El Cajon Homeowner Wins WaterSmart Landscape Contest

Christine Laframboise

El Cajon Homeowner Wins WaterSmart Landscape Contest

12:40 28 June in News

El Cajon homeowner Christine Laframboise has taken the title of “Best in District” in the Otay Water District’s 2021 WaterSmart Landscape Contest. Although it has been more than six years since its installation, her garden remains beautiful and low water use.

Yard before upgrade

Laframboise’s front yard before its transformation.

Every year, the District joins other water agencies in San Diego County to host the contest and reward one resident from their respective service area for showcasing the best water-saving landscape. This year, District selected Laframboise for demonstrating a well-thought-out design, plant selection and maintenance, and methods for efficient irrigation.

“We are proud to have customers like Christine who are committed to outdoor water-use efficiency and can demonstrate the many attractive features that homeowners can incorporate into their WaterSmart landscapes, especially at a time when California is facing drought conditions,” said Otay Board President Tim Smith. “We encourage customers to take advantage of our free resources and rebates to help with their landscaping needs.”

Like many homeowners before upgrading, Laframboise had been struggling to keep up with the maintenance. Grass covered every corner of her 1,895-square-foot front yard, which required too much water. Finally, in 2014, Laframboise decided to make a change. She signed up for landscaping classes presented by the San Diego County Water Authority’s WaterSmart Landscape Makeover Program. In addition, she received a rebate of $2,140 through the Water Authority’s WaterSmart Turf Replacement Program to help with her project.

With the help of her husband and son, Laframboise took out her grass and installed water-wise features such as mulch, stone, and low-water-use plants — succulents, blue ice plants, fire sticks, and various others. Her landscape now includes a drip irrigation system and a few rotating nozzles. Using a smart irrigation controller, her schedule is set to water efficiently.

Landscape after upgrade

Laframboise’s front yard after its transformation.

Compared to the years before upgrading her landscape, Laframboise has decreased her overall water use by an average of 42%. In addition to needing to water only two or three times a week, Laframboise says she mostly enjoys that her new yard attracts pollinators, she can maintain it on her own, and she no longer needs a lawnmower.

“My yard evolves as I learn about different plants and my location. I recently replaced dyed wood chips for shredded redwood bark. It is safer for pets, children, and wildlife,” said Laframboise. “I also plan to add more natives in the future, which attract more wildlife and require less water.”

The District will recognize Laframboise at its July board meeting with a certificate of recognition, a gift certificate to a local nursery of her choice, a yard sign, and other promotional items.

For more information about the annual WaterSmart Landscape Contest, visit landscapecontest.com.