As the state of California descends deeper into one of the worst droughts in history, local home owners are working to create smarter, more water conserving gardens in order to avoid the dreaded “brown lawn” badge of honor.
According to Brian Fuchs of the National Drought Mitigation Center at the University of Nebraska, who spoke to the Los Angeles Times, more than 80 percent of the state is in an extreme drought with dry conditions that are expected to extend into the indefinite future. The longer the state remains dry, the harder it will be to break the cycle and rehydrate local habitats.
Fuchs, along with 10 other climatologists, created maps based on 50 indicators such as weather patterns, soil conditions and water activity to study the movement and impact of California’s current drought. Three months ago the map showed approximately 68 percent of the state was in the category of extreme drought or worse. Subsequently the drought percentage rose to 78 percent and, most recently, was shown to be 81 percent.
In the face of these extreme conditions, California law and policy makers are instituting measures that will conserve water for the indefinite future that the state faces. This includes enforcing fines of up to $500 a day for people who waste water on landscaping, fountains, washing vehicles and other outdoor uses.
“Droughts will happen again because of our changing climate,” Karen Ross, secretary of the California Department of Food and Agriculture, told International Business Times reporters. “We’re really focused on looking at … how do we put resiliency into our systems at the local regional scale and the state scale to be able to survive droughts better.”
Orange County Home Owners Rise to Conservation Challenge
For many home owners in Orange County and throughout the state, these bans will ultimately result in the challenge to either keep a thirsty lawn from turning brown or coming up with another solution to make the parched landscape somewhat aesthetically appealing. Jennifer Gilbert Asher, co-owner of Terra Trellis and Terra Sculpture in Los Angeles, found a solution in eliminating the lawn altogether in favor of a much more drought-friendly solution.
Wood chips are an ideal ground cover that help to conserve what little moisture there is in the soil. In keeping with the conservative nature of her project, Asher solicited the city for help in getting her front yard covered.
“I saw a tree removal truck in our neighborhood, with a crew cutting down and chipping a pine tree,” Asher said to the Los Angeles Times. “I called the number on the truck and spoke with the owner, who was more than happy to give me the entire dump-truck load for free.”
Asher then planted perennials, grasses and shrubs that require little to no watering and will eventually evolve into an interesting landscape where Asher can hang artwork and yard accents.
Even in drought conditions, Orange County is a wonderful place to work, live and play. If you are interested in Orange County real estate, please contact our team of luxury agents today.