If you’re a homeowner, you’ve put some blood, sweat and tears into maintaining your landscape. By the end of summer lawns are sucking up all the water and fertilizer they can get and still look patchy and dry here in Los Angeles. And speaking of the water, the bill seems to get higher every year. Thankfully, there is an alternative to this escalating expense.
Adding a vegetable garden and hardscaping to your yard can go far towards reducing your water bill. You are making a safe investment in your home and increasing the value. Finally, your landscaping budget will be working double duty, providing high quality food in addition to looking beautiful.
You’ve just moved into a house. It’s in the neighborhood you want to live in, you did your research, you’ve just been through everything with realtors, insurance agents, your bank, your accountant, now you’re working with contractors to fix, tweak, and polish all the little things that aren’t right about the building.
But besides all that, you also find yourself staring at the land around the house. The green strip that decorates the property, provides a buffer, a sense of space for the architecture to stand within. There’s probably grass, maybe a patio, a tree here and there, roses perhaps, and a handful of plants, some with flowers and some without, that you recognize from all over the city but you could never in your life attach to a name.
This is your land. These are your nameless plants. These are your resources--your water, your soil, your nitrogen--and what you do with them is your choice alone. You are not only a homeowner, but also a land owner. You own and administer California real estate, some of the priciest square footage in the world. What should you do with it? Your strip that used to be ranchero, and then it was an orchard or farm, before it was claimed by the city, parceled into a home.
Back in May, we asked our members to tell us how their Farmscape garden was impacting their water bill. While we haven't received enough responses to draw any strong conclusions, I did want to share one response that we received. A member who lives in Claremont informed us that her most recent July and August water bill was $300 less than during the same months in 2010. That's enough to offset a substantial portion of the maintenance cost for her Farmscape garden.