Ditching your lawn doesn’t have to mean your xeriscape looks like the surface of the moon

Lawn, ecologically, is dead space,” said Doug Tallamy, an entomologist at the University of Delaware and author of “Nature’s Best Hope: A New Approach to Conservation That Starts in Your Yard.”

The solution, he says, is ultimately less lawn. He recommends people aim to cut the amount of turf grass in their yard in half. But getting there, he says,will take a shift in culture that goes far beyond just using an electric mower.

America’s infatuation with grassy expanses dates back to the Founding Fathers. Thomas Jefferson cultivated a lawn — previously a fixture of the European aristocracy — at his Monticello estate. By the second half of the 20th century, as the middle class grew, bought houses and spread into the suburbs, lawns had become a staple of Americana.

But, Tallamy insists, change is possible. “You can be an important part of conservation,” he said. “You aren’t powerless.”

Laying down mulch is one place to start. It quickly kills grass and offers a blank canvas for planting.

“If you have lawn under a mature tree, convert it to a mulched area,” suggested Kathy Connolly, a Connecticut-based landscape designer who recommends about six inches of raw, arborist, wood chips for the job. Connolly also recommends converting some of your lawn into paths, rock gardens or other features. “Ecologically, though,” she said, “the best thing to do is plant native trees and shrubs.”

Invasive plants, Tallamy said, “are ecologically castrating the land around us.” Native plants, on the other hand, often have deep root structures, making them good for storing water or providing drainage. They have also co-evolved for local conditions.

read more at: https://www.washingtonpost.com/climate-solutions/2021/06/30/climate-friendly-backyard/

Selling or Buying a Condo? Does the HOA have these disclosures ready for buyers?

California Civil Code Section 4525 requires specific important disclosures be provided to members upon request, to give to prospective buyers. Well-run HOAs should have these many disclosures readily available.

Here is a checklist for buyers, sellers, and managers:

Governing documents

CC&R’s, bylaws, rules/regulations, Articles of Incorporation (or statement of non-incorporation), and Condominium Plan or Subdivision Map (not mandatory).

Finances

Annual Budget Report (multiple items, see Civil Code 5300).

Annual Policy Statement (multiple items, see Civil Code 5310).

Assessments

Regular, special and any schedule future assessments.

Financial documents and information

The Annual Budget Report contains important information regarding the association’s finances.

For example, is the association following the recommendations of its reserve study preparer, or is there little money in the reserve fund account, exposing the HOA to future major borrowing and consequently exposing members to future major special assessments? The HOA is required to have a written plan to become more adequately funded, and that plan must be disclosed annually to members.

The Annual Budget Report also includes a summary of insurance. Does the HOA have dishonesty insurance or earthquake coverage?

read more at: https://www.sandiegouniontribune.com/business/story/2021-08-28/hoa-homefront-does-your-hoa-have-these-disclosures-ready-for-buyers

Need a new roof? Get one while helping with Global Warming

We need to say goodbye to the trend of having dark roofs that not only attract and retain heat and raise ambient street temperatures, but lead to astronomical electricity bills because of the need to cool homes.”

University of NSW Professor Mattheos Santamouris, who has had an extensive career researching urban heat, said so-called “cool roofs” could decrease the energy consumption of uninsulated buildings by up to 50 per cent.

read entire article: https://www.smh.com.au/national/nsw/blistering-temperatures-dark-roofing-banned-on-sydney-s-urban-fringe-20210820-p58kma.html