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Xeriscape Demonstration Garden

Environmentally-friendly Demonstration Garden Makes Ridgehaven Building Leaner and Greener

Photo of "fried egg" flower

This native plant is humorously nicknamed the "fried egg" flower. Its common name is actually the matilija poppy. Botanists know it as Romneya coulteri.

Environmental Services "green building" has become more resource efficient thanks to the installation of xeriscape (low-water usage) landscaping and energy-efficient outdoor lighting.

The gardens dramatize how the selection of native and drought-tolerant plants transform a typical Southern California "thirsty" landscape into a low-cost, water-efficient garden that is also beautiful. Other features include recycled plastic outdoor tables and benches, and reuse of a concrete water fountain headed for demolition.

The garden was transformed from a dull, ordinary commercial landscape with thirsty lawns and foundation plantings, to one filled with year 'round blooms, fragrance and a diversity of plants.

The redesign of the building's landscape is a continuation of the City's efforts to educate visitors to the environmental, and the economic and social benefits of green building design. This native plant is humorously nicknamed the "fried egg" flower. Its common name is actually the matilija poppy. Botanists know it as Romneya coulteri.

Environmental Benefits

Drought tolerant and native plants, efficient irrigation, and minimization of high-water use landscape areas conserve approximately 50 percent of landscaping water.

Hearty native plants require less water and fertilizer, reducing the risk of polluted runoff entering local waterways and the ocean.

Energy efficient outdoor lighting uses 90 percent less electricity than traditional lights. Strategically planted shade trees reduce the "heat island" effect caused by large asphalt parking areas, and minimize cooling requirements of the building and sun damage to parked vehicles.

Replacing lawn areas with plants that require less pruning reduces green waste, and the use of recycled products such as mulch, recycled plastic lumber, and rubberized asphalt enhances markets for recycled materials.

Economic Benefits

Energy-efficient lighting and reduced demand on building cooling systems can save thousands of dollars in annual electric bills.

Energy-hungry lawn mowers and noisy leaf blowers have been exchanged for simple pruning shears and hand rakes, thereby reducing fuel costs. This will help to conserve our limited supply of fossil fuels and improve air quality.

Landscaped areas that produce less green waste reduce waste hauling and disposal fees, trips to the landfill, and the many associated costs of landfill operations and maintenance.

Social Benefits

Flowering plants, pathways, fountains and other natural and architectural features greatly improve the building aesthetics, providing a beautiful setting for employees and visitors to enjoy.

Educational signage offers information on environmentally friendly landscape design, water conservation, plant varieties, and waste reduction. Seating for educational workshops is provided in several areas around the building.

The sound of running water has long been considered a stress reliever. Recirculating fountains and landscaping at the outdoor seating areas provide employees and visitors with a relaxing place to unwind.

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