Posted on 19. May, 2012 by pamela in City of Ventura, G3 Blog, G3 Community, G3 Design Studio, G3 Education, G3 Partners, Green Infrastructure, Homeowner, HOWs, Living Soil, Professional, Rain Gardens, Surfrider Foundation, Surfrider's Ocean Friendly Gardens, Ventura County, Watershed Friendly Gardens, Watershed Notes
25 volunteers arrived at the home of Dan Long for a Garden Assistance Party (GAP) building an Ocean Friendly Garden in his front yard. The event was organized and funded by the City of Ventura and Surfrider’s Ventura Chapter with a California Coastal Commission Whale Tail Grant. Landscape professionals, environmental activists, representatives from Aqua Flo Supply in Ventura, city and agency representatives, neighbors, and friends were led by G3′ Regional Coordinator, Renee Roth, and G3′s Managing Member, Pamela Berstler, in a whole-day grading, planting, and sheet mulching adventure. Many of the landscape professionals and agency representatives were putting volunteer time into building the garden because they had received a scholarship subsidizing their attendance at a Core Concepts Workshop. The garden was laid out according to a plan created by G3 with Dan’s input.
After spending about an hour removing some of the larger clumps of re-sprouting warm season turf, the team began excavating the water retention areas called “swales.”
The swales were excavated approximately 8″ – 10″ deep, with the soil removed from the excavation used to build up the surrounding soil, creating berms that contoured the land. The resulting retention area had a depth ranging from 8″ – 18″. The slope was confirmed using a bunyip (a water level), and the berm areas were shaped to be slightly flat on top, tapering down to the existing soil/sidewalk grade. At the same time swales were being graded, a team was excavating all around the hardscape surfaces (driveway, sidewalk, pathway) with a width of approx. 12″ – 18″ and depth of 8″. This excavation helps inhibit the regrowth of grass along the hardscape edges. Don’t worry about the “tripping hazard” a moat around the property creates, this excavation will be filled completely with mulch to bring the soil level back to the flat grade of the adjacent hard surface.
After all of the grading was created, the three downspouts dropping into the front yard were directed into the swales, and the entire site was sheet mulched using painter’s paper as a base, covered with high quality compost and fresh tree trimmings from local City of Ventura trees. Renee Roth demonstrated the proper planting of California natives, installed using G3′s Planting Guide (watering 5 times), and with careful consideration of dusting the rootball with mycorrhizae before planting. The day was completed on time (by 4:00 PM) and everyone had a chance to see the finished product before the sunset — a rare GAP experience! The difference was in the time saved by not installing irrigation. Dan plans on hand watering his plants until next winter, when the rainwater from his roof will be soaked up by the sponge in his front yard, greatly reducing the required supplemental water. The group was totally stoked to see the transformation!
Next on the agenda is designing simple bioswales for the parkway between the sidewalk and street. Dan plans on cutting his curbs to allow water from the street to flow into the parkway. The City of Ventura is considering using his site as a demonstration that will allow the development of standard plans that can be utilized by city residents without incurring a large permit fee to renovate their parkways and bring stormwater in off the street instead of its running straight to the ocean. Stay tuned for the Ocean Friendly Parkways!
Take a look at Dan Long’s plant list: G3 Design Studio Long Plant List 050712