The term Xeriscape comes from the Greek word 'xeros' which means 'dry' combined with 'scape' meaning 'dry landscape' but really it means landscaping with plants that need minimal water. Since about 70 percent of the water consumed by an average single-family home is used outdoors, the best place to start conserving water is in your garden. However, xeriscaping with plants that do not need a lot of water does not mean your garden has to look desolate!
Southwestern states have been xeriscaping the longest due to the fact that they have dry climates and it makes sense to not fight mother nature by growing high maintenance gardens and lawns. But with water becoming a diminishing resource everywhere, other states throughout the U.S. are now xeriscaping too.
Luckily, in Southern California, we have many drought resistant native plants and a climate that allows us to use low water plants from other similar dry climates like Australia, South Africa, the Middle East, and Mediterranean areas. Many of these plants are lush and beautiful and visually completely different than a typical southwest garden of cacti and rocks. There are many wonderful options, and we live in the perfect place for xeriscaping!
Water is still necessary with xeriscapes, especially when plants are new. However they become more drought resistant once established. Many drought tolerant native plants in the wild naturally have deep roots as part of their survival. New, nursery bought plants in pots will take a couple years at minimum to achieve the same deeper root systems as their counterparts in the wild.
Xeriscapes work well with low-pressure systems that deliver water right to the roots of the plants but don't go everywhere. A sub-surface water source not only feeds the roots without wasting it on the surface where it can evaporate, it encourages the roots to grow deeper beyond the root ball which ultimately makes it hardier and more drought resistant in the future. Once roots are established, they will require even less supplemental water.
Another important component to xeriscaping is using a ground cover like gravel or mulch. Mulch can be made from organic materials including leaves, grass clippings, straw, shredded bark, sawdust, wood chips, and cardboard. There is also rubber mulch made from recycled tires which does not decompose quickly. Ground cover does a multiple of jobs when it comes to xeriscaping. Most importantly, it helps keep the moisture in the soil and keeps the ground cooler in the summer. It also keeps weeds from competing with plants for water and nutrients.
Xeriscapes are most stunning when designed with a combination of softscapes and hardscapes. Softscape refers to trees, bushes, plants, ground cover, and the living aspects of the garden. Hardscape is the addition of pathways, planters, and outdoor living areas that can make your garden more inviting, accessible, and visually interesting. Hardscapes also mean less softscapes, and less water. The key is to design a layout that is a balance of the two so that your garden complements your home and is low maintenance; saving you water and money!
There are rebates being offered in Southern California to replace lawns we can help you through that process. We are also certified experts installing smart-water irrigation systems that are efficient and cost effective and are rebate worthy too!
Our team at Pacific Vista Landscape Services are experts when it comes to xeriscaping and knowing the vast variety of drought resistant plant options. We can work with you to design incredible soft and hardscapes to enhance your property which not only look great but will save you money too. Having a beautiful, low maintenance garden makes sense now and in the future!
Is your landscape smart? It can be. Technology originally developed for golf courses and park departments, smart irrigation controllers and rotating sprinklers, are available for all types landscaping from commercial to residential. They do a great job keeping your landscaping healthy, and they also save money!
Smart Irrigation Controller
A smart irrigation controller automatically adjusts watering schedules in response to changing soil and weather conditions. It gathers information about temperature, rain, wind, humidity, soil moisture, and figures the right amount of water to keep your plants and landscape looking healthy.
They work a variety of ways. Some controllers are connected to sensors and measure solar radiation, temperature, humidity, rainfall or soil moisture. Some use historical weather data for your area to project the amount of water needed. Other controllers receive data by satellite or the internet from a network of weather stations.
Rotating Sprinkler Nozzles
Sprinkler technology has evolved too. The latest nozzles rotate, have greater coverage, and are more uniformed in their spray. Their spray is less likely to evaporate in the air from wind, reducing water run-off. In many cases, you can update your existing sprinkler heads with rotary nozzles without having to replace the entire sprinkler body.
New Irrigation Design and Build / Irrigation Retrofit
Pacific Vista Landscape Services can design and build and irrigation system for your commercial or residential project. We establish baseline data based on a digital base plan of existing/original irrigation and landscape in support of the planning process and ROI measurements. This provides an accurate digital record of the location of the existing irrigation equipment [valves, lines and heads] to allow the designer to accurately depict the configuration of the new more efficient system.
We then have an accurate digital record of the location of the existing plants, which allows our irrigation and landscape designers to accurately depict which plants will be retained or replaced. As cost reduction strategy, irrigation designs may include use of existing infrastructure when possible.
Contact Pacific Vista Landscape Services today for smart irrigation installation or retrofit!
Updated: Oct 5, 2021
When backflow protection is necessary, customers are required by their local water company, for instance LADWP, to have an approved backflow prevention assembly installed and tested annually by a certified company. Pacific Vista Landscape Services is proud to be certified in installation, repair, and testing of all approved backflow prevention assemblies in Los Angeles and Ventura counties.
Protecting the public water system from contamination is essential for the safety of our water supply. Cross-connections of pipes between the public water system and private water systems can lead to backflow issues in which untested and possibly unsafe water goes the wrong direction due to backpressure, and can contaminate the public water supply system.
To protect against this, there are Backflow Prevention Programs like LADWP's Backflow Protection Program by the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power and the County of Ventura's Resource Management Agency's Backflow Prevention Program.
As explained by the Los Angeles County Waterworks District, "A cross-connection is any connection between a safe drinking water system and any other untested water source, system, or equipment that may contain unsafe substance. LACWD’s public water systems are designed to keep water flowing in one direction—from LACWD’s water main to the customers’ connections. When an undesirable condition known as backflow occurs, water is allowed to flow in the opposite direction and may bring contaminants or pollutant into the public drinking water supply through a cross-connection.
Backflow is caused by a back siphonage or a back pressure condition in the public water system. Back siphonage may occur when the pressure in the public water system drops below atmospheric pressure and creates a vacuum that may pull unsafe substance into the public water supply. Back pressure may occur when the pressure from a private water system becomes greater than the pressure in the public water system. This difference in pressure may allow unsafe substance from the private water system to enter the public water system. Approved backflow prevention assemblies are designed to prevent backflow of contaminants or pollutants from entering the public water systems."
AT Pacific Vista Landscape Services, we offer low rates to our clients with backflow requirements and also specialize in custom protective cages for the backflow assembly, repairs to existing devices, and offer a free annual reminder for testing and certification. Emergency and after hour service is also available. Contact us today for installation, repairs, and testing by our professional, certified backflow prevention service team and let us ensure your property is in compliance!