About $7,500 later, the front lawn and parkway glistened green.
With water prices on the rise and rationing becoming the norm, households across the country are trading in their natural turf for artificial surfaces, as well as drought-tolerant and native plants.
Whether out of necessity or will, consumer sales were 4.45% below budget for the last fiscal year, and Burbank residents, through a combination of conservation efforts and milder weather, curtailed their water use by nearly 7%, according to a recent Burbank Water and Power report.
The utility’s budget incorporates a 2% reduction in water sales, putting the city in line with the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California’s new allocation plan. To meet those goals, the city is poised to limit outdoor irrigation to 15 minutes per day, three days a week.
The restrictions come after city officials hiked water rates by at least 15%.
“I think that people, particularly those who are young and environmentally aware, are becoming more water-conscious and doing their part,” said Chris VanDeusen, manager and landscape consultant at Sheridan Gardens Nursery.
VanDeusen and her team spent the better part of the summer fielding about 50% more calls and requests from residents looking to decrease the size of their lawns, plant succulents and cactuses and lay down flagstone and gravel.
“It sure is a wonderful to offset the acute shortage of water [coming] to Southern California,” Baldino said, still in awe of his artificial turf.
Amid the sputtering economy, some residents have also allowed their once-green lawns to turn brown, a sign that homeowners have elected to spend money elsewhere, city officials said.