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2024 Contest Winner

Homeowner Anita and Larry P
Location Escondido
Yard Front and Back


Upon moving into their home in 2016, longtime Escondido residents Anita and Larry noted the grass lawns and water-guzzling plants of their new front and back yard as a feature that “would have to go”. Hoping to avoid the high cost of watering and maintaining the grass lawns and to be a part of the solution to San Diego County’s water woes, the pair of empty-nesters set themselves to designing a California-friendly landscape.

The endeavor entailed removing the existing lawn and plants, installing a new hardscape and a water-efficient drip irrigation system set up with ½ gallon and 1 gallon emitters as well as a Ranchio Smart Controller to regulate watering (through most of the rainy season, Anita and Larry are able to turn their outside water irrigation off!), and finally planting their new landscape with succulents and cacti which they propagated themselves from cuttings and from dividing plants. Leaning into the whimsy of the underwater-esque scene created by their collection of drought-tolerant plants, they added a few seashells throughout the garden. During their landscape transformation process, they enjoyed getting acquainted with their neighbors, sharing the plants they propagated, and watching the neighborhood kids peek into the garden in search of hidden fish and mermaids.

Now, Anita and Larry enjoy not only water savings but also a landscape that requires little maintenance, offers year-round vibrance for them and their neighbors, and serves as a source of inspiration to their fellow water-savvy community members! On the gradual transformation they have since seen of other homes in their neighborhood, Anita says “no two yards that have dry landscaping are the same, it’s whatever works for each family!”

Plants Used

Coral Aloe, “Needles and Pins”, Palo Verde desert museum tree, Mosaic Aloe, Fan Aloe, “Tiger Jaws”, “Sticks on Fire” euphorbia, purple Statice, Zwartkop and green aeoniums, Sunburst aeonium, varieties of sedum or “Stonecrop” including Donkey’s Tail, “Ruffles” echeverias, Fish Hooks senecio, Paddle Plant, varieties of crassula including “Shrek” jade plant, Baby jade plant, and stacked crassula, Mediterranean fan palms, gasterias, graptoveria, haworthia, “Snake Plant” sansevieria, bryophyllum, Blue fescue, and many more

Escondido Winners

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