Landscape Update – Provided by Steve Schinhofen, President of Harvest Landscape

The Niguel Shores Board of Directors early last year hired Harvest to review the condition of the landscaped areas, including the irrigation system, overall plant health and variety and to identify opportunities for water and maintenance savings for the community.
The Board wanted to find ways to save money, save water and to enhance the health and beauty of the community.
Harvest approached the water district and began plotting a strategy that would resolve years of deferred irrigation maintenance. We came back with a plan that will not only save water, but will reduce needless expenses associated with street, light pole and other hardscape damage caused by years of over watering. We were able to secure a turf-replacement rebate through the Metropolitan Water District of Orange County. We expect the landscape renovation project to pay for itself in as little as seven years from water savings alone.
Here is a summary of the work being done and the anticipated results:
Retrofit the existing irrigation system for efficiency: The system is 30 years old. Over time, it became necessary to compensate for problems caused by years of over-watering. In order to ensure that plants and turf received the water they needed, previous maintenance companies used a flood irrigation method to get the proper distribution. This overwatering resulted in damage to the community’s streets, lamp posts and other hardscape. Harvest is in the process of installing low-flow nozzles to further enhance the efficiency and effectiveness of the irrigation system.
Remove 113,000 square feet of turf: Lawns require a lot of water, many more times than other drought-tolerant plant varieties. Niguel Shores has more than 900,000 square feet of turf. Harvest is removing the lawn in passive areas of the community, along the base of slopes or other locations, and will be replacing it with low-water-use shrubs.
Harvest will not be removing turf in the large greenbelt areas of the community.
Identify opportunities to save money and water: We want to spotlight the savings achieved through this project because ultimately that is the reason we are doing it. Niguel Shores is expected to see a return on investment for this project in as little as seven years on water savings alone. Harvest was able to get a rebate from Metropolitan Water District of Orange County for $34,104 for the passive turf areas that we are swapping out with low-water shrubs. It’s rare for a water district to award rebates for water savings in communities where reclaimed water is used for irrigation but Niguel Shores helped make that happen. The water district was impressed with the community’s dedication to doing what’s right and felt Niguel Shores should be rewarded in order to encourage other communities to do the same.
Harvest has seen communities time and time again realize significant savings through their landscape renovation projects. Niguel Shores is unique because you have already done much to save water. The irrigation system operates using reclaimed water and the recently installed smart-timers better control the timing of irrigation.
The changes taking place today will complete a process Niguel Shores committed to long ago. They will save money at a time when water rates are quickly climbing. Above all, the changes taking place will make the landscape healthier and therefore, more beautiful. Over time, the investment made today will reap rewards long into the future.

— Steven Schinhofen, President
Harvest Landscape Enterprises, Inc.