12 water efficient ideas for your front yard

12 water efficient ideas for your front yard

November and December are planting season! Right now is the best time of year to replace thirsty turf and plants with stylish, water efficient plants that will increase your home’s curb appeal and decrease your water bill.

If you’re not sure what to plant, or how to plant, start in the Home and Garden section of Sunset Magazine’s website. Grab a cup of coffee and explore the articles on Garden Basics, Edible Gardening, Landscaping, Green Living and Flowers and Plants. We selected an article for you — to get you started — and to show you the variety of landscapes that use less water than a lawn.

Read 12 Favorite Front-Yard Designs on Sunset’s website

Fall Back on Sunday

Fall Back on Sunday

And, adjust your irrigation settings.

This Sunday, November 4, marks the end of daylight savings time. After you set your clocks back, take a few minutes and also adjust your irrigation timer.

After all, since the days are shorter and the weather is finally cooler, your plants will need much less water. Making seasonal adjustments to your timer not only reduces water waste, but it also helps keep your landscape healthy. Fall is the perfect time to cut back on your watering days and times and helps you save water.

Also, don’t forget to turn off your sprinklers when rain is in the forecast and leave them off for at least 72 hours afterwards.

If you don’t have time to manually adjust your timer, consider upgrading to a weather-based irrigation controller which adjusts watering times automatically based on the changing weather and seasons. These controllers can also automatically delay irrigation before, during and after rain events. Helix customers are eligible for a rebate of up to $200 on weather-based irrigation controllers. Rebates are available at www.socalwatersmart.com.

Come to Our Nov. 7 Landscape Design Workshop

Come to Our Nov. 7 Landscape Design Workshop

Learn how to transform your yard into a beautiful, water-saving landscape at our FREE, 3-hour WaterSmart Landscape Design Workshop on Wednesday, November 7, from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m.

This is the first time we have offered this popular workshop on a weeknight — for everyone who can’t come on a Saturday morning!  This workshop is filling up, so click on the link below today to reserve your seats.
Why is this workshop so popular? Because it’s taught by a local landscape expert, with an easy-to-follow teaching style and a solid understanding of what works and what doesn’t in east county. You’ll learn:
  • How to plan and design your landscape
  • How to remove your turf
  • How to select water efficient plants
  • How to irrigate efficiently 
  • How to harvest rainwater for irrigation
  • How to install your new landscape

Location
Helix’s Nat L. Eggert Operations Center
1233 Vernon Way in El Cajon

RESERVE YOUR SEATS

$25 Rain Barrels – Reserve Yours by Oct. 28

$25 Rain Barrels – Reserve Yours by Oct. 28

The County of San Diego Watershed Protection Program and Solana Center for Environmental Innovation have teamed up to offer discounted rain barrels. Rain barrels are a great way to conserve water, prevent pollution runoff, and can help lower your water bill.

Place Your Order by October 28
This is a first come, first served offer — reserve your rain barrel by October 28 at rainbarrelprogram.org/sandiego.

SoCal Water Smart Rebate
Everyone who purchases a rain barrel is eligible for a $35 rebate (limit 2 rebates per household). Restrictions apply. Visit SoCalWaterSmart.com for details and to determine your eligibility.

Please note, to qualify for the SoCal Water Smart Rebate, the customer information you enter for the rain barrel purchase needs to match the name and address on your water bill.

San Diego County Unincorporated Residents Discount
For residents in unincorporated areas, San Diego County is offering an additional $30 discount (up to 2 per household) for the first 200 rain barrels sold! No discount code needed.

Go to Rain Water Solutions for more information

Nov. 3 — Autumn Fest & Plant Sale

Nov. 3 — Autumn Fest & Plant Sale

The Water Conservation Garden’s annual Autumn Fest & Plant Sale is Saturday, November 3, from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. In addition to thousands of plants at once-a-year prices, the event includes:

  • Live entertainment
  • Craft vendors
  • Food Trucks
  • Plant sales
  • Kids activities
  • Workshops
  • “Ask the Designer” landscape consultations
  • Advice from partner water agencies

Reservations are recommended for The “Ask the Designer” consultations — call 619-660-0614 ext. 10 to reserve a time. These consultations are extremely popular, especially in early.November, when east county homeowners are designing and installing water efficient landscapes and edible gardens for the first time.

