Homeowner Associations are well-known for their insistence on uniformity and order. Staying within their guidelines means keeping a well-maintained lawn, which means a set watering schedule to ensure that the grass stays sufficiently green. However, in places like Southern California, droughts are common, and using that much water has a stark negative impact on the environment. Thus, an alternative has been offered in the form of a compromise: drought-resistant plants.
Many people in California have begun replacing the grass in their yards with plants that are native to the state and therefore thrive in the desert, which has the dual positive impact of reintroducing native plants and lessening the yard’s impact on the drought. Moulton Niguel Water District’s NatureScape Program is one notable example of this in which they replace turf with a native, low water-use landscape. The Homeowner Association allows for the change, and there has even been some media attention on the phenomenon.
It is truly a win-win, as it shows care for the environment alongside keeping up with the look certain communities attempt to embody. While it is not as clean-cut as a freshly mowed lawn, it still offers a sense of conformity due to the developmental rules they have in place. It is also a major win for conservationists, as the Association’s rules are usually so strict as to not allow certain paint colors or plant overgrowth, yet the exception being made for the more environmentally conscious plants ensures a step towards a brighter future.
It’s not just houses, however. Other places, such as town centers and even colleges, have gotten in on this as well. Chapman University in Orange is one such notable example. They have made a concerted effort to replace some of their grassy areas with native plants, creating a cohesive look that also serves to protect the environment.
While we do still have a long way to go in terms of sustainability practices, these small steps are slowly becoming larger ones that will help to keep the environment protected and make our world a better place.