One winner’s story
Marie Venable of Lemon Grove was recently named a winner in the county’s annual WaterSmart Landscape Contest.
The decade-old competition, formerly known as the California-Friendly Landscape Contest, recognizes participating water agency customers whose residences display great beauty achieved through water-wise planting.
Venable’s single-family home sits on a half-acre lot but sips a mere six units of water per two-month winter billing cycle and not too much more in the summer months. One unit is 748 gallons.
“My husband and I work very hard to conserve water and make what we have go further,” she said. “We have rain barrels that hold about 1,000 gallons and we use mulch and decomposed granite in several areas of our landscaping.”
Venable’s house is in the Helix Water District service area. Helix Board President DeAna Verbeke presented Venable with gift cards totaling $250 and an award certificate during a ceremony at the Water Conservation Garden at Cuyamaca College in Rancho San Diego.
Additional photos of Venable’s yard appear in the winners section of this website, as well as the water agency’s newsletter, Helix Highlights.
Judging criteria for the competition included:
Overall attractiveness: curb appeal; aesthetic color, form, texture; creative and environmentally sensitive use of hardscape;
Appropriate plant selection: water-smart plant palette; functional turf; functional landscape, meets needs of owners;
Design: energy-efficient use of tree canopy, permeable ground cover, shady and sunny areas in landscape; fire-wise landscape, as needed;
Appropriate maintenance: mulch; weeds kept to a minimum; plants neat, tidy and attractive; and
Efficient methods of irrigation: designed to reduce runoff; appropriate irrigation equipment for plant material; water consumption appropriate to area.
Call for entries for the contest usually begins in January of the competition year and the deadline for submissions is in early April.
More information can be obtained in other sections of this website or by contacting the appropriate water agency representative listed on the site’s contact page.