Sustainable Landscapes Guidelines
Free copies of the book are available while supplies last during business hours at the locations below from these participating agencies and organizations:
Free copies of a popular guidebook for environmentally friendly landscape upgrades are now available to residents countywide, thanks to a second printing of the “San Diego Sustainable Landscape Guidelines” by the San Diego County Water Authority. Homeowners who commit to meeting rigorous sustainable landscaping design standards may also qualify for a financial incentive to help offset project costs.
Residents can pick up the 71-page, spiral-bound books at the front desk of the Water Authority’s Kearny Mesa headquarters, and at 18 other locations in San Diego, Chula Vista, El Cajon, Oceanside, San Marcos, Spring Valley and Bonita. Quantities are limited, and participants are allowed only one book per household.
The Water Authority and its partners developed the comprehensive Sustainable Landscape Guidelines to help homeowners upgrade their landscapes with climate-appropriate plants, high-efficiency irrigation equipment, rainwater capture and detention features, and soil amendments to improve water efficiency.
The guidebooks – complete with photos, diagrams and checklists for following sustainable landscaping principles – were first published in October 2015, along with an electronic version that is at SustainableLandscapesSD.org.
The principles were then put into practice at the Sustainable Landscaping Demonstration Garden at the Water Authority headquarters, 4677 Overland Ave., San Diego. The garden is open to the public.
In addition to employing well-known water-efficient practices such as using climate-appropriate plants and high-efficiency irrigation, the Sustainable Landscaping Demonstration Garden has features that further enhance water efficiency and achieve additional environmental benefits such as reduced stormwater runoff. These features include the application of organic soil amendments and the use of rainwater capture elements.
The garden features more than 20 varieties of very low to moderate water-use plants, uses inline drip and high-efficiency rotating nozzles to enhance irrigation efficiency, and demonstrates rainwater harvesting through a bioswale and water detention basin near the southwest corner of the building. It also includes compost in the soil mix and a 3-inch top layer of mulch to suppress weeds and reduce evaporation.
The garden also has an exhibit-quality sign to introduce visitors to key sustainable landscaping principles. The sign includes a Quick Response Code (QR Code) that enables visitors to use their smartphones to quickly locate related SLP resources. Smaller signs throughout the landscape identify specific plant types. Free brochures on sustainable landscaping featuring the landscape’s design plan and plant palette are also available for visitors to take home.
The approximately 3,000-square-foot garden provides a tangible example of the recommendations of the San Diego Sustainable Landscapes Program, or SLP. The SLP is a public-private partnership among the Water Authority and the City of San Diego, County of San Diego, Association of Compost Producers, Surfrider Foundation, and California American Water.