The Theodore Payne Foundation has designed and helped install more than three dozen native plant landscapes in school and public spaces throughout the Los Angeles region. The landscapes were implemented through partnerships between TPF, other non-profits, and local government agencies, businesses and community groups. The sites were chosen to increase visibility of native plants, educate people about their local natural heritage, demonstrate reduced water use for landscaping, serve as a practical experience of how to install and maintain native plants, provide a source of native plant material for the local community, and contribute to green infrastructure and community empowerment.
Landscaping for Resilience Program
Drought is normal for California, but most of its urban spaces are landscaped with water–thirsty plants that do not support biodiversity. Given that California native plants use seven times less water (and less energy for transporting and treating that water), it makes sense to landscape native. Landscaping matters because urban areas consume approximately 20% of California’s water, and 50-70% of that water is for outdoor use. Also, unlike non-native plants, natives do not require soil amendments, fertilizers and pesticides, which can contaminate soil, rivers and aquifers and contribute to oceanic dead zones.
Through a series of free workshops for the public, with minimal fees to the partnering organization, the Landscaping for Resilience program (LFR) transforms ornamental, water-thirsty landscapes in public spaces into examples of drought-tolerant native landscapes that offer beauty and respite. Through LFR, under the guidance of TPF professionals, the public gains the information and skills to transform their home landscapes.
LFR is innovative, as native landscaping is a largely unknown answer to our water and biodiversity crises. LFR provides both environmental and social benefits, demonstrating how communities, government agencies and non-profits can work together to enhance green space and create positive environmental change within Los Angeles County.
LFR projects arise through community initiative. A strong community volunteer base is essential for success – neighbors, local school and faith-based groups, public agencies and neighborhood councils all collaborate to fund, install and maintain the native garden. Based on community input, the Foundation designs a native plant landscape that addresses specific location and usage needs; maintenance information is also provided. Fees vary with the size and complexity of the site. Participants are encouraged to use their project sites for public education through classes, informational signage and workshops – all of which spread knowledge about native plants and create skill sets for landscape change at home.
For more information, contact Lisa Novick, firstname.lastname@example.org.