One of the chief sources of water consumption around the home is in landscaping. You can conserve water and enhance the environment by landscaping with drought-tolerant native plants.
Gardening with native plants is a great way to conserve water and also provides a natural habitat and food for birds, bees, and butterflies.
The Santa Clara Valley Chapter of the California Native Plant Society is an excellent resource for learning about plants that are native to Santa Clara and San Mateo counties. Another way to learn more about landscaping with native plants is the Going Native Garden Tour which is hosted every year in April.
If you have native trees in your garden, especially oaks, it is important to be aware of each tree's specific water needs. Oak trees resent water in the area within their dripline during the dry season and watering under an oak may make it more susceptible to fungus infections and to an earlier demise.
While native plants enhance our environment, it is also important to keep in mind the danger of invasive non-natives. Many of these plants are threats to California’s wild lands. While they may seem harmless contained in a small garden, they may easily escape into our greenbelts or our creeks.
If you live on or near one of the creeks of Los Altos, please be aware of the Santa Clara Valley Water Districts regulations about planting in or near riparian corridors.