CALIFORNIA SAYS GOODBYE TO THE SPRAWLING ORNAMENTAL LAWN

Jul 19, 2015 by

New state rules will effectively limit turfgrass to 25 percent of the landscape in most new and renovated yards

Houzz Editorial Staff
Californians have been hearing predictions that the ornamental lawn is becoming a thing of the past in the drought-stricken state. New state rules approved this week by the California Water Commission bring those predictions one step closer to reality.

Starting December 1, turfgrass and other thirsty plants will be effectively limited to 25 percent of the yard in new residential landscapes of 500 square feet or more and yards of 2,500 square feet or more undergoing renovations that require a permit, plan check or design review. Landscapes of less than 2,500 square feet have the option of complying with a prescriptive checklist to meet the restrictions.

The new rules are a change from existing restrictions, which allow 33 percent of the landscape to contain high-water-use plants and apply only to landscapes of 2,500 square feet or more. State officials say the new restrictions mean landscapes will consume up to one-third less water on average. “Revising the ordinance was well due. We’re moving in the direction Californians would like to move,” says Vicki Lake, program manager at the state Department of Water Resources. “Our landscapes have to be just as resilient as our climate.”

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