Lose Lawn, Create Habitat


Santa Rosa | Small Front & Back Gardens

10 a.m. – 4 p.m.

Landscape design by Habitat Corridor Project

Garden features:

  • California natives.
  • Drip irrigation.
  • Sheet mulching.
  • Swales.

This small Santa Rosa front yard was transformed from a 1940’s lawn and shrubs to a beautiful habitat garden in a month and with a small budget. First, the landscape designer sheet mulched and created mounds around the focal feature of a large boulder and seasonal dry creek to retain water on site. Steel edging delineates the center of the garden and the mounds provide screening from the neighborhood but don’t cut the client off from her neighbor friends. The next task was to plant a full lovely garden with mostly 4-inch plants because they grow faster and sticking to a budget was the goal.

California native Monkey Flower and Autumn Sage provide tons of food for the hummingbirds while shrub forms of Manzanita and a Giant Buckwheat provide cover and food for many other species of birds and butterflies. The burst of Spring and Summer bloom is a fun feast of color and texture. Groundcover California Lilac creates a soothing mass in the center of the garden while native Live Forever and Iris give it a spectacular pop of interest. The garden is ringed by the part hybrid Strawberry Tree that is hard to beat with its beautiful bark and multi-trunk form. In the back yard, along with more California native and habitat enhancing plantings, is a rocked swale to help keep water on site and replenish the aquifer. Also, the cracked and dated concrete patio and pathway was covered with new flagstone completely updating the landscape.

This young garden is well worth a visit to see how full a small garden can look.

Landscape Designer April Owens designs and builds California Gardens. To create them she uses primarily California native plants that are adapted to our State’s summer dry climate and have evolved with our native fauna. April believes the best way to use these beautiful plants in the residential garden is to reflect the natural plant community that would have existed before development. Design with nature not in conflict with it.

This garden includes an educational poster on Pollinator Gardening.

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

Russian River-Friendly Landscaping

Russian River-Friendly Landscaping is a whole systems approach to design, construction, and maintenance of the landscape which supports the integrity of one of California’s richest and most diverse ecosystems: the Russian River watershed! Create and maintain healthy, beautiful, and vibrant landscapes with the following principals:

  • Landscape Locally
  • Landscape for Less to the Landfill
  • Nurture the Soil
  • Conserve Water
  • Conserve Energy
  • Protect Water and Air Quality
  • Conserve and Protect Wildlife Habitat

Explore the Russian River Watershed Association website for more information, or check out these simple 1-page guides: