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Leafy and water saving ... Ventura model garden.

Leafy and water saving . . . Ventura model garden Water-saving gardens don't have to be dry, desolate, or complicated. Take the garden shown here. Designed by Andy Bowden and Phil Schenkel of Land Concern Ltd., Santa Ana, California, it surrounds a model home in a new tract in Ventura County. Regulations differ from place to place, but the ideas are useful for homeowners and professionals anywhere. These days, model gardens like this one are almost as important as model homes. Since 1982, the county has required some multihome builders to landscape model homes in a water-efficient manner, to show the possibilities and to promote the adoption of water-efficient gardens elsewhere in the neighborhood. The one we show is filled with good examples.

What must the developers do to make landscapes that are water savers? Ventura's regulations stress four points: make lawns smaller, plant mostly low-water-use plants, install an efficient watering system, and schedule watering according to the need of the various kinds of plants--and the season. Let's look at these guidelines in some detail to pick up pointers for water-efficient home landscaping in general. Keep lawns small and tough. In model homes in Ventura, the developer must use heat- and drought-tolerant grasses--Bermuda or improved tall fescues. Choose drought-tolerant plants. Once established, all the trees, shrubs, and ground covers should be able to survive easily with little summer watering. Group plants with similar water needs. The needs of the thirstiest plants set the schedule for everything else in the watering group; that's why it's important not to have an out-of-sync water-gobbler among the others. Split the watering system. Ventura requires model home landscapers to water each planting area according to its separate needs. This garden has two sprinkler programs: one controls the shrub area sprinklers, the other the lawn sprinklers. Position heads with care. You can buy heads that water quarter-circles, half-circles, full circles. Place them carefully--as the model home landscaper must--to minimize overspraying onto sidewalk, driveway, and other unplanted areas. Change the schedule seasonally. In the model homes, water is applied according to average seasonal weather and the known needs of different planted areas--with the time or frequency of sprinkling changed at least four times a year to allow for weather variations. For a list of nonthirsty plants you can choose from, write or call your local water district or planning commission.

PHOTO : Outdoor space was divided into three roughly equal water-use areas: lawns (high),

PHOTO : drought-tolerant plantings (low to moderate), and hardscape (dry)

PHOTO : North-side planting includes gazania `Matsui Yellow', yellow-edge silverberry

PHOTO : (Elaeagnus pungens `Variegata'), and red ironbark eucalyptus (E. sideroxylon)

PHOTO : Modest lawns combined with drought-tolerant landscape plants cut garden wateruse almost in

PHOTO : half. White-flowered `Sister Agnes' oleanders flank drive; tree nearest entrance is

PHOTO : California pepper

PHOTO : West-side planting is gazania ground cover and three eucalyptus. Lawn is Bermuda; shrubs

PHOTO : in background next to house are Photinia fraseri
COPYRIGHT 1988 Sunset Publishing Corp.
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 1988 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Publication:Sunset
Date:Jun 1, 1988
Words:482
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