California Department of Resources Recycling and Recovery (CalRecycle)

Landscape Waste Prevention

Drought Tolerant Landscaping

Drought tolerant and sustainable landscaping practices save water, reduce garden waste and take less work, saving you time and money. Many native and drought tolerant plants are also very beautiful, so you do not have to sacrifice a gorgeous landscape.

California is in a severe drought. The Governor has issued an emergency executive order (PDF, 3.3 MB) to help conserve water. To support this effort visit Save Our Water, for important guidelines about conserving water.

Application of compost and mulch enhances soils by adding organic matter. Adding organic matter increases the water-holding capacity of soils, reducing erosion, and conserving water. Many California soils are low in organic matter and high in clay; compost improves the texture of these soils so water can infiltrate more easily, reducing runoff and saving that water for plants.

Water Conservation

CalRecycle encourages the use of drought tolerant and sustainable landscaping practices and participates with many local and regional groups to spread the word about the role of compost and mulch from recycled organics in saving water and increasing the sustainability of California’s developed environment. Below are a few of the groups with which we collaborate:

  • CalRecycle and the Department of Water Resources work together and promote the Model Water Efficient Landscape Ordinance (PDF, 417 KB).
  • The California Urban Water Conservation Council is dedicated to maximizing urban water conservation and provides resources to support this effort.
  • EcoLandscape California providing education and advocacy for ecologically responsible landscapes.   
  • The River-Friendly Landscaping Coalition (RFLC) is a collaboration between public agencies, non-profit organizations, designers, landscape architects, and contractors in the Sacramento Region. Through sustainable landscaping practices, RFLC envisions improved health of communities and ecosystems in the Sacramento Valley and surrounding foothills.
  • Bay-Friendly Landscaping & Gardening Coalition works in partnership with public agencies, landscape professionals and property owners to create vibrant sustainable gardens.
  • The Department of Water Resources is offering California homeowners two rebate programs, one for turf replacement and the installation of water efficient landscaping, and another for high-efficiency toilets.

Other notable water savings programs in California:

CalRecycle Resources

Other Resources

  • Denver has a water saving ordinance using compost's water holding capacity. On all newly constructed premises, property owners must amend their soil with compost so that soil will retain water.

CalRecycle Publications and Video

Other Related Information Sites

Last updated: September 17, 2015
Organic Materials Management