San Diego County Native Landscape Program

Program Contact: Meghan Kelly  |  |  619-323-6462

Program Description

The County of San Diego Planning & Development Services department is developing the San Diego County Native Landscape Program to increase the use of native plants in landscaping across the region. The voluntary program will use education and incentives to increase the use of native plants in landscaped areas at private development and will showcase the use of native plant landscaping at County facilities.


Native Plants Landscaping

Landscaping with native plants supports biodiversity and helps the natural environment be more adaptive and resilient to climate change impacts by increasing habitat for native animals, birds, and insects and improving water conservation. By encouraging the use of native plants in landscaping, the County can support local demand for native plant products and professional services.

Following Board of Supervisors direction, staff coordinated with the San Diego Regional Biodiversity Working Group as they developed recommendations for increasing the use of native plants in landscaping across the region. These recommendations, along with best practice research and input from internal and external stakeholders, were used to develop a framework for the San Diego County Native Landscape Program that includes long-term outcomes, ten County-initiated actions, and an implementation timeline.

On December 14, 2022 (11), the Board approved the multi-year Program and implementation of Phase I through Fiscal Year 2024-2025.

Program Overview

The Program contains ten County-initiated actions that will be developed over the next five years. View the December 14, 2022, Board Letter and Public Hearing presentation for additional information on the Program’s objectives, actions, and implementation timeline.

  1. Develop Native Plant Landscaping Design Manual as an appendix to the County’s Landscaping Ordinance
  2. Amend Board Policy G-15 to require native plant landscaping at new County facilities and in major County facility landscape retrofits, with accommodations for recreational and other socially desirable uses
  3. Develop a regional interactive website dedicated to showcasing all Program resources
  4. Develop educational materials and resources for residents and landscaping professionals
  5. Install school demonstration gardens and develop educational materials
  6. Develop a landscaping professional certification program
  7. Install demonstration gardens at County facilities
  8. Implement landscape retrofit pilot projects in underserved communities in the unincorporated area
  9. Develop a full Incentive Program for private development in the unincorporated area
  10. Develop landscape design templates for installing native plant landscaping

Upcoming Events

Native Landscaping Principles

Learn how to garden with native plants by attending a free educational workshop at The Water Conservation Garden in El Cajon.

Sponsored by the San Diego County Native Landscape Program, this workshop for any level of gardener will teach you how to create a successful native landscape for your yard.

Residents of unincorporated San Diego County who attend will receive a free native plant!

Register for the workshop here.

Native Landscaping Principles Flyer
Click to expand

Public Participation

Program Implementation

In addition to broad community outreach, a Community Advisory Group of regional native plant experts, landscaping professionals, and residents and business owners will be formed to guide the Program’s development and implementation. The goal of the group is to identify important resources, examples, and lessons learned from the field to ensure that the Program is informed by stakeholders and is centered on equity.

Click the button below to subscribe for email updates and participate in the Community Advisory Group to stay informed and provide input as the Program is developed.


Help us spread the word!

Share the San Diego County Native Landscape Program flyer with your friends and colleagues.


Past Public Workshops on Program Development

August 29, 2022

A virtual public workshop was held on August 29, 2022, where staff presented an overview of the project and solicited input on draft options for Board consideration.

November 3, 2021

A virtual public workshop was held on November 3, 2021, where staff presented an overview of the project and solicited input on the process for developing options for Board consideration.