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Landscaping in the Tahoe Basin can come with challenges as the winter snow weighs heavy on trees and bushes and the dry summers pose high fire danger.  Creating a native, integrated landscape is important for low maintenance, environmentally friendly and relatively defensible from wildfire.  Take these 10 steps to start your landscaping or improve your existing garden.

  1. Consider the characteristics of your site.  What makes it unique? Take note of the soil and preexisting plants.  Notice where water is running off.  Let the natural slopes, low spots, sunny and shady areas work for you.
  2. Design your landscape to meet your needs.  Your landscape plan may include walkways, private areas, storage areas, natural areas or gardens.
  3. Use erosion-control techniques to protect water quality.  Use vegetation and mulch to promote infiltration of rain and snowmelt into the soil.
  4. Plan for efficient water use.  Decide which areas need irrigation and which do not.  Determine the most efficient method to irrigate each area of your landscape.
  5. Plan defensible space for fire safety.  Identify the wildfire threat to your property.  Consider how you can get the house defensible for firefighters.  Manage vegetation to reduce fuel in key locations.
  6. Maintain your native vegetation and animal habitat through backyard forestry.
  7. Choose plants for aesthetics, seasonal color, water requirements, fire safety and other objectives to achieve both beauty and functionality.
  8. Learn how to improve your soils.
  9. Determine how to improve your soils.
  10. Plan ahead to minimize pesticide use by using integrated pest management.



Click here for the full article, “Home Landscaping Guide for Lake Tahoe and Vicinity”

Check out some of the area’s demonstration gardens to see some successful garden designs and ideas for  your own landscaping.

North Lake Tahoe Demonstration Garden |
Various classes are offered on Thursdays throughout the summer.  Get hands on experience for your own Tahoe garden.

Tahoe Resource Conservation District |
Two gardens are located in South Lake Tahoe.  Both locations area  great place to see a successful, environmentally-friendy landscaping techniques in action.

Truckee Demonstration Garden |
This garden is focused growing fresh fruit, vegetables and herbs. Come and see how to create a sustainable, high-altitude home garden.