Before we moved to Anchorage 30 some years ago, I checked annual precipitation. Anchorage and LA, despite what people may think, get just about the same annual precipitation. LA's average is about 14 inches a year and Anchorage's is about 16. (Note: different sources offer different numbers, but they're not too different.) But in Anchorage the ground is covered by snow a good part of the year so the water in the soil is not used up. What also sets them apart is that Anchorage gets its precipitation in relatively low amounts over many more days than LA.
Here are a couple of lawn alternatives I saw as I ran today. This is still not the majority of yards by a long shot. But it's happening.
HGTV's post on lawn alternatives says in part:
The Freelibrary offers this:Why plant a lawn that needs to be mowed 40 times a year when you could have a type of lawn that needs to be mowed four times a year, says alternative grass guru John Greenlee. "You don't need to be a rocket scientist to understand that then you've got more time to do other things--like gardening."Save money, time and resources
Meadow lawns are more expensive to plant than sod initially because many native grasses are difficult to grow from seed and thus potted plants are necessary. "Lawn is the cheapest thing to plant but it becomes the most expensive thing in the garden to maintain. So once you've planted a meadow, you'll get your money back--usually within the first year--from reduced maintenance, reduced water, fertilizer and all of those other things that a lawn requires."
No logic explains why most homeowners insist on a green lawn in this semi-arid region. We know our water has to be brought to us at great cost to the environment. And the water problem isn't likely to improve in the future, as more people crowd into the Los Angeles basin The Los Angeles Basin is the coastal sediment-filled plain located between the peninsular and transverse ranges in southern California in the United States containing the central part of the city of Los Angeles as well as its southern and southeastern suburbs (both in Los AngelesAnd the Sonoma County Master Gardeners tells us that some cities are encouraging the move to green landscaping:
..... Click the link for more information..
Some changes in our wasteful pattern of cultivating velvety vel·vet·y
adj. vel·vet·i·er, vel·vet·i·est
1. Suggestive of the texture of velvet; soft and smooth: velvety skin.
..... Click the link for more information., picture-perfect lawns are sure to come when water gets more expensive and California's rhythm of drought returns. Get a head start and begin planning a garden instead of a grass carpet that needs constant mowing, watering and fertilizing. Here are 10 alternatives to growing turf on your property. Each one requires less water than grass. [You can get those ten here.]
Cities and water agencies around the county are firmly on the bandwagon to help with the cost of water conservation and lawn replacement. Sonoma City and Valley of the Moon Water District both have "cash for grass" lawn replacement subsidy programs and the City of Santa Rosa also has a rainwater harvesting rebate program. Several other cities offer rebates or programs, and the Sonoma County Water Agency may again offer a low-cost loan or other program--stay tuned.
One important big weather difference between Los Angeles and Anchorage is that Anchorage is in the Top 10 Clean Air Cities and LA is in the Top 10 Dirty Air Cities.