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Sustainable Landscaping guidebooks

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The popular guidebook for environmentally friendly landscape upgrades is a great resource. The electronic version of “San Diego Sustainable Landscape Guidelines,” compiled by the San Diego County Water Authority, is available at

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 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 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.

For those interested in drought tolerant plants, the Water Authority's Water Smart program has also put together a plant list known as the Nifty 50.

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 hosts sessions of the Landscape Makeover Series. Details and an application form are at