Since 2018, The RainCatcher Inc. has been working with the Las Campanas Owners Association landscape committee to enhance and improve the 23 entrances going into the Las Campanas subdivision outside of Santa Fe, NM.
The need for a complete redesign and overhaul of the existing entrances came from an extremely outdated landscape palette that was not water-wise, and an old irrigation system that only used domestic water.
The use of domestic water sources to inefficiently irrigate the landscaping was the driving force behind the LCOA wanting to update and improve water use.
Using native, water-wise plants and shrubs, The RainCatcher created colorful and sustainable medians to welcome homeowners and guests at the entrances of the Las Campanas subdivision.
This landscape design drawing shows an overview of the planned plant placement with details on the types of plants, shrubs and trees and how they would contribute color and texture to the medians.
To guide the rainwater as it enters the median, stone-lined channels transport the water to irrigate the plantings around the median. The stones prevent erosion and the gravel provides an attractive, maintenance-free ground cover.
Rock walls provide staggered heights and terraces to add interest to an otherwise standard median. The diverse types of plantings, ranging from flowering plants and bushes to trees and desert succulents are all water-wise varieties.
One Rock Dams, Zuni Bowls and rock staircases capture rainwater as high as possible and channel the water further below to irrigate the plantings. These structures prevent erosion and direct the rainwater to where it's needed.
Unobtrusive, yet naturally and rustically beautiful, these rock channels guide the rainwater towards plants, trees and shrubs and protect the soil from damaging erosion.
The water-wise landscape design for the medians incorporate texture, color and various shapes and heights to bring a pleasing aesthetic to the entrances. Capturing rainwater for irrigation decreased the amount of potable water needed.
The RainCatcher is proud to be at the forefront of intelligent and sustainable landscape design, using native water-wise plants and passive rainwater capture and irrigation. And with no need to sacrifice natural beauty!
As each year passes and the dryland/native plantings become more established, their need for water diminishes in their new ecosystem. These beautiful medians create biodiverse habitats that attract wildlife and pollinators and conserve water.
Landscape Design for drought-tolerant, waterwise medians at Las Campanas
The new entrances were redesigned to capture every single drop of available stormwater during rains by modifying the grade levels at the curb heights. This allows the rainwater to enter the median to irrigate the plants, while also creating terraces to retain soil and water.
Then, using dryland permaculture techniques for passive water harvesting, soil building, efficient irrigation, and intentional dryland/native plant palettes, the new installations for the entrances that were implemented are not only extremely beautiful and aesthetically pleasing, but they conserve water and create a new biodiversity that never existed before.
This creates wildlife habitat, pollinator habitat, and uses rainwater as a source of irrigation where it couldn’t have before.
Each new entrance has the capability to capture and infiltrate tens of thousands of gallons of rainwater annually. Irrigation needs from potable water have been reduced, and as each year passes and the landscape becomes more established, less and less irrigation is needed – creating not just sustainability, but a regenerative component to the entrances.
The next time you are in the neighborhood, take a nice drive through the area and see these beautiful medians for yourself!
Click through the slides above to learn more about how The RainCatcher used permaculture, passive rainwater harvesting and native plants to create sustainable, colorful and welcoming entrances to this lovely community.