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Gardening Resources

water wise garden


If we want Marin County landscapes that are truly resilient to the effects of a changing climate, then we need to go beyond sustainable and water-wise principles to begin managing each property as though it were a mini-watershed.

By paying attention to the design of the garden, building soil and keeping rain on our properties, selecting climate-appropriate plants and managing supplemental irrigation, we transform our landscapes into abundant watershed-wise enhancements to our properties and neighborhoods.

Marin Water’s Watershed Approach to Landscaping handbook provides examples of inspirational gardens that conserve our valuable natural resources and create a diverse habitat of plants and insects. It contains more than 110 water-wise plants, landscape design tips, gardening how-to, local nurseries and other resources for Marin Water customers.

Take your knowledge a step further and sign up for a series of courses offered through our partnership with the College of Marin. Register for the Watershed Approach to Landscaping course series here

Qualified Water Efficient Landscaper (QWEL) Training

Wrap up your year by earning your QWEL certification online! And become a recognized industry leader in sustainable landscaping and efficient irrigation. Learn more.

One Day a Week Irrigation Webinar Series

Marin Water is partnered with the California Center for Urban Horticulture and Jim Borneman to offer five free webinar workshops to learn tips and tricks for maintaining trees, shrubs and lawns under current drought conditions while complying with the landscape irrigation restrictions.

Jim is the former Vice President of Education Services at Ewing Irrigation and Landscape Supply. Jim has been providing irrigation training to landscape professionals across the United States for over 40 years.

Recordings and Presentations


Outdoor water use accounts for up to half of all water used in the summer. Using water-efficient irrigation and landscaping helps create beautiful landscaping, while managing water resources wisely. Saving water also saves you money. 

Water Use Surveys

Home gardens: Let Marin Water’s water conservation experts provide a free outdoor water use consultation of your home garden.

During the COVID-19 pandemic, we will not be conducting site visits. Contact our water efficiency team at 415.945.1523 to discuss no-contact options.

Hire a Professional 

We understanding that sometimes, maintaining a water-wise landscape is not a DIY endeavor. If you decide to hire a professional landscaper, we recommend a QWEL (qualified water efficient landscaper). You can search for a QWEL in your area using this site

For additional tips on hiring a professional landscaper, visit the California Landscape Contractors Association (CLCA) website

Marin-Friendly Garden Walk

Receive a free residential garden evaluation from a Marin Master Gardener and get water-wise tips for a beautiful, healthy landscape. Visit the Marin Master Gardeners' website to learn more. Call 415.473.4204 to schedule.

Weekly Watering Schedule

Not sure how much water your garden needs? Use our Weekly Watering Schedule as a guide.

Water Conservation Requirements

Planning a landscape project? Find information on current requirements at this page.

Garden Inspiration

Take a look at our Watershed Approach to Landscaping handbook for inspiration and information to help you design and maintain your water-wise garden. Attend the Watershed Approach to Landscaping class series offered through College of Marin Community Education

Water-Wise 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. Our Watershed Approach to Landscaping handbook provides a list of more than 110 water-wise plants, landscape design tips, gardening how-to, local nurseries and other resources for Marin Water customers. The Marin Master Gardeners Plant Guide and the California Native Plant Society's Calscape websites are also great resources for water-wise plants.

Avoid Invasive & Fire-Prone Plants

When selecting plants for your landscape, there are many factors that should be considered in addition to water conservation, including avoiding invasive plants and reducing fire hazards. Invasive plants introduced into local landscapes often end up invading surrounding natural areas, choking out natural plant communities and sometimes creating fire hazards. For more information on plants to avoid, visit the California Invasive Plant Council's website. The PlantRight website offers recommendations for beautiful, climate-appropriate alternatives in place of common invasives.

With regard to fire safety, some plants are more fire-prone than others. Check with your local fire department for information before selecting plants for your landscape. In addition, use online resources, such as FIRESafe Marin and UC Marin Master Gardners to learn how to reduce landscape fire hazards, which is particularly important in severe drought conditions.

For Professional Landscapers

Add value to your services by providing clients with information on the most up to date water conservation practices and technologies. Marin Water can help. Click here for information on training opportunities and other resources.