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Have the Best Landscaping on the Block While Conserving Water

Your landscaping can be both beautiful and water-efficient with free classes, rebates and other local resources.

With all the rain we’ve had this winter, and the in Redwood City, sometimes it’s difficult to remember California is still in a drought.

The state Department of Water Resources says precipitation remains below normal for the third year in a row, so it’s as important as ever to conserve water when you can. And with the first day of spring right around the corner, it’s a great time to start thinking about ways your garden can save water.

Conserving water outdoors is important: Up to 80 percent of all home water use goes towards landscaping in the Bay Area, according to John Russell, the owner of WaterSprout, an Oakland-based company that installs .

The task of making your landscaping more “water wise” can be daunting, whether you hire professionals or do it yourself. What is the most efficient irrigation system? How do you find native or low-water plants?

Luckily there are many resources on the Peninsula that will not only help make your landscape water efficient, but will also help you create a beautiful, enjoyable outdoor space.

Free landscaping classes offered

Bay Area Water Supply and Conservation Agency, a public agency that represents the many of the Peninsula cities, offers free classes on water-efficient landscaping  in the spring. There are numerous classes that cover removing your lawn and what to replace it with—native grasses for an alternative lawn or a completely re-designed garden with low-water trees, shrubs and flowers. Other classes teach you to install efficient drip-irrigation systems or design a kid-friendly garden.

(Customize next paragraph by finding classes in or near your city at http://bawsca.org/docs/BAWSCA_Spring2011_LandscapeClass_Flyer)

Visit BAWSCA’s website for a complete list of classes.  Call 650-349-3000 to register.

Shop for native plants

You can find low-water plants at your local nursery: Ask for native Californian or low-water, drought-tolerant plants when you shop locally at or in Redwood City. Because M&M Nursery is a full-service nursery, it offers landscaping services as well if you're still hesitant to start your own DIY project. Wegman's has been in operation since 1960, and there expertise is available seven days a week.

You can also visit nurseries on the Peninsula that specialize in native plants. Woodside’s Yerba Buena Nursery is California’s oldest native plant nursery. Browse their selection of more than 600 species of native plants for sale, and walk through their two-acre demonstration garden to see what the plants look like when they’re established.

You can shop for native plants, while sipping on a latte and nibbling on a scone, at , a nursery and coffee shop in Half Moon Bay. in Palo Alto focuses on gardening for edibles, but they also offer a variety of native and low-water plants for sale, as well as gardening classes.

Rebates offered to replace lawns

Many Peninsula residents are eligible for a new rebate to replace their lawns with low-water gardens. BAWSCA is offering 50 cents per square-foot of lawn area converted, up to $500. You can apply for the Lawn Be Gone Rebate if you live in Redwood City and several coastal unincorporated communities.

The rebate is available until June 30, or until funds run out, so apply soon if you’ve been thinking about replacing your lawn. Remember to apply for the rebate before your tear out your lawn.

Visit BAWSCA’s website to confirm your eligibility and read the program’s requirements.

Whether you want a low-maintenance yard, you’re planting a veggie garden, or you want a low-water lawn with native grasses, there are many resources on the Peninsula to help you create a garden that is both attractive and water wise. Happy spring gardening!

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