Encinitas landscape transformation project wins local contest

OMWD’s 2020 WaterSmart Landscape Contest

OMWD’s 2020 WaterSmart Landscape Contest winner Laura Lisauskas transformed her turf yard into a colorful, sustainable garden.

Courtesy of OMWD


Olivenhain Municipal Water District’s Board of Directors honored Laura Lisauskas Sept. 9 as the winner of OMWD’s 2020 Watersmart Landscape Contest.

Lisauskas purchased her home in 2018 and decided to remove the existing grass and replace it with a more attractive, climate-appropriate landscape. In addition to being water-efficient, the new layout has created a habitat for pollinators and local wildlife, provided fruit for her family, and enhanced the beauty of her neighborhood.

Her design divided the garden into multiple interest points and color schemes to highlight different plant collections. Lisauskas even designed and constructed the dry-stacked retaining wall herself.

The colorful winning design was inspired by the diversity of San Diego County’s ecosystems and features a variety of native and low-water-use plants, including California Poppy, Blue Bells Emu Bush, and Pink Rockrose. The landscape utilizes drip irrigation and onsite rainwater collection, further reducing outdoor water use.

“Ms. Lisauskas has captured the range of textures and colors found in some of our most beautiful local natural landscapes,” OMWD’s board director Bob Kephart stated. “Her inspiring, water-efficient landscape is a prime example of using climate-appropriate plants and rainwater harvesting elements to conserve water and reduce pollution from runoff.”

The Watersmart Landscape Contest is held annually by water agencies throughout San Diego County to showcase attractive landscapes that use less water than conventional turf-heavy landscapes. Winning entries exhibit excellence in curb appeal, climate-appropriate plant selection, design, efficient irrigation, and environmental considerations.

Photos of Lisauskas’ landscape, as well as winners from throughout the county, can be seen at — OMWD news release