Local plant species and hardscape materials enhance this extensive, owner-designed twelve-year-old landscape – an outstanding example of a high-elevation garden. “A house and its gardens should look like they have always been there,” says its owner. Flowering shrubs, maturing trees, wildflowers and bulbs provide color, fragrance and habitat for wildlife. The landscape includes a small vineyard, as well as a wind-turbine that generates most of the residents’ power.
Renovation directed by Theodore Payne’s very own Lisa Novick with original garden design by Katherine Spitz. Installed by police officers, interns and community members, this 30,000 sq. ft. garden demonstrates native plants that thrive with minimal irrigation in the extreme heat and sun of the west valley, as well as in heavy clay soil. Design: The Theodore Payne Foundation
This woodland garden has evolved over more than two decades thanks to the passion and dedication of the homeowners. Several stunning mature native plants, a dry streambed, permeable hardscaping and a drainage design that captures and delivers rain water to native sycamores are just some of the unique features of this property. An eclectic back yard integrates natives and useful edibles in a harmonious, permaculture-style garden.
They killed their lawn! This two-year-old, owner-designed, 1250 sq. ft. front yard is now a thriving wildlife habitat and gathering place for family and entertaining—and a showcase for colorful, fragrant native flora, water conservation, and energy and waste reduction.
A carefully chosen plant palette (including uncommon Rhus lentii and Quercus tomentella, and rare and endangered Mahonia nevinii) enhances this front and back garden first planted in the late 1990s. Low maintenance and wildlife habitat were major goals; both were achieved. The style is “relaxed.” Total garden space: approx. 8,000 sq. ft. Design: Rick Fisher, Toyon Design, Landscape Architecture and the owners.
The owners used a predominantly native plant palette to restore the large, rambling terraced landscape of a 1948 Mid-Century Modern house designed by Lloyd Wright Jr. (son of Frank Lloyd Wright). The garden, begun in 2004, includes areas of sun and shade, and transitions from formal placement near the house to a naturalistic setting in the lower yard. An energy- and water-guzzling swimming pool was replaced by a formal garden, designed by Dryden Helgoe Landscape Design, featuring California native trees and succulents surrounding a reflecting pool.
This large maturing landscape offers varied spaces and mass plantings, including a sun-baked street-side garden, woodland flora beneath massive trees, riparian plants along a running stream and chaparral natives surrounding a stone “council circle.” Altogether, a verdant sanctuary for both people and wildlife with a sense of elegant, wild beauty. Design: Terra Design
This long, narrow eight-year-old garden is semi-formal in style, with winding path, gabion wall, and rammed-earth bench nestled below a century-old coast live oak. Watch for spring wildflowers, a dudleya-studded cliff, many rare plants from California and Baja, and an art installation, “The History of the West.” Garden size: approx. 6,000 sq. ft. Design: Scrub Jay Studios
This small predominantly native landscape is eight years old and evolving. Front, side and back plantings totaling less than 2,000 sq. ft. display easy-to-grow shrubs, sages and spring wildflowers that attract hummingbirds and provide shelter and seed for other birds. The owner is partial to purple and orange flowers. Design assistance: Laura Bauer
The front yard of this eight-year-old, owner-designed 1/3-acre “eclectic green space” includes drought-tolerant native and non-native plants, a dry stream bed beneath an old incense cedar, and a low-care parking strip. Behind the classic Bungalow-style home, featured in American Bungalow magazine, natives are paired with succulents and also used to attract pollinators to herbs, vegetables and mature fruit trees. Recipient of Pasadena Beautiful’s Golden Arrow Award and featured in Fall 2012 American Bungalow magazine.
This English cottage-style front, parking strip and side garden was planted in 2010 and totals less than 2,000 sq. ft. Notable features include a dry stream bed that diverts and absorbs runoff, flagstone patio with birdbath, and a 100% native plant palette selected for insect habitat and waves of seasonal color. Design assistance: Greg Rubin, California’s Own Native Landscape Design.
This demonstration garden, installed through a grant from the San Gabriel Valley Municipal Water District, is largely south-facing, with a variety of natives that thrive under the canopy of mature sycamore trees. Issues of maintaining visibility along the front of the school, and using the garden for classroom lessons, drove many of the plant choices. Other garden features include a dry streambed and the use of local boulders from the San Gabriel River flood plain. Orange trees were added to reflect the historic nature of the campus. Design: Environs Landscape Architects with assistance from The Theodore Payne Foundation. Additional Design/Project Support from: Amy Whist Garden Design ; Karen Walker Chamberlin; Shirley Barrett; Skanska and Marina Landscape.
