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Water-Smart Landscape Photo Gallery

Explore Landscapes in Your Area

Do you wish you had a landscape that required less water and maintenance? Find water–smart landscape design ideas that are right for you by clicking on your region in the map below. If you’re already enjoying the benefits of a water–smart landscape, contact the WaterSense helpline to add a photo of your landscape to the gallery!

Northeast region Southeast region Southwest region West region (California, Nevada, Utah, Wyoming, Colorado) Northwest region Midwest region U.S Map divided into regions

Midwest

Milton, Wisconsin
Submitter: Tallgrass Restoration, LLC
Middleton, Wisconsin

Water-smart features: This prairie restoration project features 220 acres of tall grass prairie. Native perennials were used in this landscape because they are well adapted to local soils and environmental conditions, including summer heat and drought. They also have dense, deep roots that hold water well.

Plants used: Mesic prairie seed mix, wet prairie seed mix, and wet savanna seed mix

Schaumburg, Illinois
Submitter: Tallgrass Restoration, LLC
Schaumburg, Illinois

Water-smart features: This landscape uses plants well adapted to local environmental conditions, including summer heat and drought. Native landscapes reduce maintenance costs associated with labor, water, fertilizer, herbicide, and mowing, while also increasing the property's capacity to intercept rainfall.

Plants used: Mesic prairie seed mix, wet prairie seed mix, and wet savanna seed mix

Ann Arbor, Michigan
Submitter: Drew Lathin
Ann Arbor, Michigan

Water-smart features: This front yard rain garden, populated with plants native to Michigan, uses stormwater runoff to meet its water needs. Using a conduit installed in the curb, stormwater is diverted from the street and into the rain garden.

Plants used: Lobelia cardinalis, Asclepias incarnate, Lobelia siphilitica, Eupatoriadelphus fistulosus, Eupatorium perfoliatum

Middleton, Wisconsin
Submitter: Denise Schmidt
Middleton, Wisconsin

Water-smart features: This prairie landscape provides natural beauty year-round, even during times of drought. A large portion of the landscape is devoted to native prairie grasses, sedges, and forbs. After just a month of watering to initially establish the plants, no supplemental watering has been required.

Plants used: Big Bluestem, Asters, Golden Alexander, Bergamot, Indian Grass

Southwest

Avondale, Arizona
Submitter: Esmie Avila
Avondale, Arizona

Water-smart features: This demonstration garden, located in front of Avondale City Hall, shows just how beautiful and functional a water-efficient landscape can be. The garden features examples of drought tolerant trees, shrubs, and ground covers.

Plants used: Ocotillo, Red bird of paradise, Agave attenuata, Purple lantana

Junction, Texas
Submitter: Scott Richardson
Junction, Texas

Water-smart features: This water-wise landscape features rain gardens and a broad palette of native perennials. Five rain gardens capture rainwater from the roof, reducing runoff and increasing infiltration. Nearly 300 native grasses, shrubs, and trees cover the landscape.

Plants used: Little bluestem, Sideoats grama, Texas lantana, Prairie phlox, Goldenrod

Plano, Texas
Submitter: Tonia M. Biggs
Plano, Texas

Water-smart features: Tired of a high water-using, high-maintenance lawn, the owners of this landscape removed the Bermuda grass and replaced it with low water-using and native plant species. Organic soil amendments were added to increase water infiltration and retention.

Plants used: Salvia greggii, Symphoricarpus orbiculatus, American beautyberry, Texas gold columbine, Lambs ear

Forney, Texas
Submitter: Karen Sanders
Forney, Texas

Water-smart features: Drought–tolerant plants, a rain garden, and permeable pathways transformed this yard into a functional, water–efficient, and stormwater–savvy landscape. The planting beds are composted and mulched to conserve water in the soil and a rain garden and dry rock beds help with stormwater control.

Plants used: Crepe myrtles, Liriope, Hostas, Dwarf fountain grass, Salvia greggi

Peoria, Arizona
Submitter: City of Peoria
Peoria, Arizona

Water-smart features: This desert fusion garden removed the turfgrass from the site and replaced it with beautiful, low water-using landscaping from deserts around the world. Decomposed granite, decorative boulders, an efficient irrigation system, and shade structures are key elements to the garden’s design.

Plants used: Acacia aneura, Olneya tesota, Prosopis velutina, Quercus ilex, Pinus eldarica

Scottsdale, Arizona
Submitter: Carl Stuttard
Scottsdale, Arizona

Water-smart features: Drought-tolerant, succulent plants, and native trees create this desert oasis landscape that needs minimal supplemental watering. Swales filled with local rocks help collect water, increasing infiltration and reducing runoff. Native trees produce shade, reducing evaporative water loss.

Plants used: Agave macroacantha, Hedgehog cactus, Palo brea, Penstemon superbus, Verbena

Northwest

Olympia, Washington
Submitter: Linda Andrews
Olympia, Washington

Third place winner of the Water-Smart Landscape Photo Contest!

Water-smart features: This compact, no-turf landscape features edibles, drought-tolerant plants, and a unique patio of permeable crushed rock and cobalt recycled glass aggregate. Drip irrigation efficiently waters the edible plants.

