Ranging from cottage-style gardens to micro-vineyards, entries in the 2021 City of Oceanside’s WaterSmart Landscape Contest showcase the diversity and utility of California-friendly landscaping. Ten Oceanside residents participated in the contest this year, an annual competition recognizing exceptional water-wise landscapes in San Diego County based on overall attractiveness, design, appropriate plant selection, and water efficient irrigation. The contest also highlights the social and economic value of water-efficient landscapes to our region, bringing awareness to the benefits of sustainable landscaping to the Southern California community. Three Oceanside residents were recognized in the contest this year for their attractive and climate-appropriate landscapes that represent their dedication to water-efficient landscape designs.
Maximizing water efficiency outdoors is especially important as California is in its second consecutive dry year, with drought conditions present throughout the Southwest region and state. During this period of state-wide water shortages, residents with water-wise landscapes are equipped to maintain a beautiful landscape while using little water.
Jeri Moore, first place winner in this year’s contest, remarked that her “large grass lawn required frequent watering resulting in expensive water bills, lots of maintenance, and continued adjustment to prevent overspray from high volume sprinkler heads.” However, after educating herself on irrigation and drought-tolerant plants through the City’s and San Diego County Water Authority’s free landscaping workshops, Jeri was able to create a water-efficient landscape design with a varied array of plants that complemented her home. Now, several areas of her landscape do not require irrigation at all, some areas she hand waters with the water collected from her two rain barrels, and she also replaced her sprinklers with micro bubblers and in-line drip emitters to provide a low volume of water that is healthy for her plants and trees while resulting in little to no evaporation. She has a beautiful landscape she can look out at from every room in her home.
The two runners-up in the City’s contest, Jerrold Loo and Steven Bailey, also established brilliant water-wise landscapes after their common interests in reduced maintenance, limited water runoff, and creating natural habitats prompted them to seek turf replacement. By creating visibly pleasing and functional designs, both residents were able to save water while experiencing the colorful blooms and native animals attracted to their new habitat.