Drought-Tolerant Gardening from Chaparral Pavers & Landscaping of Santa Maria

The Brilliant, Drought-Tolerant Pincushion

Consisting of 50 species of flowering plants native of the scrub, forests, and mountain slopes of South Africa, leucospermum (pincushion) can be a perfect fit in your drought-tolerant garden.

Generally a neatly rounded shrub, its brilliant red, orange or yellow flower heads and pin-like protrusions grab attention, and give this special plant its common name.

A stylish, drought-tolerant focal point, border or filler, leucospermum cordifolium is easy to grow, and its vibrant summer flowers attract birds and butterflies. Also enjoy its great-looking, long-lasting cut flower.

Leucospermum thrives in full sunlight to partial shade with good circulation. It prefers well-drained, acidic soil and needs little water in the summer months.

Hummingbirds Love Hot Lips.

hotlips_mainvisNeeding very little water, Hot Lips Sage originates in the sunny, dry mountains of Oaxaca, Mexico. Its two-toned white with a red lip-shape band gives it its common name.

Also known as Graham’s Sage, Baby Sage or Blackcurrant Sage, the vibrant color, blackcurrant aroma and sweet nectar of salvia microphylla are favorites of hummingbirds, attracting them throughout the year.

Excellent when planted in containers or used as borders, they can grow 3-5′ tall and wide. Great as cut flowers, their ‘blackcurrant’ fragrance is exquisite when crushed.

Thriving in the summer heat with little shade, low-maintenance Hot Lips Sage is an great plant for attracting hummingbirds to your drought-tolerant garden.

Unlicensed Contractors Actually Cost More.

cslb_logoUsing unlicensed contractors can be risky, and often cost more than using a licensed contractor. Sometimes a lot more.

Consumers are protected by California law, which requires that a contractor must have a license for any project costing over $500 if the work falls in a class set by Contractors State License Board.

While injuries to a licensed contractor’s employees are covered, releasing you from liability, injury to an unlicensed contractor’s employee leaves you liable.

If an unlicensed contractor performs incomplete or faulty work, or doesn’t do the work to code, fixing it will likely be your financial responsibility.

Take the following steps to protect yourself when hiring contractors.

1. Check the contractor’s reviews on Angie’s List, Home Advisor and Yelp.

2. Determine if contractors must be licensed to perform the job at the Contractors State License Board’s website.

3. Ask for the contractor’s trade license number {not their business number), and proof of bonding and insurance. Make sure all are current and cover your project. Keep a copy of each for your records.

4. Verify the information with your state’s licensing board. Make sure your contractors’ licenses are valid and current.

Add Beauty & Save Water with The Mighty Leucadendron

leucadendron_salignumThe drought-tolerant Leucadendron is the perfect plant for adding striking, and lasting character to your garden, while keeping your water bill down.

With over 80 species, these natives of South Africa, can be shrubs or small, upright, erect trees.

Usually growing 3-4′ tall, some species {like Safari Sunshine} reach 6-8′. A few {like Silver Tree} can grow 25-30′ high.

The fascinating Leucadendron’s leaves are elliptical, sometimes needle-like spirals, green in color with a waxy texture.

It’s colorful, durable, coned flowers appear in dense clusters at the branch tips, and range from reddish orange to yellow and silver.

With a long bloom lasting from winter into spring, Leucadendron also makes a great-looking, long-lasting cut flower for enjoying indoors.

Conserve Water With Hydrozoning

Hydrozoning, Lompoc CAHydrozoning is the strategic grouping of plants based on their needs, in order to conserve water. A system like this allows for more efficient irrigation schedules, which better satisfy each plant’s needs, while helping to avoid over- and under-watering.

Water Intensive Zones should be closest to the house, near the water source, and receive more shade.

Drought-Tolerant Zones can be created further from the house, in areas that receive lots of sun and away from trees or lawns that require more water.

You can also create Moderate-Use Zone for plants that require moderate amounts of water and shade.

Whether starting from scratch or just adding one-at-a-time, having a strategy for placing plants in your yard will help you save water and keep bills down.

Rainwater Harvesting

rainwater_harvesting_mainvisRainwater harvesting is a great way to conserve water and save money on landscaping bills. It helps reduce run-off, erosion and demand for the existing water supply.

Rather than letting rainwater run-off, it is accumulated and used for gardening and irrigation. This method can help reduce your water bill substantially, and system installation requires minimal skill.

A rainwater harvesting system can vary in size and level of complexity. The components of a simple system are listed below:

1. Collection Area {Roof}
2. Water Capture {Gutters & downspouts}
3. Distribution {Bucket, hose, pump}
4. Filter {Optional}
5. Storage {Container, barrel, tank}

With a simple system like this, rainwater from rooftops can be directed to gardens and/or caught in rain barrels to use later.

Tips for Saving Water in a Drought

mulch_mainvisThere is no question that conserving water in the current drought is vital to our community. Here are some tips to help you do your part and lower your bills at the same time.

1. Automatic Shut-Off Nozzle for Hoses.

This will help you control the flow of water so that it’s never running unnecessarily.

2. Use Leftover Water for Plants.

Water used to wash vegetables can be caught in a pot (or tin can), saved and used for watering the garden.

3. Lay Organic Mulch Around Plants.

2-4 inches of organic mulch around plants and shrubs can reduce evaporation from the surface of the soil. This will allow you to them less often.

How Many Days a Week Should I Water?

irrigation3_mainvisSeveral factors influence a good watering schedule, and with summer upon us it’s a good time to make necessary adjustments. Here are some of the factors that affect an irrigation schedule.

* During the hottest part of the year {June through September} your lawn may need 1.5 to 2 inches of water weekly.

* Cool-season grasses {like dwarf fescue} need more frequent watering since their root systems aren’t as extensive. Give them 2-3 equal waterings, spaced out evenly through the week. {3-4 days/week during summer}.

* Slopes or areas with shallow soils need shorter, more frequent irrigations.

* Sandy Soils require less frequent watering, but for longer time intervals. Clay soils require more frequent watering, for shorter amounts of time.

Observe a cycle from the start until the time at which runoff begins. That is the maximum time your sprinklers should run at a time. Space out the waterings evenly during the week. In extreme runoff situations, multiple start times may be necessary.

Early June is a Great Time for Planting Herbs and Summer Annuals.


This is the perfect time of the year to plant herbs like oregano, rosemary and thyme. Herbs like these grow very well in pots and containers. They also thrive in a mix of shady and sunny locations.

Summer Annuals.

Plant summer annuals in beds with plenty of sunshine. Great options include cosmos, marigolds, salvia, zinnias, petunias and nasturtiums. For great results in shady areas, try coleus and impatiens.

Pruning Fruit Trees.

Pruning should be performed a minimum of three times a year. This limits growth (and/or weight), increases air flow, and keeps trees in a natural, controlled shape.

* Cut out weak, broken, dead & diseased branches.

* Remove the least desirable looking branches in places where they cross or closely parallel each other.

* Carefully thin overall. This permits the entrance of sunlight and air.

* Use sharp tools and make close, clean cuts. Avoid leaving large stubs, which may encourage decay and/or insects.

* Prune moderately. Over-pruning can upset the balance between wood growth and fruitfulness.

* Prune that part of the tree where more growth is desired. This is important with older trees. New growth will be stimulated only in the parts of the tree that are pruned. Keep pruning to a minimum where growth is not desired.

* Trim branch endings to shape overall outer contour of tree.