3 steps to a sustainable yard

by Juan Garcia

One of the most exciting things about buying a brand-new home is the “blank canvas” potential of making it your own. This is particularly true in the yard.

Here are three tips to create your own masterpiece.

Plan around your lifestyle

Will you be entertaining or needing open space for young kids to play? Draw out the areas in the yard where you want these various uses, then build your landscape design around that.

Next, consider the type of landscape you have in mind. Are you looking for aesthetics, an extension to your indoor living space, or maybe a shady spot that creates a peaceful respite and retreat?

Hydrozone your landscape

It sounds complicated, but hydrozones are pretty simple, and it’s really important in designing a new yard. This landscape approach clusters plants with similar water, soil and sun needs together. That way, you don’t overwater one species while drying out another. It’ll make care and maintenance much easier and keeps the yard looking healthy.

Go native

The western redbud is a vibrant addition to a new yard. Its bright pink and magenta flowers will become a much-
anticipated pop of color when they blossom in spring.

California natives make a new yard pop. The California Native Plant Society (calscape.org) has an extensive database of plants and an interactive planner with sample landscape designs.

Some of my favorite native plants include the western redbud, sticky monkey flower and Bee’s Bliss, which hummingbirds love.

We’re here to help

Irvine Ranch Water District offers a variety of planning tools at RightScapeResources.com, including inspirational photos, guidelines for colors and textures, and a questionnaire to help you discover and incorporate your preferences into the overall design. It also includes tips on irrigation systems and controllers.

Juan Garcia, senior water efficiency specialist at Irvine Ranch Water District, provides tips on creating and maintaining a beautiful, water-efficient landscape. Reach him at askjuan@irwd.com.