Conservation Corner

Tips, resources and news about water-use efficiency

Bee's Bliss Sage (Salvia leucophylla) attracts pollinators including bees and butterflies to your landscaping. Photo: Wikipedia groundcovers to use

12 Grand Groundcovers to Use as Lawn Substitutes

You’ve decided to eliminate the thirsty turf areas in your current landscaping when planning your new sustainable landscape. It’s tempting to install hardscape. It needs no water at all. It might seem like a smart idea, but it creates a new problem: stormwater runoff. It can also increase temperatures and add in its own small […]

Love Your Lawn-Conservation Corner-Love your lawn organically

Love Your Lawn Organically

In a waterwise landscape, there’s still a place for turf. You may not need as much, and you need to create the most efficient and organic maintenance plan possible to work turf into your design. The good news: lawns maintained organically and with efficient irrigation can offer a cool, practical surface for active recreation, or […]

An example of drought tolerant landscaping with low water use plants. Photo: Kelly M. Grow, California Department of Water Resources landscape conserve

How Much Water Can Your New Landscape Conserve?

Landscape designs using the least amount of potable water necessary are greatly encouraged in arid or Mediterranean climates like in San Diego County. It’s an important motivation for homeowners to consider efficiency and sustainability to lower water use, saving a precious resource. Maximizing your landscaping’s ability to capture and use natural rainfall can also help […]

Knowing how to classify your plants by water use characteristics will help you plan your sustainable landscaping. Photo: Water Authority plant factor

Know Your Plant Factor Water Requirements

Landscaping plants have different water needs. The water requirement of each plant in your landscaping can be determined by gathering information about the plant and then comparing it to the amount of water needed by the cool-season grass growing in your climate zone. Take a tip from landscaping professionals. They use a resource called the […]

Choose your landscape plants carefully to reduce your water use. watering your plants

One Simple Key to Watering Your Plants

When you’re replacing your landscaping with an eye to conserving water, it’s important to understand how much water plants really need. A quick, simple way landscape experts do this is a method the home landscaper can use, too. Evapotranspiration (ET) is the process of assessing various factors to determine how much water plants use, and […]

Create a healthy growing environment for your new landscaping with the "soil lasagna" method. Graphic: Water Authority

Soil Lasagna Cooks Up A Tasty Landscape

Healthy, living soil is full of oxygen, water, and life to support your plants. This is the food your plants need to consume for good health. Creating healthy soil in layers is referred to as soil sheet mulching, or “soil lasagna.” It isn’t too much different than cooking a pan of lasagna in your kitchen. […]

Soil Microbes-your lawn-healthy soil-Conservation Corner

Remove Your Lawn the Healthy Way

The day has come to replace your thirsty, water guzzling grass. Before you remove it, plan your process carefully to leave only healthy living soil as the foundation for a beautiful, thriving new landscape. Don’t just turn off your irrigation and let your grass turn brown as it dies off. Healthy microbes in your soil […]

Conservation Corner-mulch-landcape-WaterSmartill you need? It depends on how you'll be using it in your sustainable landscaping. Photo: Phil Roeder/Flickr-Creative Commons License mulch master plan

Develop a Mulch Master Plan

How much mulch does your landscaping plan need? To develop your mulch master plan and answer this question, you first need to understand the job it will perform in different areas of your watersmart landscaping plan. If you want to hold in moisture and keep down weeds: Use three to six inches of mulch on […]

Let Nature Be Your Guide: Compost vs. Mulch

You may not know the difference between compost and mulch, but your landscape soil does. Compost and mulch represent two different soil treatments with different advantages when used in a watersmart landscape plan. Compost is made of organic matter such as food scraps, landscape debris, or livestock manure that have already been partially consumed and […]

Irrigation-Soil-roots-Conservation Corner your plants, use a soil probe. Photo: Karolina Grabowska/Pexels soil probe tips

Soil Probe Tips for Success

Knowing how to use a soil probe as an important soil management tool will support your effort to create a healthy, thriving landscape full of beautiful plants. You need to first know as much as possible about your soil to understand your irrigation needs. Irrigation is critical to keep your landscaping green and growing. But […]

Set yourself up for landscaping success by building the best foundation in your soil structure. Photo: walkersalmanac/Pixabay

Oxygen, Water, and Life Create Healthy Landscape Soil

Your landscaping soil needs three things to feed the billions of microbes within it to transform brick-hard, lifeless dirt into healthy, living soil sponges: oxygen, water, and life. Think OWL to remember these important, interconnected factors. Oxygen lets microbes breathe free Oxygen is needed by healthy plant roots and soil organisms. Healthy soil has lots […]

Compare your soil to these diagrams to determine your landscaping's soil composition. You can then adjust amendments to reach the optimum mix. Illustration: SDCWA Jar Soil Test

Improve Your Landscaping Soil With a Soil Test

One of the first steps in your landscape makeover project involves preparing the soil to allow efficient use of irrigation. San Diego County soil quality needs a lot of help. The area is defined by impermeable soils with poor infiltration areas. Water doesn’t flow through the soil to replenish the groundwater, because it is made […]

Homeowner Jeff Moore's back yard zen garden featuring his landscape work fit beautifully into his area's climate zone. Photo: Water Authority climate zone

Match Your Climate Zone to Your Landscaping Plan

Making smart decisions about your landscape design and your plant choices relies in large part on your climate zone. San Diego County’s six different climate zones vary in their average conditions. By choosing wisely, you can minimize the need for artificial irrigation and still create a beautiful, sustainable landscape. The California Irrigation Management Information System […]

Fruit trees, especially citrus, thrive in San Diego County’s climates with just a little bit of care. The Pineapple Guava (Acca sellowiana) is a good choice with spectacular blooms. Photo: WIkimedia/Creative Commons License Edible Plants climate zone

Sustainable Gardeners, Get Into Your Climate Zone

People around the world know San Diego for its beautiful, sunny, and mild weather. San Diego residents know our daily weather has more variety than visitors might imagine. Climate is defined as the average weather conditions in an area over a long period, generally 30 years or more. German climate scientist Wladimir Koppen first divided […]

Matilija poppies, or Romneya coulteri, have the largest flower of any poppy. It's native to dry, sunny areas from California to Baja and are good choiices for successful sustanable landscaping. Photo: Kimberly Rotter / Pixabay

Follow Four Key Principles for Successful Sustainable Landscaping

Efficient water use is an important responsibility that comes along with the benefits of living in San Diego County’s beautiful Mediterranean climate. No matter whether your landscaping is just a few square feet alongside a small front porch, or covers many acres on a luxury estate, San Diego County residents have learned to embrace sustainability […]