Water wise landscaping is hard. But with 50% of water used outdoors wasted, western states’ history of droughts, and ongoing climate change, it is essential. Our 5-year transformation from water intensive to water wise gardens, and all the learnings along the way, inspire this blog.

Let me back up to the beginning. In late 2011 we moved to Southern California and, guided by local experts, redid our landscaping with low-water plants and drip irrigation. Like millions of others, we didn’t know it was year 1 of a deep drought. Come early 2014, our district began rationing and we faced the seemingly impossible challenge of a 50% cut in water beyond what we had already done.

Rather than halve irrigation as advised or drill a well as others did, I set out to be sustainable. Research and analysis inspired sea changes in our designs, plantings, and practices. Now, after multiple redos, 5 years of drought, and 3 years of rationing, we enjoy healthier gardens that need far less water and maintenance.

This metamorphosis became a ray of hope after 2015’s first statewide rationing. Thirty-five Association of Professional Landscape Designers toured our gardens. Montecito Magazine’s “Sustainable Gardening” featured us plus Lotusland and La Huerta at Old Mission. Area seminar organizers invited me to present, a renowned journalist took garden photos for a new book, and homeowners and businesses sought my help.

Landscapingwaterwise.com shares what, why, and how to retool landscapes for sustainability, including:

Patti Prairie

6 thoughts on “About

  1. Hi There

    I am in Caper Town, South Africa and think you have the most beautiful photos, I have done a small write-up on the Myrsine Africanus and your photo with the plant as a border is exactly what I have written about. Would you mind if I made use of it as an example of how it can be used in the garden?

    Thank you


    Beth du Plessis


    1. Hello, Delynn. Smart plugs are something you make yourself. The right side of the photo at the top of https://landscapingwaterwise.com/2015/12/12/say-no-to-goof-yes-to-smart/ shows the interconnections. Just:

      1) cut an inch or two of spaghetti tubing (which comes by the foot or in 100′ rolls for about $5 at an irrigation or hardware store or online)
      2) insert a goof plug (which comes in a set of 10 or package of 100 at an irrigation or hardware store or online) on one end
      3) push the other end of the spaghetti tubing onto the emitter that is on the drip line.

      This DIY solution solved so many problems over the past several years for me as well as for attendees in classes I’ve taught. Hope it helps you too.



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