7th Annual Mar Vista Green Garden Showcase

The 7th Annual Mar Vista Green Garden Showcase will be Saturday, April 25, 2015. This Earth Day celebration, presented by the Mar Vista Community Council, seeks to empower Angelenos to adopt environmentally conscious living solutions. With many people walking or biking their tours, there is a tremendous sense of community as garden enthusiasts from throughout Southern California join our neighbors to celebrate our shared vision for a greener life

Click here to see a map of the areas we'll feature in the 2015 Showcase. This is a curated show. The featured gardens have one or more of the following sustainability features: California native/drought tolerant plantings, edibles, water catchment systems. 

The Mar Vista community has an ongoing commitment to encouraging sustainability in all aspects of life. The Green Tent at the Mar Vista Farmers' Market hosts a different eco-presenter each Sunday. Every 4th Sunday, UCCE Master Gardeners visit The Green Tent with seeds, seedlings and advice. 

Would you like to be on the Green Garden Showcase email list? Contact us at gardens@marvista.org. 

Did you miss the 2014 tour, or some of the gardens on it? Click here to display a Green Garden Showcase map, then follow the directions to create your own personal tour map. PLEASE BE RESPECTFUL OF GARDEN OWNERS’ PROPERTY. View gardens from the sidewalk unless invited in. Don’t pick anything!

11837 North Park Avenue - Cluster 1

There is a mix of established and newer replacement California natives, California poppies gone wild, some legacy plants, rose bushes and newer native evergreen tree started. Rock edged organic vegetable beds run along a side fence. 

The parkway and front yard Bermuda turf was removed in August of 2008 before the LADWP rebate program and has been a work in progress since.

The owners did all the design and the majority of work by hand. They only had hired assistance for two days to help breakup bad sod mixed with Bermuda grass. They personally shoveled and then made several trips to dump 10 tons of the sod mixed with dirt to a commercial transfer station in Santa Monica. The couldn't find a place to recycle it so had to pay! 

Some rocks, most gravel, flagstone and all decomposed granite were obtained for free from Craigslist searches. They gathered free river rocks on several trips to two locations in Redlands and Claremont. Tons of free City of Los Angeles Dept. of Sanitation mulch made from all of our green bin waste was collected in their facilities in Van Nuys and off Jefferson Boulevard. They used old LA Times and Weekly newspapers to cover dirt under mulch to suppress weeds. Under the gravel they used corn based natural weed block available at Home Depot.

Irrigation is a combination of spray heads 
converted to drip, spray, and hand watering from rain barrels. 

Monarch butterflies and bees are feasting on the natives in season. Hummingbirds enjoy the native flowers as well.

They plan to have 100 plus free bags of L.A. City provided mulch if the Dept. of Sanitation will deliver; otherwise they may have some shovel your own. 

12683 Dewey Street - Cluster 3

These homeowners are very proud of their garden. Both front and back were completely renovated with the help of their gardeners in 2014. The garden used to consist of dead grass with some patches of crab grass. It was ugly! 

They bought the house three years ago and decided that the garden had to be renovated. They were very keen to have a water friendly garden which would be low maintenance yet be visually appealing for the front garden. They planted a lot of lavender, rosmemary, olive and bay trees as they are low water consumers. Not to mention their water friendly succulent bed.

Everything was finished off in the front and back garden with aluminum edging and stone pathways.

A big must was planting plenty of edibles so they chose established fruit trees - fig, peach, lime, lemon, orange and grapefruit and banana - as well as a vegetable garden in the backyard.

12612 Brooklake Street

The banana and palm trees were already in the front yard when the owners bought this house. But the ground was covered by thirsty greens that needed to be watered three times a week with a sprinkler system. The driveway was all concrete and the DG was old.

The garden owners wanted a sprinkler-free, drought resistant garden and had a very specific idea of how it should look. They hired sA'di architecture & landscape to realize their vision and 
sA'di worked with Forest Green Tree Service as the installer. FGTS removed the concrete from the driveway, put down a thick layer of DG and recovered the DG on the old path to beautifully integrate the driveway with the front yard. 

After the owners turned off the sprinklers and removed all the dead ground covering, weed cloth was put down. The owners covered the blank areas with river rocks, and planted succulents that they grew from cuttings.

Irrigation now is primarily by hand if needed.

