Capitol Park Resource-Efficient Landscaping Demonstration Project

Capitol Park in downtown Sacramento provided an ideal opportunity to demonstrate that a lush, green landscape can be managed in a cost-effective and environmentally sound manner. In the spring 2001, the CIWMB (now known as the Department of Resources Recycling and Recovery, or CalRecycle) and the Department of General Services (DGS) began the Capitol Park Resource-Efficient Landscaping Project.

This demonstration project started with an examination of the feasibility of composting landscape trimmings at the North B Street Corporation Yard in Sacramento and an assessment of the landscape management practices at the park. The contractor (David Evans & Associates) concluded that a composting operation is feasible at the North Street Corporation but would require the purchase of a tub grinder and tractor loader. Additional staff would also be required to manage the composting operation.

Major recommendations for the landscape management practices at the park included:

  • Redesigning and renovating the irrigation system at the park
  • Hiring a water management consultant to manage the central control system
  • Developing manuals to train new and existing staff on best management practices
  • Repairing sprinklers to increase water efficiency

By November 2001, best management practices guidelines were developed and provided to DGS management. The guidelines covered a variety of management practices, such as irrigation systems, water management, soils, fertilization, turfgrass, green waste management, tree management, shrubs and ground cover management, tree pruning guidelines, integrated pest management (IPM), shrub pruning, and ground cover pruning and edging.

In 2002, DGS staff attended training sessions that addressed a variety of landscape practices. Mulch spread in planting beds.Topics included: turfgrass management, pesticide use and safety, pesticide formulations, IPM, tree appreciation and management, tree planting and pruning, fertilizer formulations, soils management, weed control, and calibration formulas.

In 2003, a training manual was developed and a water-wise gardening demonstration project was implemented at Capitol Park. A training manual on irrigation, pruning, and IPM was developed and distributed to Department of General Services staff in 2004 to ensure that new and existing staff utilize best management practices at Capital Park.


Drip irrigation installed in planting bedIn addition, DGS staff partnered with Waste Management Inc. and the Department of Water Resources (DWR) to implement a water wise gardening demonstration project at the park. Waste Management Inc. donated over 40 cubic yards of mulch, which was applied on several shrub beds on the west side of the park. DWR staff worked with DGS to select and plant California natives and other drought tolerant plants, and DGS installed a drip irrigation system in the shrub beds. It was determined that the mulch, water-efficient plants, and irrigation improvements would help control weeds, conserve water, and reduce water runoff. (Select thumbnail images to see larger versions.)

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