Water Wise Demonstration Garden

 NOTE:  Occasional rains may over-saturate our garden pathways resulting in temporary closure (allowing the pathways to dry out.)  Please inquire at the District’s customer service desk should the gates be locked during business hours.

Six Reasons to visit:

The Joshua Tree Water Wise Demonstration Garden encompasses five actual themed gardens: (1) the Native Plant and Wildlife Garden, (2) the Desert Ranch Garden, (3) the Mediterranean Garden, (4) the Thornless Garden, (5) the Rock Garden, (6) the Riparian Wash by the Desert Water Shed Mural; all designed to use one-third of the water used by a traditional Southern California landscape.

Did you know that landscapes can use up to 80% of the drinking water delivered to desert residences?  Our gardens demonstrate how to select beautiful water thrifty plants, irrigate them efficiently, and maintain them in order to protect our precious water supply.  We hope you’ll take some of these ideas home with you and have made the themed landscape and irrigation design templates available to your for free download.

This garden boasts of a “smart irrigation controller”, which determines water needs based off of atmospheric conditions, not the time of day!  Other features include a Riparian Wash area that slows stormwater runoff and nourishes our flor and fauna, and a wildlife dripper that provides water for both trees and birds.  Watch for comical cactus wrens and roadrunners, lizards and desert iguanas, antelope ground squirrels, butterflies and more in our newly certified wildlife habitat and learn how you can set up your own backyard wildlife habitat

This regional community garden was funded largely by grants from the Mojave Water Agency and the Bureau of Reclamation. Themed garden mural art work was donated by the Morongo Basin Cultural Arts Council, and local volunteer docents (Link) train to give tours and do light maintenance of this unique display of native and water wise plants.

The Joshua Tree Water Wise Demonstration Garden is located at the Joshua Basin Water District office, and is open to all during regular Water District business hours. FREE personal tours are available (any day of the week, including weekends) from one of our volunteer docents by contacting the District Office in advance at 760.366.8438.


Volunteers from the Morongo Basin community train as Docents to give tours of the Water Wise Demonstration Garden, teaching the value of using native and low water use plants to landscape at home. Not only does this reduce the expense of water use but it saves homeowners time with gardening upkeep common with traditional landscapes!


Our desert boasts a multitude of native botanical varieties that often are not found elsewhere.  These hardy plants are survivors! When they get established, they need very little care or water to keep them going.  Here are some insights to our desert native plants:

1.  They do NOT easily survive transplanting (unless grown by seed in a pot.)

2.  When given a little water, they will “perform” compared to non-natives that require copious amounts of water just to survive.

3.  Native plants tend to be slow growing (a benefit for those who aren’t keen on heavy landscape maintenance!)

4.  Native plants “pull back” in the heat of summer (looking stressed) and hibernate in the winter cold.  They spring back in fall and spring.

5.  Many native plants can be “groomed” for landscape esthetics.

6.  Native plants naturally provide for our local wildlife, either via food or shelter.  To learn how to make your property a Certified National Wildlife Federation Wildlife Habitat, click         on:  http://www.nwf.org/How-to-Help/Garden-for-Wildlife/Certify-Your-Wildlife-Garden.aspx?campaignid=WH09ASLP