HIGHLAND PARK, Calif. - It’s a superbloom of his own making, although Nathan Green takes little credit.
“I mean, it’s just amazing what the natural world can do," Green said, looking around his front yard.
After he bought this property in 2016, he spent about four months replacing the turf in front of his house with something more sustainable.
“These are all native to California and you essentially put them in the ground and they do their thing," he explained.
And that thing is grow into what is now a lush and colorful landscape. And here’s the amazing part: He hasn't watered this garden since September.
Green's house is positioned at a corner where two slopes meet, so when it rains, “All the water ends up coming down both of these hills and comes like right in here,” he explained.
Sensing an opening, he built one, knocking out a small piece of curb and using rocks to create a path to welcome all that runoff into his garden, tens of thousands of gallons in a given year. He also broke up the cement in his backyard, recycling the remnants to create a permeable path, and exposing even more earth to absorb the rain.
The entire project cost him nothing.
“The only cost to me was getting out here and digging some holes," he said.
That’s because he purchased the plants using $2000 that he received through Los Angeles Department of Water and Power’s Turf Replacement Program.
Cathleen Chavez-Morris says over the program’s 10 years, the city has seen a reduction of tens of millions of square feet of turf.
“Every square foot that’s removed ends up resulting in water savings to both the homeowner and to the department and ultimately helps us with sustainability here in the city," she said.
Including goals laid out in Mayor Garcetti’s green new deal, like “reducing the amount of imported water, reducing the amount of water used per person," Chavez-Morris explained.
The department holds workshops every month to teach people about California Friendly Landscaping. They also have tips and templates on their website. And people are definitely interested.
“Three, four times a week people are just like ‘Wow, I love the garden. It’s fantastic,’” said Green.
The history teacher sees those visits as teachable moments.
“I’m not walking around knocking on doors saying ‘hey let’s do this to your front yard,’" he explained, "but I hope that they see how easy it was for me to do it and that they themselves will be inspired to do it.”
Planting the seeds for change in his own garden and beyond.
For more information about California Friendly Landscaping, visit: ladwp.cafriendlylandscaping.com/