The style of this four-year-old 10,000 sq. ft. garden is natural, with desert and Channel Islands flora in front and oak woodland plants in back. The owners wanted privacy and year-round fragrance, color and interest. The nearly 100% native palette includes many hard-to-find species and cultivars. Percolation beds, infiltration pits and a rill direct and retain water. Well-placed boulders protect the corner property from speeding cars. Design: Scrub Jay Studios.
Started in 2005, the plants selected for this cottage-style garden with elegant woodland elements provide a certified wildlife and bird habitat, as well as beautiful and serene private spaces for human inhabitants to retreat from street noise. Located on a former lakebed, this garden features plants that tolerate heavy clay soil and features an enchanting outdoor garden room, permeable paving materials, as well as a kitchen and cutting garden. Design: Terra Design
This half-acre property has been transforming over the past five years with the addition of mass native plantings that create a “wild” woodland garden that attracts native insects, birds, butterflies. In addition to a large heritage oak, the garden also features creative recycled hardscape elements. Owner designed.
This owner-designed, 6250 sq. ft. garden was started in 1999 and uses no supplemental water. The cottage/woodland-style front plantings include manzanita, sage and oak. The more formally designed backyard mixes natives with other Mediterranean-climate plants. Both spaces were created for fragrance, wildlife value, water conservation, energy reduction, privacy and easy maintenance.
The clean, uncomplicated aesthetic of this owner-designed garden features a massing of fairy dusters and native bunch grasses in the front yard. The back includes terraces, multiple small-space vignettes, and child-friendly raised vegetable beds. Homeowners started this native garden in 2008 to minimize water use and support local wildlife. In 2012 they brought more natives to the neighborhood by spear-heading the community native garden located across the street at the Silver Lake Meadow, which is well worth a peek!
A wooden fence artfully peppered with stained glass windows frames this eclectic front yard, created from scratch four years ago by the homeowner. Native plants were selected to invite wildlife, conserve water, and provide seasonal interest. Local materials resourcefully used include a large mound built from soil excavated during house construction and garden boulders rescued from excavation. Carefully placed fallen tree branches and mulched pathways contribute to the organic feel of this garden.
Over half of this 2,000 sq. ft. zen landscape is native. First planted in 1999, the goals were to create a certified wildlife habitat, reduce irrigation, and create outdoor living spaces for quiet contemplation. Features include a pond, Santa Cruz Island ironwood, and 20-foot-tall valley oak lovingly nurtured from seed.
This child-friendly landscape (installed 2010 and totaling 5,000 sq. ft.) includes a bit of everything: a small water feature, fire pit, kitchen garden and native plants that conserve water and feed native birds, as well as butterflies and other insects. The style is “native contemporary.” Design: Kathleen Ferguson Landscapes.
This two-year-old, 4,500 sq. ft. coastal garden is child- and dog-friendly and designed for outdoor living. Colorful, fragrant natives and other Mediterranean-climate plants draw birds and insects, especially butterflies. Challenging soils drove plant selection. All areas employ drip irrigation with smart controllers. Design: Fleur Nooyen and Associates
This inspiring, small-space patio garden proves that it is possible for apartment dwellers to go native. An attractive medley of colorful pots, water features and vines for butterfly host plants bring native flowers and wildlife to a suburban Santa Monica patio located 2 miles from the Ocean. Owner-built benches and small tables from reclaimed lumber enhance the scale of this small piece of paradise.
A yarrow parkway and front lawn lead to a meticulously restored century-old home. The young, 3,900 sq. ft. landscape features native plants that provide a wildlife sanctuary, a Monarch butterfly waystation, an outdoor gathering space for poetry readings, edible plants, a small biological pond, permeable paving and recycled hardscape materials. Watered with subsurface irrigation, and using rain barrels and infiltration pits to control run-off, this is a garden of the future. Design: FormLA Landscaping
Santa Monica’s public demonstration garden, known as garden\garden, opened in May 2004 and consists of adjacent front yards showing two different approaches to garden design. The “California-friendly” garden showcases native plants, a dry creek bed and efficient irrigation, while the “traditional” landscape includes more-typical features brought to Santa Monica from the East coast. The native garden uses five times less water, produces less greenwaste and costs 50% less to maintain than the traditional garden. Design: Susanne Jett, Jettscapes Landscapes
A dry streambed and use of recycled hardscape materials are just two outstanding characteristics of this owner-designed garden. The 2,000 sq. ft. front yard, planted in 2004, is a south facing terraced slope planted with sagebrush, coyote brush, and ceanothus, among other attractive native and Mediterranean plants that provide seasonal color and require minimal maintenance. The back yard, planted in 2012, integrates natives with a productive edible garden.
