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Landscape designer shares stunning before-and-after video after ripping out client's lawn: 'This is so much better'

"Honestly, I think it's so much more vibrant and playful now."

“Honestly, I think it’s so much more vibrant and playful now."

Photo Credit: @sarabendrick / TikTok

Drought-tolerant lawns are increasingly turning heads and changing minds about manicured lawns, as demonstrated by a landscape designer in San Diego.

In a popular TikTok video, landscape design influencer Sara Bendrick (@sarabendrick) has shared some before-and-after photos of a client's new drought-resistant front lawn.

She describes how she persuaded her initially reluctant client to rip out her browning grass and replace it with flagstones, ground cover, mulch, and drought-tolerant flowers, which are better suited to the scorching climate.

"Honestly, I think it's so much more vibrant and playful now," she said in the video.

@sarabendrick If you dont use it, lose it. My perspective of lawns in drought areas. #casatiktok #droughttolerantlawn #lawnalternatives what to plant instead of lawns. #gazania #arctotis #blanketflower ♬ Flowers - Miley Cyrus

Manicured lawns are notoriously high maintenance, requiring inordinate amounts of time, money, and water to keep them looking lush.

Of the 400 gallons of water that the average American family of four gets through each day, 30% of that is used solely for irrigation, totaling an estimated 9 billion gallons a day across the U.S.

That level of water use is becoming more expensive for households, with multiple water companies hiking their prices. 

In San Diego, the average household bill could rise from $81.07 to $93.55 by 2025, while Middlesex Water Company in New Jersey hopes to increase its fees by 31%. 

As drought conditions become more commonplace — particularly in the southwestern states, which are currently suffering what is thought to be the worst regional drought in 1,200 years — this scale of water use is becoming untenable. 

As a result, some states and cities actively encourage their citizens to replace their lawns with water-efficient native plants

In San Diego, residents receive $2 for every square foot of turf grass they pull out. The city says they have already removed 42 million square feet of turf lawns since the scheme began.

As for what households can replace their lawns with, gardening experts Yardzen recommend rewilding with native plants

Plants like buffalo grass, coneflowers, and desert flowers such as the California poppy all grow naturally across the U.S., so they flourish without excessive watering. 

By allowing wildflowers and so-called weeds to flower in place of a monocultured lawn, we can also create a biodiverse haven for pollinating insects. 

The survival of endangered pollinators like bees and butterflies is essential. One study estimated that 500,000 early deaths a year can be attributed to their decline, which has reduced the yield of multiple healthy crops worldwide. 

Creating water-wise biodiverse gardens can reverse some of this damage — and it helps that they're easy on the eyes, too.

"Looks amazing!" one TikToker commented. 

"I personally believe grass is a waste of space. This is so much better," said another.

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