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2023 WaterSmart Landscape Winner Announced

The Vista Irrigation District board of directors recognized Diane Krupnak as the district’s 2023 WaterSmart Landscape Contest winner.

The annual contest recognizes outstanding water-wise residential landscapes based on the criteria of overall attractiveness, appropriate plant selection, design, appropriate maintenance, and efficient methods of irrigation.

Concerned by the severity of the last drought, Ms. Krupnak, wanted to reduce her outdoor water usage.

She decided it was time to redesign her front yard by removing her water-thirsty turf; switching to a drip irrigation system, and adding a new patio and decorative hardscape. To begin her landscape transformation, Ms. Krupnak enrolled in the free Water Smart Landscape Makeover series of workshops for homeowners offered by the San Diego County Water Authority and its member agencies. The workshops gave her the necessary knowledge to move forward with her project; including soil assessment, creating a landscape plot plan, and drip irrigation basics and mulching.

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She began creating her plan by researching the plants she wanted to add to her landscape, paying particular attention to the plants’ characteristics and water needs to make sure they all would work when planted together. Additionally, she wanted a landscape that would complement the Mediterranean aesthetic of her home. She restricted her base color palate to greens and whites highlighted with pops of color. Once her plan came together, she hired landscape professionals to install the new landscape and hardscape.

The green hues in her landscape design come from shaggy Cousin Itt Aacacias, Wheeler’s Dwarf Pittosporum, dwarf daylilies, and Italian Oregano. Each plant providing contrasting textures and structure creating visual interest. A fruitless Olea Swan Hill olive tree stands as the focal point of her yard. The plants providing whites are highlighted by the profusely flowering Scaevola White plants that were placed adjacent to her new permeable walkways accentuating the earth tones of the pavers.

The base colors in her landscape design are accented with bright reds from plants like her Caliente Deep Red Geraniums and Tecoma Stans Bells of Fire Espernaza as well as bright yellow foliage of Sunset Gold Coleonema pulchellum.  

The hardscape included in her design plan really ties her project together as well as being functional. The patio replaces what was once a flat boring area of lawn near the home’s entranceway, and transforms it into an inviting place to sit and admire the rest of her new landscape.

“I chose a landscape of moderate to low water use plants that complement the Mediterranean influence of my home.” said Ms. Krupnak. “I save money on my water bills and no longer pay to have my yard mowed!”

“Free regional WaterSmart landscape workshops are available online and in person to assist homeowners to upgrade their home’s landscape to reduce water bills,” said Brent Reyes, management analyst. “Additionally, turf removal rebates can help with the cost.”

The district joined eleven other local agencies that held landscape contests this year, providing an opportunity to highlight residential water-wise landscapes throughout the region.  Participating agencies (besides Vista Irrigation District) include Helix Water District, Olivenhain Municipal Water District, Otay Water District, Padre Dam Municipal Water District, San Dieguito Water District, Sweetwater Authority, Vallecitos Water District, California American Water, Rincon Del Diablo Water District, and the cities of Escondido and Oceanside.

For more information about the contest and to see more examples of WaterSmart landscaping, visit  Visit the district’s web site ( or call (760) 597-3107 to find out more about free landscape workshops and incentive programs.

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