Now that drought conditions continue in the West and the Los Angeles water restrictions have begun, many of our thoughts have turned to replacing our lawns with native plants, so much so that going native has become something of a movement. After all, native plants provide food and habitat for native, beneficial species, they sequester carbon, and they are naturally and uniquely adapted to the regions in which they belong.
Lawns are not well-suited to our environment. They play a role in the loss of biodiversity, they consume an enormous amount of resources, and they provide little benefit, according to David Newsom, founder of the Wild Yards Project in Los Angeles and a scrappy landscaping evangelist to anyone interested in native plants. On average, meanwhile, lawns use ten billion gallons of fresh water daily in the United States and 90 million pounds of pesticides a year. At the same time, the average lawn is managed in such a way that it doesn’t sequester carbon.