Top 100 cultural trends shaping the West

The ideas, people, places, and things that are making life out here better right now

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Love your lawn
Photo by William P. Wright

#50: Love your lawn

The West is the land of the backyard, of days spent grilling outside while the kids run around barefoot. That used to mean grass—tough, resilient, feels-good-between-your-toes grass—until drought concerns ushered in a wave of low-water landscapes. We’ve been a big champion of those at Sunset, but lately, we’ve been thinking there’s room for grass too. Before you yowl in protest, consider this: Your lawn doesn’t need as much water as you think it does. There are now more drought-tolerant grass mixes available. And nothing, nothing, feels the same under your feet. (When was the last time you ran barefoot over a patch of eco-conscious pebbles? Exactly.) So go ahead and love your lawn. Just choose a low-water mix, keep your irrigation uniform, and treat grass clippings as the terrific fertilizer they are, by leaving them be or collecting them for your compost pile. Because without grass, you lose a great backyard design element—the restful spaces between your plantings—and your surest bet against soil loss. Ever pull up grass and find a clump of dirt attached? That’s called erosion control, and grass is better at it than anything else, period.

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