It’s dead and there are no regrets. It was green. It was alive. But the grass had to go.
This wasn’t the demise of just any old blade of turf, or a fly-by-night patch that tumbled upon some easy soil. No, it was the most coveted, fence-to-fence looker money could buy: Marathon fescue. This was the kind of lawn that has a dame swooning and a fellow forgetting the built-in barbecue he dreamed of as a young fool.
The topflight turf offered up by pre-drought landscapers was tall, thin and robust even in the arms of winter. But this beauty needed water, lots and lots of water.
The rainless years had taken a toll and its thirst could empty a Central Valley aquifer. Now, a plan was hatched to take it out faster than a municipal mayor can say, “turf rebate.”
Maybe it was just another big sleep for grassland, but for the record an accomplice was crucial, hell, necessary. And just like a bee to honey, the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power was there when the bump was hatched.
The play-by-play of murder ain’t always pretty, and this one began with a fervent hacking. The sod cutter was in and out before the neighbors could gossip and the evergreen evidence hoisted into a dumpster.
The cover-up was the brain-child of the aforementioned DWP. With the tip of a hat, the city big shot slipped a list of suitable replacements: decomposed granite aka DG, wooly thyme, Dymondia the Silver Carpet and dozens of other drought-tolerant sneaks.
The brawny guns of the clean-up crew shoveled till they couldn’t shovel anymore. But they held their posts until the fescue was a thing of the past, and the new plants on the block were poised to succeed.
The grounds might not look the same look as before, but as re-alignment jobs go, this one was water-wise and easy on the eyes.
The old, dead sod wasn’t even cold in the ground when praises started pouring in.
First, from a McCadden resident who’d also been considering the unspeakable act of lawn murder. Then from a brown yard owner who liked the idea of getting greenbacks from the DWP to lower the monthly bill and lighten up on maintenance.
The real flattery came when a passerby slammed her auto to a halt. A stranger hopped out and said, “This is one swell design. Do you mind if I take a picture?” She almost looked to be swooning.
California Greenin’ by Renee Ridgeley