by David Salman

[caption id="attachment_829" align="alignleft" width="150" caption="Inferno strip #1, Santa Barbara,CA"]Inferno strip #1, Santa Barbara,CA[/caption] In the quest to make lawns more sustainable and input efficient, we need to pay attention to where a lawn makes sense in the landscape. One place a lawn most certainly doesn’t belong is in what I refer to as the “inferno strip” or “hell strip.” [caption id="attachment_830" align="alignright" width="150" caption="Inferno Strip #2, Santa Barbara, CA"]Inferno Strip #2,  Santa Barbara, CA[/caption] That useless piece of real estate created when a sidewalk carves out a long, narrow strip of dirt between it and the street. Inferno strips, when planted with grass, are impossible to irrigate without wasting water and utterly useless functionally or aesthetically. During a recent trip to the Left Coast (CA), I saw some wonderful alternative designs for colorfully planting the Inferno Strip with low care plants. [caption id="attachment_831" align="alignleft" width="150" caption="Inferno Strip w. ornamental grasses and groundcover"]Inferno Strip w. ornamental grasses and groundcover[/caption] This is in Santa Barbara where they can use a huge assortment of succulents and other plants adapted to a very mild winter climate. But the concept of conversion from “useless to Wow!” works in all climates. Just the plants choices will change.