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San Diego Graywater Rebates

The City of San Diego graywater rebates are now available for simple and complex systems. Now it's even easier to reuse your waste graywater (aka 'greywater' if you're of the British English inclination) to irrigate your landscape.

What is graywater?

Graywater is water that is produced as "waste" from water sources such as laundry washer machinesbathroom sinks, bathroom showers, and bathtubs. Graywater is seen as "less" dirty water that doesn't have high levels of organic contaminants or fecal matter that comes from kitchen sinks or dishwasher machines or toilets.

Example illustration of a typical residential graywater systems. Image courtesy of The City of San Diego

Here is the actual language from the The City of San Diego Bulletin 208 (07/2014):

Graywater is defined as untreated wastewater that has not been contaminated by any toilet discharge, has not been affected by infectious, contaminated, or unhealthy bodily wastes, and does not present a threat...
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Ocean Friendly Gardens, Farms & Landscapes

By installing ocean friendly gardens, farms, or landscapes, you protect and help regenerate local fisheries and ocean life. Simple steps, like reducing sediment runoff by keeping exposed soil covered with mulch is just one small way you can be a part of solution in healing our oceans. A local San Diego organization comitted to improving local ecology through our food system is the San Diego County Food System Alliance (SDFSA). Ecology Artisans is a voting member of SDFSA, and a privilege of being a member is attending bi-monthly voting member meetings. The alliance is made up of different working groups such as the Reducing Barriers to Farmers Group or the Urban Agriculture Group.

Ocean Friendly Gardens Regenerate Fisheries

The newest working group in the alliance is the Sustainable Seafood System Group. At our most recent gathering, we had the privilege of receiving a presentation from Dave Rudie, the President of Catalina Offshore Products Inc., which is San Diego County's largest...

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The Benefits of a Mature Hedgerow

agriculture landscaping Jun 16, 2016

The hedgerow is recognizable as a common feature throughout the countrysides of the United Kingdom, Ireland, and throughout Massachusetts, here in the states. Hedgerows are roughly defined as a contiguous line of shrubby plant material, mixed with tree species.

Benefits of a Mature Hedgerow

Example of a hedgerow

According to data from a 2007 survey conducted by Hedgelink UK, an organization based out of the united kingdom, there are approximately 250,000 miles (402,000 km) of managed hedgerow, with another 60 or so thousand that have become feral. In the same report, there is mention of mature hedgerows that are estimated to be around 800 years old. This clearly shows that hedgerows have been a common tool in the development of sustainable/regenerative land stewardship for a significant period of time. As a major component of a region’s green infrastructure, this type of longevity becomes critical for maintaining regional diversity of flora and fauna, healthy soils, and high...

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How Much Does a Landscape Install Really Cost?

landscaping Jun 14, 2016

In the age of externalized costs and internet price shopping, many of us have lost grasp of what it costs to do physically demanding and resource intensive work. Work like landscape installation. Home improvements can carry quite the sticker shock for many homeowners, especially those that have little to no return on investment.Thankfully, landscaping improvements DO increase the value of your property.

A landscape with quality curb appeal improves your home's property value.

It is well known in the realty world that healthy, mature, and regionally appropriate landscape will increase the cost of your property. Depending on the tree, some will add thousands of dollars to the closing price. Even how your neighbors landscape their home will impact your value. With more people becoming drought-aware, low-water use landscapes will appeal to home buyers, especially those that are designed with low-maintenance and ease in mind. Coupled with water saving features like infiltration...

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Watershed Restoration

Our company Ecology Artisans is quite a unique animal. Our tagline is, "Ecological landscape and farmland design and development company." We know it's a mouthful, but it doesn't even start to encapsulate everything we do. Our company is helping redefine how we associate and interact with our landscapes. Many ecological designers refers to their place of origin by relating to their watershed, for example, the Santa Ana watershed. Here at Ecology Artisans, we are big believers that bio-association is extremely important if we are really going to solve the ecological issues that we face today.

The Carlsbad Watershed - Photo Courtesy Of The Carlsbad Watershed Network

Watershed Restoration

We need to start thinking of ourselves, our cultures, and our families as a part of nature, instead of separate from it.

What does bio-associate mean? It's a manner of thought and personal connection to the world around us and our role within the associated web of biological and...

