Overwatering Is Out

Keep water in the yard, not the sidewalk.

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Presenting the Winners of the 2017 “Plants, Camera, Action!” Photo Contest…


The wait is over. After receiving 137 California friendly plant and landscape photo submissions and over 1,500 votes, here are the winners of the 2017 “Plants, Camera, Action” photo contest:

Nina_Landscape_San Juan Capistrano


1) Nina, San Juan Capistrano 
“Most Beautiful Photo of California Friendly Landscape”
Nina’s garden exemplifies a low-maintenance, water efficient landscape that naturally complements California’s warm climate.





2) Tommy, Laguna Hills 

“Most Beautiful Photo of a California Friendly Plant”
This gorgeous yucca photo was taken on Sitton Peak off of Ortega Highway. Yucca attracts beneficial pollinators such as hummingbirds. 





donna photo contest winner


3) Donna, Huntington Beach

“People’s Favorite” 
Like a desert painting, Donna’s minimal but vibrant landscape won the votes of nearly a third of total votes cast, making this Orange County’s favorite photo!





Look out for an upcoming issue of the OC Register featuring interviews with our winners!


P.S. Check out the rest of the photo submissions here for some inspiration for your own garden here.


7 Simple Tips to Make Your Yard an Ocean Friendly Garden

Hello Gneighbors,

The warmth of summer has arrived! Thankfully, Orange County is blessed with postcard-perfect beaches for all our gneighbors to enjoy.

Did you know that a California Friendly yard is also an Ocean Friendly yard? Every time you stop overwatering or use less fertilizer or pesticides on California Friendly yards, you are helping to reduce the amount of pollutants and bacteria entering our local waterways. By preventing this harmful runoff, you are also working to maintain the beauty and health of Orange County’s beaches.

SurfRider, a national organization dedicated to the protection of the oceans, echoes this statement: “The best way to protect our waterways is through a more natural landscape that supports a diversity of native plants and mimics and supports nature rather than harming it. Instead of maintaining water-thirsty turf lawns and adding chemicals to force them to be green, you can take steps to make your yard an Ocean Friendly Garden” (Herzog 2016).

Here are 7 simple tips to make your garden an Ocean Friendly garden.

  • Water your lawn by hand or adjust sprinklers to avoid overwatering
  • Sweep the driveway instead of using a hose
  • Read and follow the application directions of fertilizers closely
  • Do not over-apply pesticides
  • Pull weeds by hand instead of using weed-killer chemicals
  • Always pick up after your dog. Read 10 reasons why here.
  • Sweep yard clippings out of the street to avoid causing algal blooms as they decompose in the storm drains

Now that you know how to keep our oceans clean, I want to hear from you. What’s your favorite Orange County beach? Head to our Facebook page to share and make the pledge to maintain an Ocean Friendly garden!


P.S. Take our poll and share with us your favorite Orange County Beach!


Photo Credit: Robbie Morris, Laguna Beach
Herzog, Paul. “Making the Connection between How We Care for Our Yard and the Health of Our Local Waterways.” Surfrider Foundation. N.p., 13 Aug. 2016. Web. 08 June 2017.

In 2016, the award for most beautiful garden goes to…

Congratulations to the 2016 winners of our “Drought, Camera, Action!” photo contest!

The wait is over gneighbors! Here are Orange County’s most beautiful drought tolerant photos:


I am no longer asking you to save water…

Gnorman says hello to Orange County
Gnorman’s personal letter to Orange County:


Orange County: We’re Saving Water and Fighting the Drought!

Gnorman here bringing good news to you and your Orange County gneighbors!

Thanks to the California-wide effort to save water, officials have stated an overall 29% reduction of water use in May. I am proud to announce that Orange County has saved a collective 26% in comparison with May 2013! Congratulations gneighbors!

Here’s a special shoutout to Orange County’s second largest water district, the Santa Margarita Water District, which increased its savings from 3 percent to 18 percent in under a year. Furthermore, this summer, Santa Margarita will actively prevent overwatering by limiting outdoor watering to no more than 3 days and 36 minutes total per week. Gnorman heartily applauds their efforts.


The drought marches on

Despite our recent touch of rain, the rainy season is actually wrapping up. In fact, last year we were teased with a similar sprinkling mere days after the Governor announced the official drought! Despite that brief respite, the hot-dry summer and fall followed like clockwork and reminded all of us that the efforts we’ve put in place to stop overwatering were well thought out.

Here’s an updated version of last year’s graph showing that the general downward pattern of rainfall, much to our dismay, marches on. So too does the drought.

OC Rainfall 1505

Orange County as a whole is a leader in the state in stopping overwatering, but we can all still do much more. The first step is to make sure we aren’t wasting water and overwatering is the definition of waste!

So what are you going to do to help Orange County? Let me know in the comments below or, better yet, let me know on our pledge page and we’ll get you on the map so you can help remind your gneighbors that we’re all in this together!

The Governor’s Mandatory Water Restrictions

By now we’ve all heard about the mandatory water restrictions that are going into place because of the drought. Those restrictions require local water districts to find strategies to reduce water use by up to 25%. That’s a big task.

Fortunately, Orange County is ahead of the curve when it comes to planning ahead and has put in place a world class water infrastructure. We’re better off today because we invested yesterday, and we’ll be better off tomorrow if we keep investing today!

Sooo, how do we do that? Well, we keep being water smart.

Curb Your Water Waste

The great news is that the same strategies that reduce how much water you use also help you stop overwatering. Use less water and you’re almost guaranteed to let less run off into the stormdrain system.

So, get out there and check those sprinklers for leaks, take advantage of spring to plant some California Friendly plants, and do your part to keep Orange County ahead of the curve when it comes to showing the state how to plan!

What are you going to do to help Orange County? Let me know in the comments below!

Revisiting a Year of Drought

Our main goal is, not surprisingly, to stop overwatering. Wasteful runoff from homes carries with it pollutants into the stormwater system that then impact our local waterways. Our Holy Grail is to get homeowners to stop overwatering completely by not needing to water. Things like removing turf grass and READ MORE »

Smart Landscaping Saves More Than Just Water

Last week we talked about how incredibly effective rain gardens and swales can be in reducing runoff. Combined with the simplicity of permeable surfaces that we talked about, stormwater runoff can be reduced by up to 90%! That certainly saves a lot of water, but it can also save money and increase the value of your home. Even better, this isn’t theory, our gneighbors to the gnorth have done it.


See OC Residents in Action

The annual California Coastal Clean Up day was September 20th and was a huge success! More than 50,000 volunteers came out statewide and collected more than 500,000 pounds of trash and another 100,000 pounds of recyclables from California coastlines and beaches. Right here at home, Orange County residents came out in numbers and filled Huntington State Beach and Bolsa Chica State Beach to volunteer capacity! READ MORE »

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