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2021 Contest Winner

Homeowner Michael & Teresa E
Location Escondido
Yard Front & Back


Michael & Teresa wanted to do their part to lessen their impact on San Diego county’s water resources by switching to a water wise landscape using all California native plants. Their goal was to reduce water usage by 60% or more, reduce their carbon footprint (no need for mowing lawns), and reduce yard waste.

But as compelling as water conservation is, they also wanted a landscape that would be beautiful to live in and would give back to the local ecology. Every native plant was chosen in consideration of habitats for insects, birds, reptiles, and mammals. Ever since Michael & Teresa re-landscaped, they have observed a huge increase in birds, lizards, butterflies, and other pollinators in their yard. Their water wise native garden is also extremely beautiful with year-round flowers, berries and foliage of all shapes and colors. They now spend many hours relaxing and bird watching in the yard.

By re-landscaping their property Michael & Teresa are taking one small step in restoring San Diego county’s rich biodiversity. Sharing the successes of their garden, they hope to encourage other homeowners to convert their gardens to water and habitat smart landscapes.

Plants Used

Trees: Coastal live oak, Western sycamore, Western redbud, Palo Verde Desert Museum. Large shrubs: Manzanitas, Ceanothus, Toyon, Mountain mahogany, Mexican elderberry, White flowering current.

Shrubs and sub-shrubs: Salvias (sages), Buckwheats, Encilias, Chamise, Sagebrush, Chuparosa, Apache plume, Desert mallow, Coffeeberries, Wooly bluecurls, Island snapdragon, Bush poppy, Nevin’s barberry.

Perennials: Penstemons, Mints, Milkweed, California fuchsias, San Diego sunflowers, Rushes, Goldenrod, Yarrow, Blue-eyed grass, Pacific irises.

Grasses: Deer grass, Canyon Prince Rye Grass, Purple three-awn grass, Purple needle grass, Clustered field sedge, Nodding needle grass.

Vines: Roger’s Red grape, California honeysuckle, Chinese wisteria (non-native).

Succulents and cacti: Dudleyas, beavertail cactus, cliff spurge.

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