One of the joys of California living is the ability to blur boundaries between indoor and outdoor living. Whether you want entertainment areas, a stunning view from inside your home, a haven for pets, or a ball field, understanding your needs and how they match up to your particular yard will ensure your style of California living at its very best.

Header photo credit: Saxon Holt, PhotoBotanic,


Know your garden and how you use it

The best garden for you is the one that fits your lifestyle, meets your needs, and works with your site's special characteristics and conditions. Use this Landscape Design Checklist to achieve the perfect outdoor living space for you and your family.

Overwhelmed about getting started?

Watch this entertaining, informative, and fast-moving video by the Los Angeles Department of Power and Light How to Survey Your Site. The blueprint for implementation section offers step-by-step resources.

DIY Landscaping Guides

A Homeowner’s Guide to a WaterSmart Landscape guides you step-by-step through the process for creating a beautiful and water-efficient landscape.

The California Watershed Approach to Landscape Design guide provides the process for creating your own watershed-friendly landscape. These landscapes are beautiful, attract and support wildlife, incorporate California native and climate-appropriate plants, use less water and make the most of rainwater, reduce runoff, reduce/eliminate the use of pesticides, create and maintain healthy soil.

Water-Wise Gardening in the Gold Country Region

Gardening just got a whole lot more fun! Start with Garden Resources where you’ll find information about how to get started, how to design and what to consider, types of irrigation systems and watering guides, and how to maintain your garden. To get started click here.

Need some help from a professional?

Landscape Designers

May provide design ideas, conceptual landscape, planting, and lighting plans. While they may provide conceptual ideas on garden structures, irrigation, and hardscape layout, most are not licensed to provide construction drawings. To learn more, visit Association of Professional Landscape Designers.

Landscape architects

Are licensed by the State of California and, in addition to the plans typically provided by a landscape designer, they can produce construction-ready plans that may include complex retaining walls, grading and drainage plans, and physical structures. They often design large public and commercial spaces such as parks and commercial landscapes, although some specialize in residential projects. Learn more at American Society of Landscape Architects.

Landscape contractors

Are licensed to install the designs created by landscape designers and landscape architects. Some are design/build businesses, which means they provide design and installation services. To learn more about Licensed Landscape Contractors in California, visit the California Landscape Contractors Association and the California Contractors State License Board websites.

Hydrozoning reduces the guesswork

Are you asking yourself, “Hydro what?” Hydrozoning is an important concept that will help your garden thrive, use precious water efficiently, and make watering easier by removing the guess work.

A hydrozone is a portion of your landscape where you have grouped plants with similar water needs. Ideally, plants within each group will also have the same sun requirements. Each of these zones will have their own irrigation valve (also referred to as zones or stations).

Some examples of potential hydrozone groupings are: landscape trees, fruit trees, edibles (vegetable, herbs, etc.), lawn, plants in containers, mature plants being kept during a landscape renovation, and plants that rely on seasonal rainfall and little, if any, supplemental water once established.

Water Use Classification of Landscape Species (WUCOLS)

To find out the water-use needs of your plants or the plants that you’re planning to use in your garden, here’s an in-depth article written by UC Master Gardeners of Butte County, Using WUCOLS IV Plant Database to Hydrozone Effectively.

Correct Hydrozoning of Plants – Back Yard

This plans shows that plants in the back yard are grouped according to their water needs, making it easier to water them efficiently. The plants are all low water-use plants.


Incorrect Hydrozoning – Front yard

Plants in the front yard are not grouped to have the same water needs, resulting in low and moderate water-use plants being mixed together. This makes it challenging to efficiently irrigate and provide each plant the amount and frequency of water it needs.

Visit Water and Your Garden to learn more about creating and maintaining an efficient irrigation system.

A blueprint for implementation

Trying to Envision Your Landscape Makeover?

Watch this video about the 2017 Sustain the Gains Landscape Makeover Contest. The City of Roseville Environmental Utilities created this content to encourage residents to continue to use water efficiently regardless of whether or not we are experiencing drought conditions. The contest demonstrated how residents could reduce overall water consumption and at the same time keep the landscape thriving and the surrounding environment sustainable.


