California Landscapers Rising to the Challenge in Face of Water Restrictions

Earth Day has now passed, but that doesn’t mean discussions of sustainability across various industries have to stop. And in states like California — where Gov. Jerry Brown announced earlier this month that the state’s residents would be required to cut water use by 25% as part of the state’s first-ever mandatory water restrictions — the stakes are even higher.

In a region not known for its restraint, many California residents aren’t pleased at letting their lawns die or trying to do more with less.

“The last time going dry has caused this much consternation,” real estate site Curbed quipped April 22, “was during Prohibition.”

Fortunately, some innovative landscape architects are willing to take on a challenge. “If there weren’t constraints, big things wouldn’t happen. If it wasn’t difficult, amazing things wouldn’t happen,” Charles Anderson, of landscape design company Werk, told Curbed.

Plenty of others in the landscaping industry have chimed in, agreeing that the most important thing to do is educate homeowners about the fact that drought-resistant planting doesn’t have to look dry or barren, and there are plenty of residential landscaping ideas that are both attractive and Earth-friendly.

Sycamore trees, for example, are drought-resistant, as are many colorful succulents and grasses.

And while indigenous plants are at the center of so-called native planting efforts, that doesn’t mean landscapers can’t incorporate any variety. Plants from everywhere from Oregon to Mexico often grow well in Southern California, Anderson explained. It’s simply up to the landscaping industry to partner with homeowners to create a California aesthetic that’s both appealing and less thirsty.

And though California’s landscaping industry is under a time crunch due to an impending crisis and government action, landscapers across the country might also want to be taking notes.

As Business Insider pointed out April 21, 40 out of 50 states are expected to face water shortages in at least one region in the next decade. That’s according to data from the U.S. Government Accountability Office.

“The significance of sustainable landscaping in California is very important, considering the constant water shortages,” says Hayley Katzenberger, Marketing Assistant, Chapel Valley Landscape Company. “No homeowner should be worried about the aesthetics of sustainable landscaping; hire a company with certified horticulturists and designers and they will present landscaping ideas that are both sustainable and aesthetically pleasing.”

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