ADMISSION
Adults & Kids 12 and Over   $5
Kids 3-11.  $3
Garden Members & Kids 2 and Under.  FREE

LOCATION
The Water Conservation Garden
12122 Cuyamaca College Drive West’
El Cajon, CA 92019

 

 

A luxe landscape for less: 5 ideas to save money

A luxe landscape for less: 5 ideas to save money

From Garden Design Magazine —
With all of the beautiful projects shown online and in magazines, it’s not hard for your taste level to outstrip your budget. How do professional designers handle this challenge? By cleverly reusing existing materials, amping up the star power on a few key elements, and using inexpensive techniques that actually look better than their pricier counterparts, they are able to get major bang for a little less buck. Here’s how they do it.

Read the Article

P.S. – the San Diego County Water Authority has a new fact sheet listing cost estimates for plants, irrigation and other landscape design materials — great information to help figure out what you can and can’t include in your water efficient landscape design.

See the Cost Estimates

 

September 22 – Plant Extravaganza at Balboa Park

September 22 – Plant Extravaganza at Balboa Park

The Plant Extravaganza, brought to you by the Master Gardeners of San Diego County, is Saturday, September 22, from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the Casa del Prado in Balboa Park. Thousands of drought tolerant plants are for sale.

Plant Sale

  • Drought tolerant plants
  • California natives
  • Flowers
  • Succulents
  • Cool Season Vegetables

Marketplace

  • Birdhouses
  • Garden Art
  • Used books
  • Green Elephant Sale
  • FREE Garden tool sharpening **
  • ** Each adult attendee can bring 1 hand pruner to be sharpened, which should be in working order, under 9″, and have your name on the handle.

Exhibits & Demonstrations

  • Tasting Booth
  • Fall Planting – Veggies, Herbs, Fruit Trees
  • Gardens in the Community
  • Certify your Garden as “Earth Friendly”
  • New Irrigation Techniques
  • “Ask a Master Gardener” consultants
  • How to Compost and Vermicompost
  • Container/Small Space Gardening
  • Good Bugs/Bad Bugs
  • How to propagate your own plants

Location

A simple and sustainable garden

A simple and sustainable garden

From Garden Design Magazine —
Designing and installing a new landscape is no small project. But inspiration and simplicity help — a lot. Garden Design Magazine is featuring a water efficient landscape that you might find as beautiful, liveable and doable as we do. We liked that it includes a small patch of lawn for a granddaughter and a dog to play, that it features long banks of the same plant, which is always more visual than planting one of everything, and that it features concrete pavers, which you can make yourself. The article also includes a plant list.

Read a Small Property Gets a Simple & Sustainable Garden

Saturday, Sep 15 – Electric Vehicle Day Ride and Drive

Saturday, Sep 15 – Electric Vehicle Day Ride and Drive

The San Diego Electric Vehicle Day Ride and Drive event is tomorrow — Saturday, September 15 at Liberty Station from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. This event, which was the largest Electric Vehicle Day event in the U.S. last year, offers the opportunity to test drive more than 40 makes and models of hybrid and battery-powered electric vehicles — with no pressure from salespeople to make a purchase.

And — this is BIG! — there will be a drawing at the end of each hour for three $1,000 rebates. That’s 15 rebates that are in addition to the federal tax credit and State of California rebates already available when you purchase an electric vehicle.

Helix celebrated our new electric vehicles and charging stations this week to make the employers and property management companies we serve aware of SDG&E’s Power Your Drive program, and to make all of our customers aware of the ride and drive event tomorrow. We hope you check it out.

Event Highlights & Details

Helix celebrates new electric vehicle charging stations

Helix celebrates new electric vehicle charging stations

Helix, SDG&E and the cities of El Cajon, La Mesa and Lemon Grove gathered yesterday to celebrate Helix’s new electric vehicle charging stations, which the district installed through SDG&E’s Power Your Drive program.

