If you’ve been participating in our Ocean Friendly Gardens program, you started by attending an OFG Basics Course which is a classroom style lecture, and then a hands-on workshop.  Up next is our garden assistance day when we will actually implement an Ocean Friendly Garden with the help of our volunteers!  We chose member, Steve Roeder’s home for this workshop series.  He’s a long-time surfer, and although not a gardener,  very supportive of what Surfrider is trying to accomplish through our new Ocean Friendly Gardens program.  

A few weeks ago, people from all over the county met up for the hands-on workshop at his home to evaluate the yard before we change it.  It was good because other folks who want to implement Ocean Friendly Gardens could come over and review the process with Steve before they do it themselves. 

What was interesting about Steve’s yard is that it is very typical for San Diego: lots of lawn that sucks up water; gutters, downspouts and a driveway that carries runoff right into the street; and old juniper trees and other plants that aren’t native, and require lots of water.

We got together with a bunch of volunteers, and our friends at G3, The Green Gardens Group who are the experts in this field, and are helping us with the program.  After going through their site evaluation worksheets, we realized just how much water Steve was wasting, and all the things we could do to prevent run-off, and add water back to the watershed.  It was unbelievable how much water was being wasted.  Steve realized this about a year ago, and had actually stopped watering his lawn!

We measured the site, did a soil and compaction test, evaluated the irrigation set-up and requirements, and figured out a plan to help Steve go from a polluting waterhog yard, to a sustainable, Ocean Friendly Garden. Essentially he’ll be restoring the natural processes, and native habitat, which means more butterflies and wildlife will populate his yard while native plants thrive.  How cool is that?

After our evaluation, and hands on workshop, Steve decided to hire a professional landscape designer, Jeremy from Artemesia Landscape Design because it’s helpful to have someone draw up the plans, help with plant selection, and understand the implementation process.   Jeremy is a long-time Surfrider member and has been an amazing resource for folks who want to create Ocean Friendly Gardens.  His service is not free, however what is invested upfront in the design service will be saved with lower water bills, and a beautiful landscape that is low or no maintenance.

The other interesting part about this entire project, is that next door is a home that has a tropical landscape that must be costing a fortune in water bills.  I wonder if they would compare water bills with Steve when our make-over’s complete?

If you would like to help us out on the day of transformation, please email Dylan@surfridersd.org, our volunteer who runs the program locally, or if you would prefer to just check out what we’re doing, simply stop by and say “hi” on 6/6 sometime between 10a.m. – 4p.m.