Affordable Succulent Landscapes

Affordable Succulent Landscapes

We know that most customers who try to save water outdoors do it to save money. We also know when it comes to landscaping projects, grass removal is cheaper than new plant purchases.  To help you along in your water savings projects, we would like to share with you some affordable ways you can use succulents in your new landscaping project.

The secret is through propagation. Propagation involves taking cuttings of a healthy plant to clone new plants and is especially easy to do with succulents.

  1. Cut off one of the stems, offsets, or clusters of the succulent you want to use.
  2. Let the wound from the cut dry for 3-5 days.
  3. Plant in soil.
  4. Water normally.

Once you understand this simple propagation, you can use the cuttings elsewhere in your landscape. This way you don’t have to purchase multiples of the same plant, or in many cases avoid purchasing plants at all!

Know Which Plants to Look For

If you are considering buying plants, know the full size of the species first. This will help you to know how much room they need to grow. Then look for smaller pots of that species since smaller potted plants are cheaper. They may be small at first, but they will grow to full size in no time. You can also look for pots that have more than one plant in them. Look for succulents with offsets, pups or multiple clusters. Each of these groupings can easily be cut to create a new plant.


Look for Vendors Who Sell Cuttings

These are typically much cheaper than what you would pay at a garden store or nursery. The Water Conservation Garden sells cuttings at $5 per bag, which is a great way to get started. In addition, you will have a diverse selection to continue to propagate from.

Use Your Own Cuttings

Succulents can grow quickly and require trimming every now and then. This is a perfect opportunity to create more cuttings and fill in other areas.

Talk With Your Neighbors

Asking a neighbor if they could offer you a succulent cutting is a great way to stay in touch or meet your neighbors. One of the added benefits to this is that they can see their plants growing across the street.

Look for Succulent Swaps or Social Groups

Two groups in the area are the Grossmont- Mt. Helix Improvement Association and the San Diego Succulent Swap. Grossmont- Mt. Helix Improvement Association hosts an annual “Friends Don’t Let Friends Buy Succulents” event where neighbors donate cuttings, bulbs and seeds and offer them free to the public. Look for their next event and feel free to donate some cuttings of your own!

Another is the Facebook group SD Succulent Swap, which is full of succulent enthusiasts who share cuttings at various tables all across the county. It is a great way to find succulents and learn other creative landscaping ideas.

Affordable landscaping takes patience and creativity, but in the end, you can have a beautiful water-saving landscape. The best part is that your landscaping improvements can beautify your home and neighborhood.

Stay tuned for other tips and tricks by following our blog at the bottom of this page.

Everything You Need to Know About the Turf Rebate

Everything You Need to Know About the Turf Rebate

There is a new turf rebate program in town, and we would like to answer some of your questions.

The Turf Replacement Program now offers $2 per square foot when you replace existing lawns with sustainable landscaping. If you want to upgrade your landscape and save water, this quick guide will help you claim your rebate money today!

Reserve Your Rebate, Then Remove Grass

Before you start your project, submit photos of your grass and your rebate application to receive a rebate reservation. Once you receive a reservation, you have 180 days to complete your project.

What Qualifies?

Residential and commercial properties are eligible to receive $2 per square foot of grass when replaced with sustainable landscaping.

Grass must be alive and in place before your landscaping project begins. Only planted or permeable areas count towards your rebate. Residential customers are eligible to replace grass areas from 250 square feet up to 5,000 square feet. Commercial properties are eligible for up to 10,000 square feet per year.

This program promotes the best of both worlds: water savings and sustainability. These requirements will help you save water and have a healthy sustainable landscape with benefits beyond water savings.

Soil and Plant Coverage

The program requires you to include a minimum plant coverage of 3 plants per 100 square feet of transformed landscaping – think 3 plants for each 10’x10’ room. In addition, cover all bare soil areas with a 3 inch layer of mulch. Mulch can be wood chips, shredded bark or bark nuggets. You will be glad that you have mulch in your new landscaping since it helps your new landscape retain soil moisture, maintains a tidy appearance, prevents weeds and is inexpensive.

About Hardscapes 

You can include hardscapes in your design, but they will not count towards your rebate. Examples of common hardscapes include artificial turf, turf look-a-likes, impermeable walkways, and patios. 

Improve Overhead Sprinklers

Since the sprinklers on your lawn are probably not the most efficient, now is a great time to improve them . Drip irrigation systems are easy to install for your new plants and there are numerous retrofit kits available. You may also install high-efficiency spray heads and claim an additional rebate. See our video to learn how.

Capture Rain Water

Part of the benefits of removing your grass is that you can now capture, slow and sink rainwater for your other plants. There are many ways to do this beyond just rain barrels such as rain gardens, dry streambeds, berms, vegetated swales, rock gardens and grades. Visit the SoCal Water$mart website for more information

Ready to Get Started?

Start your rebate application today. Go to to reserve your funds.

Or, if you are looking for assistance in planning and designing your project, Helix is hosting a FREE four-part landscape makeover series. Class times are 6 – 9 p.m. September 4, 11, 18 and 25. Go to to register or find other open classes across the county.