Eco-Friendly Garden Tour – Sam’s Playful Garden


Daily ActsWater Conserving Windsor Tract Home

Limited visiting hours: 10AM – 1PM
This garden is featured in the Daily Acts Rockin’ Homestead Tour.

Eco-Tour Picture 1
Eco-Tour Picture 2

City Council member Sam Salmon’s vibrant, playful backyard is a very charming example of how to have fun with a suburban sized lot. Once a typical tract home lawn, Sam’s garden now pops with delightful color, overflows with fruit and vegetables, is home to birds and lizards, and uses primarily graywater for irrigation. Even better he’s only spent about $20 on it this year by growing most things from seed and letting plants “volunteer.”

A well-established apple tree provides a bounty while plum and apricot trees are surprisingly happy and productive in pots. Thomson’s seedless table grapes twist about everywhere, self-seeded rainbow chard adds a pop of edible color, and poppies, lavender, and rosemary provide nice pollinator habitat.

Sam uses the most fundamental of graywater systems. His washing machine discharges directly into a hundred gallon tank, which he then delivers to the garden via five gallon bucket. He’s careful that the water doesn’t sit in the tank for more than 24 hours. For the upstairs shower, a mortar mixing pan is used to capture 100% of the bath water, which is then transferred to a five gallon bucket and taken downstairs for application to plants. Sam and his wife only use about 45 gallons/day/person by practicing very simple water saving habits.

Russian River Friendly Landscaping Principles and Practices

Conserve Water

California’s climate includes long dry summers and the periodic failure of winter rains — water is a precious and often scarce resource. With projected population growth, it is estimated that by 2020 the state will face annual water shortages, even during years of regular rainfall.

Yet one-third of all urban water is applied to landscapes. What’s more, much of this water is used in excess or at the wrong time of year: residential properties are regularly over-watered by 30-40%.

Russian River FLG LogoWater-wise landscaping is, however, more than efficient irrigation and xeriscapes. It also means augmenting the water holding capacity of the soil to create drought resistant soils. Water-wise landscaping makes use of alternatives to potable water such as recycled water, graywater, or captured rain. And, it relies on the latest in irrigation controller technology for the most efficient application of water possible. The landscape professional can offer the following critical expertise in conserving water:

  1. Create drought resistant soils with compost and mulch
  2. Grow drought-tolerant CA native or Mediterranean plants
  3. Minimize or eliminate the lawn
  4. Implement hydrozoning – group plants by water needs
  5. Design for on-site rainwater collection, recycled water and /or graywater use
  6. Design and install high efficiency irrigation systems
  7. Install a dedicated meter to monitor landscape water use
  8. Manage irrigation according to need
  9. Maintain the irrigation system so every drop counts
  10. Request an irrigation audit