Modeled after bay-friendly gardening ideals pioneered in the San Francisco area, river-friendly landscaping follows seven basic principles:

Modeled after bay-friendly gardening ideals pioneered in the San Francisco area, river-friendly landscaping follows seven basic principles:


1. Landscape locally. Know your climate, sun exposure and soil. Try to use more native species. Avoid invasive plants.         


2. Landscape for less landfill. Use mulch. Compost plant debris. Choose plants that are the right size for where they're planted.         


3. Nurture your soil. Amend with compost. Mulch regularly.         


4. Conserve water. Minimize or eliminate the lawn. Grow low-water-use California or Mediterranean plants. Use a high-efficiency irrigation system.         


5. Conserve energy. Plant trees to shade your home, paved areas and air conditioners.    


6. Protect water and air quality. Choose pest-resistant plant varieties. Support beneficial insects. Use manual tools instead of power tools.         


7. Create and protect wildlife habitat. Provide diversity including California native plants. Reduce or eliminate use of pesticides and herbicides. Provide water and shelter.                   


Resources:                   


-- www.riverfriendly.org: Sponsored by the River Friendly Landscaping Coalition, this website helps you get started with a water-wise garden. Among the coalition members: Sacramento County Department of Water Resources, EcoLandscape California, the Regional Water Authority, the Sacramento Tree Foundation, the Sacramento Municipal Utility District, city of Roseville, Sacramento County Recycling and the University of California.         


-- www.bewatersmart.org: The Regional Water Authority, which represents 19 local water districts, has a wealth of water-saving tips for gardeners. Landscape designer Cheryl Buckwalter and landscape water auditor Vicky Bartish offer advice and answer questions at their Blue Thumb blog, www.bewatersmart.info/blue-thumb/blog.         


-- www.susansilva.com: Landscape designer Susan Silva of Orangevale, Calif., has before-and-after examples on her website, showing the transformation from traditional lawn-based yards to water-wise landscapes.         


-- www.sunset.com: Sunset magazine's website offers lots of advice. Find the right plants for the right place.             


Distributed by Scripps Howard News Service, www.scrippsnews.com.