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3 Ways Property Owners Can Combat the Drought

Gone are the days when water-efficient landscaping meant watering at night and planting a few drought-tolerant plants. Newport Beach-based Lifescapes International president Julie Brinkerhoff-Jacobs tells us commercial property landscapes now need comprehensive strategies to deal with that permanent unwanted visitor: the drought.

1. It's About Smart Systems


Julie says the use of high-efficiency, low-precipitation drip irrigation is essential for all properly irrigated landscapes. But they need to be intelligent watering systems using recycled water for irrigation whenever possible. It's also important for tree and shrub layouts to be arranged in conjunction with bioswales to capture rainwater and reduce runoff. Julie's snapped with her daughter, artist Maya Rodgers.

2. Drought-Reistant Plants Are Also Important


A selection of drought tolerant landscape materials woven into landscaped environments is a common practice now, and was even before the drought took hold, Julie points out. The variety is impressive, including the likes of Aeonium, Agave, Senecio, Sempervivum, Echeveria, Dasylirion and Aloes, as well as warm season drought tolerant ornamental grasses like Muhlenbergia (pictured) Aristida and Festuca.

3. Other Options


Other possibilities include artificial grass replacing lawns or greenbelt areas. Also, limited landscape areas combined with hardscapes (such as paved areas) or with vertical herb and succulent gardens is a common design approach now, Julie says. Each property needs to find its own optimum mix. Pictured: The Block, a 720k SF mixed-use development in downtown San Diego. Lifescapes International has been tapped as its landscape architect.