Free landscaping plans available to San Benito residents

Water-efficient gardens, such as the one at Dunne Park, are encouraged during drought.

This article was written by BenitoLink intern Juliana Luna

Shawn Novack, Director of the Water Resources Association of San Benito County, says “60{6d6906d986cb38e604952ede6d65f3d49470e23f1a526661621333fa74363c48} of water usage goes into home landscapes,” and that “we need to start thinking of saving water.”

As an incentive for residents to conserve water, the Water Resources Association is offering three free water-wise landscape plans created by landscape designer Rosemary Bridwell. The designs consist of different themes—a meadow, dry creek and strolling garden (See PDFs below). Each plan has a $500 value. 

Water-wise landscaping is a term for gardening practices that use water efficiently.

Since 2007, Dunne Park has been an example of the water-wise approach. Leo Vasquez, a member of Water Resources, has been taking care of the garden, which is located at the corner of Powell and Sixth streets.

Vasquez said Dunne Park’s garden is watered twice a week, whereas normal gardens need to be watered three times a week. He noted that a rose garden takes up to two gallons a day and needs to be watered three times a week as well.

Dunne Park’s garden design includes a walkway of pavers, which allows water to run through them and into the ground. 

When choosing plants, Novack said native plants should be kept in mind because they help support local biodiversity.

Gov. Gavin Newsom this year put all of California under a drought emergency. Novack said that in May, runoff water from Sierra Cascade snowpack was drained dry by warm temperatures and parched soil. This caused significant reductions in the amount of water flowing to reservoirs.

He added that San Benito County is following Stage 1 water conservation measures, as follows. 

Outdoor water restriction

  • Landscape watering is limited and restricted to no more than three days per week with a duration of 15 minutes of watering.
  • No washing down sidewalks, driveways, or other hardscape surfaces.
  • No washing cars without the use of a quick-acting, positive shutoff nozzle.
  • No watering landscapes that cause runoff to adjacent, private, and public walkways.


  • Leaks, breaks and malfunctions of irrigation systems and plumbing equipment causing waste of water shall be repaired.

Prohibitions affecting commercial businesses

  • Water is to be served only when requested in restaurants and other food service establishments.
  • Operators of hotels and motels must provide guests with the option of choosing not to have towels and linens laundered daily and prominently display notice of this option.


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