Your time is your money, but freeing yourself from a time-consuming, water-thirsty lawn can still be a hard decision to make. Our American mind's eye sees traditional homes paired with sprawling green, grassy lawns as the quintessential aesthetic to strive for. But you can create chic, low maintenance, stylish curb-appeal boosting alternatives that will have you kicking that lawn mower to Goodwill, while also allowing you to not sweat the water bill's arrival, too. Much of the country is in unusually dry to drought conditions, and unless you live in a climate where rain is a constant and reliable source of water — or would just rather spend your time and money elsewhere — it's time to rethink what the exterior of your home should or could look like.
Forget what you read from lawn-care companies extolling how lawns are good for the air, they are not. Dr. Chuanhui Gu of Appalachian State University says that lawns produce more greenhouse gases than they soak up. A hectare (or 2.47 acres) of lawn produced greenhouse gases equivalent to 1,533 pounds to 5,374 pounds of carbon dioxide a year, the latter of which is "equivalent to a flight more than halfway around the world."