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WaterSmart Gardening Resource Center

The greatest water-savings can be achieved outdoors! Create your water-efficient garden or landscape using tools, tips, and other guidance from an array of industry experts included on this page. Use the buttons below to navigate to resources on a specific topic:

Garden Inspiration

Sometimes a little help from others can get the ideas flowing for your own water-wise garden or landscape project! These resources may provide you with some great inspiration as well as helpful guidance for your project design and maintenance.  

Landscape Design

 
Marin Master Gardeners

Includes how to, design info, and plant selection guides.

By Marin Water

 📚 Read the Brochure

 

Use any of these 8 free, scalable, water-efficient, front-yard landscape design templates and their related garden maintenance manual.

By the Sonoma Marin Water-Saving Partnership

📚 Landscape design templates 
📚 Garden Maintenance Manual 

 

Marin Master Gardeners

Great garden designs well suited to landscaping beginners.

By California Native Plant Society

🖥️ View their resource page here

 

Marin Master Gardeners

Find the perfect native plants for your garden by answering 4 questions.

By Calscape

🖥️ View their website here

 

Technical Assistance

 
Marin Master Gardeners

WaterSmart plant labels highlight low water use plants to nursery customers.

By the Sonoma Marin Water-Saving Partnership

🖥️ Learn more and see a list here

 
Marin Master Gardeners

Free garden consultation with a Marin Master Gardener for residential customers 

By the Marin Master Gardeners

👋 Learn more and schedule a walk

 
Marin Master Gardeners

Marin Water partnered with UC Marin Master Gardeners to offer educational webinars on WaterSmart gardening practices

By the Marin Master Gardeners

 📺 View the webinar recordings here

Demo Gardens & Tours

 
Marin Master Gardeners

Tour Eco-Friendly gardens in Marin and Sonoma County.

By the Sonoma Marin Water-Saving Partnership

 📺 Watch recordings of the garden tours here

 

Youtube playlist of gorgeous eco-friendly gardens in Marin and Sonoma County. 

By the Sonoma Marin Water-Saving Partnership

📺 View the playlist here.

 
Marin Master Gardeners

Historic demonstration garden located in Ross. Open from sunset to sunrise.

By Marin Art and Garden Center

🖥️ View their website here

 

Local Marin County garden galleries demonstrating the versatility of California native plants.  

By the Marin Chapter California Native Plant Society

🖼️ View the galleries here

 

Falkirk Cultural Center garden showcases sustainable landscaping practices.

By the Marin Master Gardeners

🖼️ View the garden here

 

Marin Master Gardeners

Demonstration garden in Tiburon featuring a variety of drought-tolerant plants.

By the Marin Master Gardeners

🖼️ View the garden here

Water-Smart Plants

Whether you choose native plants or imports, make sure you select plants that are compatible with Marin's Mediterranean climate. Mediterranean plants require warm, dry summers, and receive most of their moisture during the winters. These resources provide guidance on the right fit for your property! 

 

Find out the water use needs of almost any plant (Marin is in region 1)

By UC Davis

🖥️ Access the list here

 
Marin Master Gardeners

List of invasive plants to avoid when considering adding to your garden.

By Marin Water

 🖥️ Access the list here

 

Plant list for Sonoma and Marin counties that contains mostly native species.

By the Sonoma Marin Water-Saving Partnership

🖥️ Access the list here

 

Marin Master Gardener plant recommendations organized by category.

By the Marin Master Gardeners

🖥️ Access the list here

 
Marin Master Gardeners

A Collection of native plants curated by Bloom of California Native Plant Society. 

By California Native Plant Society

 🖥️ Access the list here

 

Calscape provides a comprehensive list of California Natives.

By Calscape

🖥️ Access the list here

 
Marin Master Gardeners

Search the Arboretum All-Star plant database to find the plant perfect plant.

By UC Davis

 🖥️ Access the list here

 

Fire Safe Marin's list of plants to keep your yard safe from fire dangers.

By Fire Safe Marin

🖥️ Access the list here

Irrigation Tips and Tools

Not sure how much water your garden needs? The biggest water savings that can be made in our daily life can be found outdoors. Make sure you are maximizing your outdoor water-savings while still ensuring plant health with these resources. 

 
Marin Master Gardeners

Scheduling your irrigation system with info tailored to the weather in Marin County.

