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Coastkeeper Launches Drought-Tolerant Landscaping Service to Help Orange County Lower Water Use

Water advocacy organization offers SmartScape to businesses, residents, contractors– needing to conserve water

ORANGE COUNTY, April 11, 2015 – In response to the most severe drought in California’s recorded history, Orange County Coastkeeper introduces its SmartScape services to consult on resource-efficient landscaping that features drought-tolerant plant design, cutting-edge technology and sustainable landscape management practices.

“This comes at a perfect time for Orange County residents and businesses looking to conserve water in light of the California Governor Brown’s declaration of a drought State of Emergency in January and the latest report showing snow packs at a record low,” said Garry Brown, executive director of Orange County Coastkeeper, which famously led the Southern California Edison SmartScape Project. “In Southern California, over sixty percent of residential water use is outside of the home, which is predominantly landscaping. And we now offer the guidance to change this one lawn at a time.”

Launched this year, Orange County’s SmartScape assists property owners, landscaping contractors, businesses and residents to transition to drought-tolerant landscaping and lower water use. This service assists at every step of the transformation process from identifying financial incentives, design, installation and long-term maintenance.

By transforming turfgrass-based landscaping to SmartScapes, residents can:

  • Conserve water
  • Eliminate dry-weather runoff
  • Reduce maintenance costs
  • Reduce carbon emissions

Coastkeeper has worked on many large-scale projects, such as:

  • The Coastkeeper Garden – This unique, sustainable garden showcases plants from six Southern California native habitats as well as drought-tolerant plants on 2.5-acres of land located adjacent to Santiago Canyon College. The garden is used as a tool to teach important environmentally friendly gardening.
  • California Edison SmartScape Project – Coastkeeper collaborated to convert three acres of conventional turf into a resource efficient landscape designed to serve as a model for other Southern California Edison facilities, commercial spaces, and residential parcels. Following construction, Coastkeeper engaged in a two-year program to manage the site using sustainable landscaping practices resulting in:
  • A 50 percent reduction in maintenance costs.
  • A 48 percent reduction in irrigation water use.
  • A 54 percent reduction in carbon emissions.
  • Capture and mitigation of 100% of storm water onsite.

Coastkeeper SmartScape services are available to Orange County businesses that want to turn their property into environmentally conscious, water-saving works of art.

To get started on your SmartScape, contact Ray Hiemstra at the Coastkeeper office at 714-850-1965 x 304 or


ORANGE COUNTY COASTKEEPER: Founded in 1999, the mission of Coastkeeper is to protect and promote sustainable water resources that are swimmable, drinkable, and fishable. Coastkeeper is a nonprofit clean water organization that serves as a proactive steward of our fresh- and saltwater ecosystems. We work collaboratively with diverse groups in the public and private sectors to achieve healthy, accessible, and sustainable water resources for the region. We implement innovative, effective programs in education, advocacy, restoration, research, enforcement, and conservation. For more information, visit or call 714-850-1965.