Robert Watkins
photo by Robert Watkins


California Landscapes - Save Water and Enrich Biodiversity

Use these plans to inspire your lawn replacement or California native plant conversion. Email us with questions on how to do this [email protected] - we'd love to help! Get those native plants in and watch your garden come to life.


Creating open-source plans is tough since every garden is different. These plans can help inspire you if nothing else.  We'd love to hear how you use them.

Living Learning Landscapes Demonstration Gardens

Visit for eight wonderful plans sponsored by Sonoma Water by the UC Master Gardeners of Sonoma County and US!

You can also visit four of these landscapes near the Santa Rosa Junior College - the addresses are on the plans.

Living Learning Landscapes Extremes of drought garden. These landscapes are installed along Elliot Avenue in Santa Rosa. Go visit and pick your favorite one!

For the Birds

Want to bring more birds to your garden? Use this plan as a footprint to create a habitat for birds. Every site is different but this design is for a site west of Highway 101 in Sonoma County. However, many of these plants will work on most sites. The concept plan gives you the big idea then the planting plants and the plant legend tell you the exact plants.


Front Garden with Water Feature:

Swale and Drainage for Birds Concept

Bird Habitat Plan construction

Bird Habitat Plant List


Manage Water on Site with a Swale (a depression on site to slow or move water). This one has a bird habitat focus.

Swale and Drainage for Birds Concept

Swale and Drainage for Birds Construction

Bird Habitat Plant List


Central Valley - Small Garden Replacements  - Hot and Dry

These 900 SF gardens were created for Habitat For Humanity in the Fresno County Region.  They include an extensive Central Valley Plant list as well.  They should cost less than $3000 to install.  These plans will translate anywhere in California - if it can grow in the central valley - it can grow in your yard!





Habitat Garden - Front or Back

A habitat garden is simple.  Provide water, cover and food and a variety of California native plants and watch your garden explode with life.  This one will work all over the state in Part- Sun in the Western Regions mostly sunny.  This garden was originally installed in Healdsburg, California where it gets REALLY warm in the Summer.  It is delightful with some of our favorites:  Eriophyllum lanatum (Wolly Sunflower), Juncus patens (Blue Rush) - in the swale, Cercis occidentalis (Red Bud), Ceanothus 'Anchor Bay' (Groundcover Blue Blossom), Arctostaphylos 'Howard McMinn' (McMinn Manzanita) to name a few!

Click here for the SONOMA COUNTY Open Source Prelim Example

Click here for the Swale and perennials with shrubs WEST FACING CALIFORNIA

Coastal Garden

Coastal gardens are a great source of biodiversity.  Some of our favorite coastal plants are Leymus condensatus (Giant Wild Rye), Iris douglasiana (Douglas's Iris) and Atemesia douglasiana (Sage).  Use this plan to replace your lawn with a beautiful garden.

Click here for the COASTAL GARDEN-PLAN