Escondido homeowners Marcus and Leanne Fowler decided it was time for a landscape makeover two years ago when their effort to keep their lawn green required a lot of water. But they didn’t know where to start, lacking experience with landscape design and working with a limited budget.
The couple started from the beginning, and the result was a waterwise landscape selected as the City of Escondido’s 2023 Landscape Makeover Contest winner.
First, the Fowlers educated themselves by watching videos online to help them figure out how best to move forward. They selected plants found in the San Diego County Water Authority’s Nifty Fifty Plants for WaterSmart Landscapes. The choices were selected to thrive in Escondido’s warmer inland climate zone, including palo verde trees, varieties of sage (salvia), aloes, cacti, Kangaroo Paws, and succulent ground covers.
A dry riverbed included in their design works to infiltrate and channel rainfall, minimizing slope erosion.
The old sprinkler system had been watering the driveway more than the lawn. It was replaced with an efficient drip irrigation line set to water twice weekly.
Embracing low water use and native plants
“Hopefully, our DIY project inspires others to join the water conservation movement,” said Marcus and Leanne Fowler.
They now enjoy their beautiful yard and have neighbors inquiring about making similar changes to save water and costs while embracing low-water use and native plants.
Homeowners Kathleen and Alan C. were selected as Honorable Mention winners for their landscape makeover.
The WaterSmart Landscape Contest is open annually to City of Escondido water customers and customers of other participating member agencies who have taken a California-friendly approach with their home landscaping. Whether the customers choose to enter the contest or not, all can explore rebates from the SoCal WaterSmart turf removal rebate program and free online landscape workshops to help guide their efforts.
Visit landscapecontest.com for eligibility, entry information, and other resources.
(Editor’s note: The City of Escondido is one of the San Diego County Water Authority’s 24 member agencies that deliver water across the San Diego County region.)