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The Landscape of Your Heart’s Desire

If you had the landscape of your dreams, what would it look like? How would you choose to use your outdoor space: as a playground for your kids, an entertainment center for gathering friends and relatives, a glorious garden with color and scents to delight the senses, a romantic retreat, an outdoor wonderland to attract local birds and butterflies, an easy care corner with curb appeal, or a dog run for Fido?

Home gardens serve many functions in our daily lives. Just what people want from their landscapes and what motivates them to save water in the landscape was the focus of a recent study, the Statewide Market Research Survey.

This market research project explored and analyzed customer behavior relating to landscape water use so that California’s water suppliers can develop appropriate water conservation communication tools and strategies to improve the efficiency of landscape water use practices. Here are some findings from the residential survey:

  • 56% use automatic sprinklers, 31% water by hand, 12% do both
  • 89% with sprinkler systems have an automatic timer12% have weather based controllers
  • 75% already have water efficient plants in their landscapes
  • 76% said they would buy water efficient plants if they were to buy new plants
  • 41% said “appearance” was what matters most regarding their lawn and garden
  • 55% did not know how many gallons of water is used in the landscape
  • 81% said that offering cash for reducing lawn size and replacing it with more water efficient plants would work (38%) or might work (43%)
  • 87% said that offering rebates for weather-based controllers would work (59%) or might work (28%)
  • People listen to their children, gardeners, or university experts more than actors, political leaders or religious leaders regarding the care of their landscapes.
  • People are concerned about the environmental benefits of water efficient landscapes, especially the reduced runoff from landscapes that pollutes rivers, steams and the ocean.

Overall, most people want water efficient urban landscapes that are easy to care for, neighbor- and family-friendly, attractive, and environmentally sound.

Josh Hurd