Save Water and Decrease Yard Maintenance by Reducing or Eliminating Your Lawn

Lawn Removal Image 2018

As the drought continues, more customers are reconsidering their landscaping and opting for waterwise alternatives. The front yard and park strips are some of the most common places to remove turf as they frequently require significant water and upkeep, but are often the least used yard spaces.  On average as much as half of residential water use is for outdoor irrigation, so removing grass is one of the best options to significantly reduce water use. Examples of attractive and low maintenance lawn alternatives are available at the WaterWiseSB virtual gardens tour.

The District has rebate programs available to support customers interested in replacing water thirsty plants, and installing water efficient irrigation.  Join the hundreds of residential and commercial customers who have reduced their water use by planting drought tolerant alternatives.

Curious about the process of lawn removal?  This video demonstrates two mulching techniques: direct mulching, and a layered technique (often called the “lasagna” method).  While the direct mulching technique is faster and easier, it offers a short-term solution that works best over the dry summer months.  The lasagna method is a better long-term solution as the many layers of paper, compost and mulch will keep weeds and grass from growing back, and build rich soil for planting. Both of these were used to remove lawns at the District’s Headquarters.   

The District recommends delaying planting even water-wise plants until late fall: establishing new plants is water intensive and more difficult during warmer months.

Mulch is available for pick up for free from the County of Santa Barbara at 4430 Calle Real, Santa Barbara, CA, or can be delivered for a $10-20 per ton. Note that turf removal is an eligible activity that can qualify customers for a rebate under the District’s Smart Landscape Rebate Program.