Photo courtesy of Susanne Jett

Before the remodel

Before this classic Santa Monica bungalow was updated, its garden had the same vintage vibe, with a lawn and other thirsty plants, all irrigated by sprinklers. Keeping the yard green used an estimated 226,208.91 gallons of water per year!


Photo courtesy of Susanne Jett

After the remodel

To complement the newly remodeled home, by Architect Isabelle Duvivier  (, Landscape Designer Susanne Jett reduced the total square footage of the planted areas needing irrigation, replacing them with permeable decomposed granite. Then she planted low-water grasses and shrubs, such as Ceanothus, Cistus, Leucadendron, and Westringia. Other water-saving features include rain chains to channel rainwater into decorative urns; a subterranean infiltration pit in the front yard to collect collect and filter runoff; and a 650-gallon Waterwall Fatboy tank( in the backyard to collect rainwater from other downspouts. The cistern is connected to irrigation valves, and hidden behind a bamboo screen. In 2014, the new landscape used an estimated 18,510 gallons of water, while the tank collected about 1,186.4 gallons for reuse in the garden. Together, these changes resulted in an estimated annual water savings of 208,885.31 gallons, Jett says. Something to think about when fall planting time rolls around!

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