Plants used: Creeping red thyme, Red herbaceous peony, Sunshine Blue blueberries, Grosso lavender, Penstemon rondo

Grants Pass, Oregon
Submitter: John Galbraith (Photo credit: Norman Plate)
Grants Pass, Oregon

Fourth place winner of the Water-Smart Landscape Photo Contest!

Water-smart features: The owners of this home wanted to replace their turfgrass with a fun, low-maintenance landscape cover. In keeping with the home’s simple, modern features, the new landscape consists of low water-using shrubs, perennials, and grasses that sweep across the front of the house.

Plants used: Pennisetum orientale, Rudbeckia fulgida, Gaura lindheimeri, Genista lydia, Sedum spurium

Olympia, Washington
Submitter: Linda Andrews
Olympia, Washingtony

Water-smart features: This rain garden collects water from the street, filters out pollutants, and safely discharges water that is not absorbed back into the city storm water system. Drought-tolerant perennials and grasses provide movement, a long blooming season, and wildlife value.

Plants used: Nasella tenuissima, Helictotrichon sempervirens, Achillea millefolium, Nepeta

Seattle, Washington
Submitter: Susan Picquelle
Seattle, Washington

Water-smart features: Situated on sloping ground, this landscape uses terraces and mulch to slow runoff and allow for better rain penetration. All of plantings are drought-tolerant, including many native species, and were carefully placed according to their light needs.

Plants used: Pinus parviflora, Solanum crispum, Phlomis russeliana, Acer circinatum, Trachystemon orientalis

Langley, Washington
Submitter: Brad Hankins and Fran Abel
Langley, Washington

Water-smart features: This garden was designed with mostly native plants to avoid the need for irrigation and to help prevent runoff. The garden is mulched each winter to reduce evaporation, inhibit weed growth, moderate soil temperature, and prevent erosion.

Plants used: Polystichum munitum, Acer circinatum, Blechnum spicant, Carex obnupta, Vaccinium ovatum

Langley, Washington
Submitter: Brad Hankins and Fran Abel
Langley, Washington

Water-smart features: In this landscape, all plantings are low water-using grasses, wildflowers, or native plants. The metal roof catches rain water and directs it to a pond for storage and reuse. The gravel pathways double as catch basins with drain rock and drain tile below the surface.

Plants used: Stipa gigantea, Carex comans, Polystichum munitum, Kalmia latifolia, Stranvaesia davidiana

Grants Pass, Oregon
Submitter: John Galbraith (Photo credit: Lara McCormick)
Grants Pass, Oregon

Water-smart features: In redesigning this site, the goals were to reduce water use while providing color year-round. The designer worked to preserve the large trees on site and replace much of the turfgrass with mulch and native grasses.

Plants used: Arctostaphylos, Arctostaphylos d. Howard McMinn, Lavendula stoechas, Genista lydia

Medford, Oregon
Submitter: John Galbraith (Photo Credit: Galbraith and Associates and Norman Plate)
Medford, Oregon

Water-smart features: In this water-smart landscape, masses of drought-tolerant shrubs, perennials, and grasses bring color, texture, and movement to the site. Other areas were seeded with native flower mixes that require only occasional water and mowing. Mulch was added to reduce evapotranspiration.

Plants used: Pennisetum orientale, Nassella tenuissima, Rhus aromatica, Perovskia atriplicifolia

Medford, Oregon
Submitter: John Galbraith (Photo credit: Lara McCormick)
Medford, Oregon

Water-smart features: At this municipal building, turfgrass and steep slopes created the potential for erosion and runoff. The renovated landscape features drought-tolerant ornamental grasses that provide stabilization and prevent erosion. A minimal amount of strategically-placed turfgrass remains for public use.

Plants used: Ceanothus gloriosus, Cotoneaster, Lydia broom

Newport, Oregon
Submitter: Charlie Plybon (Credit: Ocean Friendly Gardens)
Newport, Oregon

Water-smart features: At this municipal building, the garden was designed to filter and retain runoff from the roof. It features more than 200 native plants that encourage native wildlife and require little maintenance or supplemental watering after the first year of establishment.

Plants used: Kalmia microphylla, Ledum glandulosum, Juncus ensifolius, Carex obnupta, Potentilla gracilis

Portland, Oregon
Submitter: Pete Stauffer (Credit: Ocean Friendly Gardens)
Portland, Oregon

Water-smart features: Nearly 30 volunteers worked to renovate this landscape to meet the Surfrider Foundation’s Ocean Friendly Garden Criteria. To capture rainwater, the volunteers dug a swale and fitted an extension to the rain gutter downspout, which directs rainwater into the swale.

Plants used: Echinacea purpurea, Polystichum munitum, Blechunum spicant, Iris tenax, Spirea japonica

Seattle, Washington
Submitter: Benj Wadsworth (Credit: Ocean Friendly Gardens)
Seattle, Washington

Water-smart features: With support from Seattle’s Rain-Wise program, nearly 550 square feet of turf was removed from this landscape and replaced with a rain garden and native shrubs and groundcovers. All areas were amended with healthy soils and mulched to reduce maintenance and conserve water.

