California has recently adopted new state-wide ordinances limiting the size of lawns. As of December 1, 2015, lawn cannot occupy more than 25% of the landscaped area of a property.
This rule takes effect immediately for all newly-developed properties. Existing homes and businesses will be required to come into compliance if they undertake major renovations of their current landscaping.
The primary purpose of the law is to reduce water usage. The new limits on lawns are expected to save 20% of the water usage of a new home, or 35% of a commercial property’s water use.
The new ordinances also limit turf grass on street medians and terraces, and require lawns on commercial properties to be intended to serve some functional purpose, such as recreation or public assembly.
Many California property owners got rid of their lawns even while having one was still legal. Last summer, the state stopped offering cash incentives for lawn removal, after emptying its $340 million fund earmarked for that purpose.