"It was supposed to be a lawn in a sea of paved front yards," writes one contestant, insisting their yard is the ugliest in SF, "But the drought had other ideas, as did the gophers." If you think this submission just might be the ugliest then you can vote for it. Yes, it's San Francisco's first "Ugliest Yard" competition, a project of the SF Department of the Environment that has California's historic drought and Governor Brown's new conservation orders in mind.

The contest has a heavy presence on Facebook, a clever strategy to promote awareness — of ugly yards and the need to conserve water. One winner will be selected for a "yard makeover from Madrono Landscape Design Studio featuring drought tolerant and native plants." Runners up get consultations, and every submission gets a seed packet of native plant seeds. That's another clever tie-in. The contest is also a measure to promote a new database called PlantFinder, which "recommends appropriate plants for sidewalks, private backyards and roofs that are adapted to San Francisco's unique environment, climate and habitats."

“The ugliest yard really isn’t one that is desolate and full of weeds and dirt," department spokesman Guillermo Rodriguez tells the Examiner — though such a yard will win the competition. “A yard that wastes a lot of water to maintain - that is ugly.”

Previously: Mandatory Gray Water Requirement For New Buildings Set To Freak Out Developers