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Mike and Cathy Godfrey’s water-efficient landscape design features a diverse array of drought-tolerant plants. Photo: Olivenhain Municipal Water District landscape diversity

Landscape Diversity Showcased By 2022 Olivenhain Municipal Water District Contest Winner

Mike and Cathy Godfrey’s water-efficient landscape design is the winner of the Olivenhain Municipal Water District’s 2022 WaterSmart Landscape Contest. The Godfreys were recognized at the June OMWD Board of Directors meeting.

Before and after view of Mike and Cathy Godfrey's award-winning landscape design. Photo: Olivenhain Municipal Water District

Before and after view of Mike and Cathy Godfrey’s award-winning landscape design at their Encinitas home. Photo: Olivenhain Municipal Water District

“Maximizing water efficiency outdoors is especially important as drought conditions remain in effect across the state,” said OMWD Board Director Neal Meyers. “Showcasing the diversity and beauty of California-friendly landscaping can encourage others to swap their grass for climate-appropriate designs and bring awareness to the benefits of sustainable landscaping.”

Design reduces maintenance and watering needs

The Godfreys installed a drip irrigation system that provides a low volume of water that is healthy for plants and trees while resulting in little to no evaporation. Photo: Olivenhain Municipal Water District

A dry creek bed captures and directs rainfall, minimizing water runoff into the streets that can carry pollutants down the storm drain and into the ocean. Photo: Olivenhain Municipal Water District

The Godfreys’ water-efficient landscape design at their Encinitas home displays a variety of drought-tolerant plants and succulents selected to reduce yard maintenance and watering needs. They installed a drip irrigation system that provides a low volume of water that is healthy for plants and trees while resulting in little to no evaporation.

A dry creek bed captures and directs rainfall, minimizing water runoff into the streets that can carry pollutants down the storm drain and into the ocean.

The Godfreys installed a drip irrigation system that provides a low volume of water that is healthy for plants and trees while resulting in little to no evaporation. Photo: Olivenhain Municipal Water District

The Godfreys installed a drip irrigation system that provides a low volume of water that is healthy for plants and trees while resulting in little to no evaporation. Photo: Olivenhain Municipal Water District

The WaterSmart Landscape Contest is held annually by water agencies throughout San Diego County to highlight attractive landscapes that use less water than conventional turf-heavy landscapes. Winning entries exhibit excellence in curb appeal, design, appropriate plant selection, and water-efficient irrigation.

(Editor’s note: The Olivenhain Municipal Water District is one of the San Diego County Water Authority’s 24 member agencies that deliver water across the metropolitan San Diego region.)

WaterSmart Landscape Contest Winner Showcases More Beauty With Less Water

Chula Vista, Calif. – Sweetwater Authority (Authority) named Nancy Cavanah of Chula Vista this year’s winner of the WaterSmart Landscape Contest at last night’s Governing Board (Board) Meeting. Cavanah’s landscape was selected from a diverse pool of applicants as the best example of how to create a beautiful landscape using less water.

After years of watering to maintain a green front lawn, Cavanah and her husband decided to invest in making their yard more water-efficient. Using the Turf Replacement Rebate Program to help offset costs, the Cavanahs replaced their thirsty lawn with drought-tolerant landcover and colorful native plants to attract birds and bees. The landscape’s low watering needs are supplemented by the addition of rain barrels.

La Mesa resident Nick Voinov stands in front of his 2022 Helix Water District Landscape Contest winning yard. Photo: Helix Water District water efficient yard

Water Efficient Yard is 2022 Helix Water District Landscape Contest Winner

A thriving, water-efficient yard in La Mesa is the winner of the Helix Water District’s 2022 WaterSmart Landscape Contest.

Nick Voinov used multiple layers of succulents, plants and trees to create his winning landscaping. Photo: Helix Water District water efficient yard

Nick Voinov used multiple layers of succulents, plants, and trees to create his winning landscaping. Photo: Helix Water District

Homeowner Nick Voinov worked for a decade to transform his turf into its current watersmart residential landscape. It didn’t always look as bright and colorful as it does today.

