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2019 Contest Winner

Homeowner Bob & Shan C
Location La Mesa
Yard Front, Back & Side


Bob & Shan turned their 2,500 square feet of irrigated grass into a conservation garden, decreasing their water use by an average of roughly 33 percent. First, they removed the sod and layered cardboard, compost and mulch. Then they incorporated a recycling component, including a hand-built waterfall made from an old truck ladder rack. Water from a swale feeds the waterfall, then travels through microtubes up a faux bonsai tree – made of unused materials – to irrigate its flower baskets. Large tree roots that once ran through their yard between underground piping, decorate other areas of their yard. Drip tubing runs along the top of the ground and corrugated drain piping below to irrigate the slopes surrounding the home. To assure that their drip system would work properly, they used a birdbath made from an old sink. Water flows up into the sink and into the overflow hole and back down to the trees. If the birdbath is dry, it means that the drip system is not working properly. Bob & Shan also strategically placed curved walking paths made of decomposed granite delineated by stones set in concrete. The paths are surrounded by water-wise plants.

Plants Used

Succulents, Honeysuckle, Aloe Vera, Lavender, Poppies, Wildflower Mix, Silver-edge Pincushion, Pink Cascade, Jubilee Crown and Manzanita

Otay Winners

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