As part of its Sustainable Living Speaker Series at Los Altos Library, GreenTown Los Altos recently hosted a seminar on high- to low-water landscape conversions. Speakers Frank Niccoli, adjunct instructor at Foothill and Merit Colleges, and Lori Morris, owne of landscape design company Beneficial Gardens (beneficialgardens.com), detailed the Santa Clara Valley Water District (SCVWD) rebate process and introduced a wide variety of low-water plants to replace water-guzzling landscaping favorites.
With landscaping accounting for up to 70% of residential water use and an “exceptional drought” in full swing, the SCVWD earlier this year doubled its landscape conversion rebates to encourage homeowners to replace lawns and other high-water landscaping with less thirsty alternatives. The $2 per square foot rebate (even more in some areas) could cover a do-it-yourselfer’s planting and water-saving irrigation costs; the rebate is available to those whose projects are approved by September 30th. The SCVWD offers everything from garden design tips to lists of nurseries and irrigation supply stores to assist you in the process. A list of local landscapers who have completed three or more low-water conversions is there, too, for those who would prefer to watch the transformation from a comfortable chair.
As Niccoli and Morris pointed out, your low water landscape can be as beautiful as the thirsty landscape it replaces. The plants pictured here are all on the SCVWD’s 15-page list of approved low-water plants. Additional images can be found at the Bay Area Water Supply and Conservation Agency’s Water-Wise Gardening Guide. To take advantage of double rebates (until September 30), visit the SCVWD’s landscaping page.