Plants used: Carex obnupta, Iris tenax, Cornus alba, Cornus sanguia, Arctostaphylos uva-ursi

Tacoma, Washington
Submitter: City of Tacoma
Tacoma, Washington

Water-smart features: The City of Tacoma’s Evirohouse features native, low water-using and drought-tolerant plants appropriate for the region’s climate. Planting beds are hydrozoned to include medium, low, and very low water use beds. Roof runoff is captured in rain barrels for later use in the landscape.

Plants used: Garry oak, Goldenrain tree, Shore pine, David viburnum, “Autumn joy” sedum

Bellevue, Washington
Submitter: City of Bellevue
Bellevue, Washingto

Water-smart features: This garden is full of water-saving ideas for gardens of any size or style. Features include selecting plants suited to site conditions, grouping plants with similar water needs for more efficient water use, and adding compost to soil to store moisture for plants.

Plants used: Cotinus coggygria “Royal purple,” Euphorbia characias, Allium, Nepeta x faassenii

Southeast

Bristol, Tennessee
Submitter: Joy Stewart
Bristol, Tennessee

Second place winner of the Water-Smart Landscape Photo Contest!

Water-smart features: This landscape incorporates native wildflowers and grasses matched to the site’s water conditions, reducing the need for supplemental irrigation.

Plants used: Magnolia virginiana, Monarda fistulosa, Agastache foeniculum, Phlox paniculata, Amelanchier x grandiflora

Leesburg, Florida
Submitter: Judith Benson
Leesburg, Florida

Water-smart features: This landscape was transformed by removing most of the turfgrass and creating landscape beds full of colorful, low-maintenance plants. To reduce water waste, the irrigation system now features separate zones for turf and foliage, a rain sensor, and low-volume micro-sprays in the landscape beds.

Plants used: Penstemon, Osteospermum, Ephedra, Salvia, Gazania

Orlando, Florida
Submitter: Judith Benson
Orlando, Florida

Water-smart features: By rethinking the landscape and renovating the irrigation system, this home significantly reduced its water use. Vegetation with similar water requirements were grouped together in hydrozones, which allows the owners to water more precisely, reduce water waste, and protect plants from overwatering.

Plants used: Penstemon, Osteospermum, Ephedra, Salvia, Gazania

Orlando, Florida
Submitter: Judith Benson
Orlando, Florida

Water-smart features: This landscape features regionally appropriate, low water-using, Florida-native grasses and succulents, which reduces the landscape’s water needs and gives it a splash of color.

Plants used: Penstemon, Osteospermum, Ephedra, Salvia, Gazania

Gainsville, Florida
Submitter: Brian Niemann
Gainsville, Florida

Water-smart features: To reduce water and chemical use in this landscape, the owner followed the Florida-Friendly Landscaping principles, which include using plants suited to Florida’s sandy soils, grouping plants by water needs, and limiting the use of turfgrass.

Plants used: Cycads, Camellias, Azaleas, Flowering trees, Tropical bulbs

Gainsville, Florida
Submitter: Brian Niemann
Gainsville, Florida

Water-smart features: To reduce water use in this landscape, the owner collects landscape debris from his landscape and neighboring properties to use as mulch and irrigates with a micro-irrigation system during dry spells.

Plants used: Cycads, Camellias, Azaleas, Flowering trees, Tropical bulbs

Bristol, Tennessee
Submitter: Joy Stewart
Bristol, Tennessee

Water-smart features: After buying a house with an acre of turfgrass and stormwater runoff problems, this owner transformed her landscape into a water-smart paradise. The landscape incorporates extensive plantings of low water-using native wildflowers and grasses.

Plants used: Echinacea purpurea, Ratibida pinnata, Lobelia cardinalis, Panicum virgatum, Phlox paniculata

Bristol, Tennessee
Submitter: Joy Stewart
Bristol, Tennessee

Water-smart features: This landscape incorporates native, low water using plants and a water feature which helps collect stormwater runoff.

Plants used: Iris virginica, Allium cernuum, Typha laxmannii, Ratibida pinnata, Butterfly bush

Bristol, Tennessee
Submitter: Joy Stewart
Bristol, Tennessee

Water-smart features: Native wildflowers and grasses were planted on this steep sloped landscape to reduce erosion and stormwater runoff.

Plants used: Echinacea palllida, Echinacea purpurea, Coreopsis lanceolata, Penstemon grandiflorus, Penstemon digitalis

Bristol, Tennessee
Submitter: Joy Stewart
Bristol, Tennessee

Water-smart features: Nearly three-quarters of this landscape’s turf was replaced with native plants. Once established, these plants require little water beyond normal rainfall.

Plants used: Cercis canadensis, Magnolia macrophylla, Elymus virginicus

Bristol, Tennessee
Submitter: Joy Stewart
Bristol, Tennessee

Water-smart features: This landscape incorporates shrubs and trees matched to the site’s water conditions, reducing the need for supplemental irrigation. Mulch is used around garden plants to reduce evaporative water loss from the soil.

Plants used: Aquilegia canadensis, Salix integra, Spirea x vanhouttei, Syringa patula, Selkova serrata

Bristol, Tennessee
Submitter: Joy Stewart
Bristol, Tennessee

Water-smart features: By replacing turfgrass with native plants in this landscape, the owner significantly reduced her water use.

