3401 Corinth Avenue

Water conservation doesn’t have to be all or nothing – this garden is a great example of that!

The homeowner is a landscape designer, a graduate of UCLA Extension’s landscape architecture program. They’ve seen their garden as a laboratory, which gives them a lot of freedom. They learned sustainable gardening through ongoing participation in Santa Monica’s sustainable landscape professionals program.

In October 2009, the grass in the back yard was replaced with gravel, and it looks great, because the space was designed. They have some grass in the front that they are not ready to lose, so they conserved by replacing the sprinkler nozzles with Toro’s Precision nozzles, which apply water more slowly and evenly than conventional nozzles and thus use less water, reduce runoff and save money.

They wanted to replace all of the sprinklers with drip irrigation, but the cost exceeded their budget, so they compromised by converting one zone and adding a vegetable garden with gravel pathways and a fruit tree.

Most of the plants they added were to reinforce the existing theme. They knew which ones had done well and how drought-tolerant they were, so those were emphasized. Two favorites are Kangaroo Paw (Anigozanthos) and Fortnight Lily (Dietes vegeta). They just added a variegated form of Dietes, and it’s sensational in the shade. Vegetables are the latest adventure!

The garden is a process that began when they moved here. They spent a lot of time observing—watching the way the light changed through the day and the seasons. They thought about how they wanted the space to work and how they wanted the experience to change as they moved through it. Then they started designing. They used plants to reinforce the design ideas and chose plants that they liked, but with a primary concern about what they would do in the landscape.

Irrigation is a combination of drip, sprinklers with Precision Nozzles, and conventional sprinklers. It is watered twice a week on Monday and Thursday per DWP and using the water calculator on the bewaterwise.com website to determine how much and how often.