The 2024 WaterSmart Landscape Makeover competition seeks the best in landscaping makeover projects from 12 participating San Diego County water agencies. This popular annual competition is now open for entries. Its goal is to showcase residential water-saving landscaping ideas, inspiring others to consider their own projects.
Different approaches by the winning entrants from past years demonstrate the wide range of options for creating lush, beautiful landscapes that rely more on native plants and less on large areas of thirty grass. The creative results and personal stories help inform and inspire homeowners to consider their own new yard designs.
Participating agencies in 2024 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 Municipal Water District, San Dieguito Water District, Sweetwater Authority, Vallecitos Water District, and Vista Irrigation District.
Each agency winner receives a $250 gift certificate and public recognition for their efforts. Homeowners may also be eligible for turf removal rebates and other rebates plus additional incentives that can help defray project costs.
This year’s contest deadline for all participating agencies is Friday, May 10, 2024. Homeowners may submit their entry online or through their participating agency. Residents must live within agency boundaries to participate.
WaterSmart landscapes more climate-resilient and eco-friendly
WaterSmart landscapes are more climate resilient than traditional lawns by using less water, fertilizers, and pesticides. They provided a happier habitat for pollinators.
The majority of residential water use in San Diego County is used outdoors, primarily for water landscaping. When yards contain a large amount of grass, that can greatly increase overall water consumption. Conservation education efforts, including the WaterSmart Landscape Contest, focus on ways to create landscapes customized for your favorite activities, incorporating the needs of children, pets, accessible areas, pollinators, and specialty gardens.
“Cooler winter months are an ideal time to plant when there is a greater chance of rain, and the soil does not dry out as quickly,” said Water Authority Water Resources Specialist Debby Dunn. “To make creating your new waterwise wonderland easier, take advantage of the Water Authority’s free virtual workshops as well as our short and educational online videos.”
Dunn also recommends getting a copy of the Nifty 50 Plant List. “An environmentally friendly landscape with lush and colorful plants will entice birds, bees, butterflies, and friends into your garden,” said Dunn.
Free landscape makeover classes offered by Water Authority
The Water Authority offers free options to help homeowners plan landscape 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 WaterSmart Landscape Makeover four-class workshop series offers more specific planning help for homeowners. See the course page for the most current schedule and to sign up.