Tag Archives: water management

App Smart | Track Your Water Usage

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BY Kit Eaton | May. 20, 2015 | 1:58

Here is an interesting video from The New York Times that takes a look at three apps: two educational about water usage and its cost, Drip Detective and Dropcountr, and one, Vizsafe,  that allows you to upload pictures or videos of water-use offenders without self incrimination.

While Drip Detective might sound a bit 1984 in 2015, our drought is extremely serious and people who waste water – by any means – need to be made aware that they are part of a problem that faces us all. And their actions, or lack thereof, have consequences and a little embarsament is a small price to pay for the waste of thousands of gallons of water.

Add A Stream To Your Drought-Tolerant Landscape

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House-w_streamThe New Normal

As California’s drought continues with no end in sight, I have had a substantial increase in client interest in turning front and back yards into drought-tolerant or Xeriscape landscapes.

The reason for this is obvious; it saves an enormous amount of water since grass can easily consume over half a gallon of water per square foot every time you water. To put that into perspective, a 100′ x 100′ lawn uses 6,230 gallons of water every time your sprinkler heads pup up. In addition to saving water and saving the cost of all of that water, it saves substantially on the amount of time and energy needed to maintain the landscape – no grass to cut and most native and drought-tolerant plants require little or no maintenance.

But What Will It Look Like?

This is the question every client asks after they acknowledge the importance of saving water. My answer is to tell them that drought-tolerant, Xeriscape landscaping has been done for centuries all along the Mediterranean, although it wasn’t called that; it was just the way folks created gardens when there was very little available water. And the gardens of the Costa Del Sol, the South of France, the Italian Riviera, and the islands of Corsica, Sardinia, Malta and Greece are filled with some of the most beautiful landscapes in the in the world and with nary a blade of grass in sight.

Add A Stream – Wet or Dry

There are a number of ways to turn a grassy front and/or back yard into a stunning drought-tolerant garden. Any well-designed landscape takes into the consideration the confirmation of the property and the architecture of the structure. It’s not just about ripping out the grass and sticking plants in the ground.

If you have the space and a little elevation, a stream can be created that can turn a boring piece of property into a stunning garden.

To continue reading … Eva’s Notes & News

Tips to Help Trees Survive Drought

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Our California drought is not going away. In fact, given the current weather and worsening drought conditions, this fall will probably be the worst forest fire season in the state’s history. In addition, the state and local communities are significatly increasing regulations regarding the use of water for lawns and have added substantial fines for its misuse.

I came across this info graphic on ways to help your trees survive the drought. Even if you allow your grass to die or decided to replace it with drought-tollernat and native plants, your trees are not only a significant investment in money and time, they add substantial value of your property and provide a number of environmental contributions.  Providing the correct amount of water and right nutrients can help trees and plants survive through severe droughts. If you would like to print this out and keep it handy to refer to, please Click Here

Prepared by the California Urban Forests Council and Invest from the Ground Up to help landscapers and property owners help trees not only survive a drought, but thrive in one. 

Drought-infographic_Trees

Additional Information

For more information on sustainable landscape design, water management and plant selection, here are links to articles I’ve written on the subject :

Water Conservation Can Be Beautiful

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While this is probably not news to most of you, I believe it’s well worth repeating and considering. Last year, 2013 became the driest year on record in California; San Francisco had the least amount of rain since record keeping began during the gold rush of 1849, and here in Southern California, Downtown Los Angeles saw the driest calendar year on record.

Sustainable Water-Wise Garden

We have had virtually no rain this winter (our rainy season) and on January 17, Governor, Jerry Brown, declared a statewide drought emergency. He has urged a voluntary 20% reduction in the use or water saying, “We ought to be ready for a long, continuous, persistent effort including the possibility of drinking-water shortages. I think the drought emphasizes that we do live in an era of limits, that nature has its boundaries.” The department of Water and Power has announced that water rates will be going up and inspectors will soon be on the street checking to see that the thee-day water rationing is being respected and that sprinkler systems are in good working order.