Plants used: Ruellia humilis, Asclepias tuberosa, Coreopsis pubescens, Callirhoe involucrata, Oenothera macrocarpa

Bristol, Tennessee
Submitter: Joy Stewart
Bristol, Tennessee

Water-smart features: Stormwater problems existed on this landscape before the owner transformed it into a water-smart oasis. The landscape’s dry stream bed collects and routes stormwater to rain gardens and a 1,400-gallon pond.

Plants used: Aquilegia canadensis, Iris virginica, Sisyrinchium angustifolium, Anemone canadensis, Juncus torreyi

Newport News, Virginia
Submitter: Fred Farris
Newport News, Virginia

Water-smart features: This award-wining landscape features Chesapeake Conservation Landscaping Council’s Eight Essential Elements of Conservation Landscaping. Two green roofs help with stormwater runoff and permeable pavements are used throughout the site to allow water to infiltrate the soil.

Plants used: Acer negundo, Liriodendron tulipifera, Amorpha fruticosa, Cephalanthus occidentalis

Gainesville, Virginia
Submitter: Bethany Bezak
Gainesville, Virginia

Water-smart features: This award-wining landscape features Chesapeake Conservation Landscaping Council’s Eight Essential Elements of Conservation Landscaping. Native meadow plants, as well as native shrubs and trees, reduce the site’s need for supplemental watering, fertilizers, and maintenance.

Plants used: Nyssa sylvatica, Aronia arbutifolia, Rudbeckia triloba, Heliopsis helianthoides

Raleigh, North Carolina
Submitter: Evan Keto, Cinnamon Black, and Lisa Wallace
Raleigh, North Carolinay

Water-smart features: Winner of the Walter Raleigh 2010 Site Enhancement Award, this water-wise demonstration garden saves water by using appropriate plants, mulch, and soil amendments. Seventeen species of low water-using plants decrease the site’s need for supplemental watering.

Plants used: Achillea millefolium, Coreopsis verticillata, Delosperma cooperi, Delosperma nubigenum, Panicum virgatum

Winter Haven, Florida
Submitter: Polk County Utilities and McDowell Landscaping
Winter Haven, Florida

Water-smart features: This Florida Friendly Demonstration Garden reduces water needs by using low water use plants, shade trees, mulches and permeable pavements. Shade trees keep the landscape cool and reduce evaporative water loss, while mulches help conserve water in the soil.

Plants used: Red maple, Cabbage, Queen and fan palms, Crepe myrtle, Plumbago, Crinum lily

Naples, Florida
Submitter: South Florida Water Management District
Naples, Florida

Water-smart features: This Xtreme Yard Makeover showcases how a water-wasting residential landscape can be transformed into a lush, Florida-friendly landscape saving its owner time, money and water. All plant material in this Florida-friendly yard is drought-tolerant and climate-appropriate.

Plants used: Double pygmy palm, Slash pine, Crepe myrtle, Green buttonwood, Fiddlewood

West

Fort Collins, Colorado
Submitter: Eric Olson
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Water-smart features: Before this water-smart renovation, keeping the grass green in this parking area’s landscaped zones used a lot of water and cost a lot of money. Replacing the turfgrass with mulch and low water-using plants reduced water use by 50,000 gallons annually.

Plants used: Penstemon, Osteospermum, Ephedra, Salvia, Gazania

Pasadena, California
Submitter: Natalie Cousins–Robledo
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Water-smart features: This water-smart landscape features beautiful, drought-tolerant plants, some of which are California natives. Mulch was distributed to all planting areas, and an area of decomposed granite was also installed to accommodate additional seating for frequently held festivities.

Plants used: Salvia apiana, Salvia x blaze, Dianella tasmanica, Phormium tenax, Dassylirion wheeleri

Venice, California
Submitter: Perla Arquieta
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Water-smart features: This residential backyard remodel included a new decomposed granite courtyard, regionally appropriate plants, a weather-based irrigation system, and underground water retention devices, reducing this family’s water bill by 70 percent.

Plants used: Dianella revolute, Agave, Bidens ferulifolia, Eschscholzia californica, Leonotis leonurus

Sacramento, California
Submitter: Roberta Walker
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Water-smart features: This water-smart landscape provides color and texture throughout the year. Turfgrass was replaced with heat-tolerant, low water-using plants, and the PVC sprinkler system was replaced with a drip irrigation system. Mulch was laid to protect the drip lines and to help keep moisture around plants.

Plants used: Kniphofia, Lavender, Salvia, Santolina chamaecyparis, Bidens

Santa Rosa, California
Submitter: Susie Dowd Markarian
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Water-smart features: This low water-using, low-maintenance landscape follows the bay-friendly water conservation guidelines. Mulch helps to reduce evaporation, inhibit weed growth, moderate soil temperature, and prevent erosion. A drip irrigation system saves water compared to a conventional sprinkler system.

Plants used: Sedum, Phormium, Eragrostis spectabilis, Festuca, Stipa gigantean

La Jolla, California
Submitter: David Marriott
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Water-smart features: This design mock-up shows a meadow-inspired landscape where 92,000 square feet of turfgrass is replaced with native, drought-tolerant grasses, reducing water and fertilizer use while adding year-long visual interest and natural habitat.

