By now, most gardeners have heard about the concept of replacing turf with vegetable gardens. Many have done it or plan to. We also hear of gardeners being penalized or having their gardens removed. This morning I was pleased to find that in my area, front yard gardening is encouraged. In fact, there is a PDF course on growing food to replace lawns put out by our local water department.
Water savings cited:
The course lists the many health and environmental benefits of home gardening. One such benefit is, of course, the reduction of water usage.
According to the Aurora water dept, “The results from converting a 1,000 square foot plot from turf grass to a vegetable garden were significant. At the Aurora Municipal Center (AMC), the amount of water used for irrigation dropped from 13,000 gallons over the course of the year to 2,500 gallons. At the Griswold Water Treatment Facility, the water use dropped from 10,250 gallons to 3,500 gallons. Irrigation at both properties was reduced from 23,250 gallons to 6,000 gallons. This is an average reduction of 74%.”
Is it legal?
No gardener wants to put all that hard work into tilling, planting and maintaining a garden, only to have it taken away. That's why this course suggests you check your local zoning regulations prior to planning and planting. In Aurora, at least 50% of your front yard must be perennial. It does not specify that it be grass or turf. Therefore, your perennials could be herbs or other edibles.
The nice thing about this course is, it gives you most of the basics on home gardening. It touches on everything from planning, to planting companion plants to what size garden will meet your needs. So, if you're new to gardening, it's a perfect beginner introduction. Whether you live in Aurora, Colorado or elsewhere, even seasoned gardeners can find handy hints or reminders in this course.