I have written a number of newsletters and blogs about our diminishing water supply with ideas and suggestions on how to deal with it; I even have a page of my website devoted to Sustainable Green Landscape Design. Should you want to read what I’ve had to say over these past three years, here are their links.  There is a lot of valuable information in them on how you can save money and help protect your home from fires, which is also of serious consideration, since the Santa Ana winds are now blowing year round.

Creating A Beautiful, Water-Wise Garden

A drought is a perfect opportunity to change habits by re-conceiving your yard or garden as a landscape that reflects the reality of the environment we now live in.

To continue reading … Eva’s Notes & News

Pervious Concrete

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When It Rains It Drains

One of the most important aspects of landscaping design is the way water is dealt with. Whenever possible, I try to provide a means of allowing rainwater and sprinkler runoff to seep into the ground. This can be accomplished with the use of gravel, decomposed granite and pervious concrete pavement – when a hard, stable surface is required.

Pervious concrete, also know as porous concrete, permeable concrete, no-fines concrete, gap-graded concrete, and enhanced-porosity concrete, is a unique and effective means to address important environmental issues and support green, sustainable growth. By capturing stormwater and allowing it to seep into the ground, porous concrete is instrumental in recharging groundwater, reducing stormwater runoff, and meeting U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) stormwater regulations. In fact, the use of pervious concrete is among the Best Management Practices (BMPs) recommended by the EPA—and by other agencies and geotechnical engineers across the country—for the management of stormwater runoff on a regional and local basis.

This pavement technology creates more efficient land use by eliminating the need for retention ponds, swales, and other stormwater management devices. In doing so, pervious concrete has the ability to lower overall project costs on a first-cost basis.

In pervious concrete, carefully controlled amounts of water and cementitious materials are used to create a paste that forms a thick coating around aggregate particles. A pervious concrete mixture contains little or no sand, creating a substantial void content. Using sufficient paste to coat and bind the aggregate particles together creates a system of highly permeable, interconnected voids that drains quickly.

While pervious concrete can be used for a surprising number of applications, its primary use is in pavement.

For more information check out the website Pervious Pavement or watch this YouTube Video. To see a video on pervious concrete in action, click here.

Water – Water – Everywhere . . . So Where Did It Go?

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You can’t have a beautiful garden if there’s no water to water it with. As I have written here before, and I will repeat again today, WATER IS A FINITE RESOURCE!  Without it, not only will our gardens dry up and blow away, but we will as well.

US Drought Areas
US Drought Areas

This may sound dramatic, but as I write this, millions of Angelenos are watering thousands of acres of unnecessary grass using antiquated and inefficient methods, which will waste millions of gallons of water – never to be replaced. This reality is bad enough in the best of times, but we don’t live in the best of times, we are now living with a natural disaster that has been declared the worst in this country’s recorded history.

Worst Drought on Record

As reported on July 14th on examiner.com and in the New York Times today, the United States has declared a natural disaster in more than 1,297 drought-stricken counties in 29 states. The declaration from the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), includes most of the south-west, which has been scorched by wildfires, parts of the mid-western corn belt, and the south-east.

To continue reading … Eva’s Notes & News

Landscape Industry Show, January 12/13

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I’m off to see what’s new to the market place this year at the the mother of all landscaping shows this Wednesday at the LA Convention Center.

This is a “must-see” for any landscape designer or garden consultant who wants to keep current with what’s happening in irrigation and water management, water conservation alternatives, stone, rockwork and water features, out-door lighting, and, of course, sustainable gardening and drought-tollerant lawns, plants, trees and shrubs.

While this is a to-the-trade only show, I plan on walking my feet off, taking lots of pictures, gathering up all the goodies I can and will most definitely “tell all” in this month’s newsletter.

So, if you want to know what’s “happening” in the world of landscape design – how to conserve water – or what’s new in sustainable gardens, make a point of reading it. It’ll be out in a week or so – or if you haven’t signed up for it and want to … just click here.