News Flash


Posted on: June 29, 2023

Historic home wins 2023 Landscape Contest

Landscape contest winner in front of winning landscape

Helix Water District is happy to announce our 2023 Landscape Contest winner, Joy Andrea, a retired school teacher and resident of La Mesa for over 50 years. 

The annual competition recognizes residents for their outstanding water-efficient landscapes based on overall attractiveness, design, efficient irrigation, appropriate plant selection and maintenance.

Joy's charming 1925 house on Date Avenue features a tapestry of thriving and inviting, low-water use plants. The landscape boasts a tremendous amount of curb appeal, complimenting the character of the Spanish-style home. Joy's design includes a balanced mix of shrubs, groundcover, potted plants, large stones and decorative statues. 

Landscape contest winner in front of winning landscape

2023 Landscape Contest Winner Joy Andrea

Joy has transformed the home from an all-lawn landscape to a low-water-use front yard with a thriving fruit and vegetable garden in the back. "When I first moved here, all this was grass that you would have to water with a hose, or it would go brown in the summer," said Joy. "The neighbors that used to live around me would have to be outside watering with a hose. Bless their hearts, I never wanted that. It is more rewarding for me to plant, prune and maintain this space, than a flat lawn." 

Moving through the garden, visitors will see numerous wrought iron statues within the landscape, inspiring imagination and life from every angle. Some of the plants include a bottle brush tree, succulents spilling out of small pots and larger shrubs bordering the landscape. This landscape shows how smaller spaces commonly found in front of most residential homes can feel bigger by creating points of interest and utilizing a variety of plants and trees to add color and character.

"I wanted to create an old-fashioned, natural look to compliment my 1925 historic home" said Joy Andrea. "That's what I tried to create and the plants take on a character of their own." 

Given the landscape's variety, Joy has done an impressive job picking plants that keep a consistent grey-blue theme with pops of color throughout.   Plants featured in the landscape include pride of Madeira, gazania, blue fescue, bottle brush, felt plant, jasmine, and various succulents. 

When asked what others should do to create a landscape like Joy's, she says, "Pick hardy drought-resistant plants that you love and enjoy seeing. Remember to keep your small plants in the front and have your taller plants toward the back and if you don't like what you have, don't be afraid to take it out, replant it or get something else." 

Historic spanish home with beautiful water-efficient landscape

The landscape compliments the character and charm of her 1925 home

Driftwood, blue fescue and purple flowers

Use of soft, gray-blue colors, accented with pops of colorful, flowering plants

pink flowers rising in landscape

Roses, plants and front yard landscape

The yard uses an irrigation system consisting of an efficient drip for the larger plants and tall pop-up sprays for the groundcover. Joy enjoys tending to her potted plants by hand-watering them. Joy lives with a strong water ethic, and when asked if there is anything that she wanted to share with others about water-efficient landscaping, she reminds us that "water is our single most important commodity on the planet, we must all use it carefully and not just in our yards and landscapes, but with everything we do."  

Photos of Joy's yard will appear in the winner's section at, along with Helix's past winners and those of other participating local water agencies, and on the district's website at

The landscape contest runs from January through mid-May each year. Visit Helix's website at, or Twitter at @HelixWater for more information.

historic home with vibrant and colorful water-saving landscape

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