Gardens that are Gardens Open Sunday
This foothill landscape showcases unusual plants from the San Gabriel Mts. and local wilderness. The steep, narrow 4,000 sq. ft. garden, begun early 2011, includes terraces of local stone, rock water features, permeable paving, drains and swales, and formal and woodland plantings. Design: Orchid Black, Native Sanctuary
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 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.
In this striking seven-year-old landscape, well suited to its Mid-Century home, a dry stream bed with large boulders stabilizes a steep slope and provides climbing opportunities for children. A native meadow and firewise, low-growing varieties of native plants found in the nearby San Gabriel Mts. provide habitat and year-round color.
Design: Orchid Black, Native Sanctuary
Featured photo © Jane Tsong.
This two-year old cottage-style front yard of nearly 5,000 sq. ft., features an all-native mix of annuals and perennials to attract birds and butterflies and capture the essence of the southern California landscape. Reclaimed concrete was used to widen the driveway, and reclaimed brick makes for a patio and walkway. Rainwater flows off the roof and into a rocky streambed, infiltrating into a dry pond.
Design: Haynes Landscape Design
The front yard of this nine-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 natives paired with succulents attract pollinators to herbs, vegetables, and mature fruit trees. Recipient of Pasadena Beautiful’s Golden Arrow Award and featured in the Fall 2012 American Bungalow.
This long, narrow decade 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 work “The History of the West.” Garden size: approx. 6,000 sq. ft.
Design: Scrub Jay Studios
Started in 2005, the plants selected for this cottage-style garden with elegant woodland elements provide a certified wildlife habitat, as well as beautiful and serene spaces for human inhabitants to retreat from street noise. Located on a former lakebed, this garden contains plants that tolerate heavy clay soil and features an enchanting outdoor garden room, permeable paving materials, as well as kitchen and cutting gardens.
Design: Terra Design
More than half of Pasadena’s only dedicated public garden is planted with California natives, the rest of the landscape features a mix of other lovely Mediterranean species. The three acre site features 37 “garden rooms” with many distinct native plant communities. Look out for vernal pools, alluvial sage scrub, bunch grasslands, several species of oaks native to Southern California, and many other rare and endangered California natives.
Design: Mayita Dinos
This half-acre property has been transforming over the past six years with the addition of mass native plantings to create a “wild” woodland garden that attracts native insects, birds, and butterflies while conserving water. In addition to a large heritage oak, the garden features creative recycled hardscape elements. Owner designed.
9,000 sq. ft. of oak woodland, grassland, and riparian woodland flora surround a beautifully restored Craftsman home. Started fifteen years ago, the owner-designed landscape demonstrates the gradual conversion from typical lawn-dominated yard to a vibrant native plant habitat garden with areas for entertaining and relaxing. Watch for the two show-stopping fremontias.
This two-year-old front yard successfully blends a modern and traditional aesthetic. The owner/designer wanted to replace a 2,500 sq. ft. lawn with something that was walkable, promoted habitat, and used less water and energy. A lovely and clay-tolerant carex and yarrow meadow is backed by drifts of coral bells, rush, and coffeeberry.
Started thirteen years ago, this steeply sloping 1,000 sq. ft. front yard captures the allure of the surrounding hillsides with a rustic plant palette that complements the Spanish Colonial Revival style home. A mix of chaparral and desert native plants provide essential slope stabilization, wildlife habitat, and can survive the site’s tough conditions. Owner designed.
This owner-designed, 6,250 sq. ft. garden was started in 1999 and uses no supplemental water. The cottage/woodland-style front plantings include manzanita, sage, oak, and a fine collection of native succulents. 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.
Designed by homeowners dedicated to reducing their impact on the planet, this small, five-year-old all-native front yard uses a successful mix of clay-tolerant species to attract an abundance of wildlife. Also of note is a permeable driveway, solar-powered water feature, and vintage Chinese doors leading to an arbor covered by native grapes.
They killed their lawn! This three-year-old, owner-designed, 1,250 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 chain-link fence covered entirely with native morning glory (Calystegia macrostegia ‘Anacapa Pink’) is not to be missed.
This large, cottage-style front yard showcases natives that can thrive in several different microclimates. Planted in 2011, this landscape conserves water, provides year-round color, attracts butterflies and birds, and requires little maintenance. A large porch features a lovely collection of native container plants, including several bulbs.
Homeowner designed with assistance from Eco-Landscape and FormLA.
This sloping three-year-old, 2,500 sq. ft. front yard feautures an eclectic mix of California native and edible plants watered by drip irrigation. Goals of this garden include saving water, growing edibles for the homeowners, and attracting birds and butterflies.
Design: Francesca Corra — Dirt Diva Designs.
A once weedy, neglected city lot was transformed without the use of chemicals into a bird sanctuary and neighborhood park. This narrow, 6,000 sq. ft. public garden was completed through the Studio City Beautification Association in 2012. Planted primarily with California native plants that look good year-round, this garden includes a gabion wall, numerous birdhomes, and a bird bath supplied continually with fresh water.
Design: Francesca Corra—Dirt Diva Designs.
Planted in 2011, this 3,300 sq. ft. front and side yard combines natural chaparral and woodland plantings with a dry creek bed and native grass meadow that embodies an authentic sense of place amidst the surrounding hillsides of the San Fernando Valley. The garden attracts numerous butterflies, lizards, birds, and beneficial insects. The permeable front walk and driveway were created by re-using on-site materials.
Design: Gardenscapes By Jill
Spanning two adjacent properties, these native landscapes were planted in 2009 and demonstrate a palette of clay-tolerant plants that can handle extreme San Fernando Valley sun and heat. Water conservation, neighborhood beautification, and year-round color were goals of the homeowners/designers, who water their natives by hand.