Sunday, May 20 , 2018, 5:37 pm | A Few Clouds 67º


Water Savings Shine in Demonstration Gardens and Landscape Rebates

Spring is a great time to see sustainability at work in Santa Barbara

June blooms with sustainability, given the springtime look of water-wise demonstration gardens and the advent of the spring planting season, providing homeowners with a fresh opportunity to replace thirsty plants and grass with water-wise plants and lawn alternatives.

To see sustainability at work, residents can visit a water-wise demonstration garden in Santa Barbara. They include:

» Alice Keck Park Memorial Gardens: City block bounded by Santa Barbara, Arrellaga, Garden and Micheltorena streets in Santa Barbara. A 4.6-acre informal park emphasizing exotic flora.

» Firescape Garden: 2411 Stanwood Drive/Route 192 (corner of Mission Ridge Road) in Santa Barbara, across the street from Fire Station No. 7. This 1.7-acre labeled, model garden demonstrates how risks of wildfire can be reduced.

» SBCC: Lifescape Garden/Chumash Point Ethnobotanic Preserve, 721 Cliff Drive in Santa Barbara, 805.965.0581. The Lifescape Garden features a variety of low-water-using and edible plants, as well as composting systems and efficient irrigation.

» Santa Barbara Botanic Garden: 12212 Mission Canyon Road in Santa Barbara, 805.682.4726. A 65-acre garden of native plants of California, representing a variety of plant communities and important botanical and horticultural collections.

The city’s latest episode of Inside Santa Barbara now airing on Channel 18 has a segment on water-wise demonstration gardens, which can also be viewed online at For a virtual demonstration garden tour, click here to check out “Water Wise Gardening in Santa Barbara County,” which has photos of hundreds of plants that use little water, as well as 26 water-wise garden “tours,” including some of the local demonstration gardens.

To help pay to make your garden more water-wise, the Smart Landscape Rebate program covers half the expense of materials. The City of Santa Barbara and Goleta Water District offer up to $1,000 for single-family homes and up to $4,000 for businesses and homeowner associations. The qualifications vary by participating area, but all apply only to existing landscapes and must result in a net water savings.

Water providers’ rebates cover 50 percent of pre-approved improvements to irrigation systems as well as water-wise plants and mulch, and the rebate must be approved before work is started. For more information, click here or call 805.564.5460.

— Alison Jordan is a water conservation coordinator for the City of Santa Barbara.

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