LA halts subsidies for plastic lawns

The Los Angeles Department of Water and Power has changed its rebate program that subsidized homeowners who ripped up their wasteful turf lawns and put in plastic grass or gravel.

The new subsidy rules reserve rebates for people who replace their turf with landscaping designed to retain water (astroturf lawns retain heat and don't absorb water very well): drought-resistant plants, trenched plant-perimeters, even underground water tanks that store rainwater.

Besides removing artificial turf from the $1.75-per-square-foot rebates, the program now requires that property owners cover 50% of the converted area with drought-tolerant plants (up from 40%) and limit gravel and rock to no more than 25% of the area (down from 60%). And the yard would have to be designed to capture rain — that can be as sophisticated as installing an underground tank to hold rainwater or as low-tech as digging trenches around plants to let rain soak into the roots and the soil. Mayor Eric Garcetti has said that half of the city's water should come from local sources by 2035, and retaining water on site and letting it soak into the ground helps replenish the region's natural underground aquifers.

No more cash for fake grass [Times Editorial Board/LA Times]

(via Super Punch)