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Post Title: One San Diego couple’s journey to water savings

Post Date: June 12, 2015

Revolution Landscape was founded with a goal of promoting sustainable landscaping and sustainable lifestyles. Our longtime clients, Bruce and Elaine, have reduced their water use by more than 50% since we first started working together in 2009. And the new landscaping produces an abundance of fresh organic produce and a valuable habitat for wildlife!

Despite numerous attempts by a previous landscape company to get plants to grow on [their] steep and sandy hillside in University City, nothing ever seemed to last. Because the slope had many bare areas, during rain events, soil would slide down the hillside, over a retaining wall, and onto the hardscape below. To solve these problems, Revolution re-vegetated the slope with a mix of California native plants, including various types of Eriogonum, Encilia, Salvia, and Ceanothus. These plants look great on a slope, reduce erosion, provide food and habitat for pollinators, and require little or no additional irrigation now that they are established.

After the slope was completed, we turned our focus to the backyard. We removed a mature carrotwood tree centered in the lawn and replaced it with three raised garden beds, a re-circulating water feature, and low-water accent plantings. We also included three types of citrus, plus cherry, plum, and peach trees. These changes transformed the drab backyard into an urban oasis that buzzes with life and the tranquil sound of water flowing. The water feature also provides a water source for a backyard beehive located on the slope. They’ve now got fruits, veggies, and honey!

In the fall of 2014, the couple decided it was time to take the final plunge by converting their front lawn into a low-water landscape. After working with Revolution to create a landscape design, Elaine applied for the turf removal rebate available from the Metropolitan Water District. She received $1200 in rebates. We also added a weather-based control station that modifies the irrigation run times based on real-time weather data.

Post Title: Low Water and Edible

Post Date: July 6, 2015

These edible plants and fruits require little water to thrive in our region! Although many annual vegetable crops have water requirements comparable to turf, there are a number of edible trees, shrubs, and ground covers that require much less water than grass and produce something you can eat.

1) Pomegranate – This vibrantly colored superfood has been cultivated by numerous cultures for millennia and originates from the hot and arid climate of the Middle East. Given their origins, it is no wonder that these trees can be very drought-tolerant once established. Pomegranate trees grow quickly, which makes them a great option for creating an informal hedge or screen. The naturally bushy trees may also be pruned to a single trunk to form an attractive specimen tree. On the coast, we recommend early-season types like Sweet, Eversweet, and Granada. Further inland, nearly any variety will perform well.

2) Fig – Fresh figs do not ship well, which means they are difficult to find in the store; fortunately, growing your own couldn’t be easier! These trees have beautiful summer foliage and an attractive branching structure during winter dormancy. Fig trees can become quite large if left unpruned; however, with proper pruning, the trees can be kept in the 10´–12´ range. Along the coast, we have had great success with Brown Turkey and White Genoa varieties, but there are many others that may perform well, too.

3) Mulberry – Like figs, fresh mulberries do not pack well, and because of that, many people have not become acquainted with this wonderful and easy-to-grow fruit. Mulberries can vary in color from white to dark purple, and are similar to blackberries in taste. Standard mulberry trees can get rather large and are known for having invasive roots. Fortunately, there are also some dwarf and weeping forms, which are much smaller trees and easier to fit in a residential setting. Mulberries ripen over a relatively long period of time, providing a steady supply of fruit for weeks on end.

[Posts edited for length]

Title: The Squawk Blog | Address: revolutionlandscape.com/community/gardening-blog/

Author: Ari Tenenbaum, co-owner, Revolution Landscape | From: Encinitas | Blogging since: 2010

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