Dreams of cultivating wildness come true

Everywhere I look, I still see homeowners with lawns of green grass or brown yards with dead grass. Lawn care even with the hardy Kentucky bluegrass requires constant running of water sprinklers, scattering of seeds, spreading fertilizers, spraying powerful herbicides that kill everything but the grass, and mowing.

In the arid West, about 70% of residential water is used for landscaping, and most of this water ends up on grass.

I made the landscaping decision to remove the grass and have a natural garden to provide pollen for bees and nitrogen for the soil. I planted aloes, succulents, cholla cactus, pulled weeds by hand, spread thick mulch, and put decorative river rocks in front of the house to reduce the space I needed to water. I installed a water catchment system to collect rain water and I watered as little as I could.

After a year without fertilizers, pesticides or mowing, the yard did not look like the conventional grassy lawns of my neighbors, but it thrived in its own wild way. Catalina Cherry trees provide shade and food for the squirrels. They have very shiny green leaves all year round without any watering. Aloes, and cholla flowers attract bees, lacewings, birds, and butterflies. The yard did not look like the conventional grassy lawns of my neighbors, but it thrived in its own wild  way.

Fresh Rain Water Capture in California

To collect rain water, you need to select rain barrels made for rain capture.

  1. https://americanwest.biz/california/raincapture.php
  2. Should be easy to install with a modular design to expand capacity by simply linking multiple barrels
  3. Barrels should installed at least 6 inches above ground for gravity discharge or to allow filling a bucket
  4. Barrels stand can be made out of two 2×6 pressure treated lumber custom cut to size sitting on concrete blocks
  5. Barrel spigot should be bronze not plastic Barrel top/cover should be easy to open for cleaning
  6. Barrel filter should be easy to clean and prevents mosquitoes from going in Install overflow hose to divert excess water to a diverter away from the foundation
  7. A good rain can fill three barrels connected to each other in two days
  8. Some Water Districts offer rebates. You need to submit an application before you start your project for approval.
  9. Lastly, you will have fresh rain water to use in your garden during the summer and you save on water bill.

Water Capture Rain Barrels

A rain barrel is used by a homeowner to collect and store rainwater from the roof of a home. The water harvested is soft, fresh water that can be used for a variety of purposes, including lawn and garden watering.

Rebates for Water Residential/Commercial Projects

Santa Clara Valley Water District encourages residents and businesses to convert approved high water use landscape to low water use landscape as well as to retrofit existing irrigation equipment with approved high efficiency irrigation equipment. Sites wishing to participate in the rebate program must apply online to request a pre-inspection and must complete the online application for approval before beginning any work on their project. Projects that have been started or projects that have already been completed prior to the Notice to Proceed are not eligible.

To save water and money, you can apply at https://scvwd.dropletportal.com/

Smart California Garden

By planting California native plants, you will support and attract our essential insects, bees, butterflies, birds and countless other animals that lay their eggs on, or consume, only native plants. There is still another benefit to native plants: they are designed by nature to grow here, so once they are established, they require little or no irrigation or fertilizer. Nature will take care of your yardwork!