Many people understand that the Earth is not how it used to be 100s of 1000s of years ago. Back then nature was thriving as it dominated Earth in its power and glory. With the introduction of industry and agriculture man developed into the dominant species as we pillaged and pummeled until nothing was left. Unfortunately, people did not understand the consequences of their actions, and how the rate of environmental destruction will only increase as time goes on. But we do have an opportunity to reverse these effects and introduce sustainable practices throughout or daily lives. Small adjustments to the way we live and build can make a huge impact on our world. And these are some options of how to do it.
Rainwater runoff is a huge concern in residential developments. The natural flow of water has been disturbed by the development of houses and roads. The water used to either, filter into the Earth and feed the Earth, or it would flow across the Earth and add to our bodies of water. In either case we have disturbed it and disrupted the course. By using pervious materials like concrete pavers or pervious paver block we have the opportunity to encourage the water to drain in between each block. The spaces can either be filled with gravel or vegetation, either way the water clings to these textured surfaces and will be pulled downward.
But why do we not want our water to sheet off? As water travels over surfaces it picks up all the dirts and pollutants that are trapped on our hard surfaces. These toxins are then added to our bodies of waters, like oceans or lakes. As a result the dirty runoff then poisons the waters disrupting the ecosystems that live within.
California has an expansive list of native plant species that are detrimental to the biodiversity of this region. Within this ecosystem of Southern California we have an intricate network of life that works together to thrive in our unique environment. These plants and animals highly depend on each other to give one another an important element of their livelihood, of that is food or shelter each native has a role that they play. By planting natives in your backyard you will be adding to this ecosystem, instead of disrupting it with plants that will react poorly to their nonnative environment.
Here is a list of some of our favorites that we not only use for aesthetics, but also implement with functional motives. Lemonade Berry (Rhus integrifolia) and Toyon (Heteromeles arbutifolia): both of these are evergreen shrubs that are perfect for the coastal conditions of California, they not only are great screens for privacy in homes, but they work well with the native soils to stabilize slopes. To create a picturesque California landscape we suggest mixing our native flower, the California Poppy (Eschscholzia californica), and Western Blue-Eyed Grass (Sisyrinchium bellum) with a backdrop of Sages and California Lilacs (Salvia spathacea & Ceanothus “Dark Star”). We highly consider you using natives throughout your design, it will easily give your yard a sense of place and a coastal feel.