Orange County has sued a couple who xeriscaped their lawn.

The L.A. Times reports on Orange County’s lawsuit against a couple who replaced their lawn with xeriscaping, dropping their household water usage by 80% by simply switching from grass to native ground cover. Under county law, at least 40% of a yard has to be covered in live plants. Never mind that the southwest is a desert, likely facing becoming a long-term dust bowl, and that a lawn is the most asinine use of water that one can envision for the region. (I have a friend who lived in Charlottesville who went around and around with the city for years over his lawn. His backyard was a wetland. The city wanted him to keep it mowed and dry. He figured nature knew best.) The excellent Elizabeth Kolbert had a brilliant story about laws and xeriscaping in The New Yorker in 2008. It’s a great example of how, at its best, The New Yorker can take a topic that seems terribly boring (a history of lawns) and turn it into something vital. If you’ve got even the faintest interest in this topic, I recommend reading Kolbert’s piece, then the Times piece. (Via Slashdot)

Published by Waldo Jaquith

Waldo Jaquith (JAKE-with) is an open government technologist who lives near Char­lottes­­ville, VA, USA. more »

3 replies on “Orange County has sued a couple who xeriscaped their lawn.”

  1. Dang it. Hit enter on accident. But I thought part of the issue with that house was a wretched home owners association and they brought they city in to enforce their rules.

  2. No, I don’t think that a HOA had anything to do with it. This was on Market Street Extended, and I don’t think that there are any HOAs there, just because the neighborhoods there are so old. Said friend sold the house to become a late-in-life college student a few years ago, so I’m afraid that the point is moot now. But it was fun to watch at the time. :)

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