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Water Management
2006 Xeriscape Contest Winners

The objective of this contest is to recognize and promote the innovative or exemplary use of native and low-water-use plants, water harvesting, grey water and efficient irrigation systems.


Community Xeriscape Leader

Community Xeriscape Leader Award, is designed to honor an individual or organization who is a driving force in the Tucson area in promoting Xeriscape principles and/or the use of native and arid-adapted plants.

Wendy Falco 2006 Community Xeriscape leader photo2006 Community Xeriscape Leader, Wendy Falco

Ms. Falco is a community educator who teaches the next generation of desert stewards and their parents about respect for our Sonoran environment.  She has been chosen for her outstanding leadership in advancing water conservation, wildlife habitats and native plant gardening. An educator in the Harelson and Amphi Public School District, Ms. Falco has influenced the scope of outdoor education and use of Xeriscape principles in her local schools and neighborhoods. She has made it her personal objective to develop an outdoor habitat on the campus where she teaches, and works at instilling the values of effective water harvesting and conservative water use in her students and her community.

Ms. Falco established the Harelson Elementary School’s after-school Garden Club in 1998. Through her efforts, a once-barren area filled with Bermuda grass is now comprehensive after-school garden club and education program that includes lectures, wildlife study, permaculture research, native plant harvesting and conservation, as well as beautiful, Xeriscape-efficient gardening. More than 100 students participate each year, involving parents and other educators in the garden, which also serves as a nocturnal wildlife habitat.

Hummingbirds, butterflies, lizards and rabbits join with students and others who now enjoy the beautiful park-life environment inspired by Ms. Falco. Her devotion to teaching others how to live and enjoy effective desert stewardship merits the 2006 Community Leadership Award.


Homeowner Category

The judges would like to highlight the following special landscapes, each with very unique attributes, that celebrate harmony with the desert in exciting and creative ways. These entries must be substantially designed and installed by the homeowner’s themselves:

Rustic front yardJudges Award "Best Use of Sonoran and Chihuahuan Desert Natives"- Nancy Reid

This landscape was dubbed by the judges as a “native plant and wildlife paradise-in-the-making.” This landscape is abundant with native species, including a variety of sage, yucca, ocotillo, and hedgehog cactus. Everywhere the judges looked there was another unusual native beautifully planted, staggered to create bloom periods throughout the year. All this resulted in what the judges’ called a fabulous garden of native species.



Judges Award “Best Plant Lovers Garden in a Small Space” - Barbara M. Cain

This homeowner has demonstrated that gardening obviously isn’t work – but it’s a passion! There was a wonderful selection of natives good for wildlife, in endearing small spaces. Nooks and crannies of interesting yard art and beautiful natives encouraging wildlife were everywhere. Judges noted small-scale water harvesting from the roof.


2006 Photo Gallery, Homeowner Category



Professional Residential Category

front yard plantingFirst Place Residential Award - Roberta Braegelmann, Sonoran Gardens,

for the Lewis Residence

This landscape made good use of native plants with a functioning water harvesting and drainage system.  The pool fountain in the rear yard provides a nice mini-oasis effect. The judges observed that the utilitarian wash funnels water to plants from the driveway and the roof. 

2006 Photo Gallery, Professional Category


Commercial Category

median plantingBest Commercial Use of Sonoran and Chihuahuan, Karen Cesare, Novak Environmental, Inc. for Star Valley Medians.

In this landscape – Judges found a wonderful variation of texture and color in the groupings demonstrated in this entry. The landscapes all allowed good visibility of the beautiful natives, for passersby while traveling alongside. Described by the judges as having an impressive use of natives that harmonized with the surrounding landscape, this award for excellent execution and use of Sonoran and Chihuahuan plants.


Outstanding Community Common Area for Sonoran Cohousing, Grant McCormick, Brad Lancaster & Jeffrey Trent

The judges noted that the excellent assortment of natives added up to a very pleasant “barrio” effect.   The judges were intrigued by the wonderful plant vignettes that appeared at every turn, and that offered color and interest. A nicely matured landscape, the

The Best Mini Oasis, Elizabeth Przygoda, Boxhill Landscape Design, for the Veterinary Specialty Center,

Pet Comfort Garden

view of comfort garden

Judges noted the interesting saguaro sculpture at the entrance to the building, traveling through the building to an enclosed courtyard the judges enjoyed the soothing sounds from the water feature added to the peacefulness of a small commercial space. This wonderful landscape met its intended purpose as a pet comfort garden. There was an intriguing combination of plants—with the gravel/rock, stepping stones and groundcover all complementing each other. The wire trellises provide a very clever and attractive element to the garden, which will soon allow owners who have lost their pets to hang a bell in memorial.


TMA entry planterFirst place Commercial -Margaret Joplin,

Design Collaborations, Ltd., for the Tucson Museum of Art Entry Planter

Judges observed an excellent display of native accent and color plants in combination with sculptures and decorative walls. The landscape provided a striking and dramatic entry into the museum, with shade trees strategically located to provide visual and climate relief.

First Place Medians - Karen Cesare, Novak Environmental Inc., for Star Valley Medians

The judges noted well-designed plant groupings with excellent, logical placement of species that provide attractive shapes and colors. All of this is executed with sensitivity to native plant and low water use ethic.

2006 Photo Gallery, Commercial Category

Public Education Category

signage in demo gardenFirst Place Public Education, U of A Pima County Master Gardeners,

Xeriscape Demonstration Garden

This very well planned landscape is a great education model for the entire community. In addition to the attractive arrangement and excellent variety of plant species in the garden, there is a good, natural use of rocks in the dry streambed, according to judges. It is a pleasant mini-oasis that is still water conservative, as water harvesting tanks are put to good use. The judges also noted that the wide variety of colorful native flowers and groundcovers in harmony with typical native trees, along with plant ID signs, make this garden an excellent learning tool. 


2006 Photo Gallery, Public Education Category 

Special Awards -Water Conservation and Irrigation Efficiency

The judges selected three gardens for special awards and distinctions in water harvesting, retrofitting, and irrigation efficiency:

Cohousing entry planting“Best Use of Passive Water Harvesting”, Grant McCormick, Brad Lancaster, Jeffrey Trent, for the Sonora Cohousing Common Area

This designated garden applied efficient water harvesting techniques,  enabling the yards of the complex to convey a lush, barrio-style effect while remaining a water-conserving garden. The dense plantings were partially irrigated by rock-lined swales.



Front yard“Best Retrofit of a High-Water Using Landscape”, Mary Rose Duffield, for the Altholz Residence

Before installing this landscape, our distinguished designer needed to dispose of grass and other high water use plants. A creative, colorful and low water use landscape resulted.


Irrigation Efficiency-Each year, the contest enlists the expertise of judges who specialize in irrigation to review the irrigation systems and schedules at each location.

Most Efficient Irrigation System, Bill Bass for the U of A Pima County Cooperative Extension, Master Gardeners Xeriscape Garden

This garden features separate valves for the mini oasis, transitions zone and perimeter zone plants and trees to minimize water use. The garden’s irrigation system was designed very efficiently.




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