A Larchmont lawn detective goes searching for the truth

| December 30, 2014 | 1 Comment
BEFORE PHOTO of parkway and front yard with fescue grass.

BEFORE PHOTO of parkway and front yard with fescue grass.

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.

AFTER PHOTO shows parkway and yard with Dymondia, flagstone, UC Verde, senecio, stipa and pebbles.

AFTER PHOTO shows parkway and yard with Dymondia, flagstone, UC Verde, senecio, stipa and pebbles.

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

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Category: People

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  1. Michelle Baron says:

    Beautiful job on your low-water landscaping! I wish more people would give up their grass. It really does not belong in Southern California. We removed our silly lawn 5 years ago and planted native and drought tolerant plants. The DWP unfortunately would not offer the rebate to duplexes, not even owner-occupied.

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