Sustainable Landscapes Program

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SD Additional Classes Flyer V1 2016-07-06

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Looks like El Nino is not going to fix the drought for us, so San Diego is ready to look to the urban landscape to provide solutions by:

  • Building healthy, living soil that acts like a sponge by absorbing water when we irrigate or it rains
  • Growing plants that thrive in our local weather conditions and ‘feed the local pollinators’
  • Collecting rainwater from roofs and other hard surfaces, and redirecting it into the soil


Educating and informing San Diego residents is the name of the game

Surfrider and G3 Green Gardens Group have teamed together, to partner with San Diego County Water Authority, the City of San Diego, the County of San Diego, California American Water and the Association of Compost Producers, to promote the Watershed Approach to landscaping.The ‘San Diego Sustainable Landscape Guidelines’ provide the backbone for a holistic package of in-depth professional training, homeowner Hands On Turf Removal Workshops, Design Seminars and one-on-one Garden Guru coaching.

This training is part of a collaborative effort to implement the Sustainable Landscapes Program. See above for participating partners. The Sustainable Landscapes Program is made possible by a Proposition 84 grant under the Safe Drinking Water, Water Quality and Supply, Flood Control, River and Coastal Protection Bond Act of 2006, administered by State of California, Department of Water Resources.


San Diego Sustainable Landscape Guidelines - Part ISan Diego Sustainable Landscape Guidelines
A Watershed Approach to Landscaping

A guide for homeowners and professionals. A free printed copy is available to all Workshop attendees, but if you can’t wait to get your hands on it, here it is.

Landscape Design Seminar Hands On Workshop

IMG_5659Building on the lessons taught in the popular California Friendly Landscape Training class, our three hour Design Seminar will teach you the basics of plant selection, design aesthetics and plant water needs, followed by guided practice at designing YOUR landscape.

We highly encourage you to attend a California Friendly Landscape Training (CFLT) class before attending the Design Seminar, but realize that is not always possible. Please check out the FAQs, which include the hand out’s for the CFLT class, especially the site evaluation section which will provide you with what you need to start the design process on your yard during the Design Seminar.


IMG_5930Turf Removal and Contouring For Rain Hands On Workshop

Learn best by doing? Let us show you in a real garden how to remove turf without the use of harmful chemicals, build healthy living soil, capture water from the roof and other hard surfaces and ‘slow it, spread it, sink it’ into the landscape. You will be able to replicate these steps in your own, or your neighbor’s, yard, and you will get the sense of accomplishment that comes with creating another of these  beautiful water- and environment saving landscapes.

Garden Gurus – Individual Consultations With A Watershed Wise Landscape Professional

Our Garden Gurus are Landscape Professionals who have passed the Watershed Wise Landscape Professional exam. Working from a checklist, the Garden Guru will spend 90 minutes helping you create a Watershed Wise Landscape.

Garden Guru appointments are Free for those attending one or both of the Hands On Workshops. Only one appointment per household.

Garden Guru appointments will be available after March 1st, 2016. They will be distributed on a first come, first served basis. More information about Garden Gurus will be given during each of the Hands On Workshops.

Have a landscaper you like to work with? Why not share the professional training that we offer for all those interested in water quality, water conservation and the environment.

Professional Training – Watershed Wise Landscape Professional

More than 80 people took part in this two day workshop which provided the math and science behind the very real question of “how much water does this landscape really need?” No longer are ‘rules of thumb’ or urban myths good enough. We have to have a definitive answer for our clients, our climate and our own peace of mind. Upon completion of this workshop you will be able to create landscapes that thrive on minimal amounts of irrigation, boosting the local ecosystem and positively affect the surrounding temperature and humidity, and are much more cost effective than a traditional ‘lawn and a street tree’ approach.

The Watershed Wise Landscape Professional workshop is WaterSense Certified by the Environmental Protection Agency!

The people who have taken this course are now becoming our Garden Gurus. So, meet them by participating in the SLP classes and workshops in order to qualify for a visit.



Recent Posts

Why Artificial Turf is NOT the answer

Far from being no maintenance, artificial turf grass needs maintenance on a regular basisSynthetic turf, or artificial grass, is what used to be called AstroTurf. Many ask us if this is a viable option for saving water in the landscape, and our answer is a resounding ‘NO’.

We do not recommended artificial turf as a water conservation tool for several reasons:

  • Artificial turf is installed over a highly compacted base of gravel and/or decomposed granite or concrete, so it’s permeability is at least as poor as regular compacted turf. We need our landscapes to hold on to water, so that our soil can filter and clean the pollutants, recharge our aquifers and lock up carbon from the atmosphere to help combat increasing levels of CO2.
  • The in-fill material of artificial turf is often rubber crumb made from recycled car tires. This off-gases and has been linked to increasing rates of cancer and other diseases for those who play on it regularly.
  • Artificial turf gets hot, contributing to the heat-island effect around the property. This could adversely affect surrounding plant material, increase the temperature and increase the amount of air conditioning used inside the building. Increased energy use is expensive to your wallet and the environment. In some cases, homeowners opt to hosing it down to get it to cool off enough for pets and children to play on it.
  • Often heralded as a no water, no maintenance solution for landscapes, artificial grass will happily support weeds if there is enough water in the surrounding area, and it does need to be regularly ‘washed’ since it gets dusty, and germs and bacteria make their home in it if its played on or animals use it as a bathroom.
  • Artificial Turf is a petroleum based plastic and we all understand that petroleum is a dwindling resource. Plants are not.
  • The life span of artificial turf is about 10-15 years, and may well be less in very sunny areas. What do we do with it then? We all know that plastic does not degrade so it will sit in a landfill for hundreds of years.

Our advice is that artificial turf grass has no place in the residential setting, and its place in the sports field and school settings should come under scrutiny in light of the increasing concerns. While looking at existing research please be aware of the considerable influence of large corporations with vested interests in selling their product.

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