Ocean Friendly Gardens, HOW
September 20 2011

Big Turnout in Santa Barbara, CA for Hands-On Workshop on Site Evaluation

Over 40 people participated in the Hands-On Workshop on Site Evaluation at Spencer Adams Park in Santa Barbara, CA.

Participants included water agency representatives, staff from non-profit organizations, ordinary folks and landscape professionals. Lead by our partner, G3/The Green Gardens Group, people learned the fundamentals of evaluating a site:


1. Calculating the site area and water use of the existing irrigation, gauging the water needs of the current plant material, testing for soil type and compaction, and checking for water runoff.

 2. Coming up with a water budget if it were an Ocean Friendly Garden

 3. Determining how much rain water can be harvesting off of hard surfaces like the roof.

G3′s Pamela Berstler lead the Workshop and was assisted by Renee Roth, a G3 Qualified Trainer and active member in Surfrider-Ventura Chapter’s OFG Committee (below, left, white shirt and jeans).

Everyone participated in the evaluation process, teaming up at times and making sure to record information on the group's sketch pad. Each person was also given a worksheet to calculate and record data while Pamela was leading the effort. Participants can utilize the worksheet to evaluate their home, work place or a public site.

After breaking for a lite lunch, the group regathered on the lawn for the next steps:

  • Best approach for removing the turf and remediating the soil (sheet mulching).
  • A design to direct the downspout into the garden to prevent runoff and be a source of water for the landscape.

Once a design is completed by G3 and accepted by the City of Santa Barbara, a volunteer workday will be scheduled to sheet mulch the site and create a sponge garden that people can walk through and learn from.

The next event in this OFG Series is a full-day Core Concepts Workshop at the Chase Palm Park Center on October 25, 2011 (registration is open). Professionals and avid landscapers who have a Santa Barbara County address are eligible for a $200 scholarship to attend this Workshop, provided they agree to help build the OFG. Surfrider has also agree to help maintain it for one year, and scholarship recipents will be asked to help with that, too.

This Workshop is the second event in the Santa Barbara Ocean Friendly Gardens Program, funded by a grant from the California Coastal Commission’s Whale Tail License Plate grant program. The Series is co-presented by the Santa Barbara and Isla Vista Surfrider Chapters, The City of Santa Barbara, Goleta Water District and the County of Santa Barbara. Please get involved with the Santa Barbara Surfrider OFG Committee by emailing: santabarbaraofg@gmail.com.

More pictures from the Workshop can be found here.