Plants used: Carex pansa, Bouteloa gracilis, Festuca californica, Pennisetum, Pennisetum purpureum

Long Beach, California
Submitter: Clifton Stewart
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Water-smart features: Thanks to the beautiful, regionally appropriate plants, including agaves, cacti, and succulents, this water-smart landscape only requires supplemental watering once a month. Other water-smart features include mulch and ornamental rocks and boulders.

Plants used: Agave angustifolia, Echinocactus grusonii, Agave americana, Agave bracteosa

Laguna Beach, California
Submitter: Ken and Barbara McMurray
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Water-smart features: This landscape features drought-tolerant plants that require very little upkeep and no fertilizers. The owners use mulch to help the soil retain moisture and have installed an experimental patch of drought-tolerant, deep-rooted grass.

Plants used: Plum delight, Aeonium dinner plates, Blue pickle, Baumea rubiginosa, Rosemary irene

Cucamonga, California
Submitter: Erin Morales
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Water-smart features: The homeowners replaced grass with native and drought-tolerant plants. The landscape features boulders, cobblestones, colored rocks and pathways, and a recirculating stream bed. The plants use an efficient bubbler watering system.

Plants used: Hesperaloe parviflora, Lobularia maritima, Lantana montevidensis ”New Gold,” Echinocactus grusonii

Rancho Cucamonga, California
Submitter: Erin Morales
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Water-smart features: This landscape features succulents, California natives, and drought-tolerant plants in place of grass. The plants use drip irrigation and require minimal watering. The landscape includes rock pathways with multiple rock varieties to add color.

Plants used: Limonium perezii, Hesperaloe parviflora, Salvia greggi, Cephalophyllum “Red Spike,” Aloe barbadensis

Rancho Cucamonga, California
Submitter: Erin Morales
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Water-smart features: This landscape features colorful, drought-tolerant plants, including succulents, California natives, and other low water-using plants. The landscape has rock pathways and uses gorilla hair, a fibrous mulch made from redwood bark, as ground cover to retain moisture.

Plants used: Kniphofia uvaria, Cistus villosus, Hesperaloe parviflora, Spartium junceum, Angiozanthos flavidus

Rancho Cucamonga, California
Submitter: Erin Morales
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Water-smart features: The owner of this landscape replaced grass with a dry rock river bed surrounded by succulents and other drought-tolerant plants. The irrigation system was also modified to include a weather-based irrigation controller.

Plants used: Sedum rubrotinctum, Sedum gold moss, Salvia greggii, Echeveria “Afterglow,” Felicia amelloides

Rancho Cucamonga, California
Submitter: Erin Morales
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Water-smart features: This landscape minimizes grass and contains plants suitable to southern California. The landscape features multiple textures and levels of material, including ornamental pieces to add additional points of interest.

Plants used: Echeveria “Afterglow,” Echinocactus grusonii, Olea europaea, Aeonium arboreum “Zwartkop,” Aloe nobilis

Rancho Cucamonga, California
Submitter: Erin Morales
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Water-smart features: This landscape contains no grass. Instead, it features Lantana, a perennial flowering plant, and other attractive, drought-tolerant plants. The landscape uses micro-spray irrigation to minimize runoff and overspray. The landscape also uses mulch to help keep the soil moist.

Plants used: Camara lantana, Rosmarinus officinalis, Salvia greggii, Lantana, Lavandula stoechas

Lompoc, California
Submitter: Jennifer Main
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Water-smart features: This backyard landscape features unique yard art surrounded by low water-using plants. Using mulch and drip irrigation also helps reduce water consumption.

Plants used: Dwarf heather, Veronica hebe, Salvia greggii, Cotoneaster, Pink jasmine

Lompoc, California
Submitter: Jennifer Main
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Water-smart features: This landscape features native, drought-tolerant plants. The landscape was started with a good layer of fertile soil, deep root watering, and thick layers of mulch. Thanks to this preparation, the homeowner waters the area only twice during the summer.

Plants used: California fusia, California buckwheat, Salvia, Evergreen catalina current, Pink flowering current

Lompoc, California
Submitter: Jennifer Main
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Water-smart features: The homeowner replaced the grass in this backyard artist retreat with plants grouped by their watering needs, surrounded by pedestals, trellises, and yard art. Plants are watered by hand, using a hose and water from a rain barrel system. Plants are watered no more than twice a month at the root base.

Plants used: Geranium macrorrhizum, Lavender, Rose banksias, Rosemary, Zinnia

Lompoc, California
Submitter: Jennifer Main
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Water-smart features: This homeowner replaced turf with native, drought-tolerant plants. The front yard is colorful, requires very little water which is provided by drip irrigation, and is low maintenance. Mulch and decomposed granite surround the planted areas.

Plants used: Mexican salvia, Rock rose, Yarro, Succulents, Sage

Lompoc, California
Submitter: Jennifer Main
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Water-smart features: This homeowner replaced turf with mulch, decomposed granite, and stepping stones to create interesting sitting areas. Sitting areas are surrounded with different types of low water-using grasses and succulents. Drip irrigation helps minimize the landscape’s water use.

