Colfax Meadows Resident Goes Eco-Friendly in the Garden

Find out how TV producer Andrew Epstein cut his water bill by 75 percent — and got most of his drought-resistant plants for free.

Photo by: Andrew Epstein Television producer Andrew Epstein converted his English-style garden to a chic, low-water landscape. The new water-wise garden, consisting mostly of succulents, called for a new walkway of stepping stones on decomposed granite, rather than a brick path.

The posh Colfax Meadows area of Studio City, Calif., is popular with the entertainment industry crowd, not only because of its proximity to studios like CBS' Radford, but also because it has an East Coast feel. Movies and films shot here look like they could be anywhere in the U.S., and East Coast transplants feel like they're living in a home away from home.

But the sky-high water bills and maintenance required for East Coast gardens and landscaping are decidedly un-West Coast.

Busy television producer Andrew Epstein had finally had enough with the expensive lawn maintenance, so he decided to go eco-friendly, converting his English garden, featured in several television shows and magazines, to California water-wise chic.

Surprisingly enough, not only did he cut his water bill by about 75 percent, but he found a way to procure most of his drought-resistant plants for free.

No, he didn't run through the neighborhood snipping clippings after dark. Instead, Epstein scoured the Farm and Garden section on Craigslist, where he found many ads for sensational succulents, free to people who were willing to dig them up and cart them away.

He also found great plants in Craigslist's Curb Alert section, where people let you know what they're putting out on the curb so you can come by and grab the items.

Then he acquired free mulch from local tree-trimmers who prefer to unload their clippings locally rather than cart them to the dump and pay a fee.

Another fringe benefit of Epstein's project was bonding with the owners of the plants he was adopting, who liked to tell stories about their precious flora's history. Also, Epstein was able to spend quite a bit of hard-working, quality time with his son Max, who helped him with the project.

Seems a lot more was planted than just blue agave and aloe.

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