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Water Wise Gardening Literature

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The City of Santa Cruz offers a selection of free, illustrated publications full of useful information on water wise gardening.

  • Those documents that aren't available as an electronic download can be obtained by requesting a free hard copy; please call or stop by the Water Conservation Office. 

How to Water Your Garden

 How to Water Your Garden (Sunset Magazine)

Which type of irrigation is best for your garden? Find out how to water efficiently throughout the seasons, from hand-watering to drip systems and underground sprinkler systems.


California's New Front Yard

 California's New Front Yard: Creating a Low-Water Landscape (CNGA)

A Santa Cruz County based introductory guide to converting your yard to a more native and drought tolerant landscape. California Native Grasslands Association provides information on site designing and planning, lawn removal methods, plant selections for Santa Cruz County, and other resources.

Soil Matters

Soil Matters (Bay Nature Magazine)

 Discover soil-friendly practices to improve the soil type in your garden. Learn in depth about types of soils, counteracting compaction, and the organisms that rely on it.


Bay-Friendly Landscaping Guide to Mulch

Bay-Friendly Landscaping Guide to Mulch (

A landscaper's guide to mulch: how to save money, control weeds and create healthy landscapes. A thorough introduction to mulch in the landscape. Shows the different kinds of mulch available, which mulch is best for your garden, and how to use it.

Xeriscape, a Santa Cruz Design Guide

Xeriscape, a Santa Cruz Design Guide (Santa Cruz Water Conservation Office)

This guide will help you plan your garden based on xeriscape principles: design of practical turf areas, choosing plants for the local climate, soil improvement, hydrozone irrigation, mulching, and proper maintenance.

Drip Irrigation Guidelines Drip Irrigation Guidelines (EBMUD)

This is a basic guide to installing and maintaining drip irrigation for the home gardener, published in 1991. Contact your local irrigation supply store for more current trends in drip irrigation equipment that are not included this booklet.
 easy waterwise gardening

 Easy Water Wise Gardening (Sunset Magazine)

This magazine walks you through efficient irrigation basics, smart lawn alternatives, and creating a landscape design for your garden. Articles also contain information on how to plan and protect your garden during drought.

 irrigation controllers

 Irrigation Controllers for the Homeowner (Department of Water Resources)

This guide highlights the most important features of irrigation controllers that allow for proper irrigation scheduling. Learn about new features and how to create an irrigation schedule for your landscape at home.

 water efficient landscapes

 Water Efficient Landscapes (Department of Water Resources) 

This brochure covers how to plan and make good landscape choices for water efficient gardening. Compare typical landscapes with water efficient landscapes and discover how to improve your own garden. 


 water-smart landscapes

 Water-Smart Landscapes (EPA WaterSense)

This basic brochure addresses what is water-smart landscaping and why/ how to apply water-smart landscaping to your own yard. Explore irrigation methods and examples of water-smart landscapes for different climates in the US.


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