“I love plants and found them more appealing than a lawn,” said Voinov. “I thought it was a bit of a waste because I had to water it every day, and then once you mowed it, it was hauled off to the dump. It was like a crop that you grew and then threw away.”

Proper preparation yielded impressive results

Proper soil preparation was a key to the success of this award winning watersmart landscape. Photo: Helix Water District

Proper soil preparation was a key to the success of this award-winning Watersmart landscape. Photo: Helix Water District

Voinov removed his old lawn and composted it into the soil. He added nutrients by mixing in manure from a local horse ranch. Once he prepared the soil and had an open canvas, he began planting.

The result is multiple layers of succulents, drifts of flowering low-water use plants, and colorful trees, giving the garden a theme with design consistency. Voinov based his design around maintaining a natural appearance to make the garden more welcoming. Plants grow together and spill over walkways and walls, softening transitions and borderlines.

Plants spill over walkways and planters for a lush appearance. Photo: Helix Water District

Plants spill over walkways and planters for a lush appearance. Photo: Helix Water District

“Succulents were my top choice of plants. People would give me clippings; I love them because you can clip them off and start new ones. Anyone can do it,” said Voinov. He said it’s also also cost-effective.

Voinov irrigates efficiently by deep watering with sprinklers once every two weeks during the summer season. Letting the soil dry out between watering encourages plants to grow deeper roots and helps them access more water, maximizing irrigation. During the cooler months, the plants do not require any irrigation.

Homeowner Nick Voinov maximizes rainwater capture and use where possible. Photo: Helix Water District

The landscape uses rainwater as a resource. The current rainwater catchment system can collect 700 gallons and refills after most storms. During large storms, Voinov directs surplus rainwater to his fruit trees to maximize the amount of water that reaches his landscape.

“I like to make things as efficient as possible. Rainwater is free, and if I can save and collect that water, I will,” said Voinov.

Water-efficiency

The charming, colorful landscape demonstrates the many options for watersmart landscaping. Photo: Helix Water District

With a water-efficient yard, a rainwater capture system, and WaterSmart home habits like collecting and reusing shower warm-up water, Nick Voinov and his family of five use a maximum of 20 units of water each 60-day billing cycle. That is less than half of what a typical family of five with a similar-sized landscape uses.

“I make a great effort with my family to conserve water because it is important to us,” said Voinov. “We know how precious water is in California, and I really wanted to see if what I do does make a difference.”

The Helix Water District Board of Directors recognized Nick Voinov at its June board meeting, complimenting his work and presenting him a $250 gift card, a yard sign, and an award certificate.

The annual landscape contest runs from January through mid-May each year.

(Editor’s note: The Helix Water District is one of the San Diego County Water Authority’s 24 member agencies that deliver water across the metropolitan San Diego region.)

2022 WaterSmart Landscape Contest Open For Entries

One dozen San Diego County water agencies are looking for the best in landscaping makeover projects for the 2022 regional WaterSmart landscape competition. This annual competition showcases residential water-saving landscaping projects to inform and inspire other homeowners to consider replacing their turf-based yard designs.

The contest deadline for all participating agencies is Friday, May 13.

WaterSmart Landscape Contest-The Nieves family of Bonita won the Sweetwater Authority's 2019 Landscape Makeover Contest for theier creative WaterSmart landscaping design. Photo: Sweetwater Authority 2021 Landscape Makeover

2022 WaterSmart Landscape Contest Open For Entries

One dozen San Diego County water agencies are looking for the best in landscaping makeover projects for the 2022 regional WaterSmart landscape competition. This annual competition showcases residential water-saving landscaping projects to inform and inspire other homeowners to consider replacing their turf-based yard designs.

The contest deadline for all participating agencies is Friday, May 13. Homeowners may submit their entry online through their water agency. Entrants must live within a water agency boundary to participate. Each agency winner receives a $250 gift certificate and recognition on the agency website and social media channels.