Plants used: Lavender, Bougainvillea, Rock rose, Jade, Flax

Upland, California
Submitter: Heidi MacPherson
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Water-smart features: This landscape features drought-tolerant desert plants, native grasses, and yard art. The landscape also includes decomposed granite throughout the front yard. A drip irrigation system helps minimize water use.

Plants used: Palo verde desert museum trees, Agave, Red yucca, Aloe vera, Purple heart

Thornton, Colorado
Submitter: Heather Waters
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Water-smart features: This garden is an example of a diverse, water-smart landscape. The garden includes drought-tolerant plants grouped by their watering needs, uses mulch, and benefits from efficient irrigation devices, such as rain sensors.

Plants used: Prairie winecups, Orange carpet hummingbird trumpet, Prairie jewel penstemon, Coral canyon twinspir, Angelina stonecrop

Los Angeles, California
Submitter: Cassy and Kirk Aoyagi (Photo Credit: FormLA Landscaping)
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Water-smart features: This backyard was designed for entertaining with a series of patios that allow water to permeate into the soil. Native, low water-using plants retain the slope at the back of the property and fill in between patios. A drip irrigation system with weather sensors and timers minimizes water waste.

Plants used: Kangaroo paw, Carex glauca, Phormium, Coyote bush, Purple hopseed

Santa Monica, California
Submitter: Cassy and Kirk Aoyagi (Photo Credit: FormLA Landscaping)
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Water-smart features: This multi-family development distinguishes itself from its neighbors with a colorful mix of foliage that is thick, lush, and vibrant year-round. Light drip irrigation, minimal maintenance, and no chemical fertilizers or pesticides are needed to maintain this eye-popping look.

Plants used: Kangaroo paw, Carex glauca, Phormium, Euphorbia, Achillea

Los Angeles, California
Submitter: Cassy and Kirk Aoyagi (Photo Credit:Steve Gunther and Orly Oliver)
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Water-smart features: This hillside garden has been featured in Sunset Magazine and the Los Angeles Times. The steep slope beyond the deck features a vibrant mix of native plants, which keep supplemental watering needs to a minimum. A drip irrigation system minimizes water waste due to evaporation, runoff, and overspray.

Plants used: Kangaroo paw, Carex glauca, Deer grass, Fremontodendron

Los Angeles, California
Submitter: Cassy and Kirk Aoyagi (Photo Credit: Orly Oliver for FormLA Landscaping)
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Water-smart features: This garden was designed to showcase foliage from five climate-compatible regions of the world: Australia, California, Chile, Mediterranean Basin, and South Africa. Each area was planted with small foliage, allowing it to mature into the space, which yields stronger plants using less water.

Plants used: Ceanothus, Salvia, Lessingia, Grevilia, Dorycnium hirsutum

Los Angeles, California
Submitter: Cassy and Kirk Aoyagi (Photo Credit: Orly Oliver for FormLA Landscaping)
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Water-smart features: This landscape features a vibrant array of drought-tolerant foliage that thrives year-round. A gravel patio and flagstone walkways allow water to permeate the ground, while drip irrigation using timers and weather sensors ensures every drop counts.

Plants used: Kangaroo paw, Golden elaeagnus, Spanish lavender, Goodwin creek grey lavender, Russian sage

Beverly Hills, California
Submitter: Cassy and Kirk Aoyagi (Photo Credit: Orly Oliver for FormLA Landscaping)
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Water-smart features: This water-smart landscape prominently features meadow-length red fescue, a native lawn alternative that forms waves. Plantings at the base of a low-splash, low-surface area pool catch and use overspray. Drip irrigation, weather sensors, and timers help keep foliage vibrant and water use minimal.

Plants used: Red fescue, Licorice plants, Juncus, Hummingbird sage, Dymondia

Riverside, California
Submitter: Abbie Flanagan
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Water-smart features: The plants in this design were chosen for their drought tolerance and beauty. Since the plants bloom at different times of year, the garden has a variety of colors that change with the seasons. The landscape uses a water-efficient drip system and a thick layer of mulch helps hold moisture.

Plants used: Leonis lenaris, Eucalyptus baby, Grevillea, Anigoanthos, Archtostaphylos

Salinas, California
Submitter: Rosemary Bridwell
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Water-smart features: This landscape design has a small amount of turfgrass that is surrounded by low water-using plant material with year-round color. Organic mulch reduces evaporation, inhibits weed growth, moderates soil temperature, and prevents erosion.

Plants used: Penstemon gloxiniodes, Salvia leucantha, Lantana sellowiana, Festuca ovina glauca, Pennisetum setaceum

Murrieta, California
Submitter: Patti Bonawitz
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Water-smart features: The yard is a showcase of color with low water-using varieties of grasses and drought tolerant plants grouped by watering needs. The front yard features a large rain garden to capture stormwater runoff and there is no turfgrass. A thick layer of mulch adds a neat, clean look.

Plants used: Pink and white guaras, Smoke tree, Chaste tree, Palo verde tree, Red hot pokers

Del Mar, California
Submitter: Chis Roesink
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Water-smart features: This beautiful landscape turns heads with its drought-tolerant, regionally appropriate garden. It balances year round color and texture. When needed, multi-stream rotating spray heads are used to deliver water in a thick stream, ensuring more water reaches plants and less is lost to evaporation and wind.

