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Riverside water-wise garden shows how to have a nice yard with less water

By in Press Enterprise on November 30, 2017

By Ryan Hagen

A beautiful yard and low water use can indeed go together.

A new garden in Riverside aims to show how.

Officials marked completion of the Janet Goeske Center Water Wise Garden on Wednesday morning, Nov. 29.

In fact, the Goeske senior center now has 45,000 square feet of gardens around it, demonstrating not one way to garden without a high water bill but seven.

The pocket gardens display turf alternatives, a meadow garden, a decorative hardscape, a Mediterranean garden, a California native garden, a desert garden and a sensory garden. Signs include the names of the plants in each garden and tips on watering.

Seniors pass the new Water Wise Garden at Riverside’s Janet Goeske Senior Center on Wednesday, Nov. 29.

Compared to the grass that was there before, the gardens cut water use by 70 percent, which should save about 1.5 million gallons of water per year, said Ryan McManus, water conservation coordinator for Riverside Public Utilities.

More detailed advice on the gardens and water-wise planting is online at

“Candidly, most people over water, so they’ll probably save more water than that,” McManus said.

Other low-water gardens can be seen in many Riverside parks, he said.

One longstanding Inland example of water-wise planting will some day disappear.

The Western Municipal Water District built a demonstration garden in Riverside more than 30 years ago — one of the first in the state — but is closing the Alessandro Avenue site as part of the sale of its headquarters announced in July.

Educating people about water conservation remains a goal, and the district is exploring other ways to do so that are less costly than a demonstration garden, water district spokeswoman Rachel A. McGuire said in an email.

Meanwhile, officials praised the Goeske Center garden on Wednesday.

“We not only replaced a large water-thirsty lawn but will teach others how they […]    

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