I learned of the Santa Clara Valley Water District Landscape Rebate Program last year and looked into the rules and requirements, but I didn’t proceed. Mainly because it seemed such a daunting task, given my limited knowledge of drought tolerant plants.
This year, when they extended the program, I visited a neighbor’s garden that had been converted from almost 9,000 square feet of lawn to California native plants. It looked nice enough, and when she showed me a copy of the check she received for $17,000 I became a believer. Money talks.
I did some more research, attended a public forum on the program and soon realized that not only would this incentive pay for the conversion, but there was clearly enough money built into the rebate that I could afford an expert to design the gardens. Limited knowledge problem solved.
Enter Deborah Cottingham, landscape designer, specializing in Native California and drought tolerant plants. Debbie has designed several “rebate ready” gardens and fully understands the program requirements. I visited her 2+ acre property a few weeks ago to get a first hand look at a mature native garden. It was dizzying!
And so we have begun. Debbie has walked, measured and photographed two of my big lawns, and designed a beautiful, interesting, low maintenance, Water-wise Garden that will attract birds, butterflies and bees. I have begun to stockpile wood chips and hoard cardboard for sheet mulching (another blog), and I am familiarizing myself with all the plants she has chosen. Tomorrow I will submit my application to the Santa Clara Valley Water District, along with the landscape design, plant list and photos of the existing lawns. And wait. Until they approve. Until I get my Notice to Proceed. Or not. I am going to turn off the sprinklers and start digging tomorrow.