An article in the LA Times talks about turf scientists' quest for non-thirsty green lawns.
In a parched experimental plot at the edge of UC Riverside, several dozen mounds of grass poke out of the powdery soil.
These plants have the soft, narrow leaf blades and dark-green hue that would make them a welcome addition to any American lawn. Most important, they lack the feature that threatens to doom today's turf -- an unsustainable thirst for water.
With mandatory watering restrictions turning grass brown from California to Florida to Massachusetts, a small but dedicated cadre of turf scientists is on a mission to engineer a drought-proof superlawn.
They are acutely aware of the technical challenges. Millions of years of evolution have failed to devise a turf that thrives in dry, hot summers and cool, damp winters, and trying to one-up Mother Nature certainly is an exercise in horticultural hubris.
read more at the LA Times.
Of course University of California already has a low water turf grass named UC Verde. When I last looked at it, it seemed more targeted at the Southwest, than Coastal California, but a Google search last night showed that there are many more prominent providers of it now than 1+ years ago. It is a variety of Buffalo Grass, native to North America, but not to California. Shirley Bovshow, S. California "garden personality" has a test plot of UC Verde and several blog posts about it:
More from the LA Times article:
Most Californians plant tall fescue varieties, such as Marathon, in their yards. They are the most water-efficient of the cool-season grasses, but that still leaves plenty of room for improvement.
Simply switching to warm-season varieties would reduce water needs by 20%, Baird said. However, these species go dormant in the winter, and even during their active months they never reach the deep green hues of their cool-season cousins.
"We could go a long ways in terms of our drought if more people used those grasses," he said. "But the color issue is the major limiting factor."
I suppose they could always plant it on the other side of the street.