The Inspiration Garden at the Utility Exploration Center was developed by Roseville’s Water Utility as a community resource. It is a living example that demonstrates how water-efficient landscaping is beautiful, lower maintenance, thrives with less water, and the best match for California living.

The Garden is also a classroom for UEC-hosted workshops on the latest water efficiency and stormwater quality management approaches. Here you’ll learn many gardening best practices that will provide tangible tips – from irrigation efficiency and proper planting to complete retrofits of existing turf.

Visit the Inspiration Garden, located in Mahany Park in the courtyard between the Roseville Sports Center and Martha Riley Library/Utility Exploration Center building.

"The Inspiration Garden showcases a variety of plants, including California natives, to demonstrate the diversity of water-wise options, how they can compliment each other, and promote a visually appealing and sustainable alternative to under-used turf."

Is there any downside to using only California native plants in a garden?

Having a garden with only California native plants offers many learning opportunities. We wouldn’t say that it’s a downside, but there is a great deal to learn. It is important to learn about their preferred soils, planting and watering techniques requirements, and pests. While there are an increasing number of nurseries and seasonal plant sales, it’s important to understand that all native plants appropriate for our region may not be available or have limited availability. Additionally, all native plants are not low-water-use plants, so careful selection is required.

While California native plants are well-adapted to the local climate and conditions and may require less maintenance than non-natives, knowledge about plant-specific care (pruning, soil amendments, etc.) is needed. Learn more at the California Native Plant Society.

What can I do to help ensure that I’m selecting the right plants?

Learn about the wildlife (birds, bees, pollinators, etc.) in your area so that you can select native and non-native plants that will provide habitat and help support them throughout their life cycles, keeping in mind that plant diversity is important. Avoid using plants with pest and disease issues and, instead, select plants that are pest and disease resistant. Embrace the conditions of your property and select plants that prefer those conditions. The objective is to mimic nature – the natural environment in which the plants you select exist.

Why is it that all the plants in the Inspiration Garden aren't California Natives?

The Inspiration Garden was created to serve many purposes. A top priority is that it’s a place of learning – a place to inspire Roseville residents to create their own beautiful, water-efficient garden. A variety of classes and programs are offered at the Utility Exploration Center (UEC) and this Garden is in itself a classroom. Trees and plants also serve many functions or purposes, and we are fortunate to live in a region where a large number and variety of native and non-native plants adapted to our soils, climate, topography, geological and geographical conditions are available.

Also, different plants thrive in different soil types, so having a variety of plants suited to the soil at the UEC as well as other soil types in our region broadens the palette of plants residents can use in their gardens.

Why is it beneficial to have diverse types of low-water-use plants, in addition to California native plants?

It's beneficial to have diverse types of low water-use plants because they can increase a garden’s biodiversity. This region’s diverse fauna – animals, birds, bees, pollinators, beneficial insects, etc., are attracted to and supported by the plants in the Inspiration Garden. Of course, there are certain butterflies, bees, and others that prefer specific native plants and some of these plants are an important part of the Garden, too. This Garden will evolve, and new plant species will be introduced from time-to-time.

A variety of plants is also important to highlight the multitude of shapes, sizes, and textures, as well as flower, leaf, and bark colors in the Garden. By using non-native, disease- and pest-resistant plants, the use of pesticides and other harmful materials can be reduced or eliminated. In the Inspiration Garden, pesticides are not used.

Care needs to be taken to ensure that invasive non-native plants are not used, as this can disrupt local ecosystems. Learn more about alternate plants to use instead of invasives at

What's the significance of having low-water-use plants in areas with water scarcity issues?

Low-water-use plants can contribute to water conservation efforts in areas with water scarcity issues. Once established, these plants are adapted to survive with less supplemental water, reducing the demand for potable water to irrigate them, which, in turn, reduces the pressure on local water resources.

Why should we consider a plant's water needs when planning a garden?

Considering a plant's water needs is crucial to ensure a garden thrives and evolves to continue to provide its intended biodiverse, regenerative purpose. In regions where water is scarce, using low-water-use plants can help conserve water resources, decrease the garden's environmental impact, and save the gardener time and money on irrigation. It's also essential for the health of the plants, as both overwatering and underwatering can result in plant death, adding another expense to replace it.

How can non-native low-water-use plants benefit local ecosystems?

Non-native low-water-use plants can benefit local ecosystems in several ways. Some non-native plants can fill specific ecological niches, such as providing food or habitat for certain wildlife. Additionally, non-native plants can contribute to the overall biodiversity of an area, promoting resilience in the face of environmental changes.