Southern California: Water-wise ideas

Garden ideas you can try at home

If you're revamping an existing garden or creating a new one, a visit to the Water Conservation Garden at Cuyamaca College is a must. This 4-acre public garden in El Cajon comes into peak bloom in May. Designed with arid Southern California in mind, it's a how-to landscape where you can gather plenty of ideas to use at home.

Wide pathways meander through three main loops ― Design, Irrigation, and Maintenance. Next to the Irrigation loop, six types of turf are on display, each labeled with the number of gallons of water used per 50-square-foot plot during the past month.

Throughout the garden, displays show ways to use groundcovers, perennials, California natives, topiaries, edibles, and more. One 700-square-foot area shows how you can use plants and water-wise design to transform a small backyard.

INFO: The Water Conservation Garden at Cuyamaca College is open 10-4 Tue-Sun; one-hour docent-led tours are at 10:30 Sat and 1:30 Sun (free). 12122 Cuyamaca College Dr. W., El Cajon; 619/660-1684.

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