WaterWise Garden Recognition Contest

The annual WaterWise Garden Recognition Contest celebrates residents of Santa Barbara County who are committed to maintaining attractive, water wise landscapes. The best looking and most water efficient landscapes in our region are recognized, and serve as an example of what is possible when we design our landscapes to better use our most precious natural resource, water.

2020 WaterWise Garden Recognition Contest Winners! 

A 2020 WaterWise Garden Award was given to a residential property in each participating water provider's service area. Each water provider determined its own winner using this judging criteria and submitted its winner to compete for the County-wide grand prize. 
This year's contest's participating water providers were the City of Santa Barbara, Carpinteria Valley Water District, Montecito Water District and the Vandenberg Village CSD.

2020 Countywide Grand Prize Winner 

Poole-Hickey Family | Santa Barbara


The Poole-Hickey family is the winner from Santa Barbara as well as the Countywide contest winner. When the drought inspired the family to switch out their lawn for something more native and natural, Ms. Poole, an architect, took inspiration from the landscaping in her architectural designs. The garden utilizes every bit of space available and includes many water wise features, such as a rain barrel to capture water onsite for irrigation, downspout pipes, and drip irrigation. The garden is designed to attract native birds and insects, and has also become a social place for neighbors to enjoy. Their latest project has been an herb garden in the parkway, which uses permeable pavement. 

2020 City Winners

Linda Zivich | Vandenberg Village


Linda Zivich of Vandenberg Village designed and maintains her garden entirely by herself. When she moved into her home nine years ago, she began replacing the lawn with low maintenance, drought tolerant plants. She loves the natural greens of the plants, and has enjoyed creating color in her front yard using native shrubs and grasses. The garden features meticulous attention to detail, and includes solar powered lights for nighttime and labelled placards for the different plant species. Linda enjoys designing her friend's gardens to be more water wise, and has helped several of them win garden contests of their own.  

Bob and Pat Wingate | Carpinteria 


Bob and Pat Wingate, the winners from Carpinteria, were motivated by the California drought to redo their lawn. Bob and Pat were participants in Carpinteria Valley Water District's WaterWise Landscape Rebate Program in 2017, and have completed all of the work on their garden themselves. In addition to native vegetation, they also utilize rain barrels to capture water onsite, and rarely need to irrigate. They particularly enjoy the wildlife that their garden attracts, including Monarch butterflies that flock to their milkweed plant.

Laura and Geof Wyatt | Montecito 


Laura and Geof Wyatt have been living in their Montecito home for 25 years. They began replacing their lawn areas with natives after the drought hit and they realized how much water and maintenance the grass required. They originally focused on designing their garden with non-pollinating plants, as Laura has a fear of bees, but 25 years later they have added citrus and stone fruit trees as well as pollinating grasses, and they love seeing and hearing bees, butterflies, and hummingbirds enjoy their yard. They also enjoy making homemade jam and ice cream from the fruit trees. They use 100% drip irrigation as well as gravel and mulch to help hold in moisture.

Interested in entering? Applications for next year's contest will be available in winter 2021.