Successful sustainable landscaping a click away for Valley Center customers

Valley Center resident Milo Jensen was inspired to replace his grassy front yard with sustainable, water-efficient landscaping thanks to the landscaping courses and resources offered by the San Diego County Water Authority.

Whether their landscaping is a few square feet of a porch or a piece of land, thousands of San Diego Counties have learned to consider sustainability a central principle when designing and renovating their landscapes.

A sustainable and beautiful garden is easier than ever to achieve thanks to financial incentives and educational resources offered by the San Diego County Water Authority to customers at Valley Center.

As of 2010, the Water Board has raised more than $ 8 million in grants to provide free services to residents of San Diego County, including those in the Valley Center’s service areas, by offering WaterSmart landscaping courses and buying and selling incentives Installation of drought tolerant plants that help beautify and sustain communities.

“After living in San Diego County for over 50 years, we were tired of the work and expense of owning a large lawn,” said Milo Jensen, customer of the Valley Center Municipal Water District. “However, after we had done an irrigation check and participated in the free landscape rejuvenation courses, we knew that positive change was achievable.”

Jensen added: “We could never have imagined how much fun we would have looking at our renewed front yard. We constantly receive positive comments from the neighborhood walkers when they pass our house. The design we were able to develop as a result of the course gave us a blueprint to begin our endeavors. We were able to do most of the work ourselves with the courses and teaching materials from the water authority. Our redesigned front yard is now the gift that always passes and is a testament to what we can achieve to beautify our yard and neighborhood. Thank you for your support San Diego County Water Authority! ”

Landscaping irrigation is one of the highest forms of water usage for most homeowners and is a great place to save money on your water bill in the long run.

Treating any garden, regardless of its size, as its own mini-water catchment area enables it to absorb and store water in order to maintain a diverse habitat for plants and helpful insects.

WaterSmart Living not only saves money, it also creates lively gardens, reduces energy consumption, protects our natural resources and reduces the maintenance of the landscape. It can even improve property values. It also creates a common sense of how we use our limited water supplies.

What elements do you need to consider when choosing a watershed for your landscape?

• Healthy, living soils: Healthy, living soils that are rich in organic matter feed a complex food web of the soil. The soil holds water like a sponge and contains nutrients for optimal plant health.

• Climate-friendly plants: Many beautiful ground cover, shrubs and trees are compatible with San Diego’s mild Mediterranean climate. These plants use less water and display different colors, textures and shapes with endless design options.

• Rainwater as a resource: Sustainable landscapes make optimal use of precipitation. By slowing the flow of water off roofs and hard surfaces, it can be caught and sunk into the ground or stored for later use.

• Highly efficient irrigation: Your irrigation can maximize the efficiency of water use through intelligent controls that automatically adjust the water to changing weather conditions and powerful distribution components to regulate the pressure and tailor the water supply to the needs of your landscaping plants.

The four principles of successful sustainable landscaping are on display at the San Diego Botanic Garden in Encinitas. The garden is open to the public and contains information boards that introduce visitors to the main principles of sustainable landscaping and specific plant species that thrive in the region’s climate. Many are Southern California. Be sure to visit the garden’s website at www.sdbgarden.org for the latest operating hours and safety precautions before planning your outing to the garden.

Additional resources, such as the Sustainable Landscapes Program Guide, are available at www.SustainableLandscapesSD.org. Information and resources for landscaping upgrades, including WaterSmart Landscape Makeover courses, are available at www.WaterSmartSD.org.

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