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Lawn Be Gone: Achieve Big Water Savings by Ditching the Grass

Published: 17 May 2022

How Much Water Can You Save By Removing Your Lawn?

California and the western United States are experiencing a severe climate-driven drought. Our drought requires urgent action, so it’s time to double down.

One of the most effective ways to do this is by removing or reducing the size of your lawn. About half of residential water use is spent outdoors on lawn and landscaping.

Why Is My Lawn the Culprit?

Grass uses twice as much water as most other plants in your yard. Grass also requires frequent maintenance (the constant mowing, edging, and fertilizing) to stay lush and healthy. The good news is that there are alternatives to grass that are just as attractive and appealing to your property! You can find many plants that require less water in our guide here: Water-Wise Plants

What are the Benefits of Removing My Lawn?

The perks are endless when you swap out your lawn! Your yard will require very little maintenance and care, you’ll promote a healthy ecosystem and improve the health of your soil, and you’ll never have to mow again. Removing your lawn will also save you money on your water bill and upkeep time.

Bright Green Lawn 

What Areas of Grass Should I Remove?

Areas that are hard to maintain or serve no function as usable space are top candidates for removal. This includes spaces such as parkways, slopes, and areas near driveways, or sidewalks as they are difficult to water efficiently. Remember, these areas can be replaced with beautiful and low-maintenance California native plants!

Home with Green Lawn and Abundance of Plants  Outside of Home with Very Little Lawn

When Should I Remove My Lawn?

The best time to remove your lawn is any time. Most people find it easiest to remove grass during the drier months or right before summer.

Kill and Remove Grass

Congratulations! You are on your way to a water-wise yard. There are a few different ways to kill grass but the most common are sheet-mulching, sod cutter and herbicide.

Sheet mulching kills the grass naturally by blocking sunlight and is most effective in the summer. Learn more about the entire composting process.

Herbicide is a chemical used to kill weeds or unwanted plants and is the quickest way to remove grass. View an in-depth herbicide guide. 

The last removal method is physical removal with a sod cutter. This method uses a machine to remove the grass with a blade, resulting in the extraction of large pieces of sod. View a step-by-step sod removal guide.

Before you get started here are a few things to keep in mind:

  • Grass is sometimes hard to kill
  • Grass takes time to kill and remove
  • Don’t give up if your grass continues to grow

For a step-by-step guide on removing your lawn, visit DWR’s Removing Your Lawn guide. https://water.ca.gov/Water-Basics/Conservation-Tips/Removing-Your-Lawn

Get Planting!

To some homeowners, their lawn is their pride and joy. So once you’ve decided to remove your lawn, it’s time to make a plan and envision the new landscape in your yard. It’s important to identify your focal points and elements you want to conceal. Then choose your water-smart plants and irrigation methods and get to upgrading your yard in a California-friendly way!

Hardscape Path and Planters

Save Our Water is here to help! Check out our step-by-step guide for removing your lawn that will help you reimagine your outdoor space! For more information on adding hardscaping elements to replace your lawn visit Getting Started with a California Native Plant Garden.

A water wise way to add shade and beauty to your yard is to add tress. Learn more about water sie trees here.