Lawns: Grass isn’t always greener

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Conventional real estate wisdom puts a lot of faith in curb appeal as an important characteristic of a lovely and desirable home. And a crucial component of that curb appeal is of course the traditional lush lawn in the front yard. Small or large, square or rectangular, flat or hilly, that patch of green grass is the ultimate desire of homebuyers everywhere -- or so goes the usual thinking. But is the lush lawn now on its way out of style? There's plenty of evidence in the section of Los Angeles where I live that big green lawns rule. Just drive around the upper reaches of Beverly Hills and you'll see my point. Or better yet, check out the monolithic Mormon temple in West Los Angeles or the sprawling Pepperdine University campus on the coast in Malibu and you'll find two truly spectacular lawns. These perfectly manicured, weed-free stretches of Emerald City green grass are so amazing that it's difficult for me to drive past either of those institutions without feeling at lea...