Rainwater Harvesting Front Yard

Converting grass and ice plant to climate appropriate plantings in Tierrasanta

Drought Tolerant Front Yard

Our clients have spent 14 years looking at a semi-converted front yard with ice plant and weeds. Being eco-minded, they also were open to our suggestions of sending roof water into the landscape. Now, their front yard is an attractive layout that increases curb appeal and they consistently get compliments from passersby.

Project Description

We removed a steep slope of ice plant and replaced it with Yucca brevifolia, Dymondia margaretae and various other plants. We also routed roof downspouts to drain into the upper portion of the front yard and soak into a mulched basin to extend the rainy season and keep our waterways clean.

Project Details

Location Tierrasanta, San Diego, CA
Date Completed 2016
Features Rainwater harvesting to mulch basin, stone steps acting as spillway, Dymondia ground cover, and drought tolerant plants
Budget $$$

Nine-months later the Dymondia has mostly covered the slope.

Using Silver Carpet Ground Cover

Ice plant (Delosperma spp.) is a low water use ground cover, but on steep slopes, it’s shallow root profile does little to knit the ground together and also can allow invasive plants to grow between it. Silver Carpet (Dymondia margaretae)—once established—forms a relatively dense mat and deeper root structure to help hold soil and protect it from the erosive effects of rain.

Harvesting the Rain

Rainwater is harvested off part of the homeowner’s roof and leads to a mulched depression (basin). Once that fills to capacity, the water gently trickles and flows down the reinforced rock spillway (which also was built as stair steps for easy access). The water then slowly flows down the rock mulch dry creek bed with hidden depressions underneath for further soaking potential.


"Ecology Artisans is a professional landscape design service that offers a thoughtful, individualized approach. Christopher listened to my preferences and concerns, then was very open to back & forth about his design ideas and proposals. He is knowledgeable and friendly. He also oversaw the installation personally and has followed up responsibly. I believe that his costs are reasonable, and he explains them well. I already have heard many compliments from neighbors on my new landscaping. I am looking forward to it growing in as planned, and I also look forward to working with Christopher on its continued maintenance."

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