Santa Clara County, Ca drought tolerant landscape

Real Estate Agent with (408) 425-1601 CA bre 1519182

                                                                                  Sam Shueh

                                                                                 Realty One Group

                                                                                 Campbell, CA


Water is a precious commodity in West Coast.  We receive about 15 inches of precipitation during a short wet 30 days if we are lucky (100% rain; 0% snow). From spring through November it is sunny for about 270 days. Rest are cloudy days. Most of winter storms bypass San Francisco Bay often pour north of Santa Rosa, CA to Oregon.  As such many local babies and pets never saw rain and get excited if they experience one. During the past 5 years we had may be sometimes 2-4 rains of any measurable size each year. The supply of water has been very limited and regulated.  Each municipality instituted control on days one can water landscape and hours. Those who exceed are fined or warned.  Once one can only water once a week it took a toll on much vegetation and trees.  It was fashionable to not to wash cars, and brown was beautiful.  The trouble is brown grass & trees do not return to be green. They are dead forever. 


I saw my hopeless brown yard and learned about  Santa Clara County water rebate program. Through a grant, water wise employee came to my house took measurements of my landscaped yard and checked for plumbing water leakage.  I decided to retain the feature of a regular garden with the flexibility to keep it desert like.  I had the dirt rotor-tilled and mixed  it with chicken droppings and enriched top soil. By adding a weed barrier on top of soil and covered it with cedar chips.  The drought tolerant plants are acquired from out of the area Latino nurseries.  The farther I traveled the more affordable they are often at 30-35% of home improvement centers. Some herbs are transplanted elsewhere.  


After conversion   controller

          After yard conversion and certification              Controller with solar-rain detector


The hardest part is installation and programming of these controllers. Most gardeners or commercial irrigation store employees can program timers and show how to install different types of valves.  The solar sun-rain sensor (right side) is not common and the instructions come in Spanish and so technical even to the trade I had to hire a specialist for project completion. 


After a good wet winter the plants are blooming and show their best looks. As for these California poppies I never planted them. They were blown over from next door. Not sure how because I have oleanders trees blocked the path 12-18 feet tall.


There is some payback from water usage waste. I save perhaps $30-40 dollars during the hottest month. Those who have a big yard spend $1200-1500 a month. They get their names printed in the newspaper as violators.  

This year the county goal is 20% reduction vs 2013 year.  Most local residents are now accustomed to not wash cars. They just keep windows clean.  There is a program converting laundry water for irrigation.  The detergent has to be plant friendly. It involves install a water barrel with siphon plumbing devices. I am not aware there is a kit for the conversion yet.

Should you be in need of real estate servicing in Silicon Valley please contact Sam Shueh

at (408) 425-1601 SamShuehRealtor at  


Synopsis on Mortgage Interest Rate vs Affordability (Silicon Valley affordability

Shueh, Sam  How is my Silicon Valley home worth? (Silicon Valley Home Values)

Silicon Valley July 2016  Real Estate(San Jose area real estate update)

Shueh, Sam    (Real EstateBlogs)

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Sybil Campbell
Long and Foster REALTORS® 5234 Monticello Ave Williamsburg, Virginia - Williamsburg, VA
REALTOR® ABR, SFR, SRES Williamsburg, Virginia

Thanks for sharing the information about landscaping that is drought tolerant.

Aug 21, 2017 08:04 PM #1
Belinda Spillman
Aspen Lane Real Estate Colorful Colorado - Aurora, CO
Colorado Living!

I love those beautiful poppies growing like crazy in your field.  It is so smart to conserve water whether you are in a drought or not.  Thanks for sharing your photos with us.

Aug 22, 2017 09:12 AM #2
Sam Shueh
(408) 425-1601 - San Jose, CA
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Belinda Spillman 

The red poppies are not native of California and they are elusive.  I had only a few that got diluted they became pink with white.  Some white and orange became yellow.  I have pulled the orange strays as I am sure the seeds will come up next year.

Aug 22, 2017 04:47 PM #3
Sam Shueh
(408) 425-1601 - San Jose, CA
mba, cdpe, reopro, pe


The orignal garden was this way. After some rain and wind the poppies showed up by themselves. I have them front, sides, drive way. They are CA State flowers.

Aug 22, 2017 04:53 PM #4
Joan Cox
House to Home, Inc. - Denver Real Estate - 720-231-6373 - Denver, CO
Denver Real Estate - Selling One Home at a Time

Sam, love your photos, very colorful flowers, and we do all need to do our share of saving our natural resources.

Aug 23, 2017 07:51 AM #5
Lawrence "Larry" & Sheila Agranoff. Cell: 631-805-4400
The Top Team @ Charles Rutenberg Realty 255 Executive Dr, Plainview NY 11803 - Plainview, NY
Long Island Home and Condo Specialists

Saving money and water all seem like a win-win situation. Nice way to save all the way around!

Aug 24, 2017 04:08 AM #6
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