A Letter to All Rancho Santa Fe Residents

As a landscape professional for the past 32 years, I have seen everything from huge, rapid growth to deep recession. In the 80’s, mass amounts of money were spent on poor quality construction using large visual impacts such as grottos, water falls, large swimming pools, Koi ponds, and formal rose gardens. Then, in the early 2000’s, homeowners experienced inflated property values and many chose to refinance and use their equity to invest in landscape projects. Again, low quality, big impact. Now with the current water restrictions and a four year drought, along with the repairs and upgrades to the poor construction and design quality that was previously developed, it’s evident that smarter choices are necessary to improve property values and to look forward to sustainable solutions.

Understand that Nature Designs has provided solutions all along the way, advising our clients in the best way possible how to invest wisely in their property and how to improve their personal enjoyment of their outdoor spaces.

Twenty-five years ago (1990), Nature Designs won the first-ever “Water(Less!) Garden Award”. As part of a conservation promotion campaign, the San Diego County Water Authority joined forces with San Diego Home/Garden Magazine to sponsor this annual award. Out of all of the awards we’ve received through the years (over 50!), that is the one I am most proud of.

It is evident that many RSF residents hire unlicensed, uninsured, and uneducated landscape staff. We run into this often when we are hired to improve an irrigation system or to renovate a property where the landscape has become a declining asset. It’s sad to tell homeowners that their large and expensive palm trees have an incurable disease that could have been prevented with proper management. It’s even more difficult to share with them that their beloved gardener is costing them thousands of dollars of damage each year due to improper fertilization, poor pruning, lack of disease control, excessive use of water, improper irrigation repairs and poor choice of plants and trees. Most often what we explain when we are introduced to new homeowners and their property is that there are numerous hidden costs of unskilled but well-meaning landscape care. And yes, your gardener will tell you he has been a landscaper all of his working life. That said, there is no amount of on-the-job training that can substitute for the hours of water use calculations, pipe sizing and irrigation design that makes the most efficient irrigation system. There is no substitute for the months of study it takes to pass the Certified Arborist or Certified Landscape Technician exams. This type of expertise is needed on all levels of landscape management services to achieve the greatest impact from your investment and to care for the trees that make the air cleaner and our homes cooler. The right design of a pleasing covered patio can literally add square footage to your home’s living space. Properly selected plants and well-designed irrigation systems can drastically reduce the amount of water needed to enhance the beauty of your home.

Finally, the last thing any of us landscape professionals want to do is leave you with a brown lawn and dead trees. We take great pride in making your home more beautiful. Homeowners, now more than ever, need to take responsibility for the management of their most valuable asset and make smarter choices about the care of their landscapes. We at Nature Designs take our tag line seriously, “Landscapes for Life”, meaning that a well thought-out plan, professional landscape management and a good irrigation system pay for themselves in the long run, and you will be better prepared to make your home more beautiful no matter what the cost of water or any imposed restrictions in the Ranch.

To report water waste, call the Santa Fe Irrigation District at (858) 227-5801, option 1. If someone reports your waste, you’ll receive a door hanger or a letter of warning. With the second violation, you’ll be fined $100, the third, $200, and each violation afterwards is a $1,000 offense.

If you have any questions about reducing your landscape water consumption, please contact Nature Designs at Info@NatureDesigns.Net, visit our website NatureDesigns.Net, or give us a call at (760) 945-4321.