Once an unused pool, now a water-wise backyard oasis

Helix Water District announced Rosalie Dosik of Mt. Helix as the winner of its 2021 WaterSmart Landscape Contest. The annual competition recognizes outstanding water-wise residential landscapes based on overall attractiveness, design, efficient irrigation and appropriate plant selection and maintenance.

Rosalie’s bright and textured winning landscape represents years of dedicated passion for gardening and water-efficient plants. The garden is an Asian-fusion theme complete with wooden structures, pathways, rock and vibrant color. Instead of thirsty plants, it uses many low water species that are well adapted for our semi-arid region climate.

Backyard garden patio with patio chairs and shrubs

The backyard garden did not always flourish as it does today. When Rosalie and her husband bought the house in 1997, a large pool filled the backyard. The pool evaporated quickly in the summer and overflowed towards the house during winter rains. Rosalie wanted a landscape that she could enjoy more than the rarely used pool. In 2012, Rosalie decided to have the pool demolished and filled with decomposed granite, and adding a layer of healthy topsoil. Now, Rosalie enjoys her backyard oasis on a daily basis. 

Viewers can see several rock streams flowing down the landscape into a gravel rock “pond.” The gravel area creates negative space, a concept that allows the eye to rest so visitors can better sense and appreciate the landscape. Keeping with an Asian garden style, the garden includes many meandering pathways, each offering different scenery and views.

garden with trees and crane statues
patio furniture in vibrant but low water use garden

“Now, one can meander through the garden and enjoy the scenery. There are birds and wildlife galore. The entire backyard is cooler and more serene,” said Rosalie Dosik. “I have rabbits who visit each day and I am even seeing monarch butterflies.”

Rosalie, an artist, is also an avid gardener and volunteers as a docent at the Water Conservation Garden. She stumbled across the garden in 2004 after visiting the adjacent Heritage Museum. After looking down at the garden from the museum patio, Rosalie knew she had to visit. On her many return visits, she wrote down the names of plants she liked and started gardening with them at home.

The landscape also irrigates efficiently. Gear-driven rotors apply water to the densely planted areas, while narrow areas and potted plants use drip irrigation. A smart, weather-based irrigation controller that automatically adjusts for rain and weather controls all of the irrigation.

Rosalie loves to have her friends over and entertain on the patio, where they can all enjoy the views of the garden. “You can look left and right and just look at what is flowering; of course right now, everything is flowering,” said Rosalie.

Helix invited Rosalie to Helix Water District’s virtual board meeting on Wednesday, June 23, at 3 p.m. to recognize her work.  Following the meeting, Helix sent Rosalie her award — a gift card totaling $250 and an award certificate.

pathway down low water use garden

Photos of the Dosik yard will appear in the winner’s section at landscapecontest.com, along with Helix’s past winners and those of other participating local water agencies, and on the district’s website at hwd.com.

The landscape contest runs from January through mid-May each year. Visit Helix’s website at hwd.com, Facebook.com/HelixWater or Twitter at @HelixWater for more information.

Helix Water District treats and delivers water to 277,000 people in La Mesa, El Cajon, Lemon Grove and parts of Spring Valley, Lakeside and unincorporated San Diego County.


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