Skip to main content

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

Watershed Approach to Landscaping

Marin Master Gardeners

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

By Marin Water

Landscape Design Templates & Maintenance Manual

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

Bloom - Simple and Elegant Garden Designs

Marin Master Gardeners

Great garden designs well suited to landscaping beginners.

By California Native Plant Society

Calscape - Garden Planner

Marin Master Gardeners

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

By Calscape

Technical Assistance

WaterSmart Plant Labels + Nursery List

Marin Master Gardeners

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

By the Sonoma Marin Water-Saving Partnership

Marin Master Gardeners - Garden Walks

Marin Master Gardeners

Free garden consultation with a Marin Master Gardener for residential customers

By the Marin Master Gardeners

Marin Master Gardeners - Webinars

Marin Master Gardeners

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

By the Marin Master Gardeners

Demo Gardens & Tours

Eco-Friendly Garden Tour - 2022 Videos

Marin Master Gardeners

Tour Eco-Friendly gardens in Marin and Sonoma County.

By the Sonoma Marin Water-Saving Partnership

Eco-Friendly Garden Tour - 2021 Videos

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

By the Sonoma Marin Water-Saving Partnership

Demo Garden - Marin Art and Garden Center

Marin Master Gardeners

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

By Marin Art and Garden Center

Photo Galleries - California Native Gardens

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

By the Marin Chapter California Native Plant Society

Demo Garden - Falkirk Cultural Center

Falkirk Cultural Center garden showcases sustainable landscaping practices.

By the Marin Master Gardeners

Demo Garden - Harvey's Garden at Blackie's Pasture

Marin Master Gardeners

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

By the Marin Master Gardeners

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!

Water use classification of landscape species

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

By UC Davis

Invasive Plant List - Marin Water

Marin Master Gardeners

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

By Marin Water

WaterSmart Plant Picker

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

By the Sonoma Marin Water-Saving Partnership

Marin Master Gardener Recommendations

Marin Master Gardener plant recommendations organized by category.

By the Marin Master Gardeners


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

By California Native Plant Society


Calscape provides a comprehensive list of California Natives.

By Calscape

Arboretum All-Stars

Marin Master Gardeners

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

By UC Davis

Fire-Safe and Fire-Prone Plants

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

By Fire Safe Marin

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.

Weekly Watering Schedule - Marin Water

Marin Master Gardeners

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

By Marin Water

Irrigation Scheduling Tool - Sonoma Marin Water-Saving Partnership

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

By the Sonoma Marin Water-Saving Partnership

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.

Fire Resistant Mulch

Photo of mulch on fire

Information about the combustibility of different types of mulch.

By Fire Safe Marin


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

By Fire Safe Marin

Plant and Tree Spacing

Marin Master Gardeners

Information about plant spacing with respect to fire safety.

By Fire Safe Marin

How to Create a Fire-smart Landscape

Marin Master Gardeners fire-smart landscaping resources.

By the Marin Master Gardeners

Sustainable Defensible Space & Resilient Landscapes

Great article with lots of visuals focused on defensible space zones.

By Pacific Horticulture

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.

Qualified Water Efficient Landscapers (QWEL)

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.

Association of Professional Landscape Designers (APLD)

Directory of members of the Association of Professional Landscape Designers.

California Landscape Contractors Association (CLCA)

Professionals that are certified to install landscape projects.


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

Resources for Landscape Professionals

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

Qualified Water Efficient Landscapers (QWEL)

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.

ReScape - Regenerative Landscape Training

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

Fire Safe Marin - Wildfire Education

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.

Irrigation Association (IA)

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

American Rainwater Catchment Systems Association (ARCSA)

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

Graywater & Rainwater Harvesting

Graywater is household water from showers, bathtubs, bathroom sinks and washing machines. Rainwater harvesting is the practice of collecting rainwater from rooftops and storing it for later use. Learn more about the different types systems, and which might be right for you.

Graywater Systems

About Graywater Systems

An overview of graywater systems and how to install them.

By the County of Marin

Laundry-to-Landscape Graywater System Example

Gain greater understanding of how the systems works through a detailed diagram and descriptions.

By Graywater Action

Graywater Stub-Outs

Learn more about greywater-harvesting stub-outs, which are built-in plumbing connections that allow for easy future access to a home’s drain-water stream.

By Brad Lancaster

Graywater Rebates

Marin Water partners with the Urban Farmer Store to offer $125 discounts on the purchase of a graywater kit.

By Marin Water

Rainwater Harvesting

Chapter 16 of the 2019 California Plumbing Code

Current state requirements for installation of non-potable rainwater catchment systems.

By California Building Standards Commission

Rainwater Capture and Management

Minimize stormwater impacts on the surrounding area through a natural system approach.

By Marin Countywide Stormwater Pollution Prevention Program

Rainwater Harvesting Manual

A technical guide for residential rainwater harvesting.

By San Francisco Public Utilities Commission

Rainwater Harvesting for Drylands and Beyond

Guidance to help you better collaborate with, and contribute to, many living systems that spark and regenerate life for all.

By Brad Lancaster

Rain Barrels and Cisterns Rebates

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

By Marin Water

Back to top
Back to top