Eleven participating San Diego County water agencies invite homeowners to share their inspiring landscaping makeover stories by entering the 2022 WaterSmart Landscape Contest.
The annual contest recognizes outstanding WaterSmart residential landscapes. The winning landscape from each participating water agency will receive a prize valued at $250 and may be recognized in print and online publications. The deadline to apply is May 13, 2022. Applications are available at www.landscapecontest.com.
Judges are looking for overall attractiveness of the landscaping including its curb appeal and whether the plants are well maintained; a design with adequate plant coverage and permeable soil able to thrive with less water; efficient methods of irrigation; and climate-appropriate plant selection with minimal turf.
“With rebates available for turf removal, now is a great time to replace your lawn with a beautiful WaterSmart landscape,” said Brent Reyes, Vista Irrigation District water conservation specialist.
Winning garden is an explosion of color
In 2021, Lauren Grey won “Best in District” award for the Vista Irrigation District. What started out as a project to halt the rush of soil down a steep front slope turned into a multi-hued garden with a view from the top. Grey renovated her front slope and landscape by installing retaining walls surrounded by beds of colorful blooms. She lined the staircase zigzagging through the hillside with a variety of potted succulents. Bright orange poppies, lush green jade, silvery ghost plants, and Purple Heart Tradescantia dot the slope.
The winning result is an explosion of color.
“What fun to have a beautiful garden and a sweet place to sit and contemplate it all!” said Grey.
Most household water use is outdoors
Residents of all participating water agencies are eligible to enter. Agencies include the cities of Escondido and Oceanside, Helix Water District, Olivenhain Municipal Water District, Otay Water District, Padre Dam Municipal Water District, Rincon del Diablo Water District, San Dieguito Water District, Sweetwater Authority, and Vallecitos Water District along with the Vista Irrigation District. Each District has slightly different requirements. Read the contest rules webpage for information.
Up to 80% of local household water consumption is outdoors. The contest intends to inspire residents to consider a landscape makeover by showcasing the beauty and variety of water-efficient landscapes.
In addition to the benefits of reducing water consumption, water-efficient landscaping can improve a home’s curb appeal and value, and reduce the need for costly, time-consuming maintenance. Many native plant selections have fire-resistant qualities and provide habitat for local wildlife.
(Editor’s note: The cities of Escondido and Oceanside, Helix Water District, Olivenhain Municipal Water District, Otay Water District, Padre Dam Municipal Water District, Rincon del Diablo Water District, San Dieguito Water District, Sweetwater Authority, Vallecitos Water District, and the Vista Irrigation District are 11 of the San Diego County Water Authority’s 24 member agencies that deliver water across the metropolitan San Diego region.)