San Diego: County Program to help Homeowners Makeover Landscaping


When newcomers to the San Diego County Water Authority’s WaterSmart landscaping program tackle the prospect of giving their yards a water-saving makeover, their first questions aren’t about what they should tear out and what they should plant instead. It turns out their first questions are much more basic. Primal, even.

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“Who can do this for me? Who can I hire? Can I really do this myself?” said Joni German, assistant water resources specialist for the San Diego County Water Authority. “I think people just don’t know where to start. They don’t know that there can be a well-defined planning process to evaluating their landscape, thinking about what they’ve got and what they want.”

While San Diego’s water-savings numbers rebounded in March after a backsliding February, the WaterSmart program is still all about getting residents started on the path to drought-friendly efficiency. And that path just got a whole lot easier to navigate.

In addition to the existing three-hour workshop and four-class series (both of which are free), the WaterSmart Landscaping Makeover menu now includes a new Video On Demand series. The 17 videos, most clocking in at 3 to 8 minutes, allow you to traverse the makeover thickets at your own speed and in your own time. They cover everything from drawing up a landscaping plan to picking plants, retooling your irrigation and dumping your turf for good.

Get this (garden) party started

You will find the video series on the water authority’s WaterSmart Landscape Makeover page ( There are two introductory videos, followed by a six-step program that starts with “Identify Your Landscape Target” (how much water do you want to save and what types of plants and irrigation systems will get you there) and ends with “Care for Your WaterSmart Landscape.” (Hint: There will be weeding.)

The videos are short, but they are packed with information, so binge-watching is not recommended. (Although if you can keep track of the “Game of Thrones” hierarchy, you can probably handle “Toss Your Turf” and “Irrigate Like a Pro” in one sitting. Clearly, you rule.)

If you want to dip your toes in the knowledge pool, start with the two introductory videos, “WaterSmart San Diego County” and “WaterSmart Course Overview.” The former guides you through the features of a water-saving design, and the latter briefs you on what to expect from the upcoming course. There are also reassuring reminders that you don’t have to re-do your whole yard to make a difference.

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disclaimer: for information and entertainment purpose only

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