Ocean Friendly Gardens
Urban water runoff is the #1 source of ocean pollution, and it erodes stream banks and creates flooding. The water could irrigate landscapes, recharge groundwater and help ensure base stream flows. Plus, plants do not need chemicals and commercial fertilizers, two of the main water pollutants. Click here to learn more about the problem. Read about how soil works to "sponge up" water, pollution, and carbon dioxide (and how artificial turf does not).
Ocean Friendly Gardens (OFG) revive our under-hydrated watersheds and polluted oceans by applying CPR - Conservation, Permeability and Retention - to our landscapes and hardscapes:
- C - Conserve water and wildlife habitat with native or climate appropriate plants.
- P - Permeable, living soil and hard surfaces that runoff to landscapes to filter pollutants, sponge up water for plants to tap into during dry months, and absorb carbon dioxide from the atmostphere.
- R - Retain rain as the first source of irrigation.
They are like rain gardens (pictured above/right), where water is slowed down, spread out, and allowed to sink in. Click here to learn more about CPR and here for the OFG Sign Criteria (a check-box format is here). Think of the criteria as the techniques to follows. If you meet the criteria, please order and display our yard sign - see info below in the "OFG Map" section.
Do It Yourself...Or Share This Info With a Professional You Hire
- A step-by-step guide to creating an OFG (called "The Drought Tolerant Handbook) - learn to evaluate your site, create a plan, and take action. It is similar to rain garden guides done around the country. It covers each of these steps:
- Killing your lawn through sheet mulching
- Calculating rainwater harvesting potential and the swale size needed to absorb and filter it
- Determining your soil type
- Properly installing plants to ensure success
More Resources - on the "Resources" tab, e.g., videos and articles.
4 Steps to Take Now
Direct rainwater to soil. Apply mulch. Install native plants. Switch to drip.
Programs & Partnerships
As the above video shows in part, we implement OFG through education, hands-on activities and policy change. (Check with your local Surfrider chapter to see what components they are offering.) We seek to collaborate with government, professionals and non-profits to help put on events and scale-up implementation. Here's info for:
- Activists - The OFG Activist Toolkit explains how to run program events: walks, talks, workdays, and policy meetings. Here's a brief description of each event: walks, talks, and workdays (Garden Assistance Party). Just tabling at events is great! The Toolkit also has volunteer job descriptions, sample event flyers, tabling visuals, slideshows, case studies & more. (Note: the Toolkit only has .pdf files. Go to ChapterNet (Resources>Programs>Ocean Friendly Gardens) for .doc and .ppt files.) An "Intro to OFG" slideshow is in this Public Dropbox folder to download and edit; here's a short slideshow focusing on program objectives and how it has a national reach. Also, chapter OFG activists can enter their activity data at any time into this tracking sheet rather than waiting till the end of the year.
- Workday hosts - Click here for more information on your responsibilities. Click here for more information on how Surfrider chapters may help. Here's a set of steps to follow to create an OFG.
- Professionals - Chapters work with professionals who agree to follow the OFG criteria when leading an OFG class or an OFG workday. Click here for more information.
- Public gardens (botanic gardens) - they often offer programs for children and adults, and may have connections with colleges, other gardens, nurseries, native plant societies and landscape associations. Check out the American Public Gardens Association for a garden near you.
- See gardens and post yours - learn how others went ocean friendly, and see the water runoff prevented and water use savings, pictures and plants lists, and more. Click here.
- Order a yard sign - the info is on the map's "Instructions" page (last item) - click here (and download the brief form in item 17).
Note about searching "Recent Blog Posts" - you can search by category - Class, Lawn Patrol, HOW (Hands-On Workshop), and GAP (Garden Assistance Party) - by clicking on the hyperlinked category in any of the posts. For example, click on GAP in any of the blog posts and it will pull up all the posts having to do with GAP.
Ocean Friendly Gardens Brochure - send an order to Surfrider's Karli Barbour (email@example.com) that states how many brochures you want, your mailing address, and when you need the brochures by. You can download an e-version and print it out.
Ocean Friendly Gardens How-To Gardener's Guide Book:
- Surfrider chapters - send an order to Surfrider's Karli Barbour (firstname.lastname@example.org) that states how many books you want, your mailing address, and when you need the books by. Karli will give you a price for the books and shipping.
- General public - order it here.
A 60 second public service announcement about OFG.
7 shorts from SWRCB on how to retrofit a landscape and hard surface to be an OFG.
- #1 - intro to stormwater
- #2 - killing lawn through sheet mulching
- #3 - disconnecting downspouts
- #4 - lawn care
- #5 - supporting healthy soil
- #6 - permeable hard surfaces
- #7 - swales and rain gardens
The value of a rain barrel with Surfrider-East Coast Regional Manager, John Weber
Stormwater outfall pipe in action - spewing runoff into Seattle's Puget Sound (on a rainy day)
A city hall landscape becomes an OFG through hands-on workshop with Conservation Corps
OFG featured on state water agency website.
