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Smart landscapes

Smart LandscapeWelcome to Santa Ana’s California-friendly landscape webpage, with information and resources to help you transform your yards into beautiful, “Water Smart” gardens.

With Southern California continuing to grow and limited water resources, it is more important than ever to conserve the large amount of water normally used to maintain grass lawns. You can help be a part of the solution by replacing your grass areas to landscape designs and plants that require less water.  Residents are encouraged to view this video to learn more about Water Smart landscapes.

A number of resources, tools, and landscaping tips are available to assist residents and businesses in transitioning from lawn to drought-tolerant garden. Information about the City's current water regulations, as well as sample designs and gardening resources are available in the "Quick Links" box to the right.

City landscape design guidelines

City Landscape DesignIn response to California's climate and drought conditions, landscape policies have been modified to allow drought-tolerant landscape throughout the City. The City Landscape Guidelines provides direction regarding required landscape planting and “ground cover” on private property. The use of synthetic turf is allowed as a landscape design feature provided it does not exceed 50 percent of the landscape area. For more information, please consult our Synthetic Turf Design Guidelines.

A parkway generally refers to the narrow piece of land between the street and sidewalk. Traditionally, they have been planted with grass and include a street tree. While these strips of area are owned by the City, it is the duty of the public to maintain and improve these parkways. For more information on parkways, please consult our Parkway Improvement Guidelines.

A decorate front yard fence or low wall can also enhance your front yard or garden.  The City Front Yard Fence design standards detail the allowable height, spacing, and materials.  If you are considering a new front yard fence, wall or arbor in your front garden, prior to investing in materials submit the required a Front Yard Fence Application and Drawings to confirm your design meets City code requirements.

Sample landscape designs & gardens

Below you can find sample designs and gardens to provide some ideas for designing your Water Smart landscape project

Selecting the right plants

There are a number of websites to help guide you through the Water Smart landscape design process. Two helpful sites are: BeWaterWise.com and South Coast Water Smart Gardening. In addition to photos of beautiful landscapes, both sites have extensive online databases of drought-tolerant plants, including photos and information about the plants, whether they attract wildlife, and more.

Turf Removal Rebate ProgramTurf Removal Rebate Program

While they may look nice, lawns of turf or grass are water guzzlers. Santa Ana is partnering with the Metropolitan Water District on a Turf Removal Program which offers rebates for grass removed and replaced with drought-tolerant landscape.

Resources & training

A California Friendly landscape garden is about long-term sustainability and resiliency.  It is more than selecting the right plants and irrigation system, it is learning the best ways to maintain your drought tolerant garden!  One available tool is the California Friendly Maintenance Guide. This Guidebook was created in collaboration with three Southern California water and utility organizations, to help promote a future with beautiful and sustainable drought tolerant gardens.

There are a variety of other resources and training if for assistance while creating and maintaining your garden, including the following:

Training and Classes

Choosing the Right Irrigation

Help Your Trees Survive The Drought

Save Water and Save Trees During the Drought

Water conservation regulations & resources

Water Conservation Regulations & ResourcesCity of Santa Ana continues to be committed to reduce water usage and a sustainability future. According to a study done in 2013, about 67% of all water consumed in Santa Ana is from residential dwellings. To help conserve our state and local water resources, there are regulations on water consumption for Santa Ana residences and business, as well as tips for water conservation.


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