SANTA CRUZ, Calif. -

Santa Cruz resident Carol Rich has a backyard that is well-kept. Instead of grass, she has neat mulch and stone islands with interesting sculptures, but it didn't always look like this.

“We ripped out a lot of our lawn and a lot of our plants,” said Rich.

She prepared for months for the water-rationing request from the Santa Cruz City water department, so their bill didn't give them any big surprises.

“We are trying to keep all of our expenses down, so we are conserving to make it easier,” said Rich.

Because of all the changes they made already, she says her life hasn’t changed a week into water rationing. She doesn't have any complaints.

“I don’t think it's that big of a deal,” said Rich.

The water department says the biggest waster is from outdoor irrigation, but residents are getting behind conservation efforts. One week into water rationing most people are getting rid of the biggest money guzzler, outdoor hoses, and replacing grass with mulch and less plants.

Switching out grass for mulch and stone, capping the sprinkler system, purchasing drip irrigation may have Carol Rich’s dream garden looking a little different than she imagined it, but it will save her pocketbook in the end.