Make Parkways Pop

Take Curb Appeal All the Way to the Curb

June 2014. Water-hungry L.A. municipalities are taking aim at the parkway, even as we head into rainy season.

The City of Los Angeles broadened its parkway plant palate last week. Pasadena Water and Power now offers $1/sqft for removing traditional turf in parkways, and Santa Monica expects to renew its sustainable parkway grants program in 2011.

Why the parkway? Pasadena Water and Power Conservation Manager Nancy Long notes that simply replacing spray with drip irrigation in narrow parkway strips significantly reduces water waste.

Whether you are worried about water or simply interested in taking your curb appeal all the way to the curb, there are a few regulation-related considerations:

  • Some municipalities offer substantial latitude when it comes to materials. Others specify acceptable plant palates, like those shown at the right, which will produce more profound water savings.
  • Most municipalities note concerns about preserving the health of established parkway trees that define their community look and feel, such as the fig trees of Santa Monica and oaks of Pasadena.
  • Some cities have rock guidelines, due to their liability for pedestrian safety and need to protect street cleaning equipment.

Municipalities that have provided parkway freedom for some time, like Pasadena, see the beyond-water benefits. Pasadena’s Nancy Long notes: “Pasadena is changing, becoming even more beautiful as people look for new ways to personalize these public spaces.”

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