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Water Smart Landscaping - Transforming The Water Diet Of Our American Dream Lawn

by Leslie Gabriel April 16, 2016

Why ??? Why can't we have homes with fabulous Water Smart Landscaping ???

The only resistance to the idea is ourselves. But with the onset of higher prices for water use and the catastrophic drought of California, Water Smart Landscaping is catching on big time.

In some areas, you can even get a rebate for transforming your lawn's water diet.

Let's face it, we've been heavily indoctrinated since the 1950's what the American Dream is supposed to be when it comes to a home >> and it includes a green lawn - and that means lots and lots of water use with water dependent landscaping.

Most of us get the picture of a cookie-cutter home, maybe bordered with a picket fence, but definitely surrounded with a grand green lawn, and the inner perimeter hedged with thick bushes, deep soil, and lush vines.

And to add to the picture, there's usually a big, deep root tree or two strategically placed in the middle of the front lawn or on either side. And we've built this dream by the thousands, maybe even by the millions, in different models, shades, sizes and shapes. In the meantime all of these individual microcosms suck up water like nobody's business, and we've been doing it for years.

In fact, the American Dream picture of a proper home is so embedded, homeowners' associations have standards for lawns and hedges and trees entrenched in their requirements for good home maintenance, regardless of droughts or the cost of the water involved.

There are whole industries that depend on the average family every year maintaining a lush green look around their home. The home improvement big box stores, nurseries, lawnmower and hedge-trimmer manufacturers, lawn seed growers, bark sellers and more all rely on the perpetually dying and failing cycle of maintaining landscape around a home. And since it has to be green, which means that landscaping is highly susceptible to the seasons and the need for water, these business have ongoing demand for their goods. 

But what happens if we decide to stop "greening" our homes ???

Let's get past the imagery of the quack homeowner with white rock landscaping and 100 statues in the front space area or the person we all have seen trying to grow a cactus jungle outside their front room window.

What does the American Dream look like when we get creative about home landscaping that doesn't require the "green" as well as the dependence on soooo much water ???

We're not talking about the gut reaction of a wildflower garden. Instead, the idea should go a lot further.

  • Imagine something like a Japanese sand garden with small bridges, strategically placed and symbolic stones, and small paver pathways for easy access to areas of the property.
  • Or how about a decked front extension with a nice sitting area, a fire pit for evening sitting or a BBQ island for outdoor cooking.
  • Who says our leisure always has to be in the backyard ???

Of course, getting creative about not being water dependent on landscaping design is a lot easier in drought prone areas than those seasonally wet and flush with moisture.

However, there's nothing that stops these areas from breaking from the norm either. Our dependence on water-sucking landscaping around our homes is more culture and training stick in our heads than necessity about what our homes need to be a home.

In fact, homes don't need much at all except a flat slab that doesn't sink on one side or erode away.

So a lot of our attachment water dependent "green" in our American Dream lawns is in our very own collective heads.

Lets transform this. Now.


Leslie Gabriel
Leslie Gabriel


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