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Dry Area and Drought Friendly Landscaping

Many residents and businesses have replaced high water use lawns with more drought friendly options, helping to conserve water during the severe drought conditions we are facing.

There is much creativity in the landscape designs of home and business owners; from elaborate dry creek beds to ocean friendly gardens to artificial turf and everything in between. The efforts have gone a long way toward helping Ventura County cities meet water reduction goals.

However, many landscape designs do not include borders or edging to keep materials such as wood chips, bark, mulch, small rocks, and decomposed granite, on the property. With El Niño looming, what will happen to these landscaping materials when the rains come?

Materials like wood chips, bark, and mulch are light and easily float off during even a small rain if there is no barrier. In larger storms, other cover material such as small rocks and decomposed granite may also be carried away by water flowing from the property.

In dry and rainy weather alike, it is very important to keep the street gutters around your home or business clean of trash and debris. Anything that is left in the gutter will end up in the storm drain system, which leads directly to waterways that drain unfiltered and untreated into the ocean. Don’t blow landscape debris into the street and storm drains.

Even though many people view plant material as a natural substance, in waterways it reduces oxygen levels and increases nitrogen and bacteria levels, as well as carrying with it pollutants such as fertilizers, pesticides, dirt, and pet waste.

For areas landscaped with artificial turf, it is important to keep debris, trash, and pet waste picked up using dry cleanup methods. Do not wash these areas down if it is an area where pollutants can be washed to the gutter and subsequently the storm drain system.

Property owners should take measures now to ensure materials do not leave their property during a rainstorm. The biggest concern is how the materials will negatively affect the storm drain system and the pollutants they carry into the environment. Wood chips, bark, mulch, small rocks, and other materials can be carried into the gutter and then to storm drain catch basins. Once in the catch basin, the materials may begin to settle and accumulate with other debris that is being carried down the gutter. During a significant rainstorm this debris can build up quickly and cause substantial flooding. Even during smaller storms, the material will begin to accumulate, decreasing the capacity of the storm drain catch basin.

The best way to keep landscaping materials from leaving your yard and ending up in the storm drain is to put up a barrier that will keep it on your property. There are many different types and styles of edging that can be used as a barrier. If you don’t already have edging around your rock gardens, wood chips, or other materials, now is the time to add it to your landscape. Property owners are responsible for cleaning up any material that leaves their property and must ensure it does not enter the storm drain.


Want a more in-depth understanding of your landscaping needs, please contact a professional by clicking right here