Doesn’t the Hiddenbrooke Parkway Landscape Upgrade Project look fantastic? If it inspires you to create your own water-saving landscape makeover, you’ll want to know that the Solano County Water Agency will help with rebates of up to $1,500 for water-efficient landscapes, up to $300 for smart irrigation controllers, up to $250 for water-conserving products like rain barrels, up to $100 for drought-tolerant trees, and even $100 for a high-efficiency clothes washer. Also, the Agency offers a free Waterwise House Call where someone will come to your home to look for outside water leaks, review your irrigation system and settings, and advise you on how to make the most from their rebate programs.
Tracy Pullar on Staghorn Drive just got her landscape rebate check from the agency. She did not use a landscape designer and said the project “was a pretty easy and straightforward process. The Mid City Nursery and Solano County Water Agency staff were super helpful. Once you have Hiddenbrooke Architectural Review Committee (HARC) approval, you can apply for the rebate. You can’t start your project until the Agency gives you permission to proceed, which happens pretty quickly. Also, the application states they will send someone to do pre- and post-inspections, but Tracy said “they accepted my photos instead.” Residential rebate details with online applications are at https://www.scwa2.com/water-efficiency/rebates-programs/residential-rebates/.
When Ann Murphy purchased her home in The Masters in 2013, she hired a landscape designer to create a comprehensive water-saving design but she balked when a landscaper bid $13,000 to implement the plan, so she opted to use plants bordering grass. In 2021, she decided to remove the grass and create a flower-intense garden. Ann’s top 3 tips for anyone thinking of doing something similar are:
- Learn what you like. Develop a point-of-view of what inspires you in regards to look and feel, including your color palette: Take photos of other yards that you like with close-ups of their plants,consider what plants you want to keep and document the sun and shade areas of your yard. Check out California Native Plant Society’s Landscape Guides or UCDavis’ Sustainable Gardening Toolkit. These sites provide templates, how-to-guides, and webinars to help you through your journey! For more inspiration, view local garden examples here or check out nearby botanical gardens at UCDavis Arboretum and Ruth Bancroft Botanical Gardens for examples of what a California native or drought-friendly gardens can look like.
- Set a budget. You can do a simple clean-up and add a couple plants for $500. Or you can do a great garden for $10,000 or more. Be sure to factor-in any rebates that might apply.
- Do-it-Yourself or Hiring a Contractor? Ask the neighbors of those inspiring yards for recommendations. Ann likes Mid City Nursery for buying a few plants, Crown Hill Materials for buying landscape materials by the truckload, and Devil Mountain Nursery for large purchases through your contractor since they are a wholesaler who doesn’t sell direct to the public.
You can read more about Ann’s landscape makeover and her tips at https://hiddenbrookeonline.org/wp-content/uploads/2023/07/Want-to-Remove-Your-Grass.pdf
Ann’s home was featured in a Xeriscape presentation by Marcelline Mahern and Gilbert Solorio at a recent homeowners association meeting. You can see their presentation slides at https://hiddenbrookeonline.org/wp-content/uploads/2023/07/XERISCAPE_HARC-07-17-2023.pdf
Like Tracy mentioned, Elise Shtayyeh of the Solano County Water Agency cautions that before beginning any landscape upgrade where you expect to receive a rebate, homeowners need approval from the agency which will include a visit from an agency staff member to be sure the project qualifies. But she adds that the agency’s requirements tend to be less stringent than those of most homeowners associations.
Who knew that the government would pay you to rip up your lawn? It seems like an ideal time to consider landscape makeovers throughout Hiddenbrooke to save water and money. The master plan for the Hiddenbrooke Parkway Project plan with descriptions of the plants that they are using is at https://hiddenbrookeonline.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/06/Hiddenbrooke-100-Conceptual-Landscape-FINAL.pdf
See the Hiddenbrooke Design Guidelines at https://hiddenbrookeonline.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/06/Revised-FINAL-Ch-1-3_0.pdf and learn about the HARC application process at https://hiddenbrookeonline.org/harc/.