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Our Love Of Lawns. And Why We Need To Let Go

A row of trees against a blue sky surrounded by thick green ground cover with little white flowers
Los Angeles County Arboretum and Botanic Garden
(Meg Botel
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Well folks, today marks the first day of spring (yay!) buuuuut more rain is on the way — snow, too. The rain started yesterday and it’s expected to pick back up again Tuesday and Wednesday. It’ll be colder, so you can expect more snow at lower elevations. The forecast calls for some intensity to this latest storm so please proceed with caution. The good news is that the weather should clear up after this and be relatively dry heading into April.

Rethinking the lawn

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Given the time of year, we’d like to talk to you about your lawns. Yes, many of you have ripped the grass out in favor of a drought-tolerant landscape, but there is still a lot of it dotting folks’ yards around L.A.

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You might wonder, in this Mediterranean climate of ours, why so many people have such lush lawns. Well, as LAist Climate Emergency reporter Erin Stone explains, it goes back to colonial England. It was an aesthetic that signaled wealth and success. The country’s founding fathers brought that to the U.S. and then, as everyone started heading west in the mid 1800s, many of those people brought the idea here. As L.A. grew, the desire for a nice, green lawn stuck.

Now, grass isn’t all bad — it’s great for parks and sporting events — but you should know that lawns require more irrigation than any other agricultural crop. Even with all this rain we got this year, a hotter and drier climate in California is basically guaranteed. Statewide, about half of household water usage goes to outdoor landscaping, and in a state water plan released last year, Gov. Gavin Newsom set the goal of ripping out 500 million square feet of lawns by 2030.

So it's time to end our love affair with lawns, if you haven’t already. There are some pretty good alternatives. The How to LA team recently went out to a very green space in L.A. County, The Arboretum in Arcadia, with Erin filling in for Brian De Los Santos. They wanted to see what its horticulturists have been up to in recent years as they try to adapt to a warming climate. In short: a lot. Listen to the episode here to learn about the garden beauty and benefits of hugels, bee’s bliss and gazania.

As always, stay happy and healthy, folks. There’s more news below — just keep reading.

We’re here to help curious Angelenos connect with others, discover the new, navigate the confusing, and even drive some change along the way.

More News

(After you stop hitting snooze)

  • These gray days can definitely make folks gloomy. The sun is due to come out soon but, in the meantime, here’s a few things you can do if you are feeling down. 
  • Los Angeles Mayor Karen Bass released a statement Sunday that she has authorized the use of city resources in the event of a worker strike, including opening up rec centers at local parks where kids can go during school hours so parents can work. You can find all the updates about the possible strike here.
  • Also in LAUSD news: The district received a donation of 74,640 Ty Beanie Baby toys. Really. And they are all "Minions" from the Despicable Me films. Get that backstory here. 
  • Gov. Gavin Newsom is following up on his pledge for the state to make its own insulin as a way to make it more affordable to people who need it. Newsom announced that the state has entered into a contract with non-profit drugmaker Civica Rx. 
  • On Sunday, Governor Newsom also proposed mental health reforms, including a bond measure that would raise $3 billion for services in California and pay to build supportive housing. He said what the state is dealing with is “unacceptable”  and that it is time to “come to grips with the reality of mental health in this state and our nation.” (Los Angeles Times)
  • Community Colleges are pushing students to apply for federal food assistance through CalFresh before the COVID health order sunsets, which had made more students more eligible. 
  • Three years after the pandemic sent the supply chain into a tailspin, the price of a car is still stubbornly high. Here's why that may continue.
  • From a lecture on the Valley’s dining history to balloon art to Cirque du Soleil’s latest show, there is a whole lot going on this week. Check it out here.
  • *At LAist we will always bring you the news freely, but occasionally we do include links to other publications that may be behind a paywall. Thank you for understanding! 

A Black woman stands holding a medal, wearing a dark running shirt with a number pinned on the front. She is draped with a white wrapper post L.A. Marathon
Aaricka Washington hold a medal after running the L.A. Marathon
(Chris Farias
LAist )

Wait! One More Thing ... Top Three Tea Sipping Trends

Time to fill you in on what some people were talking about over the weekend.

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Three — Robert Smith Of The Cure Goes After “Unduly High” Ticketmaster Fees

Sick of high processing fees when you buy concerts tickets? Turns out you just need The Cure — Robert Smith, to be exact. After hearing from angry fans about excessive charges from Ticketmaster, The Cure lead singer and guitarist Smith said he was “sickened” and pushed back. He got Ticketmaster to bend and not only offer a small refund to fans, but also lower fees.

Two — Thousands Run In The L.A. Marathon. Two Dominate.

Under a cloudy sky (and some rain), thousands of people ran from Dodger Stadium through Downtown L.A. and Hollywood to Century City in the 38th Annual L.A. Marathon. The parade route was lined with cheerleaders and even musicians to spur on the runners. Stacey Ndiwa from Kenya won the women’s race ahead of men’s winner Jemel Yimer, and claimed a $10,000 bonus for doing so.

One — Our Aaricka Crossed The Finish Line — And Wants To Do It Again

How to LA associate editor Aaricka Washington is normally writing this newsletter. But yesterday she ran 26.2 miles for the first time, across the city, completing the L.A. marathon in just a little over 6 hours. She talked with How To LA podcast host Brian De Los Santos about how she got ready for it. And listen for the payoff at the end. All that hard work was definitely worth it. Here are the 10 lessons she learned as she got ready to run.

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