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Designing for the New Normal

Articles: Designing for the New Normal

This is the third installment in our four-part, water-sensitive landscape design (WSLD) series. Southern California’s Urban Water Group is a water-sustainability collective in Los Angeles that’s retooling the design process and working to devise creative solutions for more resilient landscapes that enhance and support our environment. Let’s take a look at their approach.

This landscape is designed to provide a passive capture system and keep rain on site. Photo: Philip Otto Photography

As it becomes increasingly unlikely that El Niño will rescue California from its historic drought, the need to be more thoughtful and vigilant about reducing outdoor water use in landscapes is becoming crucial. As drought conditions become the new normal, we may have to significantly reduce or eliminate use of potable water for irrigation, and plan for the day when there may not be enough water to sustain the landscape. The days are over when the responsibility to address the worst-case scenario can be passed on to the client or maintenance provider.

As designers, we look at how much water the landscape will require ...


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