Free Sustainable Landscaping guidebooks available at FPUD

Free copies of a popular guidebook for environmentally friendly landscape upgrades are now available in the FPUD lobby. The “San Diego Sustainable Landscape Guidelines,” compiled by the San Diego County Water Authority, is also available online. Homeowners who commit to meeting rigorous sustainable landscaping design standards may also qualify for a financial incentive to help offset project costs.

The 71-page, spiral-bound books are available in limited quantities and will be given away free until they're gone, Please -- only one book per household.

The Water Authority and its partners developed the comprehensive Sustainable Landscape Guidelines to help homeowners upgrade their landscapes with climate-appropriate plants, high-efficiency irrigation equipment, rainwater capture and detention features, and soil amendments to improve water efficiency.

The guidebooks are complete with photos, diagrams and checklists for following sustainable landscaping principles. The electronic version is at SustainableLandscapesSD.org. The principles are put into practice at the Sustainable Landscaping Demonstration Garden at the Water Authority headquarters, 4677 Overland Ave., San Diego. Recent interest in the demonstration garden – which is open to the public for self-guided tours – highlighted a demand for additional hard copies of the books.

“These manuals offer great step-by-step instructions for homeowners to create sustainable showpieces,” said Mark Muir, chair of the Water Authority’s Board of Directors. “Anyone considering a landscape transformation should start with our how-to guide for success, which is tailored to local conditions in San Diego County.”

The guidebook resulted from the Sustainable Landscapes Program, or SLP, a partnership between the Water Authority, the City of San Diego, the County of San Diego, the Surfrider Foundation, the California American Water Co. and the Association of Compost Producers. Funds to create the SLP and to print 12,500 copies of the guidebook this winter were provided by a Proposition 84 grant from the California Department of Water Resources.

Residents who comply with the rigorous SLP design criteria, subject to additional terms and conditions, may qualify for up to $1.75 per square foot toward eligible project costs for upgrading 500 to 3,000 square feet of existing turf areas to sustainable landscapes. Incentives are limited. More information about incentive requirements is at slpincentives.watersmartsd.org.

The guidebooks are also provided to participants in the Water Authority’s four-class WaterSmart Landscape Makeover Series. These free, award-winning and interactive classes teach participants SLP principles and are held over four consecutive weeks. The Water Authority will host two sessions of the Landscape Makeover Series in March and April. Class details and an application form are at landscapemakeover.watersmartsd.org/classes.