Santa Monica plans sustainable gardens; vote for your favorite designs


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In the name of water conservation and reducing storm-water pollution, the city of Santa Monica has embarked on a demonstration project that not only shows what a sustainable garden looks like, but also offers design schematics, expert referrals and assurance that nurseries will make the plants available. The latest move builds on the success of the 2004 demonstration project titled ‘garden/garden’ at Santa Monica College. It provided a side-by-side comparison of a water-saving landscape with a conventional one.

The new project, to be built on city-owned property at 3200 Airport Ave., will involve construction of three sustainable gardens side by side. According to a statement released by the city, among the design criteria were incorporation of “outdoor living room features, elements from Mediterranean and shade gardens, climate appropriate plants, permeable paving, veggie gardens, play areas, drip irrigation and lawn alternatives.”


What will the three gardens look like? That’s up to the public. After putting out a call to interested landscapers for prospective designs in February, then whittling down 27 entries to a short list of nine plans, the city is asking the public to vote on which three gardens to build.

Among the designs, there are three finalists for each plot, requiring participants to vote three times. Voting opened Friday and will close May 31. Installation of the winning designs is expected to take place in late summer or fall.

Once the gardens are built, homeowners may then download the design templates. Those seeking help with construction and installation will receive referrals to landscapers and irrigation companies. Santa Monica is also taking steps to make sure that nurseries carry the prescribed plants.

The designs are specifically aimed at gardens of sizes typical to Santa Monica, though they could easily be adapted with many of the same plants to inland locations.

To view the short-listed nine plans, read more about the projects and vote, click here.

-- Emily Green

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