Weather predictions for 2022 confirm what Californians already feel in their bones
Drought is here to stay—at least through the summer. Driving this reality home, California Governor Gavin Newsom issued an executive order in March calling for the State Water Board to consider “banning irrigation of non-functional turf in the commercial, industrial, and institutional sectors” except in rare situations. What will this ban mean to your landscaping and grounds maintenance operations, and how can organizations, nationwide, become responsible water stewards?
We’ve turned to the experts and, from their data and suggestions, compiled our top picks. Here are seven best practices in landscaping for 2022.
Tip 1: Begin with a plan
A commercial landscape that is both aesthetically pleasing and water-wise starts with a blueprint—one that includes everything from plant placement to surface materials to upkeep schedules. Beale Air Force Base in Northern California relies on just such a blueprint to maintain its grounds efficiently. Their detailed plan covers everything from the incorporation of existing trees to the placement of Sonoma Goldstone to the arrangement of new water-wise plants—including Mexican Bush Sage, Quadracolor Agave, Italian Cyprus, and Red New Zealand Flax.
Tip 3: Choose drought-tolerant plants
Before the drought, the use of native plants was enough to spare water. Now, however, commercial landscapes will thrive with plants that are both native and water-wise.
A drought-tolerant California landscape favorite is Ceanothus, which, with its bluish blossoms, is not only beautiful but is also a magnet for pollinators. And with so many varieties available, you can always find the right growth pattern to fit your needs.
Tip 4: Enhance landscapes with stone and gravel
Available in myriad colors and textures, stone and gravel make for innovative, drought tolerant designs. Think dry creek beds, Zen gardens, and geometric patterns—none of which need water.
This approach to water conservations has proven so successful that it’s been adopted by the U.S. military. At Beale Air Force Base, the turf surrounding the Ops building was recently replaced with stone and gravel of contrasting colors and varied textures. The result was a neat, manicured aesthetic that reflects the disciplined order of the Air Force and meets the base’s water conservation goals.
Making the most of a scarce resource
The California drought is in its third year. Meanwhile, according to federal climate officials, early May’s first week found 45.01 percent of the U.S. and 53.77 percent of the lower 48 states in drought. Under these circumstances, water-wise strategies don’t just produce innovative, creative landscapes—they also demonstrate an organization’s commitment to environmental stewardship. That’s a value-added proposition that many of today’s environmentally conscious customers are looking for.