For more than a decade, a primary component of water conservation programs in Long Beach and other Southern California cities has been incentives to remove lawns and replace them with drought-tolerant native plants.

This Saturday, the Long Beach Water Department will host its Eighth Annual Lawn-To-Garden Festival, including a self-guided tour of some of the city's most successful yard conversions.

From 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday, people are encouraged to visit 20 homes around the city where owners have replaced grass with native plants. A free smart phone app, “LBWD-L2G Tour and Festival,” is available at iOS and Android stores that displays directions to the tour homes and plant lists of each featured home. Homeowners will be outside at some of the homes to answer questions, as well.

There also will be a free festival from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Water Department's administrative headquarters, 1800 E. Wardlow Rd. At the festival, water-wise gardening workshops that feature free city resources will take place, along with a California-friendly plant sale, an educational naturalist showing insects, reptiles and amphibians and a resource fair with community organizations focusing on sustainable, environmentally friendly lifestyles.

There also will be food available for purchase from certified Blue Restaurants Aguas Way and Rance’s Chicago Pizza, face-painting, crafts and games for children and raffles of water-wise and local prizes.

A detailed map with directions to each Tour house can be provided upon request or registration. Residents can register for the Tour map and find more information at

—Staff Reports

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