First envisioned in 1991 by the East San Diego County Water Conservation Committee, The Garden was proposed as an important conservation tool in a metropolitan area that sees only 10 inches of annual rainfall and imports 90 percent of its tap water. Living literally at the end of the pipeline, San Diegans must develop alternative water supplies through every possible means, including conservation. An initial meeting with the client produced a 3-page wish list. From this initial list DPA, Inc. began programming the water conservation garden – conceptualizing and organizing the necessary rage of teaching topics; laying out the spaces, the exhibits, the paths; choosing and placing more that 600 plant species; and creating a complete package of signage, including directional and species identification signs, as well as 38 different interpretive messages.

Interpretive signs are a major part of the educational mission of the garden. Sculptural leaf shaped rusted wrought iron supports complement the earth tones found in the garden. Being that these are instructional signs, the copy is set up in a hierarchical fashion. The prominently colored right panel will draw the eye, illustration's and quick captions provide a quick read for the visitor, giving them a basic understanding of the exhibit. The darker more recessive panel further explains the exhibit. Accuracy and longevity of the messages were equally as important as making them fun, entertaining and easy to read. Sign materials and colors were selected to enhance the garden and provide information to all visitors. The sign theme of rusted steel supports and leaf shaped panels even extends to the plant identification and donor recognition signs.

Site specific sculpture was designed by DPA, Inc. to enhance the garden's story. Designed for the weather exhibit was a 14 foot tall weather vane complete with painted clouds, lighting bolt supports, wind chime rain drops, a central sun and cow jumping through the moon.

A 500-seat open-air amphitheater welcomes a multitude of venues; garden clubs, school events, concerts, etc. Continuing with the garden's water conservation message, located between sea rows are a variety of xeriscape ground covers. These plants also server to soften the amphitheater and create a sense of place and peace.
Deneen Powell Atelier - 2305 El Cajon Blvd. San Diego. CA. 92104 - P 619.294.9042