SLO holds water-wise lawn landscaping competition with awards

The city of San Luis Obispo is looking to reward community members with water-wise landscaping as the statewide drought continues.

How are they going to do that? A good, old-fashioned competition.

Through the rest of the summer, SLO is holding a citywide contest for the Water-wise Landscape of the Month. Residents may nominate their yards or the yards of others to win the coveted title each month.

Winners receive a complimentary landscape sign and a 45-gallon rain barrel — as well as bragging rights.

“We all know California is experiencing serious drought conditions right now, and in an effort to encourage more residents and businesses to save water, we’re launching the first-ever Water-Wise Landscape of the Month competition in the city of San Luis Obispo ,” SLO Utilities Department deputy director Mychal Boerman said in a news release. “Traditional landscapes account for most of the water used by a home or business each month, and we’re hoping to highlight landscapes around town that are both water efficient and beautiful.”

When people switch to water-wise landscaping, Boerman said, they save water and money through lowered water bills and reduced maintenance and energy costs.

To participate, people are asked to nominate yards online by the 25th of each month, through October.

All entries will be showcased on the city’s social media platforms for community voting, according to the release.

Winners will be contacted by the 10th of the following month to receive their prize.

To be eligible, the properties must be located within the city of SLO, receive city water service and have all of the following:

  • A ring of mulch or woodchips surrounding all plants. The city’s Parks Maintenance department provides wood chips on a self-serve basis at the Corporation Yard, Sinsheimer Park parking lot and Laguna Lake Park parking lot.
  • A weather or soil moisture-based smart irrigation controller. SLO has a partnership with Rachio for discounted smart sprinkler controllers.

  • Water-efficient plants and less than 25% traditional lawn. A list of water-wise ground cover alternatives for the Central Coast can be found at California’s Invasive Plant Council website. A list of plants native to San Luis Obispo can be found at

Properties that use xeriscaping, a style of landscape design typically used in arid regions that requires little or no irrigation, can apply to participate in the competition and will be reviewed on a case-by-case basis, according to the release.

To nominate a landscape, go to You can also enter your property information for a separate chance to win a rain barrel at

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Kaytlyn Leslie writes about business and development for The San Luis Obispo Tribune. Hailing from Nipomo, she also covers city governments and happenings in the South County region, including Arroyo Grande, Pismo Beach and Grover Beach. She joined The Tribune in 2013 after graduating from Cal Poly with her journalism degree.

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