WaterSmart Makeover: Remade for Natural Shade

It was 2019 when Jennifer Dell purchased and moved into her home on a corner lot in a San Marcos neighborhood. The front yard was “scruffy grass,” as she put it, with a large oval raised planter in the center, made of concrete retaining wall blocks that held — and still holds — three soaring palms.

Dell, who grew up in Vista with four younger siblings, was raised by a mother who was a lifelong gardener and a father who was handy at fixing stuff around the house. She decided she’d learned enough from them to feel confident in taking on what seemed like an overwhelming project — creating a haven of privacy with waterwise landscaping befitting a SoCal garden — and the result was winning the Vista Irrigation District’s 2022 WaterSmart Landscape Contest award.


(Editor’s Note: This is the seventh in an occasional series in The San Diego Union-Tribune on winners of the annual WaterSmart Landscape Contest, conducted in partnership with the San Diego County Water Authority. To learn about entering the next contest, visit landscapecontest.com. For details on classes and resources through the WaterSmart Landscape Makeover Program, visit sdcwa.org/your-water/conservation/. Landscape rebates are available through the Socal WaterSmart Turf Replacement Program at socalwatersmart.com. The Vista Irrigation District is one of the San Diego County Water Authority’s 24 member agencies that deliver water across the San Diego County region.)