Lisa's Landscape & Design

Saving the Planet One Yard at a Time

Changing Times for America’s HOA’s

Does your HOA allow this?  Well it’s about time they do, “times they are a changin” and we are running out of valuable resources.  The days of sweeping lawns are passe and some neighborhoods associations are making a few very smart changes.

Grass isn't everything...Texture, color, low water..Xeriscape!

Grass isn’t everything…Texture, color, low water..Xeriscape!

I featured many short video’s last year of my  garden demonstrating that even in a drought the right plants will do well.  The right plants are native and adapted and the soil needs to be living and rich with nutrients which begins with COMPOST!!   Composting in the Spring and the very occasional fertilizing with Liquid Seaweed is all the work I do in my garden through out the Spring and Summer months.  I like to enjoy my yard, not work in it all the time.  Proper plant and tree choices are critical to the overall success of your garden.  When you choose plants and trees that are indigenous to the area, you reduce the need for over amending, many pest control issues and when you properly space your plants, the maintenance is practically nothing.

Edible garden. Delicious as it is beautiful.

Edible garden. Delicious as it is beautiful.

I started this video in my front yard to show that my HOA here in Avery Ranch ( Austin Texas, now on stage 2 and many local area’s are at stage 3 watering ) has recently created a variance (with the persuasion of gardeners like me) and the good common sense of our now acting President and board members, allowing residents to Xeriscape 75% of their front yards leaving only 25% sod.  By Creating a “variance” the board was able to “grant permission” for residents to make these changes without needing the majority vote from nearly 3500 homes, pretty genius really.  They also allowed the variance to include the option of Buffalo grass in the front yard as well as the ability to completely transform your back yards into Xeriscape landscapes with no sod at all, or you could use AstroTurf in place of sod.  Personally I could not be more proud to be part of a movement setting the trend for the way all HOA’s should be thinking in order to save water and reduce water hogging sods.

Low water low maintenance garden. Xeriscape at its best!

Low water low maintenance garden. Xeriscape at its best!

I received an email from a woman named Linda not long ago who is currently being sued by her HOA in San Antonio for not maintaining 90% GRASS and 10% garden beds.  She is taking them on single-handed and while I admire the hell out of her determination, it is criminal in this day and age that HOA’s are burying their heads in the sand ( or sod as it were) and not dealing with the facts.  The facts are that sod in the US is responsible for draining as much as 60% of our drinking water.  This is based on the over all consumption of residential and commercial properties.  This is clean drinking water we are pouring onto the ground.  Other cultures would kill for this luxury and we are wasting it.  Making small changes to the landscape by planting food and herbs instead of lawn (less water) , fruit trees instead of shade trees (equal water)  and most importantly, replacing water hogging sod with Astro Turf  (no water) or alternative landscapes such as native plants, mulch and stone can save billions of gallons of water each year.  It is up to each home owner whether in an HOA or not to take a stand like Linda in San Antonio so that our children and grandchildren will not see the day when stories are told about the day the last drop of clean water was seen, the last time anyone saw a river, stream or lake and how we humans squandered this precious recourse to have oceans of green grass we could not eat.  Here is a little inspiration…and in the ever so brilliant words of Dr. Seuss, ” Unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot, nothing is going to get better. It’s not.”

Lisa LaPaso

Lisa’s Landscape & Design                                                                                                                                                               

“Saving the Planet One Yard at a Time”

Check out my other video’s on YouTube!!


  1. Astroturf may be water saving but not environmentally smart. It uses petroleum products to manufacture it, wears out over time and ends up in a landfill, and inhibits healthy soil beneath it. I say, go all natural with ground covers.

    • That is also my opinion Bob, I think it should be Xeriscape beds in place of large areas of sod, but for a small purposeful turf I think it is still a great alternative for a no water solution. The technology on Astro Turf has changed drastically, it has a longer shelf life and the removed portion of top cover would do less harm environmentally that the chemicals people use on their current lawns. At least that is the theory…

  2. Anckit Wadwa

    I do agree with your thoughts on being eco friendly. A minor note though, Austin is still in stage 2 restrictions
    San Antonio, the other city you mention in this blog is probably in Stage 3 restrictions.
    Again, I do agree with what you are saying in general about being smart about the choice of plants

    • Thank you for catching that Anckit, it is bad enough already without making the numbers worse…I will make that correction 😉

  3. Wow, 60% of our drinking water drained by sod is quite something…coming from India where water is a ‘true resource’, it pains me that we have to fight to create respect for it. Great job, Lisa, this fight is worth it.

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