Lose the Lawn Gain an Ecosystem


Santa Rosa | 1,200 sq. ft. Front Garden

10 a.m. – 4 p.m.

This small Santa Rosa front yard was transformed from a typical residential garden consisting of lawn and shrubs to a beautiful California native garden. The garden structure was created with a seasonal creek to encourage keeping the water on site and recharging the groundwater.

After the turf was sheet mulched a beautiful assortment of regionally appropriate plants were installed as well as a drip irrigation system. This garden was installed in conjunction with the City of Santa Rosa’s turf replacement program.

California native plants provide many benefits in the garden: they are adapted to California’s Summer dry climate, provide food and cover for a diverse assortment of birds, reptiles and insects and create an aesthetic or sense of place to our California gardens. California native monkey flower (Mimulus aurantiacus ‘Red’) and Salvia gregii provide tons of food for the hummingbirds while shrub forms of manzanita and California lilac provide cover and food for many other species of bird and butterfly.  And to tempt our aesthetic desires the burst of spring and summer bloom is a fun feast of color and texture. Groundcover California lilac (Ceanothus ‘Anchor Bay’) and Groundcover Coyote Bush (Baccharis ‘Twin Peaks’); crate a “lawn” type look together with a mass of sedge grass (Carex pansa and Carex tumulicola). The garden is studded with the gorgeous western redbud (Cercis occidentalis) which now young will someday provide a light screening from the road. This is a young garden but well worth the visit to see how full a small garden can be.

Landscape Designer April Owens designs and builds California Gardens. To create them she uses primarily California native plants – these plants are adapted to our state’s summer dry climate and have evolved with our native fauna.

Events at Lose the Lawn Gain an Ecosystem

  • Bullet Proof Natives Workshop 10:30 a.m.

Garden designer April Owens provides an overview of some of the most reliable California native plants that you can install in your garden.

Visit the Sustainable Urban Natives website here.


Plants to Look Out For

  1. Sandhill Sage (Artemisia pycnocephala ‘David’s Choice’)
  2. Dwarf Coyote Bush (Baccharis pilularis ‘Twin Peaks’)
  3. San Dune Sedge (Carex pansa)
  4. Berkeley Sedge (Carex tumulicola)
  5. Dark Star California Lilac (Ceanothus ‘Dark Star’)
  6. Western Redbud (Cercis occidentalis)
  7. California Fescue (Festuca californica)
  8. Strawberry (Fragaria spp.)
  9. Coffeeberry (Rhamnus californica ‘Leatherleaf’)
  10. Alum Root (Heuchera micrantha)
  11. Douglas Iris (Iris douglasiana)
  12. Giant Wild Rye (Elymus condensatus)
  13. Coyote Mint (Monardella villosa)
  14. Deer Grass (Muhlenbergia rigens)
  15. White Flowering Currant (Ribes sanguineum ‘White Icicles’)
  16. Pink Flowering Current (Ribes sanguineum glutinosum)
  17. Matilija poppy (Romneya coulteri)
  18. White Sage (Salvia apiana)
  19. Winifred Gilman Cleveland Sage (Salvia clevelandii ‘Winifred Gilman’)
  20. Red Autumn Sage (Salvia Greggii ‘Furman’s Red’)
  21. Checkerbloom (Sidalcea malviflora)