Established over 22 years ago, this large and magnificent landscape includes many mature natives as well as more recent plantings, all of which attract legions of hummingbirds, songbirds, insects and other wildlife. A steep hillside showcases plants for slope stabilization and erosion control. Other garden features include a dry streambed, several bird-friendly water features, a newly constructed hillside staircase, a fine succulent collection, and an exemplary cat run that give felines time outside while keeping the birds (and cats) safe. Homeowner designed with assistance from Rogers Weld.
A front and back garden surrounding a historic Craftsman-style home! This maturing landscape was started in 2008. The style for is “California Apocalyptica,” fusing native flora (some quite rare) and recycled materials with recycled tools and other implements as sculpture. A vast plant palette and gurgling fish pond attract birds and insects all year. Owner designed.
The abundant cottage-style 1,100 sq. ft. garden in front of this historic Craftsman-style home was planted March 2011. Achieved goals include water conservation (the lawn is gone!), runoff reduction, birds and butterflies (including monarchs), fragrance and year-round color in both shady and sunny locations. Design assistance: Nick Dean.
Carefully designed on a tight budget as part of the homeowners’ low-impact lifestyle, native plants were selected in this garden to support local birds, conserve water, and provide the sweet fragrance of California sage scrub. A small retaining wall adds dimension and diverse topography to a flat frontal city lot. 1,800 sq. ft.
Natives and succulents that attract birds, bees and butterflies fill beds and containers in this landscape. A permeable path in the four-year-old front yard leads to a rocking love seat. New side yard plantings incorporate concrete salvaged from the driveway. The back garden, installed 2007, features sun-loving shrubs, wildflowers and a very popular bird bath. Design: Grow Outdoor Design
Mature ceanothus, manzanita and toyon anchor a front yard that includes numerous sages, globe mallows and a fabulous penstemon collection. This small, casual 18-year-old garden attracts hummingbirds, migratory warblers, bees, rare insects and butterflies. The backyard recently underwent sweeping changes. Under the canopy of a mature palo verde the owners removed yards of concrete and planted a modernist native landscape with a ceanothus screen. Both yards are owner designed and maintained, and contain over 95% California natives.
This natural-style, owner-designed 4,000 sq. ft. landscape is nearly ten years old. Ivy and lawn were replaced with wildlife-attracting drought-tolerant natives, and paths and raised beds of recycled concrete. Despite such challenges as heavy soil and surface tree roots, the front garden is flourishing. Back and side yards were revamped in 2009.
This small all-native front yard makes a big impact in the neighborhood! Planted in 2011, this garden attractively fits several sustainable features into 600 sq. ft. of space, including a dry streambed, rain chains that direct runoff into an underground collection site, and permeable hardscape. Native grasses, California fuschia, and a handsome palo verde enhance this refreshingly designed space. Design: Land Matters
This front and back landscape, planted four years ago and totaling 2,000 sq. ft., includes native plants from varied environments (sun and shade, wet and dry). Clay soil is a serious challenge. Reduced water use and low maintenance are key goals, as is showcasing the beauty and diversity of natives. The front features a huge tree mallow. Recycled hardscape and deck, garden sculpture, containers and fountains add interest.
Passers-by stop to enjoy the beauty and fragrance of this six-year-old, 1,320 sq. ft. front and side garden, which are a personal expression of the owners’ love for the outdoors. The new 1,500 sq. ft. back yard was implemented in 2011. All areas include drought-tolerant wildlife-attracting native plants, plus sculpture, rustic furniture and fountains. Design assistance: Greg Rubin, California’s Own Native Landscape Design.
The empty lot next door, purchased from the lead singer of Metallica, has been transformed into a neighborhood botanic garden! Planted in 2006, this 12,000 sq. ft. space is a true wildlife sanctuary that supports over 110 species of birds. A natural path winds through a diverse forest of manzanita, fremontia, toyon, including the unique ‘Davis Gold’ cultivar, and much more. The path finishes at a park-style picnic area and productive victory-style vegetable garden.