The Ocean Friendly Gardens program sees landscapes and streets as solutions to water pollution. Ocean Friendly Gardens standards use this simple approach:
- contour landscapes for rainwater retention;
- create living soil to sponge up water;
- filter pollution and sequester carbon;
- and install climate-appropriate plants to create wildlife habitat and a sense of place.
Conserve water, energy, and wildlife habitat by using native and climate-appropriate plants.
Allow air and water to percolate downwards. Healthy soil, mulch, and limited hardscape sponge up water.
Retain water in the ground, not in the streets. Direct rain gutters into low areas in the yard and create curb cuts to capture street flow.
What’s the problem?
From unnecessarily treating our gardens and lawns with chemical fertilizers and pesticides to applying too much water, we’re killing all the beneficial life in our soils thats support beautiful and healthy plants, and creating polluted runoff. Landscaping chemicals don’t stay where they are applied, but instead can leach into groundwater or be washed away by runoff when it rains or when misdirected irrigation runs off our properties. The resulting stormwater and road runoff pollutes local waterways and harms coastal ecosystems by causing harmful algal blooms and killing fish and other aquatic animals. Water affected by runoff is dangerous to swim and play in.
What’s the solution?
The best way to protect clean water is through a more natural landscape that supports a diversity of native plants, and mimics and supports nature rather than altering and harming it. Instead of maintaining water-thirsty turf lawns and adding chemicals to force them to be green, you can take steps to make your yard an Ocean Friendly Garden.
Ocean Friendly Gardens (OFGs) act like a sponge in your landscape. These gardens are shaped in a natural way to capture rain and runoff, contain native, climate-appropriate plants and healthy, living soil which soaks up, stores and filters out pollutants from stormwater and road runoff. OFGs also provide native habitat for bees, birds, and butterflies, and can even help mitigate climate change as healthy plants and soil work in combination to capture and store carbon from the atmosphere.
- Surfrider’s Clean Water Annual Report 2017, 2016, 2015
- The 2017 report includes a tribute to our late National Coordinator, Ventura resident Paul Herzog.
- Ocean Friendly Gardens Annual Report 2014, 2013, 2012
- Ocean Friendly Gardens Handout
Benefits of Healthy Soils and Ocean Friendly Gardens
- Sources of Pollution & Why to Apply CPR
- Living Soil
- Healthy Soil
- Study on Soil Filtering Run-off & Protecting Fish
- Data Comparing OFG and a Traditional Landscape
Toolkits and Online Tools
- Toolkit for Planning an OFG Program & Activities – tabling, walks, talks, workdays, policy meetings, plus sample flyers/hand-outs.
- Interactive Map of Current Ocean Friendly Gardens
Signs, Brochures, and Educational Resources
- To order an Ocean Friendly Garden Sign, please email Lindsey Koning, firstname.lastname@example.org
- Intro to Ocean Friendly Gardens Slideshow
- Tips for Making Your Yard More Ocean Friendly Blog
- Clean Water Tips Handout – things you can do at home to protect water quality at the beach
- Surfrider’s short, animated film about a holistic approach to water called “The Cycle of Insanity” (Disponible aquí en Español)
Guidelines and How To’s
- Surfrider’s Ocean Friendly Gardens How-To Gardener’s Guide Book
- California Watershed Approach to Landscape Design
- Guidebook following the watershed approach – how to evaluate your site, remove turf without chemicals, grade for rainwater capture, sheet mulch, and more. It was created by G3/Green Gardens Group and applies to areas beyond Southern California (unlike what the title suggests)
- Steps to Creating an OFG – template for identifying resources in your area
- Install rain barrels and be a part of the “Get Barreled” Program
- Get involved!
Surfrider is a Promotional Partner for the U.S. E.P.A.’s WaterSense Program.
The OFG committee typically holds monthly meetings on the third Thursday of the month from 6:30–8 p.m. at the Surfrider office at 872 E. Front St., Ventura, CA 93001. If you’re interested in attending, please call (805)796-8558 to confirm.
View all national Ocean Friendly Gardens below. Find your community!