When planning your new garden, we strongly encourage you to consider the following low-water use gardening principles.
Planning & Design
Planning and design require the skilled coordination of 7 Xeriscape
principles. Organizing a garden for aesthetics, practicality and, most
of all, water efficiency, can be complicated and is easier with the
assistance of a professional. Work with your landscape architect or
designer to create a tropical, cottage, Mediterranean, or any style
Xeriscape garden you desire.
Practical Turf Areas
Turf is the most water-thirsty landscape component. Design lawn areas for practical purposes: play, maintenance access and light traffic. For some homeowners, a front lawn is unnecessary and can be replaced with trees, shrubs, boulders and pathways, or mulched areas.
Many recent innovations in irrigation technology enable slow, steady and specific water application. Look for words such as "low gallonage" or "low application rate." Consider drip systems for shrubs and trees, and always locate turf on a separate valve.
The addition of organic matter to the soil increases water retention and penetration. Get to know your soil and amend it prior to planting. A soil test will guide you in amending your soil.
About 2 to 3 inches of mulch will keep soil cool, reduce evapotranspiration and weed growth. Mulch can be rocks, wood chips, bark, or shredded wood.
There is a place for every plant in a Xeriscape garden when located correctly. Group plants according to their water and sun needs. This is called hydrozoning. There are many interesting and colorful low-water-use plants now available. Take advantage of these whenever possible!
Seasonal irrigation adjustments and efficiency checks are maintenance practices that save water. Organic fertilizers and composting will improve soil texture and maintain vigorous plant growth.
Water-Efficient Demonstration Garden
Located at the District's Main Office in Concord, the garden has more than 50 different types of plants on display and is a great example of Xeriscape landscaping.
The garden uses half the water of the lawn it replaces. Please come by for a visit anytime.
Gardening in Contra Costa County
A complete resource for ideas, and plants. This guide is full of local information about planning and enjoying a beautiful water-saving garden.