IRVINE : City Puts Grass Out to Pasture

Continuing its environmentally conscious bent, the City Council on Tuesday adopted a landscape ordinance that will require new developments to use drought-tolerant plants instead of lush, green lawns.

Single-family homes and agricultural areas are exempt from the law, which will apply mainly to new condominium complexes and business developments.

The law not only restricts water-guzzling grass, but also dictates what plants can be put next to each other based on similar climate, soil and maintenance needs.

These and other restrictions were developed from studies showing that mowing, mulching, fertilizing and watering of turf grass is ultimately more harmful to the atmosphere than the benefits derived from oxygen-producing greenery, officials said.


City planners call the law a “sustainability in landscape ordinance.” Its goal is to promote landscaping that can thrive on its own while minimizing water consumption and maintenance costs. The program also helps reduce the amount of greenery clippings that end up in local landfills, planners said.

A manual outlining details of the law will be presented for approval at a future council meeting.