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Our Ocean Friendly Garden

May 03 2011 | Ocean friendly garden,

Last December I wrote a post called Killing my yard. In that post I shared our story about embracing the concepts behind ocean friendly gardening.

Understanding the environmental issues facing our coasts and shifting our personal behaviors is a large part of what Surfrider is about. Ocean friendly gardening is a concept that addresses some of these issues and it is one that my wife and I embraced for our home. We decided to completely transform our back yard, and just five months later, we are already seeing a difference.

Previously, my back yard was the classic Southern California mish-mash of grass, palm trees and a myriad of other plants that didn't really belong. It was a mess.

Southern California is a desert. Lawns aren't natural here. They requires large amounts of water and fertilizer, both of which end up going down storm drains and into our oceans.

Initially, we had spent time updating our front yard with drought-tolerant, ocean friendly plants. Once complete, we shifted our attention to the back yard.

But one lesson we didn't learn when we did the front yard was the importance of drip irrigation (versus watering with sprinklers). In March I posted two videos that illustrate this lesson; that post is called Water conservation in 20 seconds.

It's now a few months after finishing our new backyard and I have to say... I absolutely love it.

It feels natural.

It feels local.

It reminds me of the surf trips I used to make to Baja where we'd be surrounded by natural grasses and plants. Those trips helped me understand how radically we've changed the look of Southern California with all the concrete and water-hungry plants. The natural feeling of our new yard even goes beyond the visual beauty--it also attracts more birds than I ever remember seeing. It feels alive.

The pictures illustrate this feeling. We built a fire pit and a bench using concrete and other local materials so that we can enjoy the native, drought-tolerant plants and trees that surround it. As you can see, a few of the plants are already flowering.

If you want to learn more about ocean friendly gardening and how you can tranform your own yard, you can find that information here.

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