Water Harvesting Garden, Altadena

  • Garde-terrace-using-broken-concrete
    Terraced hill using broken concrete.

This was a fascinating project.  My client Leigh (she also co designs with me from time to time and was the lead designer on this garden) wanted to avail of the new change in local law that allows for rainwater harvesting.  Her home is ideally situated on an elevated location with a quiet street bordering the garden that allowed for kerb cuts to be created to collect rainfall. A series of swales were created 3 ft wide by 3 ft deep , filled with logs using a tree that needed to be removed.  The rain water is controlled at the street by an open/shut valve. The displaced soil from the swales is then used to create berms on either side of the swales to grow food and flowers as well as holding in the water during heavy downpours. Recyled concrete was used to make a series of terraces as well as a winding staircase. Found river rock was used to create a soft upper wall as one enters the garden proper. The entire garden was then mulched and as the year progressed the gardens ability to retain water increased 5 fold as mycorrhizal fungal activity increased.  A blend of fruit trees and CA Natives live happily side by side with only minimal hand watering required. We calculated that at least 31,000 gallons was harvested in year one alone. The garden thrives.