Beautiful Swales & Bountiful Plants


Sebastopol | 6,000 sq. ft. Garden

10 a.m. – 4 p.m.

Landscape design by Sustainable Urban Natives

April designed a series of swales and swale pathways to keep water on site while moving through during a storm event. The property is on well water making it more important to retain water on site wherever possible.

A wonderful selection of California native plants cover the hillside and line the swales, with a focus on meadow grasses as a foundation we used Deer Grass, Hair Grass and Red Fescue. The garden created a rich habitat for wildlife with many species of Sage, California lilac and Manzanita, all drought tolerant and site appropriate.  Buckwheats and a few non-native species provide even more habitat to this garden.

Sheet mulching was used extensively to combat weeds and a good thick layer of arbor mulch. The pathways and swales are lined with steel edging and filled with pebbles.

A subtle solar water feature provides a small amount of water for the birds and bees.

Throughout the site California native shrubs are used as screening and to provide habitat. This garden is only one and a half years old and already flourishes with bloom and habitat. The planting was mostly from 4-inch pots, however they quickly filled out. Planted in the fall of 2014, the garden benefitted from the winter rainy season to establish without supplemental irrigation.

Landscape Designer April Owens designs and builds gardens primarily using California native plants. Trained as a landscape architect and certified as a California Naturalist, she brings a studied eye to her designs. Her Company SUN (Sustainable Urban Natives) installs and maintains these designs using practices from ecological, habitat and permaculture theories.

Access to this garden is via a steep narrow driveway with limited parking.

Plant List

A printable plant list is available to download for this garden.


Russian River Friendly Landscaping Principles and Practices

Landscape for Less to the Landfill

Reducing waste starts with not generating it in the first place. Selecting the right plants for the right place, as well as watering and fertilizing judiciously are important ways to reduce the tons of plant debris that are generated annually.

Reusing plant trimmings as mulch, grasscycling, and using compost improves soils, creates healthier landscapes and in addition, keeps materials out of local landfills.

Russian River FLG LogoMaterial use is an important factor in the landscape. Using recycled content, salvaged, durable or local materials conserves resources and can reduce the amount of embodied energy that is consumed by the landscape.

Landscaping for less to the landfill will help you create a beautiful, relatively trouble free landscape that yields years of benefits for you, your client and the Russian River Watershed.

  1. Select appropriate plants
  2. Keep plant debris on site
  3. Prune selectively and properly
  4. Water and fertilize judiciously
  5. Use goats or sheep for controlling weeds and creating firebreaks
  6. Use salvaged items & recycled content materials
  7. Reduce and recycle waste
  8. Separate plant debris for clean green discounts