California Friendly Garden Contest: We Are All Winners!

Roger’s Gardens, which is the premiere gardening center in Orange County, California, just announced the winners of its California Friendly Garden Contest. I think it’s so great that this family-owned business in Newport Beach sponsored this contest to promote sustainable landscaping. (The winner received $1,500). In our county, which is just south of Los Angeles, we have endless suburan sprawl and the bright green lawns that go with it. Trouble is, we essentially live in a watered desert, and our water sources are quickly running dry. (Not to mention all the fertilizer and pesticides keeping those yards shiny green drain directly into our beautiful Pacific Ocean.)

The effort to replace lawns with low-water plants–such as California natives, cacti, succulents and plants that thrive in Mediterranean climates– is a terrific way to conserve water, but many people have a hard time letting go of their ¬†lush lawns. A contest like this, especially with local business and government leaders promoting it, can change people’s opinions about the gorgeous alternatives. I hope other cities and nurseries are inspired by Roger Garden’s bold and visionary effort, and sponsor similar contests.

Here are the winners:


First Place: The Freemon garden in Huntington Beach. This garden had it all, good irrigation, low-water mediterranean plants, lots of mulching, water runoff strategies, wildlife habitat, organic principles and of course beauty. A year ago this was nothing more than a thirsty, polluting, boring lawn and a few shrubs.



Second Place: The garden of Jim Schwartz in Laguna Beach was one the judges didn’t want to leave. Great structure in the design, creative plants that fit our climate and outstanding maintenance.



Third Place: The Irvine garden of Karen Lutrell. A striking presentation of colorful, but water effiecient plants and outstanding maintenance.



Fourth Place: Christine Leon and David Estrada (with the help of designer Rama Nayeri) built this garden in North Tustin. The turf area was drastically reduced and California Friendly plants installed.


Fifth Place: Ruth Christy’s garden in Midway City. A wildlife habitat, permeable surfaces, water efficient plants and more.


Congratulations to the winners and everyone else who has converted their lawns into water-wise gardens! You can see more of the California Friendly gardens entered in the contest at Roger’s Gardens’ Facebook page.

Also, if you feel ready to lose your lawn and need ideas and inspiration, go to my Bookshelf for some wonderful gardening books. Beautiful No-Mow Lawns is one of my favorites.

2 thoughts on “California Friendly Garden Contest: We Are All Winners!

  1. Thanks for the tour, and yet more examples of independence from lawn slavery!

    #2, then #5, really do it for me, with a nicer mix of negative and positive spaces. #3 almost, but the blue fescues might need to be something else…too crowded? While #1 will be popular with the cottage planting effect, and how it probably holds nicely in the most extreme of summer or winter you get, just not my cup o’ tea.

    Glad to see more permeable walking / sitting areas over the usual colored concrete.

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