Water Conservation News From Four Dimensions

This year Jerry Brown is asking for a statewide cutback of 25% on overall water usage throughout the state of California. It has been reported this cutback will mostly be directed at "campuses, golf courses, cemeteries and large landscapes."  Jerry is asking local governments to "replace 50 million square feet of lawn with drought tolerant landscaping and create temporary rebate programs for consumers who replace old appliances with water efficient ones."

Last year Brown asked for a 20% water cutback.  He is now asking California to use 5% less water than last year. It is said that this cutback may become mandatory...but for whom?  Maybe only for large-scale companies and agencies. We will see what our local water districts come up with as the year progresses.

Since the news has come out, we are being asked what can be done to save more water.

The easiest solution inside your home, is to replace water-guzzling appliances with water efficient ones. Be on the look out for rebates: there should be plenty of them coming available per Jerry Brown's request.

Water Conservation in the Landscape

Some of our clients are now asking if it’s OK to go ahead with their landscape plans for the year, considering the water cutback.

We think so, and here’s why:  

Getting rid of water consuming areas in the garden will reduce water consumption.  We can design and install beautiful drought adapted gardens that will bring you enjoyment and add value to your home.   

Here are some ideas we have that can help:

Remove the water guzzling lawns that will not live on less water. 

Add the right plant to the right place… use beautiful drought adapted plants. They will progressively reduce your water consumption each year as they become established.

Reduce the size of planting areas in the garden by adding more hardscape, like paths, paved or unpaved patios, outdoor cooking areas, walls, seating areas etc.

Add a small fountain or water feature to invite habitat and give the feeling of a lush environment without adding lots of water directly to the garden. 

Remove old leaking irrigation lines or heads that waste water with over throw and run off onto sidewalks and driveways.  

Add drip irrigation so you only add water to each plant. 

Locate and refurbish leaking drip irrigation lines with sound tubing and emitters.

Think about adding a “Smart Irrigation Controller.”  Smart controllers automatically adjust water volume based on climate cycle, temperature fluctuations and many other environmental factors.

Cover your bare planting beds with thick layers of course mulch to hold water in the soil. Mulch will keep plants moist and insulate plant roots from temperature extremes. It prevents water runoff, erosion, soil compaction and improves soil structure by adding nutrients to the soil as it decomposes. Mulch also reduces annual weed growth by as much as 90%, significantly reducing the labor costs of weeding.

Moving Forward on Water Conservation in the Landscape

Removal of water consuming plants and lawns can start the process.

The next step could be the installation of the hard surfaces like paths, patios, fences, gates, etc. This would allow you to enjoy your garden and the living spaces in it right away. 

If you like, you can save the planting for the winter growing season, or for a phase 2 process, to be installed whenever you wish. The newly created planting beds can be formed, mulched and ready for new plants and drip irrigation whenever you are.  You can also decide to plant only a selected part of the garden, leaving other not so important areas for later.

Four Dimensions Knows Water Conservation

For the last 31 years, Four Dimensions Landscape, has focused on developing landscaping methods that lower water consumption, environmental toxicity, reduce waste and enhance sustainability in the garden.  We focus on quality care, value and getting the job done right.  We know what works and what doesn’t.

We have collaborated with EBMUD on their award winning book "Plants and Landscapes for Summer Dry Climates," and have worked with them on public and residential incentive programs to reduce water waste in the garden. Together with, we wrote the Bay Friendly landscaping guidelines for landscape professionals, homeowners and municipalities demonstrating how to save water, reduce waste and enhance sustainability in the landscape.

You can call on us to help you with a water conserving landscape design, installation and/ or horticultural maintenance needs.  As your garden establishes, you will see your smart investment conserve water and mature into a beautiful landscape that will bring you joy for years to come.


Check with your local water district to see what landscape rebates may be available for you. They offer reimbursements for lawn removal and installation of smart controllers, drip systems, and water conserving landscapes. 

In some water districts, residents may also be allowed extra water use if enrolled in water conserving landscape programs. Call your local water district for current details. 

You can visit EBMUDConservationAndRebates or call (866) 403-2683 to get in touch with EBMUD. Visit ContraCostaWater, or call (925) 688-8320 for the Contra Costa Water District.