Water Conservation
Bay Friendly

Irrigation Corner
Too wet? Too dry? Sprung a leak? We can help...  

Get Ready for Water Rationing

With reservoirs at far below normal levels the Marin Municipal Water District is advising residents to expect drought conditions and mandatory rationing orders. Gardens & Gables is concerned about preparing for these restrictions and would like to offer you professional solutions to protect both your landscape and your pocketbook!


New Irrigation Technology Saves an Average of 30%

  • Upgrade your irrigation controller to the new ET controllers
    Our installations have achieved documented results of between 25 to 72 percent reduction in monthly water usage by using site specific data to automatically adjust watering times
  • Upgrade sprinkler nozzles
    New MP (matched precipitation) rotators, pro-adjustable nozzles and stream rotators reduce water. Clients report up to 30 percent savings
  • Redesign zones for better uniformity of coverage and controlled output
  • Check your water pressure

    If pressure is too high, save by adding a pressure reducer. This reduces misting and achieves uniform coverage

  • Our irrigation systems are compatible with wells

Water-Wise Design Changes Can Transform Your Thirsty Yard Into a Beautiful, Drought Tolerant Landscape

  • Change plant material types from high water use to low us
    We can recommend many beautiful and easy drought-tolerant performers
  • Reduce or replace those thirsty lawns
    Rid your thirsty fescue, rye and blue grasses in exchange for the new Low-Mow or No-Mow California native grasses or low growing Manzanita ground covers.
  • Consider artificial turf.
    We have many new much-improved varieties available and are experienced in these installations


Proper Maintenance Techniques Reduce Water Use and Make Your Garden Thrive

  • Mulch to retain water in the soil
  • Aggressively prune shrubs
    Reducing foliage and canopy size reduces the water needs of the plant
  • Spray all plant material with “Cloud Cover” type anti-transpirants
    These form a colorless film on the leaf surface, which prevents loss of water within the plant while allowing it to breathe normally
  • Install nursery type shade cloth to reduce sunshine and lower temperature
  • Our maintenance team has several proven methods for conserving water on conventional lawns

We are QWEL (Qualified Water-Efficient Landscaper) certified by MMWD. We have also earned the “Bay Friendly” certification, your assurance of our expertise and commitment to reducing water demand with efficient, sustainable, award winning landscape design, construction and maintenance practices.

Thank you for considering a commitment to drought tolerant landscaping. Gardens & Gables stands ready to assist you in achieving maximum water savings. Please call today for more information about these and other ideas for improving your landscape.

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Sustainable Practices for the Landscape Professional

Bay-Friendly Landscaping is a whole systems approach to the design, construction and maintenance of the landscape in order to support the integrity of one of California's most magnificent ecosystems, the San Francisco Bay watershed.

As a Bay-Friendly landscape company, Gardens & Gables focuses on creating and maintaining healthy, beautiful and vibrant landscapes by:

  • Landscaping in harmony with the natural conditions of the San Francisco Bay watershed.
  • Reducing waste and recycling materials.
  • Nurturing healthy soils while reducing fertilizer use.
  • Conserving water, energy and topsoil.
  • Using integrated pest management to minimize chemical use.
  • Reducing stormwater runoff.
  • Creating wildlife habitat.

A well-designed and maintained Bay-Friendly Landscape can cost less to maintain in the long run by consuming fewer resources. For public spaces, Bay-Friendly Landscapes embody community values for health, wildlife and the environment. For private property, Bay-Friendly landscaping addresses issues that your care about, such as lower water or garbage bills and increased environmental benefits.

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Irrigation Corner

Gardens & Gables provides expert installation, maintenance and troubleshooting of irrigation systems, from the simple to the complex. If you’d like an overview of your system, a quick refresher course on your controller’s settings, or if you'd like to learn some simple troubleshooting and repair techniques, let us know and we can schedule a time when you’ll be available during our next routine visit. That way, you’ll be prepared come rain or come shine.

Give the system a checkup: In the early spring we'll run a thorough check of your system. Even with state of the art irrigation systems, occasional leaks and clogs can occur. We try to catch them is early on, before they waste precious water or cause major problems in your garden.

If you like, you can run a clog and leak test yourself. Going valve by valve, manually turn on the water at each one, and walk the line. Check to see if you've lost emitters (you'll see obvious spray), or if the emitters have gotten moved out of place from desired plants. Are there any leaks or kinks in your tubing? Are valves dripping excessively or making funny sounds?

Some of these problems you can fix yourself (if you need training, we’ll show you how). Others might need our attention. If so, flag or mark the leak, turn off the system, and give us a call. (See “Help is on the way.”)

In the event of a serious problem, you should know how to turn off your system’s controller, and possibly your water supply. Let us show you how on our next visit.

Keep on ticking: Most irrigation controllers (time clocks) have a battery back up, protecting the program in the event of a power outage. We recommend that you replace this battery annually. When you replace the battery, check for any corrosion or bent parts. Let us know if you spy any trouble-spots. An easy way to remember is to put a sticker with the replacement date noted on it on the inside of the controller's door, easy to see but protected from the elements.We will note on your maintenance record when we replace the battery.

A change in the weather: Sometimes it’s hot, sometimes it’s cold, sometimes wet, sometimes dry. We all know how variable our area’s weather can be. Whenever possible, we’ll adjust your garden’s watering system as needed. But, since we can’t always provide this service as quickly as Mother Nature dictates, it’s important for you to know how to make simple adjustments or turn the water off entirely.

Too wet? Most controllers have a “Rain” setting which allows you to temporarily turn the system off without canceling the programming. Too warm? Again, most controllers let you trigger the entire cycle at the touch of a button for an extra soaking on especially hot, dry days. Freeze coming? Watering in advance can help prevent frost damage. Simple adjustments could be all it takes to protect your garden.

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©2010 Gardens & Gables   21 Joseph Court, San Rafael, CA 94903      ph: (415)499-0331 fx: (415)479-0730
Serving Marin County Landscape Architecture Construction + Maintenance
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