The Latest

Community News

Pasadena’s Fire Stations Lead the Way in Replacing Thirsty Water Turf with Drought-Tolerant Landscapes

Published on Thursday, June 14, 2018 | 7:57 pm

Fire stations throughout the City have said goodbye to water-guzzling grass and hello to drought-tolerant landscapes in a water conservation overhaul made possible by Pasadena Water & Power.

The Community Demonstration Garden project is part of Pasadena’s continuing commitment to maximize water savings throughout the City and to support water-saving opportunities at city facilities.

“It is the City’s effort to demonstrate to the community what is possible when you remove your water-thirsty turf and you replace it with drought-tolerant landscapes,” said Ursula Schmidt, Pasadena Water & Power Water Conservation Manager.

Southern California is historically prone to drought and low levels of rainfall and the average outdoor landscapes account for over 50% of water use for at homes, according to Schmidt.

One way to conserve water and lower your bill is to reduce usage by installing drought-tolerant gardens, landscapes, and features at home.

The Community Demonstration Gardens program began with the five Pasadena fire stations to remove 9,961 square feet of existing turf and replace the water-thirsty grass with colorful drought tolerant and native plants, incorporating drip irrigation and rainwater harvesting features.

Each fire station features signage identifying the design, features and plants that have been incorporated into the landscape retrofit. The drought-tolerant landscapes are estimated to save over 448,000 gallons of water per year.

“Because fire stations are throughout our community and they’re highly visible, we find these a wonderful opportunity teaching neighbors, residents, and businesses about what’s possible in terms of moving from a thirsty turf to a drought tolerant landscape,” said Schmidt.

Schmidt says the vibrant and water conserving landscapes are intended to double as blueprints for residents and businesses throughout the City to create their own drought-tolerant landscapes

“Our hope is that residents and businesses will see these gardens and be inspired to do this at their home or business,” said Schmidt.

PWP’s website offers downloadable plans for residents and businesses to use for designing their gardens.

“We have excellent resources and how-to guides available online,” said Schmidt.

PWP is also launching a landscape workshop in September called the Water Wise Landscape workshop.

“This will be an opportunity to educate and help support residents as they move to transition their landscapes from turf to drought tolerant plants,” said Schmidt.

The five fire station landscape projects are the first of many more to come, including transforming the exterior of Friends In Deed and the Jackie Robinson post office.

“Our hope is to continue to support organizations throughout the community and being able to realize these gardens,” said Schmidt.

PWP will soon provide turf removal incentives for customers interested in replacing their water thirsty turf with native landscaping at $1 per square foot for residential and commercial properties.

For more information, go to








Get our daily Pasadena newspaper in your email box. Free.

Get all the latest Pasadena news, more than 10 fresh stories daily, 7 days a week at 7 a.m.

Make a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *