An example of a Central Valley Friendly LandscapeWhile near biblical rains continue to fall on the state, at least one municipality is looking past the water and towards future droughts. The City of Fresno is teaming up with the University of California to encourage residents to design landscapes that conserve water, build healthy soil, save energy, and reduce waste.

Residential landscapes that strive to protect and conserve our Valley’s natural resources will be recognized and rewarded by the Central Valley Friendly Landscaping Award Program.

The program has created a series of principles that define a Central Valley Friendly landscape.

  • Conserve Water and Ensure Water Quality
  • Conserve Energy and Air Quality
  • Nurture the Soil
  • Reduce Garden Waste
  • Practice Integrated Pest Management (IPM)
  • Select Appropriate Plants
  • Create and Protect Wildlife Habitat

“Our hope is that registered Central Valley Friendly gardeners will inspire others and really showcase the beauty and functionality a Central Valley Friendly garden can offer,” said Nora Laikam, City of Fresno Water Conservation Program Supervisor. “We want people to know that a Central Valley Friendly Landscape doesn’t have to be a desert landscape. These model gardens will include anything from native wildlife habitats to Mediterranean retreats, to an edible kitchen garden.”

In addition to the principles, they have also created a set of required practices. These practices are fundamental to creating a more environmentally and water friendly garden, and without them residents will not be considered for the recognition.

This new residential landscape program is open to residential gardeners within the Fresno/Clovis metropolitan area. Applicants must use the required practices and landscape principles outlined in the garden checklist on the website.

The application period runs through June 1, 2011. Award recipients will be notified by October 1 and will be honored at a public awards event. Winners also will receive an 18-inch Margaret Hudson quail sculpture with recognition plaque and a Central Valley Friendly Landscaping yard sign.

The program is supported through a partnership of the cities of Fresno and Clovis, UCCE Master Gardener Program, Fresno Metropolitan Flood Control District, and Clovis Botanical Garden.

More information can be found here, or by calling the City of Fresno Water Conservation Program: 621-5480.