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2021 Contest Winner

Homeowner Frank E
Location Santee
Yard Front


Frank E’s landscape is bursting with bright colors and textures. Vibrant yellow, orange, red, green and purple flowers and plants spring to life where there was once just dry and patchy grass. Water storage features like a small pond and rock riverbed add depth and shape to the contoured yard.

Frank began his water efficient landscape journey in 2018, when he attended a three-hour WaterSmart Landscape Workshop at Padre Dam’s Customer Service Center. Frank was tired of his high maintenance and thirsty drought-bleached lawn. He wanted his landscape to add to the overall attractiveness of his home.

During the course, Frank learned about the WaterSmart Landscape Makeover Series, a four class series that helped him through the process of preparing his space, designing his landscape, selecting plants and planning for irrigation. Frank had wanted a kidney bean shaped planter in his front yard for many years and decided to use that as a starting point and design his landscape around that feature.

Frank did extensive research both outside and as part of the WaterSmart Makeover Series, and by the end of the class he had a fully designed layout ready to be implemented. He set to work removing his old turf and installing his new landscape in the spring of 2019 and did all of the removal, designing and planting himself. He even constructed a small barn that acts as a shed and a footbridge over his riverbed to add unique and functional design elements. Altogether, the work took about a year to complete.

“It was a lot of hard work, but it was also a lot of fun.” Frank said. “It was great to see all of my labor come to fruition.”

Frank installed piping to collect water off his roof, which is collected in a rain barrel and diverted to the landscape’s rock riverbed. Additionally, he created a pond that can hold several hundred of gallons of water. This collected rainwater helps to irrigate the plants by replenishing the soil’s moisture for a period after it rains. Frank also installed a smart controller that waters the plants based on hydro zones and local weather through a drip irrigation system.

Now that the landscape is complete, Frank spends time relaxing and listening to birds in his front yard. He enjoys the peaceful atmosphere and the satisfaction he gets when neighbors and passersby compliment his landscape. He recommends that others looking to plant a water-smart landscape put in the time to research and plan in order to create an environment and design that will work for their lifestyle.

“Hard work and a well thought out plan certainly paid positive results.” Frank said. “It was a great success.”

Plants Used

Low Water Anchor Plants (Small Medium Bushes)

Mimulus ‘Jelly Bean Orange’ (Monkey Flower)
Salvia Leucophylla (San Lis Purple Sage)
Sphaeralcea Ambigua (Apricot Desert Mallow)
Salvia Chamaedryoides (Germander Sage)

Low Water Decorative Plants

Pennisetum “Fireworks”
Aloe “Always Red”
Calyophus Berlandieri (Sun Drops)
Coreopsis Verticillatta (Tick Seed) “Golden Star Dust” & “Enchanted Evening”
Kalanchoe Pumila (Flower Dust Plant)
Pelargonium Sidoides (South African Geranium)
Epilobium Canum ( California Fuchsia)
Sedum Nussbaumerianum (Coppertone Stone Crop)
Echeveria Agavoids (Lipstick)
Festuca Glauca (Eligah Blue Fescue) decorative grass
Dymondia Margaretae (Silver Carpet) flag stone joint ground cover

Medium Water Hydro-Zone Plants

Phoenix Roebelenii (Pigmy Date Palm small trees)
Alstroemeria (The Third Harmonic & Inca Mambo)
Cordline Design-A-Line Burgundy
Kalanchoe Luciae (Paddle Plant)

Padre Dam Winners

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