Las Pilitas Nursery

California Native Plants are all we grow!

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3232 Las Pilitas Rd
Santa Margarita, CA 93453

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This website is dedicated to Bert Wilson. His genius continues to inspire us.

Garden Costs

A look At Variable Water Usage and Sprinkler Types for lawn or lawn replacement.
(For California, figuring a rate of $1.5 to $3 per unit)(black is 1980 cost, red is 2010 cost, I left both so you can see the trend)

A. If the lawn is 20' by 50', or 1000 sq. ft., ( most yards are about 3000 sq. ft.) and is watered 10 min. once/day, you will use about 8400 gallons/ month at a cost of between....$8.00 to $19.00/month  $17-34

$96.00 to $228.00/year   $204-408

B. If the same lawn is watered 15 minutes 3 times per week with Toro 570 or Rainbird 1800 sprinklers, you will use about 5400 gallons of water per month. ..............$5 to 12/ month  $11-22

$61 to 144/ year  $132-264 /year

C. If the lawn is watered twice per week with Hunter #3 and #5 or Toro 300 for 60 minutes the water use will drop to 4500 gallons per month. ...............................$4 to 10/ month  $9-18

$50 to 123/year $108-216 /year

D. If the lawn is watered once per week for 90 minutes(which is what I recommend for the healthiest lawn) the water use drops to 3400 gallons per month....................$3 to 8/ month  $7-14

$38 to 93/year $84-165

E. Using a conventional sprinkler that uses 8gal/min and covers an area 15'round (moved six times at 40 minutes/), water use would be about 8000 gallons/month.........$8 to 18/month $16-32

$90-219/year $192-384

F. Using an oscillating sprinkler for 90 minutes once per week the water use  about 3900 gallons/month.( margins a little burnt, but be Ok for old established lawns of Bermuda grass or weeds.)......$5 to 9/ month $8-16

$63 to 107/ year $96-192

G. Hand watering daily for 45 minutes with a hose will use about 13,000 gallons/month(shocking isn't it!). $12 to 30/month  $26-52

$146 to 357/year  $312-624

H. If the lawn is replaced with a groundcover planted 5'apart, put on 1 gallon/hour and watered 4 hours/week, the water use is 700 gallons per month.......................$.65 to 1.50/month  $1.4-3

$8.00 to 18.00/year  $17-34

I. If lawn is replaced with appropriate native groundcover and watered overhead with Mp-Rotators or equivalent 10 minutes per week after established(a couple of months), 100 gallons/month $.20-.40 (30cents)/month

$2-5/year. We've had at least two  customers that were using less at their fully landscaped home than the vacant lot next door. One in Templeton, one in the lower Sierras.

3. Differences In Cost for front yard(black is 1980, red is 2010), on the cheap side.

A. A 20-50' lawn with an automatic system costs (if you install yourself), per year with a 20 year life. Remember, this is a small little front yard.
1. Leveling, seed and topping .(with labor at $4.00)................$5.00   (with labor at $15) $10

2. Sprinklers(Toro 570) & Timer...(labor at $4.00).......$25.00  (with labor at $15) $25 (installs are a little easier now)

3. Lawn mower,(lasting 10 years).........................$55.00/year about the same

4. Time to mow(at minimum wage $4.00).(45 minutes,mow&edge)

$156.00 $400

5. Water(65,000 gallons/year at $.7 /100cu.ft.).........$61.00 $130

5a. (65,000 gallons /year at $1.71/100 cu. ft.).......$150.00 $261 average $195

6. Fertilizer and sprays................................. $25.00   $75

Total/year............$760.............Total for ten years............$7600..................

Aa. A 20-50' lawn with an automatic system costs (if you have it installed), per year with 20 year life

1. Seed and topping(with labor of leveling at $25/)..... $15.00 $50

2. Sprinklers(Toro 570) & Timer (labor at $25/)...........$45.00  $30

3. Lawn mower,(lasting 10 years)......................... $55

4. Lawn maintained professionally.......................$600.00 $1000

 5. Water(at $.7/100cu.ft.)...............................$61.00  $130

5a. Water(at $1.71/100 cu. ft.).........................$150.00  $261

6. Fertilizer and sprays.................................$25.00  $75

Total/year..............................................$801.00  $1405

Total/ 10 years........................................$8010.00  total 10 years $14,050 you could have gone to college for this cost

B. A 20-50' groundcover using an automatic system(if you install it yourself), per year (a ten year life). (We've got it to live 20 years now.)

1. Plants(Arctostaphylos Hookerii 'Wayside')$4.00/X 40.....$16.00    $18

2. Sprinklers (first class drip, PVC, not polyethene, poly is cheaper but gophers and people cut it).(labor at $4.00)....$35.00  $35

3. Preemergent(a weed killer that stops weeds).............$10.00      $40

4. Time to weed (at $4.00/hr.)(35 min./week).............$104.00  $312

5. Water(8400 gallons/year at $.7/100cu.ft.)................$8.00   $17

5a. Water( at $1.71/ 100 cu. ft.)..........................$19.00  $34

Total/year................................................$172.00   $456  if your time is free $75

Total for ten years......................................$1728.00   $4560  if your time is free $750

Ba. A 20-50' groundcover using an automatic system (if you have it installed and maintained), per year (ten year life). (We've got it to live 20 years now.)

1. Plants..................................................$16.00  $18

2. Sprinklers(as above installed at $25.)..................$75.00  $35

3. Professional Maintenance ..............................$360.00  $400

5. Water....................................................$8.00 $26

Total/year................................................$459.00      $479

Total/10 years...........................................$4590.00   $4790 (almost all of it the first season)

C. A deck 20-50' cheap redwood on the ground using treated wood joists and concrete piers, per year (15 year life, do it yourself).

1. Materials @1500.00...............$120.00   $280

2. Stain (done every 3 years)..............................$25.00  $25

3. Sweeping/tidy-repair (at $4.00).....................................$52.00  $150

Total/year................................................$187.00  $455

Total for 10 years.......................................$1970.00    $4550

D. Brick patio 20-50', at $.32/brick, on sand, per year (30year life).

1. Bricks.................................................$43.00 $200

2. Sand....................................................$1.00  $2

3. Edging..................................................$3.00  $33

4. Labor (at $4.00 for yourself)...........................$5.00  $200

Total/year................................................$52.00  $435

Total for 10 years.......................................$520.00   $4350(almost all of it the first month)

If you haven't figured it out yet, this was originally written in 1981. (Yeap, I'm old, this page is old.)  The yards I installed in the 1970's still look good and have saved the client more than the numbers here state. Low Water use leads to low maintenance, which is cheap over a 10 years period.

Notice the long term solutions save money over the long term.

Xeriscaping, zeroscaping and xerogardening all have been used in all sorts of diabolic ways. I think it's safer to use native plants from your region to achieve low water use. Use Texas plants in Texas, California plants in California, New York Plants in New York. Do not put them all together in a garden, call it zeroscaping and expect low water use.