SDG&E NewsCenter: watch the video and read the blog post

News 8 San Diego: video coming soon

Installing electric vehicle charging stations at our operations center and administration office is our latest cost control initiative. We received rebates of $5,500 from the State of California on each of the six Priuses we purchased over the last two years. They average over 75 miles per gallon and the district expects to save an additional $1,000 per vehicle per year in avoided fuel costs. Integrating electric vehicles into our vehicle fleet will accelerate when hybrid light-duty trucks become available.

But controlling costs isn’t our only motivation for going electric. Helix’s board of directors also wants this district to be part of the solution – to reduce our greenhouse gas emissions and contribute to the sustainability of the communities we serve and the sustainability of California’s water resources.

Above
Front to back: Helix board president Kathleen Hedberg, Helix director Mark Gracyk, Lemon Grove councilwoman Jennifer Mendoza, Helix director Dan McMillan, El Cajon deputy director of public works Yazmin Arellano, SDG&E electric vehicle customer solutions manager Lianna Rios and La Mesa analyst Jenny Lybeck. Arellano and Lybeck manage their city’s climate action plan.

Above
Helix board president Kathleen Hedberg giving an interview to News 8.

Above
Helix general manager Carlos Lugo (left) and facilities manager Joe Garuba, who initiated and managed the installation of the charging stations with SDG&E.

Above
SDG&E communications manager Helen Gao and electric vehicle customer solutions manager Lianna Rios.

Above
From left: Helix facilities manager Joe Garuba, operations director Kevin Miller, water quality and system operations director Brian Olney, administrative services director Jennifer Bryant and engineering director Jim Tomasulo.

Why Helix is going electric

Why Helix is going electric

Energy – primarily to pump water throughout our distribution system, which serves 275,000 people in El Cajon, La Mesa, Lemon Grove, Spring Valley and other unincorporated areas of the county – cost Helix Water District $2.2 million this past fiscal year.  Controlling our energy costs, and their impact on water rates, is a priority.

Helix maintains operations and design standards that reduce our energy demand during peak periods when SDG&E’s charges are higher, and we purchase energy through the State of California’s Direct Access Program, saving an average of 18 percent on commodity costs. We continually evaluate opportunities to replace aging infrastructure with energy efficient solutions, and smart building systems at each of the district’s facilities and a solar energy system at our operations center further reduce energy demands and costs.

Installing electric vehicle charging stations at our operations center and administration office is our latest cost control initiative. We received rebates of $5,500 from the State of California on each of the six Priuses we purchased over the last two years. They average over 75 miles per gallon and the district expects to save an additional $1,000 per vehicle per year in avoided fuel costs. Integrating electric vehicles into our vehicle fleet will accelerate when hybrid light-duty trucks become available.

But controlling costs isn’t our only motivation for going electric. Helix’s board of directors also wants this district to be part of the solution – to reduce our greenhouse gas emissions and contribute to the sustainability of the communities we serve and the sustainability of California’s water resources.

The State of California’s Fourth Climate Change Assessment, released on August 27, projects average temperature increases of 2.5 degrees statewide by 2040 and up to 5.8 degrees by 2070, resulting in a smaller Sierra snowpack and increased agricultural and urban water demands.

Fortunately, purchasing an electrical vehicle does not require choosing between sustainability and your bank account. Individual consumers are eligible for federal tax credits and rebates from the State of California, just like Helix. California’s Drive Clean Program provides a chart showing the tax credit and rebate available per make and model of electric vehicle.

The federal tax credit for battery powered electric vehicles is $7,500 and ranges between $3,000 and $6,000 for hybrids. California’s rebates are $2,500 for a battery powered electric vehicle and $1,500 for a hybrid. Add to this savings your annual savings on fuel, and a very important benefit exclusive to electric vehicle drivers: you can use the carpool (HOV) lane with nobody else in your car.

