Save Water by Reducing or Eliminating Your Lawn

Photos showing before and after removing a lawn.

As the drought worsens, many customers have significantly reduced outdoor water use. One of the easiest ways to do this is by removing or reducing the size of your lawn. On average as much as half of residential water use is outdoor irrigation, so removing turf is one of the best options to significantly reduce water use. While the District does not currently prohibit lawns, more severe restrictions banning the use of outdoor sprinklers and the watering of lawns may become necessary.

Over the summer, the District proactively removed two of the lawns at its offices by mulching over them. The District used two mulching techniques: including a traditional direct mulching, and a layered technique (often called the “lasagna” approach). 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. 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 fee (click here for more information). Note that turf removal is an eligible activity that can qualify customers for a rebate under the District’s Smart Landscape Incentive Program. Join the over three hundred District customers who have removed water thirsty lawns and landscaping over the past year.

(Published October 13, 2015)