Landscaping Toolbox

Proper landscaping techniques create not just beautiful landscapes, but also benefit the environment and save water! Whether you are looking to save water or minimize maintenance Santa Fe Irrigation District offers a number of resources to plan and maintain your water wise landscape!

Adjust Irrigation:

Irrigation controllers are commonly used to set start times, frequency, and duration of a sprinkler or drip system. Over-irrigation is very common, most homes can likely reduce irrigation time and frequency by 20 - 40 percent with little effect on landscaping. Check with a professional to determine where you can save.

Daylight Savings 

When you change your clock, it's also a good time to adjust your outdoor watering schedule. While we adjust to the sun setting earlier, it also means your landscaping needs less water and increasing efficiency can be accomplished in a few easy steps. 

  1. Irrigate in the morning - An ideal time to irrigate your landscape is in the early morning hours. There is moisture in the air, which helps increase efficiency. Think about turning those sprinklers on around 4 or 5, before the sun comes up. Irrigating in the evening may result in mold and fungus, especially in cool weather.
  2. Work with nature - Take advantage of any rain, heavy marine layer or dew to water your lawn and plants. Coastal areas especially can reduce their irrigation times during cloud and heavy marine layer days. Moisture from the air will settle on the ground and be absorbed.

Other Adjustment Tips:

  • Gradually reduce water use by 10% increments over a few weeks - giving lawns, plants, and tress time to adjust
  • Find your irrigation controller manual online 
  • Install a "Smart" controller with can automatically adjust using current weather data, and soil moisture sensors
  • Check for and repair leaks 
  • Adjust sprinkler heads to maximize coverage and eliminate runoff
  • Install a drip system, and group plants with similar water needs on one drip line

Irrigation Scheduling Worksheet:

Calculate lawn and landscaping needs using Worksheet developed by UC Division of Agriculture and Natural Resources and UC Davis. This worksheet will generate an annual calendar to irrigate a single hydrozone based on local historical evapotranspiration (ET), distribution uniformity (DU) assessment information, soil type, and desired soil wetting depth. you can access the worksheet by visiting the : California Garden Web.

Further Resources:

  • A Homeowner's Guide to a WaterSmart Landscape: This Guide reflects the state's Model Water Efficient Landscape Ordinance standards and explains the principles of a WaterSmart landscape; water-efficient Design and Irrigation, climate-appropriate Plants, and best Maintenance practices.
  • Visual Plant Guide: from California American Water showcasing types of plants and trees that will thrive in Southern California's semi-arid climate, and information on how to plant trees.
  • Nifty-Fifty: A list of plants that have been selected because they are attractive, often available in nurseries, non-invasive, easy to maintain, long-term performers, scaled for residential landscapes, and of course, once established - drought tolerant.
  • WaterSmart Landscaping in San Diego County

San Diego Botanic Garden

Located 30 minutes north of San Diego in Encinitas, California, San Diego Botanic Garden (SDBG) features numerous exhibits, including rare bamboo groves, desert gardens, a tropical rainforest, California native plants, Mediterranean climate landscapes, succulent gardens, an herb garden, firesafe landscaping, a subtropical fruit garden, and native coastal sage natural areas. In June of 2009, the SDBG opened the Hamilton Children's Garden, the largest interactive children's garden on the West Coast.