What Does A QWEL Designer Do – Tips On Creating A Water Saving Landscape

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By Karen Boness, Owner of Wild Willow Landscape Design, ISA Certified Arborist, Certified Permaculture Designer

QWEL is the acronym for Qualified Water Efficient Landscaper. Saving water is a primary goal of municipalities and homeowners in the arid West. Creating a water saving landscape can be a tricky thing – especially if the homeowner has a large lawn. A qualified water efficient landscape typically eliminates or greatly reduces turf grass.

If turf grass is kept on site, a landscape professional with QWEL certification can audit the turf grass irrigation system. He or she can recommend fixes and improvements to the irrigation system – such as brands of extremely efficient irrigation spray heads or adjustments to the system that eliminate water waste from run off or overspray.

QWEL Certification and Design

QWEL is a training program and certification process for landscape professionals. It certifies landscape designers and landscape installers in techniques and theory they can use to help homeowners create and maintain water-wise landscapes.

The QWEL certification process consists of a 20-hour training program with an exam. It began in California in 2007 and has spread to other states.

What Does a QWEL Designer Do?

A QWEL designer can perform an irrigation audit for the client. The audit can be conducted for general landscape planting beds and turf grass. The QWEL designer can offer water-saving alternatives and options to the client to save water and money.

He or she can evaluate the landscape and determine water availability and use requirements. He or she can help a client choose the most effective irrigation equipment, as well as methods and materials for the site.

QWEL designers also create cost-effective irrigation design drawings that are appropriate to the needs of the plants. These drawings may also include construction drawings, equipment specifications and irrigation schedules.

A QWEL designer can verify that the irrigation system installation is correct and can also train the homeowner on system use, scheduling and maintenance.

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