Congratulations to the ten winners of our first annual Water Authority Desert Friendly Landscape Contest! Thank you for sharing your beautiful gardens with us. They will be an inspiration for others to make the switch to desert-friendly landscapes.

Succulent Garden Wisdom

What once was a high-water use turfgrass lawn in the Northeast Heights is now a xeriscape garden with a focus on succulents. Janice transformed 550 square feet of turf into a diverse landscape complete with low-water use trees and shrubs and a beautiful succulent garden. She loves that there is, “No more mowing! No more trimming edges! No more feeding with nutrients! No more grass!”

When selecting plants, Janice turned to a variety of resources, including 505Outside, the Xeriscape guide and avid gardener friends. She hired a professional landscape company to install her new drip system. “The drip system is my go-to irrigation system as recommended by various professionals,” Janice said. “My plants and trees are happy following the 505Outside seasonal watering recommendations.”

Succulent beds are her favorites, and she looks forward to adding new succulent species each year. Janice enjoys the diversity of plants in her yard and how they change colors throughout the seasons.

What started as a way to reduce water usage has evolved into a renewed love of the outdoors. Janice keeps track of landscape seasonal transitions, rain events, plant changes and teachings in her “Garden Wisdom” journal. “A garden can teach a lot about flexibility, patience and calmness,” she added.

Desert friendly winners

Unearthing Wildscape  

Local scientists Paul and Teri started with high-water use turfgrass and trees when they set out to make a wildlife habitat in their yard in the North Valley. They removed all the non-native grass and have been slowly replacing it with low-water native plants. Areas that haven’t yet been planted are covered with 3″-4” of organic mulch, which is an easy way to prep the soil before they’re ready to plant.

Desert friendly xeriscape winner

A pond was added to create a habitat for western toads. Other creatures have joined their landscape, and it is now a recognized Fish and Wildlife backyard refuge.

Part of the scientific work that Paul and Teri do involves mapping vegetation across the Southwest. Their extensive knowledge of local ecosystems has helped them select native plants that will thrive in different environments and through our changing climate, especially during times of drought.Wild native plants can be very beautiful and add value to gardens because they remain resilient thru changes,” they said. 

Their yard is set up with a drip irrigation system that waters as needed. During rainstorms rain barrels collect up to 1,500 gallons of water, which supplement their irrigation system.

Desert friendly xeriscape winner

“We are proud to minimize water use while maximizing pollinators, edibles and the abundance of plants,” they said.

Desert friendly xeriscape winner

Learn more about our rebates here:


Desert friendly Xeriscape Conversion Rebate

Local Desert Friendly Landscapes Reveal

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