Green Lawns… With No Water!


Have you heard of the latest fad out of California? Paint your lawn!

Californians are now in the third year of the worst drought in U.S. history; according to the U.S. Drought Monitor more than half the state is in experiencing “exceptional” drought, the most severe rating. At the beginning of this month, mandatory statewide restrictions on water use came into effect. Wasteful use of water (hosing down your driveway or lawn water run off) is now strictly off-limits and violators can face fines of up to $500.

The dearth of water has been a boon for landscapers who specialize in painting lawns green using a specially formulated non-toxic dye. Traditionally used on athletic fields and golf courses, lawn-painting is catching on with homeowners. Landscaping companies that specialize in the practice are reporting huge increases in business with the onset of the drought.

Dying a lawn (which lasts three to six months) reduces the amount of water needed to maintain that rich green lawn look, and at a few hundred dollars for an average-sized lawn, is not a terribly expensive short-term fix. Of course, this practice perpetuates the myth of the urban landscape as an oasis of emerald lawns even in the driest regions of the U.S.. In the long run, the inhabitants of these areas will have to learn to embrace the aesthetic of xeriscaping (landscaping that eliminates supplemental water use) with native vegetation. Or stock up on that green dye.

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