By Marin Water

📅 Access the scheduling tool here

 

 

Create an irrigation watering schedule that is customized to your landscape.

By the Sonoma Marin Water-Saving Partnership

📅 Access the scheduling tool here

 

 

Fire Safe Landscaping

When selecting plants, there are many factors that should be considered in addition to water conservation, including avoiding invasive plants and reducing the chance of a brush fire. Invasive plants introduced into local landscapes often end up invading surrounding natural areas, choking out natural plant communities and sometimes creating fire hazards. This guidance will help you make the right plant choices to mitigate these hazards and better protect your property.

 
Image
Photo of mulch on fore

Information about the combustibility of different types of mulch.

By Fire Safe Marin

🖥️ Read about fire-resistant mulch here

 

Learn about fire-resistant landscape design materials from Fire Safe Marin.

By Fire Safe Marin

🖥️ View Fire Safe Marin's website here

 
Marin Master Gardeners

Information about plant spacing with respect to fire safety.

By Fire Safe Marin

🖥️ Read about space considerations here

 

Marin Master Gardeners fire-smart landscaping resources.

By the Marin Master Gardeners

🖥️ View fire-smart recommendations here

 
Marin Master Gardeners

Great article with lots of visuals focused on defensible space zones

By Pacific Horticulture

🖥️ Read the article here

Hiring a Professional Landscaper

Maintaining or designing a water-wise landscape is not always a DIY endeavor and may sometimes requires the support of a professional landscaper. Use these resources for help with selecting a qualified contractor for your project.

 

Search this database to find a qualified water-efficient landscaper (QWEL) in your area to ensure there is a focus on maximizing water-saving strategies when implementing your project.   

👋 Hire a QWEL professional here

 
Marin Master Gardeners

Directory of members of the Association of Professional Landscape Designers

 

👋 Find a APLD professional here

 
Marin Master Gardeners

Professionals that are certified to install landscape projects.

 

👋 Find a CLCA professional here

 

ReScape provides a regenerative, whole systems foundation to landscaping education, workforce development and policy, addressing climate change earthscape and land use issues.

👋 Hire a ReScape professional here

Resources for Landscape Professionals

Add value to your services by providing clients with information on the most up-to-date water conservation practices and technologies through these training opportunities and other resources.

 

The Qualified Water Efficient Landscaper (QWEL) program is an extension of the Sonoma-Marin Saving Water Partnership and provides a WaterSense certification in irrigation systems auditing.

🖥️ Learn more here

 

ReScape provides a regenerative, whole systems foundation to landscaping education, workforce development and policy, addressing climate change earthscape and land use issues.

🖥️ Learn more here

 

The program includes a basic introduction to wildfire science and recommendations for creating fire-smart landscapes. The program can be conducted in person or online.

🖥️ Learn more here

 

The Irrigation Association (IA) is dedicated to promoting efficient irrigation technologies, products, and services.

🖥️ Learn more here

 

ARCSA is an international nonprofit organization that promotes sustainable rainwater harvesting practices and provides training and certification opportunities for professionals.

🖥️ Learn more here

Rebates and Incentives

Marin Water Rebates and Incentives

We offer landscaping rebates designed to help you save water and money. For a complete list, including indoor rebates, please visit our rebates page.

 
Marin Master Gardeners

We have partnered with the Urban Farmer Store to offer free laundry-to-landscape graywater webinars and a $125 discount on your purchase of a graywater kit.

🖥️ Learn more here

 

 

Rainwater harvesting is the practice of collecting rainwater from rooftops and storing it for later use. 

Marin Water offers up to 50 cents per gallon of storage, not to exceed actual cost.

🖥️ Learn more about the rebate here

 

 

We partnered with Rachio and the California Water Efficiency Partnership (CalWEP) to offer Marin Water's customers a significant discount, up to 70%, on Rachio 3 controllers.

🖥️ Learn more here

 

WaterSense labeled irrigation controllers act like a thermostat for your sprinkler system

Install a WaterSense labeled irrigation controller and receive a rebate up to $100.

🖥️ Learn more about the rebate here

 
Marin Master Gardeners

Marin Water is currently offering customers up to $3 per square foot cash rebate in return for replacing grass in their landscapes.  Pre-approval is required to participate in this program

🖥️ Learn more here