Plants used: Native grasses, Several varieties of aloes, Agave, Various succulents

San Diego, California
Submitter: John Reichardt
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Water-smart features: To create this water-smart landscape, the designers considered this property’s individual microclimate when selecting plants and where to place them. Recognizing the site conditions and planting appropriately is especially important in the San Diego, California, coastal environment, an area known for varied microclimates.

Plants used: Aloes, Agaves, Rosemary, Lavender, Sage

San Diego, California
Submitter: John Reichardt
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Water-smart features: In this landscape, vegetation with similar watering needs was grouped into specific hydrozones to reduce water use. Hydrozones protect the plants from underwatering as well as overwatering by allowing each zone to be watered according to its specific needs.

Plants used: Aloes, Agaves, Rosemary, Lavender, Sage

San Diego, California
Submitter: John Reichardt
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Water-smart features: This landscape features an irrigation system that is zone oriented, water-efficient, and low maintenance. Using water-efficient technologies makes a big difference in keeping the irrigation system running as it should and without a lot of effort.

Plants used: Aloes, Agaves, Rosemary, Lavender, Sage

Murrieta, California
Submitter: Marianela Soberanes
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Water-smart features: This water-smart landscape features a variety of regionally appropriate, low water-using plants. A drip irrigation system delivers low volumes of water directly to plants’ roots, minimizing the water lost to wind, runoff, evaporation, or overspray.

Plants used: Agave weberi, Agave mediopicta alba, Agave tequilana, Agave parryi, Blue senecio

Los Altos Hills, California
Submitter: Glenn Kranich
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Water-smart features: In this water-smart landscape, low water-using plantings are massed together in large drifts to provide order and impact. Line-source drip irrigation is applied to the soil surface in hydrozoned areas and mulch is used to retain soil moisture.

Plants used: Dymondia margaretae, Myoporum “putah creek,” Muhlenbergia capillaries, Artemesia “powis castle,” Salvia clevelandii

San Francisco, California
Submitter: Janet Moyer
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Water-smart features: This home was able to cut its landscape’s water use in half by renovating it with this elegant patio design featuring low water-using plants. The stone patio and paved pathways enhance drainage and a drip irrigation system receives daily weather updates and adjusts water use accordingly.

Plants used: Yarrow, Wild lilac, Festuca, Dwarf flax, English lavender

Santa Monica, California
Submitter: Denise Buchanan
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Water-smart features: Plants are grouped according to hydrozones, and all exposed ground is covered with a thick layer of mulch. The irrigation system makes use of a number of efficient technologies including drip irrigation, rotary spray heads, and a weather-based irrigation controller.

Plants used: Aeonium arboreum “Zwartkop,” Dymondia margaretae, Rosemarinus officinalis

Los Angeles, California
Submitter: Denise Buchanan
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Water-smart features: This landscape includes a number of water-smart features, including low water-using plants grouped by watering needs, and a micro-irrigation system. Boulders and Mexican river rock was also used to create a dry river bed.

Plants used: Purple salvia, Verbascum, Artemesia, Osteospermum, Gazania

Riverside, California
Submitter: Suzanne Singer and Jordan Lund
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Water-smart features: In creating this water-smart landscape, the front lawn was removed and replaced by low water-using plants, irrigated with drip irrigation, and mulched. The plant palette was chosen to offer color in both foliage and flowers during all seasons.

Plants used: Anigozanthos, Arbutus unido compacta, Juddleja “low and behold,” Salvia greggii, Limonium perezii, Senna artemisiodes

Pacific Grove, California
Submitter: Ramie Allard (Credit: Ocean Friendly Gardens)
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Water-smart features: This garden was designed to capture runoff from the property into a swale to slow the water down and use it for the plants. Native plants and mulch were used throughout. Drip irrigation was implemented with adjustable drippers at the base of each plant.

Plants used: Penstemon eatonii, Lyonothamnus floribundus, Cercis occidentalis, Ceanothus arborus, Arbutus unedo

Ventura, California
Submitter: Jon and Teresa Huber (Credit: Ocean Friendly Gardens)
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Water-smart features: This landscape was used as the site for an Ocean Friendly Gardens hands-on workshop. By replacing the turf with native plants and capturing an estimated 13,500 gallons of runoff per year, the owners of this home were able to reduce their water bill by 80 percent.

Plants used: Dendromecon harfordii, Rhus ovate, Hertomeles arbutifolia, Ceanothus “Ray Hartman,” Galvezia speciosa

Culver City, California
Submitter: Kathy Seidman (Credit: Ocean Friendly Gardens)
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Water-smart features: This garden was created using rainwater as the primary irrigation resource. All of the downspouts from the front half of the residence were directed into the yard, which was excavated to install permeable pathways and a dry creek bed.

Plants used: Achillea millifolium, Baccharis salicifolia, Carex praegracilis, Encelia californica, Epilobium californica

Huntington Beach, California
Submitter: Korina Petrozzi (Credit: Ocean Friendly Gardens)
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Water-smart features: This water-smart landscape features a variety of low water-using plants and a decomposed granite walkway and patio that takes up about a third of the garden. The irrigation system was also converted from spray heads to more efficient drip irrigation.

