urban runoff, Ocean Friendly Gardens, California Friendly Landscape Training, California native plants, retention basin, rainwater capture, watershed, first flush, soil biology, plant factor, evapotranspiration, drip irrigation, organic maintenance, hands-on workshop
A comprehensive approach to reducing landscape water use was implemented in the Demonstration Garden in the City of Hawthorne. By creating healthy soil, grading to capture and retain rainwater, using California native and climate-appropriate plants, and implementing sustainable maintenance practices, the garden was designed to mimic the natural processes of a mini-watershed. The soil is now able to soak up and retain rainwater, reducing the need for supplemental irrigation and eliminating urban runoff. Habitat and food for wildlife was introduced, and maintenance costs were minimized by reducing green waste and eliminating the need for chemical fertilizers, herbicides, and pesticides. The installation was supplemented by two classes offered free to the public: a three hour introduction to California Friendly Landscaping principles, and a half day hands-on workshop in which participants used their newly-acquired knowledge to plant California natives and install drip irrigation. California native plantings were selected for their long-lasting and colorful blooms to introduce the public to the beauty and diversity of California's indigenous flora, which has, until recently, been under-represented in garden centers and under-utilized in residential and commercial landscapes.