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california drought - who cares?

We just returned from a trip to the dry state that started south in san diego and then we worked our way north to los angeles then east to palm springs. With the new water regulations in place to control water usage most neighborhoods seem to have 4 very different households following 4 very different rules.

The first and most popular group is “just let your yard die people.” These folks seem to have just given up on any irrigating resulting in neighborhoods looking like a bomb hit! instead of watering their property two days a week which is what most cities allow, approximately 10 min each day, they have given up and are taking the opportunity to be labeled "true water conscious citizens." i’m just wondering if these people are just glad to not pay for water and landscape maintenance while they can and not be looked at as losers?

The second group of people have been doing there very best to follow the current rules by watering a couple times a week as permitted. It’s interesting that the vegetation that still looks decent are all the native plants and grasses that were probably originally planted because of their beauty only, now that there is an official water shortage these plants are looking pretty good! It’s sad but many of the imported tropical plants that have been a big part of california landscape are looking very sad and have seen better days.


by romero + obeji interior design

The 3rd category of people have lawns and plants that look as if, well, as if, they don’t give a **** about the regulations and are watering like it was 1970. You can’t help but think of them as rebels and lawbreakers and also be a bit angry at them. as a topic for conversation we asked “how are these people getting away with this? Aren’t there water patrol people or water meter maids on the prowl?” What we were told by locals “water cut backs at this time are on more of an honor system” which makes sense as to why these people are still not taking this issue serious, even with higher rates for water and the ever effective neighbor shaming that is alive and well.

Then there are the do gooders! these people are being true model citizens, who care about the drought and saving the environment. folks are tearing out their lawns and replacing them with california gold (gravel) indigenous drought tolerant plants and getting modest incentives or tax credits by their local government that are being offered to property owners to make the change. their yards look amazing and for me, better fit california neighborhoods and businesses. I have noticed the use of succulents, which I personally like, but concerns me, only because they seem to take quite a bit of water? Nothing better than cactus, agave's, dry grasses, euphoria and all the great desert trees to make an indigenous statement. I particularly like when these plants are grouped and planted in geometric rows for a modern look.

At the end of the day “THERE IS A WATER SHORTAGE” and whether you be believe it is caused by damage to our planet by irresponsible humans or nature just doing what she does every hundred years or that californian's are being punished for being so liberal, it just makes good sense to respect the indigenous environment and landscape accordingly. After all california has been a desert much longer than it has been liberal.

read more about this full design project by romero + obeji interior design palm springs

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