"Slow The Flow: How To Make Your Garden Act More Like A Sponge" (features San Francisco Chapter's OFG Program)
Elmer Avenue - OFG + green street (Los Angeles Area)
A small residential OFG done with Surfrider volunteers - Long Beach Daily Bulletin
Fish put into rain garden-filtered runoff survive; those in un-filtered runoff do not, after just 12 hours!
National OFG Program Coordinator, Paul Herzog, interviewed by Los Angeles City Stormwater blog - click here
Article on OFG Program in Watershed Management Group's newsletter ("Get Your Garden Out Of The Gutter") - click here
September 28 2015
A county-wide sustainable landscapes program done in partnership with multiple agencies launched with a 2-day training for professionals. The program will involve classes, hands-on workshops, incentives and free materials to retrofit 6.25 acres of turf grass!
September 23 2015
Surfrider was invited to speak about OFG at a "brown bag lunch" that is hosted monthly by a state agency. Invites went out to all 4,000 staff working in multiple, state agencies working on the environment!
August 10 2015
Cities like Seattle, WA and Portland, OR charge a stormwater runoff fee in proportion to how much runs off. The Governor of Hawaii signed a bill that clears the first hurdle in that state instituting fees to help protect clean surf and healthy oceans.
July 29 2015
Conserving water can have positive impacts on water quality by reducing urban runoff and supporting properly functioning wastewater treatment systems. During August's Water Quality Month, Native Foods is challenging us all to take the 'Vedge Pledge' to reduce our global water footprint.
July 24 2015
The Humboldt, CA OFG Committee gets off to a good start by drawing in a cross-section of those in the landscape sector. Then, they attended a popular community event to educate about OFG, learn what is need in the community, and ask people to join or partner with the Committee.
July 02 2015
A Surfrider chapter helping to turn a dirt and weed patch into an Ocean Friendly Garden is great. The host's commitment to be an ambassador in their neighborhood is a great way to pay-it-forward. Turning both into a news article is neat way to tell the story and inspire others.
June 11 2015
The Governor's recent order for public agencies to revise existing regulations to use rainwater as a resource, reduce turf grass and reduce water use is being expedited. A state panel advising the state's lead water supply agency is recommending requirements that support Surfrider's Ocean Friendly Gardens program!
June 01 2015
A glen is "a valley, typically one that is long, deep,...with a watercourse running through it." Surfrider worked with an eco-education non-profit to build a mini-glen that prevents polluted runoff and educates students and the surrounding community.
May 22 2015
Surfers, the City and a business team up for a second year of turning a landscape "brick" into a "sponge" to absorb water, filter pollution and create beautiful wildlife habitat.
May 12 2015
Florida's Sebastian Inlet Surfrider Chapter had helped re-plant beaches in a wildlife refuge for several years. So when they heard that an oceanfront home was going to be demolished, they were there to restore the property to native coastal strand.
May 11 2015
33 Chapters conduct 277 activities, showing the value of the soil to sponge up water, filter pollution, prevent flooding and lock up carbon dioxide.
April 22 2015
Having read about two cool gardens and their benefits, you may be getting prepared to create your own. Here's how!
April 16 2015
Ocean Friendly Gardens (OFG) is a great way for teachers to put a familiar face on science. The Surfrider chapter OFG Chair comes back for a 2nd year of presentations, pointing to the OFG installed there.
April 14 2015
For Part 3, we head to the East Coast - Wilmington, North Carolina - for an Ocean Friendly Garden sponging up rainwater to help clean up surf and shellfish habitat, plus slow down and sink water to preventing flooding.
April 09 2015
Did you know your yard can provide the lifeblood of a healthy watershed and ocean? With the proper design, installation and maintenance, you will not only ensure a healthy landscape, but reduce water use and have piece of mind and more free time to spend enjoying the ocean.
March 30 2015
The Surfrider Foundation's San Diego Chapter works with a private water retailer to help turn a water guzzling area of a park, and its runoff producing parking lot, into an example of an Ocean Friendly Garden.
March 16 2015
Surfrider chapters look for events that are turn-key and make a difference. Like college basketball's March Madness, one Surfrider chapter is teaming up with a city to inaugurate an annual event they call Mulch Madness!
March 02 2015
G3/Green Gardens Group's "Soil In The City" Conference was mind-blowing! The world's leaders in soil broke down how soil is the foundation for cleaning water runoff, reversing desertification, and sequestering carbon.
February 16 2015
The Peninsula Elementary School Rain Garden shows the importance of patience, utilizing Surfrider chapter resources, and developing partnerships. The project team had to solve problems: flooding problems in a school courtyard, clogged storm drain piping, and a small budget.