Homeowners rethink their water-sucking lawns

A “delawning” movement is sprouting up around the U.S., as a handful of homeowners switch from resource-intensive grassy green expanses to drought-tolerant, native, and/or edible gardens. “It’s about shifting ideas of what’s beautiful,” says Fritz Haeg, an L.A. architect whose Edible Estates project transforms front yards into fruit and vegetable gardens. A new report from the Public Policy Institute of California provides more fodder for the anti-lawn set: It asserts that thirsty home landscaping will suck up a troubling amount of water in the state over the next 25 years if the love affair with lawns continues. California is expected to add 11 million new residents by 2030, with at least 50 percent settling in hotter inland regions where single-family homes with lawns are common, according to the report. Some neighbors, however, don’t appreciate creative gardening. “What happens in the backyard is their business,” said one man who lives near a yard now being used to grow 195 various edibles. “But this doesn’t seem to me to be a front yard kind of a deal.”