Landscape Renovation: Painting the Grass Green

To save water in this multi-year drought, California cities, homes, and businesses have stopped watering medians, replaced landscaping with more drought-tolerant plants, cut back on watering lawns just enough that the grass won’t completely die, and switched to reclaimed water for irrigation (often with signs letting you know it’s recycled — partly so that you don’t try to drink it, and partly so that you don’t call the water police on them).

But some places just can’t accept “Brown is the new Green.”

Manhattan Village Mall, it seems, doesn’t want to appear downscale with brittle yellow-brown grass, so they’ve set up their landscape for renovation, giving that lawn a fresh paint job.


I looked up close: it’s powdered green paint.

Green Grass Paint

It’s way too green compared to anything else I’ve seen this summer short of Astroturf, and that includes the office building near work that still over-waters their lawn to the point that it’s sometimes muddy when I walk out there at lunchtime.

It’s also just blue enough to look wrong, though it didn’t quite come through in the photos. There are plenty of plants with slightly blue leaves and stems. But not grass – at least not that’s popular around here.

Oh, wait! I should’ve looked to see if they had some roses!

Yes, they’ve actually replaced some of the grass with more grass, instead of astroturf. Here’s the same median where I took the original Grass Under Renovation picture.

New Grass

I still have no idea why they bothered letting it die, putting up signs to warn people, and seeding all new grass. Not that I paid much attention to it before, but it doesn’t look particularly different.

Well, I finally found out the reason for the Grass Under Renovation signs. I passed a median where a road crew was setting out what I first thought was sod, but then realized was Astroturf.

Nice one. I suppose it’ll save money on water and maintenance, but then so would painting the concrete green.

Couldn’t they just put in some native plants and leave them alone?