She Cut Her Water Bill in Half by Tearing Out Her Lawn and Going All in on ‘Hugelkultur’

When Elana O’Brien decided to eliminate the front lawn outside her Pasadena home, she had three goals: water conservation, increased privacy and a view more natural than a city street and the seasonal decorations in her neighbor’s yard.

Smothering her 850-square-foot lawn with cardboard and mulch — a.k.a. sheet mulching — wasn’t enough, O’Brien said. She wanted to add some height and contour to her yard, and she found the answer with — literally — a lot of sticks and stones, using a process known as hugelkultur.