Drought-friendly lawns

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The City of Santa Monica works hard to incentivize its residents to conserve and capture water, even offering rebates of up to $8,000 for switching out their front lawns. The result has been a saving of water and a flowering of creative gardening, especially in the neighborhood of Sunset Park.

Santa Monica resident Sarah Bromell in her new drought-friendly yard
Photo by Frances Anderton

But now California has seen its wettest rain season in over a century. The snowpack along the Sierra Nevada mountain range is a huge 185 percent of average and there are fears of flooding. So can everyone relax about saving water? And if they do, will homeowners revert to the green lawns and sprinklers made iconic by artists including David Hockney?

No, says the City's Sustainability Officer, who is urging folks to hold on to their "drought mentality." That view is shared by some Santa Monica residents who are enjoying their new palette of plants too much to bring back turf.