20 Oct Cash for grass – public programs to eliminate thirsty lawnsReading Time: 5 minutes
This blog post was written with the assistance of AI. I’m trying them all out to see which actually provide productivity gains. One thing I’m realizing about generative AI is that the gulf between what AI produces and actual creative work is the question of intent. I started with some keywords and copy.ai filled in with sections, then talking points, then copy.. I then edited the first draft. The AI had a hard time with “Cash for Grass” repeatedly giving prompts on the nonsensical idea of how to make money with your lawn.
In California, we love our lawns. But now we’re learning that these green carpets are not only expensive to maintain, but also use a lot of water — up to 40 percent of all residential water use in the state each year! In a state that is increasingly concerned about the environment, more Californians are putting down the lawn mowers, digging up their grass and replacing it with drought-friendly rocks and plants. People in California are realizing how much water lawns require, and are replacing them with water-wise alternatives like drought tolerant plants or rock gardens which can save money on your next bill as well as helping conserve precious resources like water during this historic drought period.”
4th year of drought, but Californians still use 40 percent of water on landscaping.
If a California resident said, “I have a green thumb,” it would be understood to mean that they were skilled at gardening. Unfortunately, during this fourth year of the drought and water restrictions, many homeowners are finding that having a green thumb can also mean being wasteful with water and irresponsible with their land.
Californians are replacing grass with drought-tolerant landscapes.
In a state that is increasingly concerned about the environment, more Californians are putting down the lawn mowers, digging up their grass and replacing it with drought-friendly rocks and plants. The new normal is no longer fields of green, but the rainbow of native wildflowers.
Public programs are helping encourage the move, offering rebates to your water bill for replacing your thirsty lawn with a water-wise native landscape.
If you live in California and have 1000 square feet of lawn, you’re spending about $3000 a year on watering it. It’s why many people are realizing how much water that thirsty grass demands and replacing it with other options. If you want to be one of those people but think you can’t afford the change, there’s good news: public programs are available to help pay for your new landscape!
Cash For Grass helps pay the cost of replacing lawns with a less water-intensive landscape.
A campaign called Cash For Grass is offering cash rebates to help pay the cost of replacing water-guzzling lawns with more eco-friendly plantings such as trees, shrubs and succulents. The incentives help overcome the inertia of residents, and excite their imagination of what’s possible beyond thirsty green grass.
“It’s a bit like when you’re weightlifting,” said Tim Murphy, co-founder of the initiative. “You don’t think about doing it until someone else challenges you.”
The city of San Rafael will pay you $3 per square foot of lawn that you sheet mulch it over
The city of San Rafael has a program to pay you $3 per square of lawn that you sheet mulch it over and plant with 50% California native ground cover. You also need to capture rainwater for watering. If you only sheet mulch it over, you’re still eligible for a rebate of $1 per square foot. In any case the maximum area eligible for the program is 1000 square feet. San Rafael is just one of the dozens of cities across the state offering the program including giant Los Angeles.
Start with sheet mulching. On your clean canvas, you can paint a new multicolored landscape of native plants and flowers.
Replacing your lawn starts with sheet mulching. Rather than digging up your grass, rebate programs ask that you cover it over with a layer of cardboard and then 4-6″ of mulch. The cardboard blocks sunlight to kill the grass and weeds underneath. On your now clean canvas, you can paint a new multicolored landscape of native plants and flowers.
Although some people may miss their green grassy fields (especially if they live near golf courses), others find them boring and plain looking compared to colorful prairies filled with wildflowers like this one above – such landscapes also provide habitat for butterflies & birds which makes them even more attractive than ever before!
Not having grass could be the new status symbol.
A lot of people see a lawn as a status symbol. It’s like having a great car — it shouts “Look at me, I must be important.” But not having grass could be the new status symbol.
Just like bicycle enthusiasts who compete to assemble a bicycle with the lightest weight, people try to create landscapes in their yards that are the least water-intensive. With some creativity and hard work, you can have an attractive landscape without using much water.
The $3 per square foot rebate program is an attempt to get people out of the mind-set that they must have green grass in their yards.
As you may have already surmised, the $3 per square foot rebate program is an attempt to get people out of the mind-set that they must have green grass in their yards. From 2013 to 2014, water use dropped by 12 percent across California after mandatory water restrictions were imposed. So far this year (the second year of drought), total residential water use has dropped another 14 percent compared with 2013. Incentives work.
Find out if your city offers Cash for Grass
Savings in perpetuity
Replacing lawns with a more sustainable landscape is not just about a one time payoff, it’s about saving money forever. Paying for water, fuel, fertilizer, and tools makes maintaining a lawn becomes less and less affordable every year. Along with the carrot of the cash rebate, municipal water systems are raising rates on usage tiers, so cutting down the water used on lawns can save you money on your water bill every year as well.
When it comes to replacing your lawn in California the question is no longer if but when. With Cash for Grass rebate programs, the time is now to take advantage of the incentives and subsidize the costs of creating the landscape of your dreams at your house.