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Mantecan wins top awards for three years in a row at Alameda County Fair
Eric Teberg of Manteca shows all of the plaques he received when he swept all of the landscaping design awards during the 2012 Alameda County Fair. In the backdrop is a glimpse of his private Eden at his home in Manteca. - photo by ROSE ALBANO RISSO

Eric Teberg of Manteca is a runaway winner at the Alameda County Fair for the third year in a row.

The professional landscape designer, whose work has been featured in Sunset Magazine, has been declared winner of the Best of Show, the top award in the garden and landscaping contest category, plus Best Horticultural and Best Color. The awards ceremony was held Tuesday night. He was interviewed while getting ready to attend the event when other prizes were expected to be given away.

In 2012, Teberg swept the awards in the same category.

His award-winning landscape design, as well as the other entries, can be viewed until July 6, the last day of the Alameda County Fair.

Teberg’s entry this year is a drought-sensitive creation which reflects the ongoing campaign for water conservation in light of current drought problems. He had a different design in mind ready before December 2013. But by Dec. 31, drought was declared and that changed all of his plans.

Normally, he and the other landscapers in the competition are allowed “upward of 30 percent of space” where they can use sod. Due to the ongoing water conservation, however, that was cut down in keeping with watering ordinances that has been put in place everywhere including the cities of Livermore and Pleasanton. Both cities have mandated a 50-percent reduction in water use.

The design he came up with under those restrictions reflects no sod. Instead, he used California gold gravel to set off the plantings – “to make the plantings stand out even more,” Teberg explained.

The plant selection was another challenge he faced.

“I don’t really get to choose the plants. Whatever shows up is what I have to work with,” he said.

Teberg actually worked in partnership with two others in the landscaping competition – Jaquie Williams-Courtright, the owner of Alden Lane Nursery in Livermore, and Dave Norlin, owner of Vineyard Landscaping, also in Livermore. Williams-Courtright assisted Teberg in the color selections. Filling in those needs were plant varieties that included red and white begonias, blue Victoria salvia, and white zinnias. Some of these were supplied by Frederick’s Nursery in Ripon. Others were selected by Teberg at Alden Lane Nursery.

Additional assistance in putting together Teberg’s design was supplied by Dave Norlin’s Vineyard Landscaping which provided manpower muscle to do the digging necessary, for example, in installing the 3-foot-tall and 14-feet-across kiddie pool that served as the water feature. The pool was “buried” using pavers to create the rim around it. About $2,000 worth of pavers went into this effort.

Teberg worked every day for two weeks straight to finish the project. He drove 15 days out of 17 days to the site from Manteca to get the job done.

Looking at the finished product, Teberg commented it’s hard to believe that the garden he created sits right on top of asphalt. “That’s hard to believe when you see the finished product,” he said.