Careful plant selection is part of the following principles of River-Friendly Landscaping:
- Landscape Locally
- Less to the Landfill
- Conserve Water
- Protect Water and Air Quality
- Create and Protect Wildlife Habitat
Consider the following when selecting plants for your River-Friendly Landscape:
- choose California native (best choice) or Mediterranean plants — California native plants will help to foster local wildlife; both California natives and Mediterranean plants are well suited to our climate, thereby requiring less water and maintenance.
- avoid invasive plants
- the site — is it sunny, shady? is it flat or on a slope? what other plants or structures are nearby that will affect it (or visa-versa)? is it in an area that is always wet or very dry?
- the soil — what kind of soil is it? clay or sand? the soil type in addition to the slope will affect drainage
- how much room is there to grow? select plants that can reach their full size in the allotted area
- minimize the lawn — lawn requires much more water to keep healthy than other landscape plants. By reducing or eliminating the lawn area, you will be conserving water and energy, as well as reducing the need for fertilizers and pesticides.
- group plants by water needs (called hydrozoning) — this will make more efficient use of water. In this way, all of your plants will get the amount of water they need, which will keep them healthy and allow them to resist pests better.
- plant trees — trees help to protect water and air quality. The proper placement of trees can also keep building cool, reducing air conditioning costs.
- diversify — a diverse landscape resists disease and insect pests better.
- conserve natural areas where possible