Water Wise Landscaping
Water supply restrictions and our region's unpredictable cycle of wet and dry years make water conservation a long-term need rather than a short- term option. With 30 to 70 percent of all household water used outside the home, (with homeowners typically using twice the amount of water needed to keep plants healthy), cutting back on our outdoor watering is the surest solution to reduce residential water consumption.
Landscaping that uses little water also helps us achieve conservation goals without sacrificing the splendor of our gardens. Water-wise landscaping does not have to be just rocks and cactus. With the use of non-thirsty plants, gardens can still look lush and colorful and be more environmentally friendly.
Water Wise Landscaping Basic Principles
- Keep turf to a minimum, grass is the thirstiest plant of all! Have turf only where you need it and water only when needed
- When using turf, use warm-season types (Bermuda, Saint Augustine, Zoysia De Anza)
- Set lawn mower blades one notch higher, longer grass means less evaporation
- Use native plants that are well suited to regional and local conditions
- Group plants that use the same amount of water
- Plant trees, they help to lower air and soil temperatures
- Group container plants with similar needs
- Improve the soil, cultivate routinely, incorporating organic material, such as compost
- Aerate heavy or compacted soil around trees
- Use a two- to four-inch layer of mulch around trees and plants to even out extreme temperatures and to retain moisture
- Water plants only when needed
- Water early in the morning when evaporation is low and air is calmer
- Avoid runoff and over spray of automatic sprinklers
Customers who wish to convert their lawns to water efficient landscaping have a tremendous number of resources available to assist in the process.
Water Wise Garden Classes & Resources
The District hosts two Water Wise Garden Classes a year, one in the Spring and one in the Fall. The classes, taught by local experts, provide practical information on water efficient plants, soils and fertilizers, landscape design, and irrigation. Additionally, the Chino Basin Water Conservation District is a local special district dedicated to conserving the local water resources of the Chino Basin. The Conservation District provides water-wise landscape services available to Monte Vista Water District customers, including free landscape irrigation evaluations and a drought-tolerant demonstration garden.
Waterwise Community Center
A tremendous local resource for water conservation and education. Check out their calendar for upcoming events, and make sure to visit their beautiful (nearby!) Drought-Tolerant Demonstration Garden full of water-efficient plants and landscaping ideas. The center is located at:
4594 San Bernardino Street
Montclair, CA 91763
California Botanical Garden
California Botanic Garden is the largest botanic garden dedicated exclusively to California’s native plants. The 86-acre garden, located in nearby Claremont, displays 2000 varieties of California native plants. Docents lead tours of the Garden periodically. Guidebooks and brochures are available at the California Garden Shop. Informative classes and demonstrations are held throughout the year. The garden is located at:
1500 N College Avenue
Claremont, CA 91711
Maloof Foundation Discovery Garden
The property is a living museum of Sam Maloof's craftmanship with a natural garden of water-wise California native plants and compatible plants from other Mediterranean climate zones around the world. The Maloof Foundation Discovery Garden, located at 5131 Carnelian Street in Rancho Cucamonga, is open to the public on Friday and Saturday. Visit their website for event and workshop information, https://www.malooffoundation.org/garden.
Advice from the Experts
An excellent collection of advice from local gardeners, landscape architects, and homeowners who recently made the switch to water wise plants. Also links to the Water-Wise Landscaping Guide and the Water-Wise Fire-Resistant Landscaping Guide. Provided by the Inland Empire Utilities Agency.
Website, administered by Metropolitan Water District of Southern California, which provides a wealth of information on water conservation programs. The Garden Spot section has a number of resources, including online classes, plant listings, galleries of water wise landscaped homes and more!
San Bernardino County Stormwater Program - Gardeners
The San Bernardino County Stormwater Program works to protect our local waterways and keep our neighborhoods clean by educating the public about simple ways we can prevent common pollutants from flowing through the storm drain system and emptying into our waterways. One key way to reduce runoff pollution is through smart gardening.
Water Conservation in the Garden
An excellent resource for using water wisely when planting a garden.
Water Wise Gardening for the Inland Empire
Looking for landscaping ideas using climate-appropriate plants? Get inspired with the Water Wise Gardening for the Inland Empire website. Created by Western Municipal Water District in partnership with local water agencies. (Note: Watering restrictions at top left of screen apply only to Western Municipal Water District customers.)