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Easy Lawn Care Tips for Homeowners

landscaping maintenance Feb 24, 2016

In this article we share easy lawn care tips that address the basic needs for maintaining your lawn or turf grass, with a focus on dry or drought stricken soil. This includes an introduction to the concept of an Integrated Pest Management (IPM), as well as basic watering practices and soil amending techniques.

Keep your lawn thriving with these easy lawn care tips!

Keeping lawns healthy can be one of the most frustrating elements of professional and homeowner landscaping, and many homeowners (and even some pros) have major misconceptions as to what leads to a healthy lawn. We find it helpful when explaining turf management to customers to compare the needs of their lawn to the needs of the human body. Like a person, plants can catch diseases, or come under attack from outside forces. And like a person, too much or little water or nutrients in the plant’s body can damage or kill it. The solution –for healthy people and plants- is essentially “healthy living”...

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When to Plant and Why

landscaping plants Aug 16, 2015

“Best time to plant everything!”

Everything...? Not really.

I recently noticed the above headline from a circular in the local paper. My first thought was, “Not really!

Let’s recount, very briefly, the climate that we live in here in San Diego County.

First off, it’s considered a Mediterranean climate. Right away that means wet, relatively mild winters, and dry hot summers. As a general rule. With that said, reflect back on the last, say, two years in SD county. Winter hasn’t been very wet; we’ve been coming out of winter with somewhere around four less inches than “normal”. We’ve also had some higher than normal summer temps. In Valley Center, it was holding around 109 degrees for two weeks. That’s noticeable when you’re working and sweating in it. We, as a state, are actively reminded that we are in severe drought conditions. So much so that, finally, the state is going to do what it should have been...

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Turf Removal, Done Right

Turf Terminators, an LA-based landscaping company, has garnered much acclaim for creating a business model built on rebates and the drought.

"You can tell which are the Turf Terminator homes — it's just gravel and a little bush. It's just a bad business. They're just ripping off customers." Lorena Gonzalez, South LA

Shouting, "FREE LANDSCAPE!", Turf Terminators heads to your home to rip out your old lawn, tie in some new irrigation, pop in a cookie-cutter plant palette, throw down some rock, and collect your rebate. All you have to spend is your time. Sounds great, but nothing in life is "free." Something has to give, and unfortunately, it's quality (seems to be recurring theme in our recent culture's history, ahem, planned obsolescence). Yes, you'll get free turf removal, save precious water*, and have a new landscape. You'll also get a wonderful heat island effect from all that rock, grasses that immediately creep back in, potentially lots of FREE! poisons sprayed on your...

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Artificial Grass: Just say, "No Thanks"

Who wouldn't want a lawn that stays forever green, is durable, and doesn't consume water or require feeding? Sounds great in theory, but we're not looking at the total emergy of artificial grass (aka artificial turf, synthetic turf, etc.).

Some applications of artificial turf might make sense. But for the home, we caution against it. photo cc Daniel Lobo

Here are some reasons we offer clients when they are considering artificial grass.

Artificial Grass was invented by Monsanto®

In the mid '60's, Monsanto® created and originally branded its synthetic turf as ChemGrass aka AstroTurf (Chemical Grass, how delicious). It was later rebranded AstroTurf after the Houston Astrodome installed it in 1966 and gained massive exposure through NFL marketing. The outgassing and noxious fumes from sunbaked plastic will repel not only insects, but your neighbors as well. And let's not forget the cancerous arsenic, benzene, lead, and mercury that they can contain. I do applaud Monsanto®...

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NRCS Web Soil Survey: Gather Site Soil Info for Free

design landscaping tutorial Mar 27, 2015

Any ecological landscape design must take the soils into consideration. This includes the mineral makeup and underlying bedrock to determine subsoil types. These will help start a rough outline for addressing specific areas to test with percolation, soil analysis, and composition.

Web Soil Survey: Useful, free government tool for soil and other data analysis

The National Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) has a free online tool for analyzing your site's data. The free PDF that they provide at the end of your survey includes a to scale site map that you can then import into your designs. It helps shave a bit of time off my homework before we do a site assessment (that video to come). Here is a walk through using the NRCS's Web Soil Survey. If you have other tricks using the NRCS's online tool, let me know and I can include it in future edits.

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