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2021 Contest Winner

Homeowner Doug & Pam H.
Location ?
Yard Front


Doug & Pam H. have lived in San Diego County since 1975. They both became interested in succulents about six years ago due to drought conditions and decided to remove their sprinkler system. They now water by hand as some of their plants get by with as little as four waterings a year. The family only uses only 4-5 units of water per month.

They’ve grew plants from neighbor’s cuttings and from plants they purchased, and then divided. Before long, they were propagating many plants and became the envy of their friends and neighbors, many of whom became interested in low water gardening due to their example. Doug & Pam used their propagated plants and expertise to install water-wise succulent gardens at their homes. Using their propagation “super powers” for good, they were able to sell their newly created plants to raise money for a charity, “24-hours for Hank.” This charity supports a friend’s grandson who has Cystinosis, a rare genetic disease. Their sales raise about $1,000 a year for this charity.

Plants Used


2nd place winner: Bruce F.

Tours of residential native landscapes and a visit to Vallecitos’ Sustainable Demonstration Garden inspired Bruce to work on his yard. He visited Vallecitos’ demonstration garden on a Water Academy tour and was able to get ideas for the plants and a design for his landscape. He had been interested in transforming his lawn into a more natural and native setting and appreciated the benefits to wildlife. San Diego County has lost a lot of coastal sage scrub habitat and he wanted to bring some of that closer to his home. He loves to see lizards, birds, and butterflies visiting. Bruce also wanted to conserve water and save on his monthly water bill. His garden design reduces storm water runoff and allows for more infiltration of rainwater into the ground by including two small bio-swales. He also has two small ponds to provide a water source for animals. He has trees and native vines that help provide shade as well as beautiful habitat. He has seen 20-40 percent water savings since using native plants.

3rd place winner: Ellen K.

Ellen removed her front yard lawn and installed a drought-tolerant garden to conserve water, eliminate expensive monthly landscaping, and to give her home better curb appeal.

She used a variety of palms, annuals for color, kangaroo paws, and a number of succulents. She replaced the existing sprinkler system (she states, “which did a better job of watering my driveway!”) with a drip system that provides targeted watering only where needed and a rain barrel for water collection. The drip system disperses water only where it’s needed, and she is no longer watering the sidewalk and wasting precious resources.

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