3379 Stewart

GET THE INSIDE SCOOP ON A BRAND NEW GARDEN.  See how the site plan was devised, what plants were selected and how the garden owners worked with experts on every choice to make their sustainable garden dream come true.  This is a not-to-be-missed opportunity to see sustainable garden design and execution.    

Hi MVGGS visitors, we're Julia and Zach and six-year-old Roman, all of whom love gardens.  We have lived in the Mar Vista neighborhood for 10 years and bought a home here six years ago. It had a sweet English garden look when we bought it with a big green lawn and a white picket fence. A few years ago we decided to let our lawn go and stopped watering it with dreams of transforming it into a water-wise garden. Our brown lawn was dreary and we knew that it was time to do something about it. Julia began a vision board of ocean-friendly landscapes and created a Pinterest garden board.   

Site Plan 
Recently, our front yard was selected as the home makeover for UCLA’s Extension Landscape Architecture course “Building a Garden Ecology with California Natives," taught by UCLA Ecology Professor Alison Lipman, director of environmental non-profit SELVA International, and Steve Williams of Surfrider Ocean Friendly Gardens and Selva EcoGardens. Steve also works as a conservation biologist at Resource Conservation District of the Santa Monica Mountains. The challenge was to transform a relatively small front yard into an ocean-friendly CA native garden which also allows space for play and relaxation.  We chose a drought-tolerant so cal native zen playscape from the concepts submitted by 25 students. The team of students removed all grass and existing plants and replaced all that with a rain garden, pollinator garden, natural playscape and gorgeous all so cal native plants.

When we couldn't find the perfect water feature Zach designed a gorgeous fountain out of a perfect boulder and made a solar fountain in an afternoon. We also added big colorful boulders around the rain garden for our son to play on. We have plans to put in a zip line and nature-inspired climbing structure for our son's play corner. So far, the yard has been attracting all kinds of birds, bees, and butterflies!  
The garden was installed last December so is only four months old. The plants are still growing their roots now so are still small above ground, but we think it is important to highlight that establishment of a native garden requires a little patience. The plants establish best from 1-gallon containers.  A popular saying about native gardens is, "The first year they sleep, the second they creep, and the third they leap!" 

Steve Williams will be with us in the garden with info about Selva EcoGardens and Surfrider Ocean Friendly GardensWe will have free low flow shower heads and sink aerators from LADWP for folks in their service area.  

Plan provided options for water and light features
Here are some of the CA native plants you will find in our garden:

  • Purple sage
  • Hummingbird Sage
  • Woolly Bluecurls
  • CA buckwheat
  • CA fuchsia
  • Carmel Sur manzanita
  • Yankee Point ceanothus
  • Creeping red fescue
  • CA wild rose
  • Narrow-leaved milkweed