Sustainable Landscaping Guidebooks Available

Sustainable Landscaping Guidebook Courtesy of the San Diego Water Authority

Free manuals include photos, diagrams and checklists for environmentally friendly upgrades

PR: Free copies of a popular guidebook for environmentally friendly landscape upgrades are available to residents countywide starting today, thanks to a second printing of the “San Diego Sustainable Landscape Guidelines” by the San Diego County Water Authority. Homeowners who commit to meeting rigorous sustainable landscaping design standards may also qualify for a financial incentive to help offset project costs.

Residents can pick up the 71-page, spiral-bound books at the front desk of the Water Authority’s Kearny Mesa headquarters, and at 18 other locations in San Diego, Chula Vista, El Cajon, Oceanside, San Marcos, Spring Valley and Bonita. (See location details below.) Quantities are limited, and participants are allowed only one book per household.

The Water Authority and its partners developed the comprehensive Sustainable Landscape Guidelines to help homeowners upgrade their landscapes with climate-appropriate plants, high-efficiency irrigation equipment, rainwater capture and detention features, and soil amendments to improve water efficiency.

The guidebooks – complete with photos, diagrams and checklists for following sustainable landscaping principles – were first published in October 2015, along with an electronic version that is at The principles were then put into practice at the Sustainable Landscaping Demonstration Garden at the Water Authority headquarters, 4677 Overland Ave., San Diego. Recent interest in the demonstration garden – which is open to the public for self-guided tours – highlighted a demand for additional hard copies of the books.

“These manuals offer great step-by-step instructions for homeowners to create sustainable showpieces,” said Mark Muir, chair of the Water Authority’s Board of Directors. “Anyone considering a landscape transformation should start with our how-to guide for success, which is tailored to local conditions in San Diego County.”

The guidebook resulted from the Sustainable Landscapes Program, or SLP, a partnership between the Water Authority, the City of San Diego, the County of San Diego, the Surfrider Foundation, the California American Water Co. and the Association of Compost Producers. Funds to create the SLP and to print 12,500 copies of the guidebook this winter were provided by a Proposition 84 grant from the California Department of Water Resources.

Residents who comply with the rigorous SLP design criteria, subject to additional terms and conditions, may qualify for up to $1.75 per square foot toward eligible project costs for upgrading 500 to 3,000 square feet of existing turf areas to sustainable landscapes. Incentives are limited. More information about incentive requirements is at

Besides being available at locations countywide, the guidebooks are provided to participants in the Water Authority’s four-class WaterSmart Landscape Makeover Series. These free, award-winning and interactive classes teach participants SLP principles and are held over four consecutive weeks. The Water Authority will host two sessions of the Landscape Makeover Series in March and April. Class details and an application form are at

Free copies of the book are available while supplies last during business hours at the locations below from these participating agencies and organizations:

San Diego County Water Authority – 4677 Overland Ave., San Diego

City of San Diego

  • Public Utilities Department – 525 B St., Main Floor
  • City Administration Building Lobby – 202 C St.
  • Central Library – 300 Park Blvd.
  • Valencia Park/Malcolm X Branch Library – 5148 Market St.
  • Rancho Peñasquitos Branch Library – 13330 Salmon River Road

Sweetwater Authority – 505 Garrett Ave, Chula Vista

Water Conservation Garden – 12122 Cuyamaca College Drive W., El Cajon

City of Oceanside

  • Civic Center Library – 330 Coast Highway
  • Mission Branch Library – 3861 Mission Ave.
  • Civic Center, Revenue and Cashiering Office – 300-C N. Ditmar St., East Building
  • Civic Center, Water Administration Office – 300 N. Coast Highway, First Floor, South Building

Vallecitos Water District – 201 Vallecitos De Oro, San Marcos

Otay Water District

  • District office – 2554 Sweetwater Springs Blvd., Spring Valley
  • Southwestern College Library – 900 Otay Lakes Road, Chula Vista
  • Otay Ranch Branch Library – 2015 Birch Road, Suite #409, Chula Vista
  • Bonita-Sunnyside Branch Library – 4375 Bonita Road, Bonita
  • Salt Creek Recreation Center – 2710 Otay Lakes Road, Chula Vista
  • Heritage Recreation Center – 1381 E. Palomar St., Chula Vista

To view the guidebook and a list of pick-up locations online, go to

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