Sample Landscape Plans

There are many helpful design templates that you can adapt for your garden. If you are looking for inspiration and ideas for plans that can be adapted to your property, check out the resources below.

City of Roseville Water Efficiency Landscape Makeover Ideas

How about adding some bling to your front yard by turning your lawn into a magnet for birds, bees, and other pollinators? Or, be the first on your block to create an easy-care, water-efficient landscape. Let’s start with these Front Yard Water Wise Plans.

Eco-Friendly Landscape Design Plans for the New California Landscape

The New California Landscape provides four complete landscape design and irrigation plans that can be adapted to your landscape. They are suited to the Sacramento Region’s Mediterranean-type climate and support a rich diversity of plants and wildlife. The carefully selected plants make caring for them easier, even for the beginning gardener and they provide food and shelter for many types of birds, butterflies, and beneficial insects.

Listen to the tutorials to learn about irrigation systems, interactive plans to see photos of garden elements, and 75 plant profiles that show what plants look like in every season of the year!

Sonoma-Marin Saving Water Partnership

The Sonoma-Marin Partnerships developed eight landscape design templates that can be scaled to your property. Two plans are available for these four styles: Native/Adaptive, Eco-Edible, Contemporary, and Cottage. Each one also has a color illustration and ball-park costs to install the design. Also, view these Eco-Friendly Garden Tours for inspiration.

Plants that work for you

There are so many plants to choose from! When making tough choices, consider how the plants will be working for you. Will they provide much needed shade during our hot summers? Create attractive habitat for pollinators and birds? Deliver year-round tasty treats? Help you create a fire-resilient landscape? As you are planning, be sure to select the right plants for the right place that will be the right size at maturity and serve the right function.


According to the U.S. Forest Service, over 141 million acres of America’s forests are located in our cities and towns. Urban forests benefit our health and quality of life both locally and globally. Help to improve the tree canopy in the Roseville community. The Roseville Urban Forest Foundation (RUFF) has many resources to help you select, plant, and care for the right trees for your landscape.

Before buying your trees, check out Roseville Electric’s Shade Tree Program. Trees have many benefits and can help you save energy and money by shading your home and air conditioner during our hot summer months, reducing your cooling costs by as much as 40 percent!

Inland Valley Garden Planner

The Inland Valley Garden Planner is designed to help you have beautiful, have-it-all gardens. Even though its focus is for the Inland Valley of California, many of the plants are well suited to our area’s conditions. It also provides irrigation and maintenance information for each plant!

California Native Plants

The plants you select can be beautiful and pull double duty by supporting and sustaining bees, butterflies, hummingbirds and other pollinators, as well as beneficial insects and other wildlife. These incredible creatures play important roles in maintaining healthy ecosystems, and they are vital to our food supply. Learn about these numerous and wonderous California Native Plant Society (CNPS) resources: Calscape; Homegrown Habitat; Calscape Garden Planner.

Protecting Wildlife

To support garden life, our California gardens should be free of poisonous chemicals and pesticides. For more information, refer to: The Xerces Society; Pollinator Partnership; National Audubon Society; UC Davis Haagen-Dazs Honey Bee Haven; and UC Davis Arboretum and Public Garden.

Edible Gardens

Here’s a tip – Grow the food that you and your family like! Growing your own food -- fruit, vegetables, edible flowers, herbs, etc. -- is rewarding and beneficial in numerous ways. To get started, visit UC Cooperative Extension Environmental Horticulture Notes Vegetable Gardening 101.

Fire-resilient Landscaping

A fire-resilient landscape uses fire-wise landscape design and properly maintained fire-resistant plants. Learn about these strategies at CalFire. For specific, local guidelines, refer to your county or local fire-safety jurisdictions, agencies, and organizations.

Learn how to reduce your home and property’s vulnerability to wildfire by reading UC Cooperative Extension’s Preparing Home Landscaping.

Invasive Plants DO NOT Work for You

Invasive plants are not native to the local ecosystem and can harm California's environment and economy. Due to a lack of natural predators, they can quickly s overtake crops or rangeland; harm native wildlife by eliminating the plants that provide food and shelter; clog waterways used for commerce or recreation; and increase fire hazards and flood risk.

To learn more about what can you do to prevent the introduction and use of invasive plants, visit: California Invasive Plant Council and PlantRight.