I consider the early morning hours my “me time.” I like to wake up just before the sun rises, take a walk around the neighborhood, and enjoy the few hours of silence before my phone starts ringing and work demands all of my attention.
On one of my recent strolls, I noticed that one of my neighbors had done away with their traditional lawns. They’d gotten rid of the St. Augustine grass, disconnected the sprinklers, and brought in more drought-tolerant plants.
Now, I grew up in San Diego, so I remember the carefree days when my friends and I would play in the front yard sprinklers. We would run back and forth through the spray and roll around on the lush, green lawn until the sun went down. But those were different times and now more and more San Diego residents are catching on to what my neighbors caught onto: We have to do our part during this historic drought, but you won’t even miss your lawn if you take care with your landscaping.
Not only does drought-tolerant landscaping look great and help conserve water in these dry times, but it’s also bound to save you hundreds – and maybe even thousands – of dollars a year. It’s time for more multifamily building owners to give this trend a try, not only for the environment, but also for their bottom lines.
It’s Time to Reduce Your Water Usage
As a San Diego resident, you already know that we live in the middle of the desert and rainfall is scarce. But on top of that, there are a lot of scary numbers out there regarding Southern California’s water usage and the historic drought we’re living through:
- A staggering 11 trillion gallons of water are needed for California to fully recover from the current emergency.
- In 2014, Governor Jerry Brown declared the current drought the worst California has ever seen since records began about 100 years ago.
- Lawns account for 50% or more of Southern California residents’ water usage.
This means replacing your lawn with alternate landscaping can have a huge impact. But even though your social conscience might be pushing you towards the switch, you should know that there are a lot of advantages for you as a property owner, too.
The Advantages of Making the Switch to a Drought-Tolerant Landscape
You’ll Save Money on Your Water Bill:
This is going to be the gift that keeps on giving. Once you make the switch to drought-tolerant plants, you can say “bye-bye” to that insane monthly water bill. One of my favorite stories comes from our neighbors to the north, in Los Angeles.
Back in 2006, the LA Times talked to Philip Reavis, the owner and resident of a 13-unit apartment complex near the busy intersection of La Cienega Boulevard and 3rd Street. Tired of wasting water, he ripped out the irrigation-dependent lawn, shrubs, and trees, and replaced them with volcanic rock, cacti, and wildflowers. Thanks to his new landscaping, he hasn’t spent a nickel on watering the grounds since 1987!
It’ll Increase Your Curb Appeal
If you still have grass in front of your building, I’m guessing it’s probably not very green anymore. The Southern California area has been on heavy water restrictions for quite some time, so all your thirsty landscaping is likely suffering. And a scorched lawn is hardly a great first impression.
Your building’s curb appeal is a direct reflection on you as a property owner, whether you like it or not. Sloppy or poorly maintained grounds can keep prospective renters from ever wanting to come inside, and it will lessen your chances of getting top-dollar rents. Curb appeal has an enormous impact on the bottom line for owners of multifamily buildings – not to mention the impact it has on net operating incomes, resident attraction, and retention rates.
If you need even more financial incentive, rebates are being used to influence the public to remove turf and switch to water-saving landscaping. For commercial and multifamily customers (over four units), the city of San Diego is offering rebates of $1.50 per square foot, up to 10,000 square feet and $15,000 per site.
Some Options for Your New Yard
If you don’t have much of a green thumb, here are some good drought-resistant plants and flowers to help you get started. There are literally hundreds of different varieties, but these options make for solid choices:
- Brazilian Rosewood
- Painted Lady
- California Dogface
- Peacock Orchid
- Sierra Tiger Lilly
- Berberis Shrubs
- Butterfly Bushes
- African Corn Lily
- Lady Banks Rose
…and many, many more.
REIG Can Help from Start to Finish
When embarking on a renovation or other project of this scale, we know how important it is to finish on time and on budget. At REIG Construction, we have years of experience handling jobs like this and we can guarantee your tenants won’t be displaced or disrupted. Our team of dedicated professionals can assist you through the full duration of the project and there’s nothing we aren’t prepared to handle. Give us a call today and let’s revitalize your property grounds into a drought-tolerant oasis that keeps money in your pocket.