Water wise & life-friendly questionnaire - 2014


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Questionnaire that let's you determine how water-wise and life-friendly your garden is.

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Water wise & life-friendly questionnaire - 2014

  1. 1. A Water-Wise Garden A water-wise garden maximizes efficient water use. It uses rain water and conserves irrigation water by prioritizing its use. It utilizes simple practices that ensure that more water gets into the soil where plants can use it. A water-wise garden is not about deprivation; it’s about using our limited water wisely through careful planning. How does your garden rate (circle best answer)? Score no somewhat yes Characteristic 0 1 2 Uses all the water that falls in it – including water from the roof 0 1 2 Directs roof-water runoff to places where is can infiltrate or be stored 0 1 2 Uses water infiltration methods like rain gardens and dry swales/french drains to capture rain and store it in the ground 0 1 2 Has permeable pathways and seating areas, so water that falls on them can be used by nearby plants 0 1 2 Includes small berms and depressions to create water-based microclimates (areas that are drier or more moist than the rest of the garden) 0 1 2 Features a combination of plants and hardscape; areas that don’t need to be watered are hardscaped rather than planted to conserve water 0 1 2 Groups plants according to Water Zones (Aqua Zones) and light requirements 0 1 2 Uses a combination of water-wise & water-using plants – but more of the former 0 1 2 Features S. California native plants, as many are water-wise 0 1 2 Irrigation water is ‘spent’ on high priority areas like the vegetable garden, fruit trees, prized plants, etc. 0 1 2 Uses water-conserving technologies like soaker hoses and drip irrigation 0 1 2 Is watered only when really needed – and then on cooler summer days, early and late in the day 0 1 2 Uses timers and moisture sensors if these make it more water-efficient 0 1 2 Covers bare areas with appropriate mulch 0 1 2 Uses shade to conserve water 0 1 2 Uses trees, vines and hardscape to cool the house and outdoor seating areas Total Score: Score = 20-32 – Very good; your garden is already water-wise, Score = 11-20 – Your garden has good, water-wise features; how can you make it more so? Score = 0-10 – You need to start making your yard more water-wise; what will you do this year?
  2. 2. A Life-Friendly Garden A life-friendly garden is an inviting home to living things: people, plants, birds, insects and others. It is a place where living things thrive; it is productive and self-sustaining. Here are a few characteristics of a life-friendly garden. How does your garden rate (circle best answer)? Score No somewhat yes Characteristic 0 1 2 Pleasing to the senses: attractive, aromatic, pleasant sounds 0 1 2 Enhances our appreciation of the natural world: weather, topography, wildlife and plants 0 1 2 Has comfortable places to sit, entertain, meditate and enjoy 0 1 2 Provides shade 0 1 2 Requires just the right amount of work to maintain it 0 1 2 Has pathways that allow easy access to areas you need or want to access 0 1 2 Celebrates our unique heritage and legacy with S. California native plants 0 1 2 Has a water feature to provide beauty, cooling sounds and water for birds 0 1 2 Includes at least some edible plants 0 1 2 Attracts birds with plants that provide nectar (hummingbirds), seeds, fruits, insects and places to perch/ nest 0 1 2 Is a haven for pollinators - butterflies, moths, native bees, hummingbirds and other insect pollinators live and raise their young in the garden 0 1 2 Provides plant materials for medicinal, craft or other non-food uses 0 1 2 Celebrates the seasons with plants that change throughout the year 0 1 2 Is sustainable  Uses recycled, local materials when possible  Recycles green waste into mulch or compost; leaf litter remains in place if possible  Uses as little fertilizer as needed – very little for local native plants  Is water-wise
  3. 3. Score No somewhat yes Characteristic 0 1 2 Is managed using Integrated Pest Management (IPM) – no unnecessary herbicides or insecticides used 0 1 2 Has plants chosen to provide multiple benefits in the same plant: food, shade, color/texture, habitat (particularly important in smaller gardens) 0 1 2 Uses space efficiently  Includes plants that are low (groundcovers), medium (shrubs) and tall  Uses space-saving techniques like espaliers, vines on trellises, hedges and hedgerows to maximize space and habitat 0 1 2 Groups the yard into functional areas (entertaining area; utility area; play area; etc.); each functional area is conveniently located for easy use. 0 1 2 Makes your family, friends and neighbors feel at home; everyone wants to get out into the garden as much as possible 0 1 2 Includes some things that are beautiful, interesting or special to you and your family Total Score: Score = 30-40 – Very good; your garden is very life-friendly. Anything else you’d like to try? Score = 15-29 – Your garden has good life-friendly features; how can you make it more so? Score = 0-14 – You’ll enjoy your garden more if you make it more life-friendly; choose one or two things do this year. You don’t have to make big changes. Choose something that sounds fun, interesting or useful. Then commit to doing it this year.