To learn more about native gardens, head over to our resources section for more information and DIY tips. To see a thriving native habitat in action, visit The Ecology Center during one of our monthly tours, workshops, or just come and take a self-guided tour.
A full list of our upcoming workshops and community events can be found on our calendar.
- More on CA Native Plants Link
A native garden drastically reduces your water use, waste production, and maintenance time.
At the same time, nurturing a native habitat improves biodiversity, ecosystem services, and human health.
Contrary to what you might believe, creating and maintaining an abundant native garden is neither difficult nor expensive. Once your ecosystem is thriving, it mostly cares for itself.
In addition to contributing to a beautiful, vibrant home, native gardens have many benefits. The City of Santa Monica recently compared a sustainable native garden to a traditional one of the same size for 10 years and discovered the following:
- Native gardens use 85% less water per year. In Southern California, a 2000 sqft traditional landscape uses 57,000 gallons per year compared to 6000 gallons for a native garden. These gardens produce their own shade and mulch, prolonging moisture retention in the soil. Sustainably designed gardens also benefit from drip irrigation, and inexpensive and efficient watering method.
- A native garden produces 60% less green waste per year. If you take it a step further and integrate a mulch and compost cycle, your native garden would not produce any green waste.
- A native garden requires 70% less maintenance per year. On average, a 2000 sqft traditional landscape requires 80+ hours of maintenance per year, compared to less than 15 hours needed for a sustainable landscape. More hours can be dedicated to admiring and harvesting the human and environmental healing powers of the native garden.
- A native garden provides habitat for biodiverse local wildlife, including pollinators. Besides a blooming palette of vibrant colors and pleasant aromas for gardens, native plants provide habitat for beneficial insects, many of which are endangered. 30% to 40% of the food we consume would not be produced without pollinators.
- Native gardens enhance local ecosystem services. It produces clean air, better water retention, stability, and sustainable health properties for the soil.
- A native garden provides direct benefits to human health. Many of the native plants to Southern California have been used for centuries to treat chronic disease. Being in the midst of a living biodiverse ecosystem already has amazing therapeutic benefits to a human’s well-being. In addition, many native plants can be used as medicine in teas and foods. Plus, you know that your food and medicine is free from harmful pesticides, herbicides, and other chemicals.
Native plants have lived and adapted to our local conditions long before we arrived to share their living spaces. They have a lot to teach us about living a healthy, abundant and sustainable life in Southern California. As they have welcomed us to live in their habitat, we could too invite and care for them in our gardens, practicing harmonious cohabitation at its best.