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Old 08-12-2013, 12:43 PM
 
Location: Chapel Hill, N.C.
36,502 posts, read 49,402,245 times
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Sounds like a good idea as long as folks don't just have bare yards which will wash away whenever it does rain. Plants are expensive and I bet too many people will just pocket the money and not replace lawn with plants.

http://www.nytimes.com/2013/08/12/us...awns.html?_r=0
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Old 08-12-2013, 01:54 PM
 
3,339 posts, read 8,660,599 times
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This has been going on for a long time. We talked about it some in my soils science class back around 2005. Turfgrass lawns are real unnatural for arid regions, and particularly in Nevada and Arizona, people from the Midwest retired to the Southwest and wanted to bring their lawns with them. So the municipalities began offering VERY attractive incentives to ditch the turfgrass and go with xeriscaping. I don't recall hearing about people abusing the system and having naked front yards, though. Most people take some pride in curb appeal. Plants are expensive, sure, but they pay for themselves in short order when homeowners don't have to pay for all that water.
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Old 08-12-2013, 03:59 PM
 
Location: NC
8,143 posts, read 11,043,167 times
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If you look at aerial views of LA it's already more than half pavement!

Maybe folks should install astroturf for the kiddies.

Seriously though, when I left Orange County CA in the 70's we were already worried about running out of water. Can't imagine how the area is supporting water needs for all those many more homes these days.
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Old 08-12-2013, 04:12 PM
 
Location: Swiftwater, PA
18,419 posts, read 15,251,199 times
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Just out of curiosity; don't these 'natural' areas invite rattlesnakes? The natural areas could attract more field mice; that would, in turn, attract more snakes. With the manicured lawn you can spot trouble and it doesn't attract mice. Trouble isn't always visible in high vegetation - increasing your odds of being bitten.
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Old 08-12-2013, 04:20 PM
 
Location: Cushing OK
14,545 posts, read 19,581,251 times
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I remember in the eighties we went to Arizona and the difference in humidity between Phoenix and Tuscon was amazing. Tuscon had an ordenance that if you wanted a lawn you could have one, with water hungry plants, but you paid a LARGE surcharge on your water bill. Most of Tuscon was native desert plants in yards.

In a place like that it makes sense. All that watering makes dry are wet and sticky. When I lived in Riverside, it was much dryer before the neighboring desert areas sprouted homes and lawns. We had been using a swamp cooler which would actually make the house too cold, but after that it was too wet for it to even cool.

Now where I live now... you'd have to work very hard to get rid of the 'lawn' with the grass and assorted other plants which would insist on growing. You at most need to reseed here and there to have a lawn.
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Old 08-12-2013, 09:32 PM
 
Location: East of Seattle since 1992, originally from SF Bay Area
36,438 posts, read 66,280,604 times
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Municipal utilities get their revenue from the ratepayers. They have costs that are fixed, regardless of how much water is used, such as reading meters and processing bills/payments, engineering, maintaining the reservoirs, pumping and filter plants, repairing and replacing mains and so on. By paying people to remove lawns and replace it with drought tolerant plants or concrete they will save water and help ensure an adequate supply. On the down side, though, that will greatly reduce their revenue - and that means higher rates to cover the deficit.
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Old 08-13-2013, 05:58 AM
 
25,626 posts, read 33,753,648 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fisheye View Post
Just out of curiosity; don't these 'natural' areas invite rattlesnakes? The natural areas could attract more field mice; that would, in turn, attract more snakes. With the manicured lawn you can spot trouble and it doesn't attract mice. Trouble isn't always visible in high vegetation - increasing your odds of being bitten.
Rattle snakes, rodents, deer, coyotes, quail, doves, ducks, geese, raccoons, coyotes and my favorite Mountain Lions.

fish I've encountered all these animals and more here in the Central Valley of California during my lifetime and my tenure as a landscaper.
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Old 08-13-2013, 06:34 AM
 
6,752 posts, read 7,609,427 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fisheye View Post
Just out of curiosity; don't these 'natural' areas invite rattlesnakes? The natural areas could attract more field mice; that would, in turn, attract more snakes. With the manicured lawn you can spot trouble and it doesn't attract mice. Trouble isn't always visible in high vegetation - increasing your odds of being bitten.
Not necessarily; it is possible to have a xeriscaped yard without it being wild and overgrown, just like it is possible to have a manicured lawn vs. a hayfield. In Tucson, the biggest risks are piles of things, like debris or firewood, and a car that is always in the same spot. Packrats like the insulation, snakes follow rats. Pretty soon, your car doesn't run and you have snakes.
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Old 08-13-2013, 07:27 AM
 
Location: In a chartreuse microbus
3,865 posts, read 5,813,748 times
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I love the idea of repelling rodents with plants. Here's a link; not sure if any of these grow well in your areas, but maybe it's worth a look.

What Plants Repel Mice and Rats? | Bloomin' Blog
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Old 08-13-2013, 12:00 PM
 
Location: Chapel Hill, N.C.
36,502 posts, read 49,402,245 times
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I can certainly understand this concept in specific western and mid western locations but it would never fly in the South. I do like the idea of front yards being turned into vegetable gardens though but this would need water as well. Then you would have to install fences to keep deer out and those two ideas would never pass most HOAs.
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