Have you considered a water-wise garden, but have held back because you’re simply not a fan of cacti? Good news — you don’t have to have any!
Water-wise gardens come in an infinite number of colors and sizes. There are plenty of colorful and attractive native plant species adapted to our arid California climate. Besides being water-efficient and drought-tolerant, water-wise landscapes have other environmental benefits. Rain gardens help reduce runoff and filter pollutants by redirecting rainwater through the landscape. Butterfly and nectar gardens provide habitat and sustenance for pollinators, which play a big role in the food we eat. According to the National Wildlife Federation, bees help provide us with one-third of our food, by pollinating our crops and plants.
You can find beautiful, water-wise garden designs at the South Bay Green Gardens Website. From a small sunny yard to a children’s garden, there are a variety of garden “blueprints,” with detailed plant information and important notes on construction. Any one of these designs can help you qualify for the Santa Clara Valley Water District’s landscape rebate. (To qualify for the rebate, schedule a pre-inspection and receive a Notice to Proceed before starting work on your new garden).
To help you determine what plants would thrive in your yard, consider the amount of sun or shade in the area. Native plant species thrive with minimal water; once established, most don’t need summer watering. Because they are adapted to the local climate and native soil, they’re also hardier, requiring little to no use of additional fertilizers.
Fall is a great time of year to plant. The mild temperatures allow plants to establish a healthy root system so they’ll be ready to thrive with winter rains. Start drafting your garden shopping list by visiting your nearest nursery and taking notes. For additional resources, visit the South Bay Green Gardens website, a helpful stop for all of your garden “how-to’s” related to sustainable gardening that improve the environment by saving water, protecting soil and preventing pollution.
As you map out plans for your water-wise garden makeover, consider updating your irrigation equipment as part of the water district’s Landscape Rebate Program. For additional details call 408-630-2554 or start the online application process to request a pre-inspection.