Participating agencies in 2022 include California American Water, 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.

Turf removal saves an estimated 36 million gallons annually

El Cajon homeowner-Otay Water District-2021 Landscape Makeover Contest

El Cajon homeowner Christine Laframboise’s water saving landscape design trading turf for a less thirsty approach is the Otay Water District’s 2021 WaterSmart Landscape Contest winner. Pboto: Otay Water District

Most residential water use in San Diego County is used outdoors, primarily to water landscaping. When yards contain a large amount of turf, it can significantly increase overall water consumption. This is why conservation education efforts focus on replacing turf.

By showcasing how beautiful landscapes without grass can be through the WaterSmart Landscape Contest, homeowners can share their creativity and demonstrate how attractive WaterSmart landscaping can be.

“San Diego County homeowners are moving toward beautiful, sustainable landscapes and away from water-intensive lawns as the default choice,” said Joni German, San Diego County Water Authority water resources specialist. “Through ongoing education and through the examples people see around them, homeowners can see that water-efficient landscapes can be beautiful, lush, colorful, and thrive in our region. This contest is a great way to showcase the efforts homeowners regionwide have made to create these incredible outdoor spaces.”

Additional benefits of watersmart landscaping

Colorful, waterwise plants replaced a thirsty, labor intensive front lawn in Deborah Brant's winning landscape makeover. Photo: Vista Irrigation District

Colorful, water-wise plants replaced a thirsty, labor-intensive front lawn in Deborah Brant’s winning landscape makeover. Photo: Vista Irrigation District

  • Creating a garden to live in as well as look at by adding outdoor rooms for your favorite activities.
  • Drought-tolerant plants can be used to define spaces instead of buildings and walls.
  • Cultivating native plants for San Diego County’s Mediterranean climate zones, including ground covers, grasses, succulents, perennials, shrubs, vines, and trees.

Free landscape makeover classes offered by Water Authority

The Brants took advantage of the San Diego County Water Authority's Landscape Makeover classes to help them plan their project. Photo: City of Escondido

The Brants took advantage of the San Diego County Water Authority Landscape Makeover classes to help them plan their project. Photo: City of Escondido

The Water Authority offers free options to help homeowners plan their makeovers. Homeowners can get started with the Water Authority’s free three-hour introductory landscaping workshops scheduled on weeknights and Saturdays. The workshops are held virtually.

The Water Authority’s free WaterSmart Landscape Makeover four-class workshop series offers more specific planning for homeowners.  See the course page for the most current schedule and to sign up.

(Editor’s Note: The City of Escondido, the City of 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 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.)

Local Contest Opportunities For Sweetwater Authority Customers Highlight Importance of Water

Chula Vista, Calif. – Sweetwater Authority (Authority) is currently offering two contest opportunities for customers. Both the annual High School Photo Contest and WaterSmart Landscape Contest are now open for entries.

“The Governing Board is proud to offer these yearly contest opportunities to customers as a way to celebrate the importance of our most precious resource – water,” said Board Chair Alejandra Sotelo-Solis. “These contests further the Authority’s goal of serving our community through education and outreach.”

Oportunidades de Concursos Locales Para Los Clientes de Sweetwater Authority Destacan La Importancia Del Agua

Chula Vista, Calif. – La agencia de agua Sweetwater Authority (Sweetwater) ofrece a sus clientes la oportunidad de participar en dos concursos. Las inscripciones están abiertas para el concurso fotográfico anual para escuelas secundarias y el concurso de jardines WaterSmart.

“La Mesa Directiva se enorgullece de ofrecer estas oportunidades de concursos anuales a los clientes, como forma de celebrar la importancia de nuestro recurso más preciado: el agua,” declaró la presidenta de la Mesa Directiva Alejandra Sotelo-Solis. “Estos concursos promueven el objetivo de Sweetwater de servir a nuestra comunidad a través de la educación y el alcance comunitario.”