GreenTown Los Altos

Smart Rebates + Smart Irrigation = Smart Landscapes


Dec 2013


Winter is the best time to plan and plant your landscaping. Plants are nearly dormant, their water needs are reduced and they are more likely to survive transplanting.

Sustainable landscapes combine intelligent plant choices, smart irrigation methods, and biologically active soil maintenance. Check Santa Clara Valley Water District’s rebates before you start , numerous rebates are available to make water-saving landscape decisions more enticing.

Did you miss GreenTown’s October Community meeting? Check out these informative presentations.

Intelligent Plant Choices

Beyond using less water, native plants have another advantage: they provide essential habitat for our native insects, birds, reptiles and mammals.

As the human population grows, native habitats decrease. Create islands of hope in your yard for butterflies and birds by selecting plants native to your watershed. Contact Acterra’s nursery or visit other local nurseries for the best choices.

Favorite plants in a full sun yard are fragrant Salvias, gorgeous Buckwheats and stunning Manzanitas. Leave room for Milkweed, the only food source for Monarch Butterflies.

Need a grassy area? Several low water native grasses, such as bentgrass and red fescue are available in plugs and sod. Alternately choose a soft, walk-able ground cover like Yarrow or Wood Strawberry. See link below for more information.

Smart Irrigation

Even native plants need some irrigation, especially the first few years as they dive their roots deep into the soil.

There are three main types of irrigation: spray, drip and subsurface. Traditional fine spray irrigation is the most inefficient, losing over 60% of water volume to evaporation. MP Rotators create larger droplets and are more efficient than spray. Subsurface irrigation is most efficient and is best used for flat lawns or areas with ground cover. Use drip irrigation for scrubs; wider tubes with 2 gallon per minute emitters will require the least maintenance. A landscape professional can help you minimize your water usage.

Here is the free website tool to get on point with your irrigation scheduling:

Smart Irrigation Controllers

Thanks to the agriculture industry, irrigation controllers now use smart technology to deliver water only when your plants need it. Smart controllers connect to California Irrigation Management Information System (CIMIS) to determine your plants rate of Evapo-Transpiration (ET) that helps determine optimal water needs. See link below for more information.

Healthy Soil Maintenance

Drop your store bought fertilizers at a hazardous waste dump day. Your soil and your local creek will thank you. Your soil needs biologically active compost and a thick layer of mulch to thrive. Refresh your yard twice a year with a healthy layer of each. I really like the options at Lyngso. Got a trouble area in your yard? It may just need a generous cup of compost tea.

Santa Clara Valley Water District Rebates

Want to replace your thirsty, monoculture lawn? Don’t let your lawn die until you research rebates. Your water district will pay you up to $2000 to replace your lawn but they’ll need proof before you start. Rebates also reward you for irrigation and controller upgrades. Coming soon are rebates for greywater systems. Mark your calendar for GreenTown’s Greywater Seminar June 4, 7pm at Los Altos Library.

Here is more information on Santa Clara Valley Water District Landscape Rebates:




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