Why People Want to Have the Ugliest Yard in San Francisco

San Francisco is celebrating the ugliest yard in a contest.

You always hear about people who want to have the most beautiful front yard in the neighborhood. Or lawn-enthusiasts who are driven to have the greenest grass on the block. Well, those dreams are totally off-trend in San Francisco thanks to the city’s ugliest yard contest.

The ugliest yard contest, created by the city’s Department of the Environment, was started to encourage people in the city to “let their lawns go” in the hopes of getting a new, drought-tolerant garden.

According to The Sacramento Bee, the contest was unveiled as California Governor Jerry Brown began to praise brown lawns and called for overall water usage cuts in light of the state’s ongoing drought, now in its fourth year. “Urban water users across the state will have to reduce consumption by 25 percent, under new state mandates,”The Bee reports. “Some communities will face cuts as high as 36 percent.”

So, basically, the ugliest yard contest was created to “highlight the importance of gardens that can thrive in a drought,” reports The Bee. To kick the excitement and interest of the event into high gear, the city has added a section to the local planning department’s website that lists various drought-tolerant plants and trees.

According to The Bee, a few handfuls of contestants had already joined the contest by late April. All of their yards? Appropriately ugly.

While the winner of the contest will get a total lawn makeover, full of drought-resistant plants, the three other contestants that get the most votes will get a consultation. Also: Everyone who enters the contest will get a packet of seeds.

Sounds like everyone wins!

While this contest is getting the city’s citizens to think more about their water usage, San Francisco is already ahead of the curve on the water saving front. On average, the city’s water users “consume slightly less than 50 gallons per day.” And when compared to the statewide average of 77 gallons per day, San Fran’s usage looks downright impressive.

Still, even with all of the city’s efforts and the ugliest lawn contest, city officials are still considering new ways to use recycled water, strengthen “green building codes,” and to “find teachable garden moments,” reports The Bee.

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Image: Eric Martin