California's Water: Facts on "Water Efficency Gardens in Full Bloom"

Beautiful gardens and landscapes provide an attractive setting, but in semi-arid states such as California traditional lawns and gardens can require lots of water to maintain. Fortunately, there is another way. Gardens can be beautiful and water-wise, if you know where to start.

Many local water agencies have developed award-winning gardens that demonstrate how Californians can enjoy lovely gardens and landscapes while conserving precious water supplies.

These gardens are a valuable resource for Californians who want to learn more about our water system and the many actions we take – both indoors and outdoors – to use water as efficiently as possible.


Since more than 50 percent of residential water use takes place outdoors, water efficient gardens and landscapes translate into significant water savings. It is possible to have beautiful gardens and landscapes and still be water efficient. Water efficient gardens are a great tool for showcasing California-friendly plants and landscaping, and educating the public about water-saving garden techniques. Water agencies are helping Californians create water efficient gardens with demonstration gardens. Traditional lawns and gardens can require lots of water to maintain. For example, the typical lawn requires about 57 inches of water a year. While some of that comes from rain, the rest has to be provided by irrigation. A small lawn of 1,000 square-feet uses about 35,000 gallons of water per year. If the lawn is over-irrigated, as is common in many areas, it can use up to 75,000 gallons a year. It is estimated that residents over-irrigate outdoor plants and lawn by as much as 60 percent.