As we are experiencing a Historic Drought in California, landscaping has been forced to adapt to the supply and cost of water. Gone are the lush green lawns! Instead, a variety of lawn replacement options are available to homeowners.

San Diego does offer some incentives….. I have advised many clients to consider the option of taking advantage of the City of San Diego’s water rebate program. It is an expensive proposition to remove lawn and convert to lower water use plants.

Did you know you can collect up to $3000  (based on $1.25 per SF) to remove your thirsty lawns and convert to drought tolerant plantings? The lawn must be living to qualify, even lawns under 400 SF still apply. You must submit an application before the conversion takes place. On the plus side you are not required to change the irrigation, although it makes more sense to do so. Most overhead spray systems can be retrofitted to drip irrigation. And speaking of irrigation, if you purchase a Smart Controller, you’ll get a $400 rebate.  Also if you convert to micro spray irrigation from overhead, you can receive another $480. If you are into harvesting what little rain water we have, a homeowner can collect one dollar per gallon (of rain collected) up to $400.00. And keep in mind that mulch is free from The Greenery at Miramar Landfill to city residents. The more mulch the better, keep the soil moisture in the soil and reduce evaporation.

Historic Drought of California forces Landscaping to adapt

There is a process to complete the City application. One must make a list of the low water plants (this is where a knowledgeable landscape designer can assist). The list must state the WUCOLS (water use classification table) assigned rating per each plant. The overall diameter of the plant and the area of the plants coverage. Remember you arithmetic. A circle’s area formula is Pi x Radius squared.  For example a 10 foot circle is 78.5 sf. 3.14 x 5 x 5 = 78.5. You’ll have to add up all the plant’s areas and create a total which must exceed 50% of the coverage areas. And keep in mind this is only the replaced turf areas. So if you have a current lawn of 750 SF, the plants will need to cover more than 50% or greater than 375 SF.

Certain plants such as Ceanothus can spread up to 8 feet wide or more are great contenders for this formula. We want to use more of these spreading groundcover type plants, Cotoneasters, Junipers, Salvias, Manzanitas, and so forth are perfect for these situation.

imagesThe drought is epic. I recently saw Lake Meade after rafting the Colorado River through the Grand Canyon. It is frightening to learn that the lake is losing nearly 12” of water each year. I don’t even want to consider the math until our water sources are so compromised, nor do you.

Now is the time to act, contact Letz Design today to get started saving water and saving money long term. Don’t let this Historic Drought of California deter your landscaping efforts. Xeriscapes are beautiful, and in a short time you’ll wonder why you had lawn at all.