Ocean Friendly Gardens

The Ocean Friendly Gardens program (OFG) sees landscapes and streets as solutions to water pollution - and more. OFG standards use this simple approach everywhere possible: contouring landscapes for rainwater retention; creating living soil to sponge up water, filter pollution and sequester carbon; and installing climate-appropriate plants to create wildlife habitat and a sense of place.
Intro Resources Contact

The Ocean Friendly Gardens (OFG) Program is Surfrider Foundation's volunteer-run landscape education, hands-on training and advocacy program. In addition to providing valuable information to property owners on how landscapes and hardscapes can prevent water pollution, Surfrider chapters are using this program to encourage landscape professionals to incorporate the program’s principles into their business practices. Chapters also use the program to motivate local governments to support OFG-oriented policy changes for existing and new development.

Water runoff is the #1 source of ocean pollution in urban areas, contributing to flooding and wasting water that can irrigate landscapes and replenish groundwater. OFGs apply CPR - Conservation, Permeability and Retention - to landscapes, hardscapes and streets. They allow soil to act like a sponge to help restore the helpful functions of watersheds like protecting local water supplies and preventing pollution from reaching the ocean. They also reduce flooding, pull carbon from the air and into plants and soil, and create wildlife habitat (above is a typical OFG and below is a curb cut flowing into a bio-swale).

OFGs apply what is coming to be known around the country as the watershed approach. The principles are the same: healthy, living soil; retain rainwater; climate-appropriate plants; efficient supplemental irrigation as needed.

Go to the Resources page for:

  • More about CPR
  • OFG criteria
  • OFG Activist Toolkit
  • OFG online map and yard sign
  • OFG videos, articles and funding sources.

You can stay in touch with OFG through our national OFG Facebook page. Please connect or volunteer with one of the Surfrider chapters or student clubs.

OFG Criteria and longer list of best practices.

Information - sources of pollution & why to apply CPR, living soil, study on soil filtering run-off & protecting fish, data comparing OFG and a traditional landscape

Toolkit for Planning an OFG Program & Activities - tabling, walks, talks, workdays, policy meetings, plus sample flyers/hand-outs.

Online Map & (new) Yard Sign


Slideshow - Intro to OFG

Activity data tracker for Chapter OFG programs

Annual Reports - 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016

Ocean Friendly Gardens Brochures - send an order to Surfrider's Karli Barbour (kbarbour@surfrider.org) 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.

How-To Resources:

  • How-to tips (plus film) and handout (pdf)
  • Surfrider's Ocean Friendly Gardens How-To Gardener's Guide Book - order it here.
  • Guidebook following the watershed approach - how to evaluate your site, remove turf without chemicals, grade for rainwater capture, sheet mulch, and more. It was created by G3/Green Gardens Group (it applies everywhere, even though it has a So Cal city's name in its title).
  • Steps to Creating an OFG - template for identifying resources in your area.

Chapter OFG webpage templates - West LA/Malibu, New York City

OFG logos (pdf versions) - pictured at right

Funding Opportunities

Videos - about OFGs, including parkway curb cuts (green street), and watch our short, animated film about a holistic approach to water called "The Cycle of Insanity" (in English and en Espanol).

Print Media About OFG

Rain Barrels - "Get Barreled" Program

Volunteer - locate the Surfrider chapter and student club closest to you. Contact them to see if they are running an OFG program or offer to help start one.

Surfrider is a Promotional Partner for the U.S. E.P.A.'s WaterSense Program.

Mara Dias, Water Quality Manager: mdias@surfrider.org

Ocean Friendly Gardens Updates