houselogic article, Gorgeous Landscaping Ideas: Trees, Lighting, and Retaining Walls, you read that, as important as curb appeal is, “don’t landscape merely to flip a house. You won’t get your money back, says Sandy MacCuish, a California appraiser. Rather, landscape for your enjoyment, knowing that you’re making a good investment.” And here’s an older article from REALTOR, Do Artificial Lawns Impact Home Values, with some interesting pros and cons .
HouseLogic’s article on artificial grass includes discussing the cost, complete with a numbers-crunching section showing how long you have to keep your lawn/home to make it worthwhile money-wise.
WHY NOT LET MY LAWN DIE?
Great ideas, you say, but what if I can’t afford to make these changes. Isn’t it better to just quit watering my lawn and worry about it later if this drought ever ends? NO! Why not? For starters, even Sacramento’s sustainability manager,Terrance Davis, wisely points out, “We’re not advocating people kill their front lawn. Two days a week, your lawn will survive.” You can let it “go dormant” but stay alive however that does carry some risk of totally losing it.
And there are some good reasons to NOT kill your lawn including these 3:
1. Resale value of your home – you may have no plans to sell your home. Life, however, sometimes gets in the way of our plans. And if you allow your lawn to totally die, then have to move unexpectedly, that dead lawn will ruin your curb appeal and can cost you a ton of money and possibly even lead to a much slower sale!
2. Resale value of your neighbors homes – hopefully you are on good terms with your neighbors. It’s one of the BEST crime deterrents around and the reason Roseville is such a strong proponent of neighborhood watch and neighborhood associations. One of the nice things we can all do for our neighbors is make sure our homes look good in case THEY have to sell. That also helps us as it can lead to better home values and, hopefully, great future neighbors.
3. Safety. I’ve seen some lawns where people are not only not watering, they’re not mowing the resulting weeds. An uncared-for un-kempt lawn can be bad news for a neighborhood’s crime stats.
FRUGAL IDEAS FOR LAWN CARE DURING THE CALIFORNIA DROUGHT
Some ways to save water that aren’t too expensive include:
- Overseed your lawn with newer better drought-tolerant grass – see -> money.usnews.com/money/personal-finance/articles/2014/04/10/5-ways-to-save-on-lawn-care
- Mulch well – mulched plants require less water than unmulched plants!
- Don’t fertilize.
- Don’t hose down your driveways – sweep them if you want them tidier.
- Don’t scalp when you mow.
- Harvest your rainwater – here are step by step directions for making a rainwater barrel to collect the rain and then use it from one of my fave resources, Mother Earth News.
- Install a low-flow showerhead. I have one and if you shop carefully you can find ones that are low flow but still feel like you have good pressure.
- Call around and see if any landscapers in your area will take out your current landscaping at a discount or for free due to the drought.
- Spray paint your grass 🙂
Each of the links above leads to more great tips, ideas, and suggestions for all of us. By using even some of the many great ideas, we can each cut our water usage. If we all work together, hopefully we can make a big difference until such time as this drought in California (not to mention other areas in the U.S.) comes to an end. SOON, we all hope and pray! And in the meantime, how about you? Got more tips to help us? We’d love to hear them here in the comments – or at Facebook.com/RosevilleCaliforniaJoys. 🙂
Table of contents
- 1 THE CALIFORNIA DROUGHT
- 2 SUN CITY AND OTHER 55+ RETIREMENT HOME COMMUNITIES HAVE GREAT ALTERNATIVE IDEAS
- 3 POSSIBLE CALIFORNIA DROUGHT REBATES AVAILABLE IN VARIOUS COUNTIES
- 4 ROSEVILLE CA DROUGHT RESISTANT GRASS, LAWN DESIGN AND PLANT IDEAS
- 5 ARTIFICIAL TURF
- 6 WHY NOT LET MY LAWN DIE?
- 7 FRUGAL IDEAS FOR LAWN CARE DURING THE CALIFORNIA DROUGHT