Helix Water District announced Nick Voinov as the winner of its 2022 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.
Nick started his new landscape by digging up his old lawn and composting it into the soil. He added nutrients to the soil by mixing manure from a local horse ranch. Once he prepared the soil and had an open canvas, he started planting. Now he has layers of succulents, drifts of flowering low water use plants and colorful trees that give the garden theme and consistency. Nick bases his design around maintaining a natural appearance to make the garden softer and more welcoming. Plants grow together and spillover walkways and walls, softening transitions and borderlines. “Succulents were my top choice of plants. People would give me clippings, and I love them because you can clip them off and start new ones. Anyone can do it. It’s cheap.”
The landscape uses rainwater as a resource. The current rainwater catchment system can collect 700 gallons and refills after most storms. During large storms, Nick directs surplus rainwater to his fruit trees to maximize the amount of water that reaches his landscape. “I like to make things as efficient as possible. Rainwater is free, and if I can save and collect that water, I will.”
With an efficient landscape, a rainwater capture system, and WaterSmart home habits like collecting and reusing shower warm-up water, Nick and his family of five use a maximum of 20 units of water each 60-day billing cycle. That is less than half of what a typical family of five with a similar-sized landscape uses. “I make a great effort with my family to conserve water because it is important to us. We know how precious water is in California, and I really wanted to see if what I do does make a difference.”
Helix invited Nick to the district’s board meeting on Wednesday, June 1, to recognize his work and receive his prizes — a $250 gift card, a yard sign and an award certificate.
Photos of the Voinov 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.