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Water-Wise Landscaping

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Landscape irrigation can account for up to 65% of water use in the Sacramento Valley. Consider removing turf and installing water-wise landscaping to cut back on irrigation use. You may also consider a weather-based irrigation controller or rain sensor. Rain barrels and grey water systems can retain irrigation water on site and reduce overall water use. Eschscholzia californica

Sustainable Landscaping

Go beyond water-wise landscaping and consider making your landscape more environmentally-friendly and sustainable in addition to reducing water usage.

Environmental Benefits of Sustainable Landscapingshowy penstemon close-up

  • Reduce Water Use 
  • Less Maintenance
  • Less Green Waste
  • Reduce Runoff
  • Improve Wildlife Habitat
  • Foster Healthy Soils
  • More Benefits

Fire-Resistant Landscaping

Fire resistant landscaping uses fires-resistant plants that are strategically planted to resist the spread of fire to your home. Fire resistant plants are often drought tolerant and include plants such as sage, California fuchsia, and red monkey flower. For recommendations on plant types and more important tips on fire-resistant landscaping, visit the CalFire webpage.

Tips to Create a Sustainable Landscape

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Integrate Compost: improve soil health and productivity.

Mulch: conserve water by reducing moisture evaporation from the soil. Mulch can also reduce weed populations, prevent soil compaction and keep soil temperatures more moderate during our warm summers.

Harvest Rainwater: reduce stormwater runoff and keep water onsite

Utilize Grey Water: consider using grey water to supplement your irrigation

Plant Choice: choose the right plant for the right place


EcoLandscape California Planting Plans

Save Our Water "Building the California Friendly Landscape"

Save Our Water "Construir el paisaje benecioso para California"

UC Davis Arboretum Planting Plans (California Native Garden, Low Maintenance Garden, Wildlife Attracting Garden)

Plant Choice

Epilobium canum

  • Choose plants appropriate to your soil and micro-climate
  • Watch spacing - plan for mature plant size
  • Choose low-water plants
  • Consider other benefits like pollinators
  • Remember that even low-water plants still need regular water during establishment
  • Arboretum All-Stars Plant Database

    Save Our Water Go California Friendly  (tips on making your landscape drought-tolerant)

    Save Our Water Water-wise Gardens & Landscapes

    Water Use Classification of Landscape Species (searchable plant database)

    Low Water Plant CharacteristicsEcheveria Imbriacata

    • Grayish leaves
    • Fuzzy or hairy leaves
    • Thick or waxy leaf coat
    • Small or needle-like leaves
    • Vertically held leaves
    • Succulents
    • Plants with summer dormancy (ex. bulbs)

    Plant Sun Exposure

    • Sun to Part Shade: Plants should do well in direct sunlight for most of the day or shade for part of the day. Can tolerate exposure to hot afternoon sun.
    • Part Shade: Plant should do well in dappled shade. Plant will tolerate sun exposure in the morning but must be protected from the hot afternoon sun.
    • Part Shade to Shade: Plant should do well in dappled shade or full shade. Will tolerate some sun exposure in the morning but must be protected from the hot afternoon sun.
    • Shade: Plant requires full shade. Will do best if it never gets direct sun exposure during the hot summer months.

    "Life After Lawn" Local Water-Wise Landscapes

    View "Life After Lawn" Davis homes, like the one below, on the Arboretum's "Life After Lawn" page and on the City's GreenerDavis Facebook page.

    Life After Lawn (Spring 2017)

    *Photo courtesy of the UC Davis Arboretum & Public Garden

    Water-Wise Landscaping ResourcesNassella_pulchra

    California Landscape Contractors Association

    California Native Plant Society

    Easy Water-Wise Gardening (PDF)




    *Drawings courtesy of former City of Davis Environmental Resources Intern Jovita Widjaja.