In a survey of electric vehicle owners by the California Clean Vehicle Rebate Project, 74 percent of owners said the state’s rebate was extremely or very important in making it possible to purchase their electric vehicle. The survey also identified the owners’ top three reasons for their purchase: saving money on fuel costs, reducing environmental impacts and HOV lane access.

Here is a list of electric vehicles that qualify for rebates.

Here is information on the special rates SDG&E offers electric vehicle owners.

If your interest in electric vehicles is growing, register for San Diego Electric Vehicle Day Ride and Drive, on Saturday, September 15, from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. at Liberty Station. Last year, this was the largest ride and drive event in the country. Saturday’s event will feature exhibitors, electric bicycles and the Kids Activity Tent, and offers the opportunity to test drive 40 of the latest models of hybrid and battery-powered electric vehicles from Honda, Chrysler, Toyota, Nissan, BMW, Mitsubishi, Kia, Chevrolet, Mercedes, Audi, Tesla and Arcimoto, which manufactures a three-wheel fun utility vehicle (FUV).

To reserve a test drive, fill out SDG&E’s short form. According to SDG&E, people will be able to drive several electric cars within the one-hour period following your check-in time. An email will be sent to registered drivers confirming their drive time window. As a bonus, registered drivers will receive a copy of the Electric Car Insider EV Buyers Guide, a high quality, 64-page, four-color print magazine about electric vehicles. (cont.)

The San Diego Electric Vehicle Day Ride and Drive event is free, but registration is required.

Learn More and Register at sdge.com/electric-vehicle-day-2018

Helix celebrating new electric vehicle charging stations

Helix celebrating new electric vehicle charging stations

This Wednesday, September 12, Helix, SDG&E and the cities of El Cajon and La Mesa will get together to celebrate Helix’s new electric vehicle charging stations, in conjunction with National Drive Electric Week and Electric Vehicle Day on September 15.

Helix installed 10 electric vehicle charging stations at the district’s operations center in El Cajon and another 10 at its administration office in La Mesa through SDG&E’s Power Your Drive program, which funded the equipment and installation.

This is the district’s latest step in controlling energy costs. Over the past two years, the district purchased six hybrid electric vehicles and received rebates of $5,500 per vehicle from the State of California. The Toyota Priuses average over 75 miles per gallon and the district expects to save $1,000 per vehicle per year in avoided fuel costs. Integrating electric vehicles into Helix’s vehicle fleet will accelerate when hybrid light-duty trucks become available. The district replaces up to three light-duty trucks per year.

The Power Your Drive program is for companies and their employees, and apartment and condominium complexes and their residents, and is part of SDG&E’s commitment to comply with Governor Brown’s goal of having 1.5 million zero-emission vehicles in California by 2025. SDG&E has installed more than 900 electric vehicle charging nozzles to date. The utility’s goal is to install 3,000 nozzles at about 300 sites throughout San Diego County.

National Drive Electric Week, September 8-15, seeks to raise awareness and peak interest in hybrids and electric vehicles across the U.S. The week concludes in San Diego County with the San Diego Electric Vehicle Day Ride and Drive, on Saturday, September 15, from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. at Liberty Station. Last year, this was the largest ride and drive event in the country.

Saturday’s event will feature exhibitors, electric bicycles and the Kids Activity Tent, and offers the opportunity to test drive 40 of the latest models of hybrid and battery-powered electric vehicles from Honda, Chrysler, Toyota, Nissan, BMW, Mitsubishi, Kia, Chevrolet, Mercedes, Audi, Tesla and Arcimoto, which manufactures a three-wheel fun utility vehicle (FUV).

Sign Up for a Test Drive

To reserve a test drive, fill out SDG&E’s short form. You’ll be able to drive several electric cars within the one-hour period following your check-in time. An email will be sent to you confirming your drive time window. As a bonus, registered drivers will receive a copy of the Electric Car Insider EV Buyers Guide, a high quality, 64-page, four-color print magazine about electric vehicles.

Learn More and Register for the Event

The San Diego Electric Vehicle Day Ride and Drive event is free, but registration is required.

Learn More and Register at sdge.com/electric-vehicle-day-2018