Lose Your Lawn
Turfgrass lawns not only requires a lot of water but can also be hard to maintain. Lose your lawn and replace it with beautiful water-wise plants that provide interest all year long, provide habitat for wildlife, and drastically reduce the amount of water used outdoors. Turf conversions may qualify you for a rebate through the District.
Garden with Low Water Use Plants
A water-wise garden does not just have to mean just cactus and succulents, there are tons of beautiful trees, shrubs, flowers, and groundcovers that thrive without a lot of water. Discover plants for your garden using an interactive online gardening website - Water-Smart Gardening in Santa Cruz County. The tool is custom-built to provide information for the Santa Cruz County environment. The website is smartphone and tablet friendly and has a plant search by keyword.
Upgrade your irrigation equipment and use less water. Overhead sprinklers may apply water to areas that don't need it, can overspray, and fall victim to evaporative loss and wind drift. Drip irrigation systems slowly deliver moisture directly to the roots of plants. When water is delivered slowly and steadily to plants, there is a lower likelihood of overwatering, less water waste due to water runoff, and less risk of plant disease due to excess moisture and water pooling in the soil and mulch.
Convert your overhead sprinkler system to drip irrigation or install a weather-based irrigation controller and qualify for a District rebate:
Use Alternate Sources of Water
Greywater systems direct water from washing machines, bathroom sinks, showers and bathtubs out into the landscape where it can water plants. Learn more about greywater at the Central Coast Greywater Alliance website. Laundry to landscape and more complicated "dual plumbing" systems may qualify for a District rebate:
Rainwater captured from a roof can also be a valuable supplement to your gardening water. Capturing rainwater helps to water your garden in drier times and it keeps stormwater out of the storm drains which improves water quality in receiving bodies of water. Slow it. Spread it. Sink it! (PDF) is a homeowner's guide, created by the Resource Conservation District of Santa Cruz County, to using stormwater on your property. Rain barrels and cisterns may be eligible for a District rebate:
Hire a Green Gardener
Monterey Bay Certified Green Gardeners have completed a minimum of 20 hours of practical instruction in ecological landscape practices that conserve water, reduce waste, and prevent urban stormwater pollution. After completing training, Green Gardeners must also pass a qualification exam.
By hiring a Green Gardener, you'll know that you are hiring someone who has been trained and tested in Monterey Bay Friendly Landscape management practices. You will be working with a professional who has invested their own time and money to learn from their peers and expert trainers about landscape irrigation efficiency, low-maintenance landscaping, water-wise plant selection, watershed health, fertilizer management, less-toxic pest management, and much more.
Not finding what you are looking for? Find garden templates, information on green gardeners, Monterey Bay Friendly Landscapes, garden inspiration and more at watersavingtips.org or call us at 831-475-8500.