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2020 Contest Winner

Homeowner Melissa & Josh P
Location Santee
Yard Front


As you come around the corner in their neighborhood, you’ll notice Melissa and Josh’s landscape bursting with bright colors. Vibrant pink, orange, purple and red succulents are interspersed among lush rosemary and lavender bushes. It’s hard to believe that they did not use a drop of water last year to sustain this beautiful landscape.

They decided to remove their lawn and install a water efficient garden about two years ago. They were tired of spending time mowing and using large amounts of water to keep the grass alive only for it to go brown in the summer. They wanted a low-water option that would look healthy year-round and require little maintenance.

The couple heard about the Turf Replacement Rebate Program and applied for the program. After receiving estimates from several landscapers, they quickly found that if they wanted to stick to the budget they would receive from the program, they were going to have to install their landscape themselves. This gave them the opportunity to design their own landscape, support local businesses, and choose their own plants.

“We chose plants that were hardy so we wouldn’t need to replace them or do too much maintenance,” said Melissa. “We also incorporated rosemary and lavender because we think it’s neat to be able to cook with and use the plants that you have.”

After planning and designing their dream front yard, they spent four days removing their turf, installing rocks, installing irrigation, planting and laying mulch. They used a local nursery to select plants that fit their style and budget. By working straight through the process, their landscape completely transformed in less than a week. Their DIY cost-saving approach meant that they were reimbursed for 100% of the cost of their new front yard through the Turf Replacement Rebate Program.

Melissa’s favorite part of her new landscape is its different heights and colors and that it is low-maintenance, there is no pruning or trimming required. There’s also hardly any watering required, and while they have a drip irrigation system in place, they were able to turn it off and let their landscape be completely watered naturally last year. They only just turned the system on again as the weather began to heat up at the end of June.

“It’s cool that it was something we were able to do together,” Melissa said. “It’s fun because our neighbors watched us put it in and now when we see them they say ’your yard’s looking really nice!’”

Plants Used

Succulents, Lavender and Rosemary

Padre Dam Winners

2017-Eastern | 2017-Western | 2018 | 2019 | 2020 | 2021