3462 Beethoven Street - Cluster 4

This garden is really easy to maintain, looks modern and is drought tolerant. 

The owners selected plants that attract butterflies and hummingbirds, 

There's also an apple tree and an avocado tree.

Gardener Margarito Murillo installed the drip irrigation installation.

11915 Atlantic Avenue - Cluster 1

The garden was conceived as an extension to the house. To be inviting and open towards the street and to provide additional room for many uses. For a family of five with cats and a dog the front yard had to be kids friendly, spacious, robust and drought tolerant.

A large redwood deck acting as porch extension provides the stage for many activities and opens the house towards the street. The deck continues around the corner to create an outdoor dining room that can be hidden from the street with a sliding gate.

A vegetable garden on the side of the driveway is placed so it receives full sun for most of the day. The planters are shaped as triangles so they look nice and give space when car doors are opened. Worm compost bins help feed the vegetables.

Striving towards sustainability is an important part of the family's life and integrating such features was very important. Decomposed granite covers most of the ground and provides a neat surface to run without using any water. Half of the roof drains rainwater into a swale that feeds the bamboo hedge towards one neighbor. The redwood used for the deck and the fencing was left untreated, maintenance is reduced to scrubbing once a year with oil soap. Thereby no chemicals are needed to preserve the wood. For the side gate cedar was charred to create a similar preservation and a stunning look.

The concrete driveway was cut with a slots to add some low water green and to capture water run off to let it seep into the ground.

Formwork for the concrete wall was reused as paving in the DG.

Grevillas, calendrina and hesperolae attract hummingbirds, bees and butterflies. The grevilla creates a carefully designed veil towards the street, creating some privacy without locking anybody out.

Construction began in the fall of 2012 and planting was finished in March 2013.

The owner is an architectural designer. Alison Hurst (Grow Garden Design) was involved in concept design and plant selection.

3836 Minerva Avenue - Cluster 1

This organic garden setting seems to attract people passing by and the owners often see them slowing down for a second look, or comment. The design is simple, featuring a limited number of drought tolerant plants on a carpet of ground cover encompassing whimsical grasses looking a little wild in a natural setting. 

The owner has a yen for babbling brooks and streams, so thought the "dry rock creek " might be fun to pretend with especially during the current drought.  Garden favorites are the 'Lion's tail', which has bloomed for frequent hummingbird visits since its origin last summer and the bright flash of yellow ginko tree leaves enjoyed in the autumn. A special feature is the rapidly growing papaya tree on the side yard which originated by planting the seeds after eating the delicious Hawaiian fruit just to see what would happen if anything.

M. Banders inspired the  design inspiration and kept the owners on track from wanting to purchase and plant everything they saw.

Guardians of Gardens Carlos Navarette installed the irrigation system and continues to make the plants happy with his weekly visits. 

12613 Everglade Street - Cluster 3

This front yard and house needed a facelift. They were plain and out of date. Frankly, the home looked sad. The garden owners hired landscape designer Stacey Isaac, then spent a morning with her at San Marcos Gardens picking out plants they liked. The only design requirement was for a path to get the trash cans from the back to the front; Stacey came up with a great layout. Roger Mora and his assistant Felipe did all the muscle work to install the irrigation and landscaping.

The homeowners then had the house painted in contemporary colors and viola! Facelift complete. The whole experience was really fun and they smile every time they pull up in front of their house. It's amazing what you can do with a small space.

3610 Ocean View Avenue - Cluster 2

This 120 foot deep front yard was an uninspiring swath of half dead lawn. The homeowners asked Kevin Connelly of Park Connelly and Associates to make it into something welcoming. The aim was to make the long access to the house a pleasant stroll through a park-like setting, with various areas for lounging, entertaining, meditation and vegetable gardening. 

The design incorporates an existing Chinese Elm and a mature pine. A rectangular concrete patio which was cracked and displaced was recycled into a more gracious, wandering and “softer” walkway leading from the sidewalk to the front door. 

The homeowners favorite feature is a yin-yang symbol constructed with white and black river stones as a 6ΚΌ diameter “junction” midway in the yard. A secondary gravel path leads from here to a quiet area bench and continues on to the raised vegetable planter box. It also helps to visually break up the distance to the house. A water feature near the deck entrance also reflects the welcoming aspects of a Feng Shui design. 

Landscape designer Kevin Connelly on site all day to answer your questions.