I killed my lawn last year, mulched it with wood chips, and planted southern California native drought tolerant plants from the Theodore Payne Foundation. But I was lucky enough to not get sued by the city, like this Orange County couple who did the same thing I did.
Orange County officials are locked in a legal battle with a couple accused of violating city ordinances for replacing the grass on their lawn with wood chips and drought-tolerant plants, reducing their water usage from 299,221 gallons in 2007 to 58,348 gallons in 2009. The dispute began two years ago, when Quan and Angelina Ha tore out the grass in their front yard. In drought-plagued Southern California, the couple said, the lush grass had been soaking up tens of thousands of gallons of water – and hundreds of dollars – each year. 'We've got a newborn, so we want to start worrying about her future,' said Quan Ha, an information technology manager for Kelley Blue Book. But city officials told the Has they were violating several city laws that require that 40% of residential yards to be landscaped predominantly with live plants.
UPDATE: Orange City Attorney David DeBerry will ask the case to be dropped because the Ha "now has enough drought-tolerant plants to comply with an ordinance requiring 40 percent of a yard be covered with live landscaping." It's not clear whether or not the Has added more plants to the landscaping to comply with the ordinance, or the city prosecutors decided it would be wise to drop the lawsuit. (Thanks, Xeni!)