Xeriscape Garden Program

The El Dorado County and Georgetown Divide Resource Conservation Districts (RCDs) initiated a Xeriscape Program in 1991 with the development of the first Xeriscape Demonstration Garden at the Placerville Main Library. The purpose of the Garden was to provide the public with an “ideascape” of water-saving plantings which might serve as an alternative to the costly, water-loving and time-consuming turf traditionally implemented in local landscapes.


In addition to showcasing a variety of xeric plants, the Garden illustrates an efficient irrigation system that provides the proper levels of moisture for water-savings and time savings in ease of use.


Xeriscaping is a water-efficient landscaping that is appropriate to the naturally arid environment of El Dorado County. While the goal of Xeriscaping is to create a visually attractive landscape that uses water efficiently, the practice also can conserve tremendous amounts of water, reduce or eliminate soil amendments and chemicals, provide a more attractive environment for wildlife, and restore natural drainage patterns. Simply said, Xeriscaping is Conservation Landscaping.

The Xeriscape concept utilizes eight principles to achieve water conserving landscapes:

1. Planning and Design of plant species, spatial arrangement, and irrigation systems.
2. Minimization of Turf Areas.
3. Efficient Irrigation.
4. Soil Improvements.
5. Mulching.
6. Proper Use of Hardscapes.
7. Use of Drought Tolerant Plants. 

8. Proper Maintenance.


The District currently maintains four (4) Xeriscape Demonstration Gardens:


Red Bullet The El Dorado County Library – Placerville Branch 345 Fair Lane, Placerville, CA 95667. Built in 1991 by the RCDs in collaboration with the NRCS, El Dorado County, landscape professionals, and local businesses. This Garden was updated in 1998 with new plants and new signage through grant funding. A complete renovation is proposed in 2010.

Yellow Ball Library Xeriscape Plant Listing

Yellow Ball Pictures

Red Bullet The El Dorado County Library – Cameron Park Branch 2500 Country Club Drive, Cameron Park, CA  95682. Developed in 1998, this Garden was updated with additional plants and new signage in 2008 through RCD base funding and in-kind contributions.

Yellow Ball Library Xeriscape Plant Listing

Yellow Ball Pictures

Red Bullet The El Dorado County Fairgrounds - Also renovated in 2008 through RCD base funding and in-kind contributions from Joe Vicini Construction Inc., That Certain look, Placerville Hardware, NRCS, and Northwest Trading Company. Located in close proximity to event buildings, this Garden hosts picnic tables available for public use year-round. Public visitation during such events as the semi-annual El Dorado County Home and Garden show can reach attendance levels in excess of 5,000 individuals.

Yellow Ball Fairgrounds Xeriscape Plant Listing

Yellow Ball Pictures

Red Bullet The Georgetown Divide Public Utilities District 6425 Main Street, Georgetown, CA 95634. The Garden was started in 1994 with funding from the Georgetown Public Utility District and expanded in 1998 through grant funding.

Yellow Ball Library Xeriscape Plant Listing (not available)

Yellow Ball Pictures (not available)


El Dorado County encompasses 1,805 square miles of the Sacramento Metropolitan area and had an estimated population of 173,407 people in 2000.  Countywide, El Dorado County has experienced a population increase of 183% since 1990. This surge is the result of a desire for a higher quality of life and the convenience of close proximity to Sacramento.

Due to increasing residential development, the County is facing growth in the urban/wildland interface. Furthermore, fire suppression over the last 50 to 100 years has led to significant fuel loads. Xeriscaping can address wildfire concerns through native firescapes and can reduce water usage by more than 50% over traditional landscapes. Through the Xeriscape Program, the RCDs are helping to shape the present and future needs of a county faced with a rapidly growing population and greater demands on the area’s natural resources, particularly water availability.

The Xeriscape Program is designed to address watershed protection through reduction in wildfire hazard to residential properties, landowner stewardship of the watershed through water conservation strategies, noxious weed control and native vegetation of residential properties, and reduction in soil erosion and sedimentation of water courses. The Xeriscape Program is intended to accomplish these strategic goals through Xeriscape Demonstration Garden workdays, development and distribution of educational materials to El Dorado County residents, and technical assistance to landowners.



Red Bullet Xeriscape Garden Resources/ Links

Yellow Ball Xeriscape Plant List