SF to hold 'ugliest lawn' competition in response to drought

Beautifully manicured, green lawns requiring constant watering could win an ugliest yard competition the San Francisco Department of the Environment announced Tuesday, in an effort to conserve water during California’s ongoing drought.

Through the “San Francisco’s Ugliest Yard” competition, which runs to May 15, the department seeks to redefine what an attractive yard looks like.

“The ugliest yard really isn’t one that is desolate and full of weeds and dirt,” said department spokesman Guillermo Rodriguez. “A yard that wastes a lot of water to maintain – that is ugly.”

San Francisco residents may enter the contest by taking a picture of their ugly yard for a chance to win a makeover with drought-tolerant plants native to The City. The competition – a first for the department, supports Gov. Jerry Brown’s executive order last Wednesday to cut water use 25 percent statewide, Rodriguez said.

The competition also coincides with the launch of the San Francisco Planning Department’s SF Plant Finder, an online database of drought-tolerant plants and trees for gardeners, designers, ecologists and people interested in boosting The City’s biodiversity while saving water.

Plants in the database were selected with input from the environment department, Urban Forestry Council, San Francisco Public Utilities Commission, Department of Public Works, the urban environmental nonprofit Nature in the City and experts in local ecology and horticulture.

Contestants are asked to upload ugly yard photos to the environment department’s website or Facebook page with a caption explaining the need for a makeover, and share images on social media to gain votes. Besides the grand prize makeover winner, to be chosen by a panel of judges, three first prize winners garnering the most votes will earn consultations and a supply of native plant seeds, and all submissions will receive a packet of native plant seeds.

To enter the contest and upload photos of yards, visit www.sfenvironment.org/ugliest-yard or www.facebook.com/SFEnvironment.

Winless in Seattle: What we learned from Niners’ loss

It started out as a madcap affair in Seattle on Sunday, loaded with tips and picks, tightropes and trickery.

By Al Saracevic
‘King Tides’ give San Francisco a watery glimpse of its future

City seeks solutions as coastal flooding could become the new normal

By Jessica Wolfrom
Dire water warnings confront San Francisco and beyond

‘We will face challenges that I don’t think modern California has ever really seen before’

By Jessica Wolfrom