THAT luscious green lawn may not be the greenest choice in dry Southern California, but water consumption and pesticides are only part of the problem: There are also those deafening gas-powered mowers and blowers whose emissions account for as much as 5% of our reactive organic gases and carbon monoxide, according to the California Air Resources Board. That's where Whisper Landscape Maintenance comes in. The newly launched gardening service uses only zero-emission, solar-powered garden equipment. Whisper founder Michael Gould, left, says that his company's modified mowers are no louder than vacuum cleaners and that leaf blowers have a decibel level similar to hair dryers. A crew of Whisper gardeners -- arriving in Priuses, of course -- uses organic fertilizers and routinely mulch with grass clippings instead of throwing them away. Gould says prices are competitive with traditional gardeners. For service areas and other details: (818) 933-1377, www.whisperlandscapemaintenance.com.
-- Alexandria Abramian Mott