New Law Protects Water-Conscious Landscapers from Meddling Officials

This article was written by Paige Austin and first appeared on Patch Gov. Jerry Brown Friday signed legislation aimed at prohibiting local governments from banning water-conscious landscaping at private residences while preserving the ability of cities and counties to set aesthetic and environmental standards.

AB 1164 -- which takes effect immediately -- seeks to protect homeowners who install water-efficient landscaping, and encourages others looking to reduce urban water use to do the same, according to Assemblyman Mike Gatto, D- Glendale, who authored the bill.

“Californians are doing their best to protect our state’s precious water resources when they spend their own hard-earned money to invest in water- efficient technologies,” Gatto said. “Intruding on a homeowner’s private property and fining them for doing the right thing sends the wrong message and is counterproductive to our water-saving efforts.”

Homeowners attempting to install drought-tolerant landscaping have come up against a number of barriers throughout the state, from bans on artificial turf to requirements that a landscape be completely covered in live-plant material, Gatto said.

The installation of drought-tolerant landscaping necessitates the use of a variety of materials -- including mulch, hardscape, and live plants...