11928 Palms Blvd. - Cluster 3

The owner/landscape architect will be at this beautiful meadow garden. Volunteers from Surfrider Foundation's Ocean Friendly Gardens will also be available to talk with visitors about how to create an Ocean Friendly Garden of their own. 

Click here for audio description of this garden.

In early 2011, the homeowners replaced the lawn with a meadow comprised mostly of native plants and grasses.  They were inspired by "American Meadow" designs by John Greenlee and wanted to create a natural-looking, water-wise ecosystem that incorporated the three principles of an Ocean Friendly Garden: conservation, permeability and retention. They kept existing mature Camellias and trees and planted a variety of California native and climate appropriate grasses, bulbs, ferns and flowering perennials that thrive in clay soil, provide wildlife habitat and bloom at various times during the year.

A swale in the front yard is the main attraction with its colorful Iris, Coral Bells, and Meadow Foam blooms. Wildlife activity has noticeably increased since the meadow installation, not only in terms of birds, lizards, insects, spiders, but also under the surface, as earthworm populations have grown thanks to a heavy layer of mulch that suppresses weeds and feeds the soil biology. Maintenance needs are minimal, involving monthly weeding, quarterly applications of compost tea and semiannual pruning, so we have time to relax and enjoy the garden. No use of chemical fertilizers, herbicides, pesticides, blowers, mowers or weed whackers is needed; the garden thrives on its own and provides a healthy and attractive environment.
All photos by Tom Rau, Landscape Architect
Irrigation consists of both drip irrigation and mini rotators with a "smart" controller that schedules watering times based upon real-time weather information. This has resulted in significant water savings compared to the former lawn. Other site features to retain water include a decomposed granite center strip in the driveway, two infiltration pits in the back yard, and rain barrels.

Landscape architect Tom Rau will be present. Karen Stern of rk Landscape performs semi-annual speciality maintenance.