Patricia S. Sutton Conservation Garden


The Truckee Donner Public Utility District created this garden to showcase ways you can achieve beautiful landscaping in a high Sierra climate, while saving precious water and money. 

Additional information, including the garden design, water wise plant and material lists, great information on gardening techniques, and links to suppliers are also included.   Please visit the garden at our office in both the front and back lawns for an interactive, firsthand experience!  Located at:  11570 Donner Pass Road, Truckee CA 96161.  

The conservation garden was designed as an informative demonstration featuring:

Native & Drought Tolerant Plant Exhibit

  • The plant list provides more information about each plant found in the garden including habit, drought tolerance, fire resistance and deer resistance.

Lawn Alternatives

  • These meadows showcase two great lawn alternatives that use up to two-thirds less water!  Types of grasses used in the garden include turf fescue and 3-fescue bunch grass blend.  The picnic area uses a synthetic grass. 

Native Bunch Grass Meadows Used For Lawn Replacement

  • These meadows showcase three great lawn alternatives which use up to two-thirds less water! Types of bunch grasses used in the garden include turf fescue, native meadow barley and synthetic grass.

Reclaimed Redwood Lumber Bridge

  • This bridge was constructed using materials from an old TDPUD water tank. This is a great hardscaping feature.

Hardscaping Exhibit

  • Various hardscaping techniques demonstrate attractive ways to use stone, wood and other materials that don’t require any water. Hardscaping in the garden includes stepping stones, a stone patio, a dry creek bed, paths, and gravel.

Mulch & Weed Barrier Techniques Exhibit 

  • Installing a weed barrier and mulch helps to retain moisture in the soil and cut down on the need for weeding. Mulching techniques used in the garden include compost and wood chips. Recycled cardboard is an effective weed barrier.

Water Efficient Irrigation System 

  • The garden’s irrigation system utilizes an efficient design and maximizes the use of drip emitters and low-precipitation rate spray heads. Every drop of water used in the conservation garden is managed by a smart water controller.




Bunchgrass Meadow: Drought Tolerant Lawn Alternatives:

  • Type A - Turf Fescue - Traditional lawn substitute with 1/3 the water requirements
  • Type B - Type Blend Fescue - No mow, drought tolerant, low maintenance
  • Type C - Synthetic Grass - A fine-bladed, synthetic turf with tan thatch for a natural grass appearance

Top Soil

Soil Amendment


  • Kellogg's Growmulch


  • Drip valves - Toro 260 3-Way 3/4" drip valve
  • Toro Valve Pressure Reducers, compatible with Toro 260 3-Way 3/4" drip valve
  • Toro Y Filters compatible with Toro 260 3-Way 3/4" drip valve
  • Sprinkler Valves - Toro 260 3-Way 1" Spray valve
  • Hunter Pro 6" Pop-Up spray heads
  • 1" SCH 40 PVC
  • 1/2" Drip Tube
  • 1/4" Drip Tube
  • Drip Emitters
  • Valve Boxes

Dry Creekbed:  Promotes drought tolerance, low maintenance and positive drainage

  • Boulders - 2/3 re-used on site, 1/3 from TDPUD rock quarry
  • Rocks - All re-used on site
  • River Stones - All re-used on site


  •  3/4" Golden Gravel
  • No watering, low maintenance, overflow parking

Stepping Stone Patio  

  • 2" thick Wyoming
  • Ready Mix Concrete and Mortar

Stone Steps  

  • 4 large Wyoming stone steps - Supplied by Sierra Stone Supply
  • Cal Trans class 2 aggregate base - Supplied by Al Pombo

D.G. Path:

  • Wyoming stone border - Supplied by Sierra Stone Supply
  • Decomposed granite - Supplied by Milton Holstrom Forest Products

Mulch:  Helps retain soil moisture and cuts down on weeding and maintenance

  • Compost mulch - Supplied by Al Pombo
  • Wood Chips - Supplied by TTSD
  • Recycled Cardboard - Supplied by TDPUD
  • (Natural weed barrier that decomposes into the soil)

 Redwood Bridge: Made from a Recycled Redwood Water Tower

  • Pressure treated 6"x8"
  • Recycled Redwood 3"x8"
  • Redwood 4"x4"
  • 13" Lag Bolts
  • Nuts
  • Washers
  • 6" Screws
  • 8" Screw

Weather TRAK smart water management schedules irrigation based on individual and local landscape needs 

The following suppliers participated in the creation of the Patricia S. Sutton Conservation Garden.

 Pat Sutton Photo

On February 17, 2010, the Truckee Donner PUD Board of Directors adopted Resolution No. 2010-02, dedicating the Conservation Garden to Patricia S. Sutton, who passed away in January of 2010. A longtime Truckee resident, Director Sutton served at the PUD for 31 years and was very active in the community of Truckee. Director Sutton played a lead role in the evolution of the District’s electric and water system and was an early champion of efforts to conserve energy and water.

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