This is how we do it
Proper preparation, including removal of grass and other unwanted materials, is crucial to the success of the other stages of the project. We use picks and a sod cutter, only using a rototiller where necessary to preserve buried organic matter, including soil aggregates and other.
We build swales and contours
The basic concept of a swale, or contour, is to catch water as it drains and hold it in place until it absorbs/infiltrates into the ground, increasing the ground water table and reducing storm water runoff, polluted with chemicals and trash, from being carried to the ocean.
We apply compost
Compost is composed of bits of organic matter that are fully decomposed. Adding this to your garden will enliven your soil and help it convert your dirt into a living biome. In short, the microbes eat and excrete. The excretion is plant food, and usually just about all a plant will ever need.
Sheet paper or weed cloth
We prefer to use sheet paper, but depending on the existing grass you have, warm season grasses such as St. Augustine, Bermuda and Kikuyu typically will require weed cloth to suppress regrowth.
We use climate appropriate, drought-tolerant plants.
Southern California shares a Mediterranean climate with only four other places in the world: Mediterranean Sea borderlands, central Chile, cape region of South Africa and portions of South and Western Australia. Gardening with appropriate climate adapted and native plants brings the beauty, aroma, sense of place and environmental harmony that so many Californians seek.
We can finish with fresh mulch.
Like a blanket, mulch shades the soil (and plant roots) from hot drying sun and wind and insulates it, keeping it cool in summer and warm in winter. Living mulch also feeds the microbes, gradually breaking it down over time.
If you’d like to finish in decorative stone, that’s a great option too!
We utilize municipality water, via a drip irrigation system.
Drought tolerant plants are adapted to a water regime of winter rainfall and summer drought. Winter water is essential to sustain plants through the dry summers. During periods of drought, it’s imperative your plants get regular water during winter and spring months. The interval between irrigation events vary depending on your soil type, and the duration will be governed by how readily your soil absorbs the water. You need to water with long durations at long intervals in order to provide consistent, deep moisture to the root zone.
We can capture and distribute rainwater into the garden.
Rainwater is free! It’s soft, and slightly acidic which is much better for your plants. Redirecting downspout water, passively to your garden, or using tanks and barrels ensures you reduce you municipality water, capitalizing on this free resource.