Creating a Low-Water-Use Landscape
San Diego receives only about 10 inches of rain per year. Ninety percent of the region’s water supply is imported from Northern California and the Colorado River. Saving water in our region is vitally important. The following seven steps of xeriscape are the foundation of creating a garden that uses little to no supplemental water once established.
1. Proper Planning and Design
Draw to scale a plan of the area you want to landscape. Include major features, such as house, driveway and any other existing structures; then decide what features you want in your landscape.
2. Soil Analysis and Improvements
Have your soil analyzed, and amend your soil as needed for a healthy foundation for your plants.
3. Appropriate Plants Selection
Select plants that have low to moderate water needs once established. Since San Diego has a Mediterranean climate, plants from Mediterranean climate zones around the world do well here, providing a rich plant palette from which to choose.
4. Practical Turf Areas
Select turf species that are the lowest water users, and minimize the amount of turf you install to what you realistically need. Turf uses the most water of any plant in the garden.
5. Efficient Irrigation
Drip irrigation reduces water waste. And don’t water in the middle of the day when the most evaporation occurs. Zone your plants so that low water users are separate from plants with higher water needs. Adjust irrigation timers as the weather changes.
6. Use of Mulch
Apply 2 to 3 inches of organic (i.e., bark or straw) or inorganic (stone or gravel) mulch around your plants to reduce water evaporation, cool the soil and reduce weeds.
Prune trees and bushes at the appropriate times of year. Cut turf and allow the clippings to fall back on the lawn to replenish the soil.
The Water Conservation Garden
Attend the 20th Annual Spring Garden Festival
The Cuyamaca College Ornamental Horticulture Department and The Water Conservation Garden mark spring with the 20th Annual Spring Garden Festival on the campus of Cuyamaca College from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. on April 27.
“Celebrating Urban Farms & Gardens” is the theme of this year’s festival. Demonstrations include raising urban chickens, growing edibles and making cheese. Experts at The Water Conservation Garden will help visitors create the water-saving garden of their dreams, with demonstrations and presentations throughout the day. Visitors also will enjoy the Ornamental Horticulture Department’s biggest plant sale of the year. Petting zoos, face painting, the Ms. Smarty-Plants Grows Earth Heroes program and the Rancho San Diego farmers market make this an event for the whole family. Old Town Trolleys will provide complimentary transportation to activities within the festival. Admission and parking are free. For more information, visit thegarden.org/springfest.