Demonstration gardens: find your landscape muse

Looking for inspiration for your spring garden? Put aside that issue of Better Homes and Gardens and go for a nice stroll to check out a demonstration garden near you. See for yourself the beauty of a low-water-using landscape with plants that thrive in our dry California climate.

There are dozens of demonstration gardens in Santa Clara County hosted by various colleges, fire stations, nurseries, garden centers and other resource groups happy to share their water-wise landscape with the public. These carefully crafted landscapes feature a variety of low-water-use plants and efficient irrigation systems.

The Santa Clara Valley Water District is proud to join the ranks of sustainable landscapes on display. With the Guadalupe River and two percolation ponds nearby, our headquarters building offers quite a serene scene to anyone who stops by.  Our water-efficient landscape while not new, provides visitors a glimpse of a variety of colorful shrubs, trees and ground covers that thrive with bare-minimum irrigation. We’ve recently completed a self-guided walking tour for strollers curious about the colorful blooms that adorn our campus and pond trail. Plants signs staked near the different species describe water and sunlight requirements as well as whether the plant is deer resistant and/or a native.

Most of the plants you see on campus are drought-tolerant and many are California natives.  These plants are quite hardy and will help our landscaping endure through any extreme weather our changing climate brings. Many of the California native plants you see around campus haven’t been irrigated for over 10 years! Curious to see these for yourself? Get more information on our demonstration garden and self-guided walking tour here.

For a look at how these water-wise landscapes fit a residential setting, check out the Going Native Garden Tour hosted annually each spring by the California Native Plant Society and the UCCE Master Gardners of Santa Clara County. For the last 15 years, this free community tour has been showcasing gorgeous gardens made up primarily of California native plants. Each sustainable garden demonstrates how healthy landscapes contribute to the environment by reducing water use; providing habitat for birds, butterflies and beneficial insects; and reducing the need for pesticides and fertilizers. For more information on sustainable landscaping, visit the South Bay Green Gardens website, a hub for all garden “how-to’s.”

The water district offers a variety of resources to help residents seeking to beautify their garden with water-wise plants. With approximately 50 percent of water use taking place outdoors, what easier way to maximize your water-savings than a low-water-use yard? You’ll save hours on the maintenance and enjoy seeing the array of colors and plant shapes. With our Landscape Rebate Program you can receive a rebate of up to $2,000 for converting your lawn or pool as well as upgrading your irrigation hardware with high-efficiency equipment.

Learn how to get started today.  Visit our gallery of water wise landscapes for more inspiration!




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