Looking for a way to spruce up your yard and trim water use at the same time? The San Diego County Water Authority is here to help with two new sessions of the four-part WaterSmart Landscape Makeover Series starting in March.
These free, award-winning and interactive classes teach the steps for successfully converting high-water-use turf areas to WaterSmart landscapes during four classes over consecutive weeks. Participants learn from local landscape professionals about soil, project planning and design, turf removal, plant selection, irrigation, efficiency and rainwater harvesting. Each series culminates with experts helping homeowners create personalized landscape makeover plans.
The first class begins March 5 at the Water Authority’s headquarters in Kearny Mesa. Another four-part series, also at the Kearny Mesa facility, begins March 28. Each class is scheduled from 5:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. Preregistration and a commitment to attend all four classes in the series is required. Applicants must also identify existing turf areas to remove at their homes and have in-ground, working irrigation systems to qualify.
Class details and an online application form are at landscapemakeover.watersmartsd.org/classes. Enrollment is on a first-come, first-served basis; applicants may join a waitlist if their desired session is full.
“Participants rave about how these classes not only instruct, but inspire them to do more with their yards by enhancing their landscapes while increasing water-use efficiency,” said Mark Muir, chair of the Water Authority’s Board of Directors. “Since the landscape makeover series began in April 2014, participants have cut their average household water use by about a third because of their WaterSmart landscape upgrades.”
The class series is recommended – but not required – for residents interested in following guidelines set by the Sustainable Landscapes Program. The grant-funded partnership, known as the SLP, was created by the Water Authority, the City of San Diego, the County of San Diego, the Surfrider Foundation, the California American Water Company and the Association of Compost Producers. The SLP promotes landscape upgrades that comply with a more rigorous set of design criteria than other turf replacement programs. It includes climate-appropriate plants and high-efficiency irrigation equipment, rainwater capture and detention features, and soil amendments to improve water efficiency. The Water Authority recently installed the Sustainable Landscaping Demonstration Garden at its Kearny Mesa headquarters at 4677 Overland Ave. in San Diego. Visitors to the demonstration garden can view a practical, beautiful landscape that applies SLP principles that can be replicated at their homes.
A limited number of SLP incentives remain to help qualified applicants receive up to $1.75 per square foot toward eligible project costs for upgrading 500 to 3,000 square feet of existing turf areas to sustainable landscapes. For more information about the SLP, including program resources and incentives, go to sustainablelandscapessd.org.
In addition to the four-class series, the Landscape Makeover Program offers free, three-hour WaterSmart Landscape Design Workshops – a popular first step toward implementing water-efficient landscapes. The workshops provide an introduction to skills and resources needed for a landscape makeover. The Water Authority, in partnership with its member agencies, will hold workshops in February, March and April at locations around the county. Workshop locations, times and registration details are at landscapemakeover.watersmartsd.org/design_workshop.
Residents who want to learn more about the makeover process from the comfort of their homes can view the Landscape Makeover Videos on Demand at landscapemakeover.watersmartsd.org/elearning. Those videos provide content that is similar to the workshops and class series in an online format for easy access