We are very proud of NatureScape, the turf-to-native-garden design program we created and manage for Moulton Niguel Water District. All gardens are designed by Jodie Cook Landscape Design and installed by Tree of Life Nursery. They feature regionally native plants, watershed-friendly components such as swales, raingardens, rain chains and rain barrels. We choose plants and landscape elements using ecological design principles so the gardens enhance soil health, use water responsibly, and support rich biodiversity both above and below ground. Most importantly we design using universal principles of ornamental horticultural design.
If we, as a community of people who love and support nature, are going to move toward sustainable landscapes throughout our urban and suburban communities we'll need to embrace the best design principles of landscape architecture and the tools of ecological restoration. What will emerge, and is emerging, is a garden form that appeals to our sense of beauty while also healing and regenerating our ecosystem. No garden is too small or too large to design using this blended approach. Over time our fragmented ecologically healthy units will knit together neighborhood by neighborhood to form larger patches that heal regions. It's important to intentionally integrate formal ideals of horticultural beauty into our gardens so others will emulate these gardens and move them forward.
Lately we've been thinking a lot about using ecological design principles to eliminate weeds and unwanted turf regrowth in newly installed gardens. We think about ways to utilize plants to repair soil compaction and add to nutrient cycling - eliminating the need for fertilizers. We think about the right ratio of plant types and how they change through time.
Ecological garden design is the way forward from dysfunctional conventional landscapes toward a new, green, thriving, beautiful, biophilic future.
The NatureScape garden tour is held every spring and features newly installed and established gardens.