Plants used: Parkinsonia tree, Salvia majestic spires, Salvia santa barbara, Phlomis fruticosa, Echium fastuosum

La Jolla, California
Submitter: Steve Roeder (Credit: Ocean Friendly Gardens)
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Water-smart features: In this landscape, native plants and fruit trees were used to replace the turf lawn. A drip irrigation system was installed to help establish the plants and rainwater is now the main source of irrigation, reducing water use by 90 percent.

Plants used: Arctostaphylos Edmundsii, Arctostaphylos “Sunset,” Armeria Maritima, Camissonia Cheiranthifolia, Ceanothus Maritimus

Long Beach, California
Submitter: Christy and Ted Kane (Credit: Ocean Friendly Gardens)
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Water-smart features: This landscape qualified for a lawn-to-garden rebate from the Long Beach Water Department and meets Surfrider Foundation’s Ocean Friendly Gardens Criteria. Turfgrass was replaced with native plants and the spray-head sprinkler system was replaced with drip irrigation.

Plants used: Salvia mellifera, Salvia apiana, Romneya coulteri, Salvia leucantha, Encelia californica

Oceanside, California
Submitter: Tom Nelson (Credit: Ocean Friendly Gardens)
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Water-smart features: At this five-unit apartment building, the owners were able to cut their water bill in half by installing a water-smart landscape. The garden uses native and climate-appropriate plantings. Locally obtained mulch was used as a top layer to retain moisture.

Plants used: Arctostaphylos carmel sur, Aristida purpurea, Armeria maritima, Anigozanthos orange tango, Carex pansa

Seal Beach, California
Submitter: Greg Goran (Credit: Ocean Friendly Gardens)
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Water-smart features: In this water-smart landscape, the plants are grouped in hydrozones and watered accordingly. The edibles section is watered by hand. The medium to low water-using plants are watered by bioswales or other runoff while the low water-using plants fill in the rest of the landscaped area.

Plants used: Assorted salvias, Ceanothus, Assorted manzanitas, Achillea, Assorted agaves

Ventura, California
Submitter: Dan Long (Credit: Ocean Friendly Gardens)
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Water-smart features: In this landscape, which features an all-native plant palette, the roof downspout is directed into the front yard water the plantings. Cuts were also made in the curb so that street runoff can be filtered by the soil and absorbed by plants.

Plants used: Achillea millifolia, Aquilegia formosa, Arctostaphylos, Ceanoths gloriosus, Erigeron glaucus

West Los Angeles, California
Submitter: Tom Rau
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Water-smart features: The homeowners created a natural looking, water-smart ecosystem following the principles of conservation, permeability, and retention. They planted native grasses, ferns, and flowering perennials that thrive in clay soil, provide wildlife habitat, and bloom throughout the year.

Plants used: Achillea millefolium, Ajuga reptans, Allium praecox, Bletilla striata, Campsis radicans

Northeast

Mississauga, Ontario
Submitter: Gino Piscelli
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First place winner of the Water-Smart Landscape Photo Contest!

Water-smart features: In this sunny lawn, placing the right plant in the right place was key to creating a water-smart landscape. The owners installed drought-tolerant plants that thrive in direct sunlight and used mulch to reduce evaporation. The landscape requires little to no supplemental water even during the summer.

Plants used: Diablo Ninebark, Salvia, Barberry, Russian Sage, Flowering Quince

Mississauga, Ontario
Submitter: Gino Piscelli
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Water-smart features: This shade garden incorporates plants that thrive in damp soil with little to no light. By replacing turfgrass and non-native species with regionally appropriate, low water-using plants and mulch, the owners of this yard significantly reduced their water consumption.

Plants used: Arcadia Savin Juniper, Salvia, Bayberry, Nannyberry, Common Sea Buckthorn

Caledon, Ontario
Submitter: Gino Piscelli
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Water-smart features: In this commuter bus lot, turfgrass was replaced with a “Fusion Garden,” featuring low water-using plants, mulch, and a stone border. Compost was also incorporated into the soil to improve water holding capacity.

Plants used: Eastern Hemlock, Sedum, Bergenia, Blue Oat Grass

Amesbury, Massachusetts
Submitter: Nanette Masi (Back to Nature)
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Water-smart features: To create this lush landscape, the owners replaced turfgrass with a granite walkway and native plants, with a focus on drought-tolerant grasses. Now established, these plants require no water beyond normal rainfall.

Plants used: Pennsylvania Sedge, Prairie Dropseed, Moonbeam Tickseed, Dwarf Winterberry, Red-Twig Dogwood

York, Pennsylvania
Submitter: Michael Schmotzer
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Water-smart features: This property has many small gardens, 200 plant species in meadow, forest and rain garden plantings. Native plants rely on rainfall, reducing supplemental irrigation. Non-garden areas are planted as no-mow lawn and fallen leaves promote healthy woodland soil that retains nutrients and water.

Plants used: Allium cernuum, Asclepias tuberose, Bouteloua curtipendula, Coreopsis verticillata, Penstemon digitalis