All About Water in The Meadows

This Garden Is All About Water

This garden nestled in The Meadows, a distinctive neighborhood in Altadena, situated on a corner-lot property, was the perfect opportunity to demonstrate transformation. Our clients wrestled for years with “what to do.” They could see its great potential, yet didn’t have the tools to manifest it. Enter Studio Petrichor’s Mindful Garden Design Course, where they met Shawn and Leigh and were themselves transformed.

Through their own process of designing their garden in the class, we became great friends, and decided we were going to write a book together (which is in the works). Eventually they asked us to support them in reimagining their garden.

The garden design presented itself to us as we spent time in this space, meditating on what the land once was and what it could be dreaming to be. The function of how to move water through this space is always our first priority, and once we figured out how we could harvest water on this challenging site, the pathways and experiences presented themselves to us in the form of pathways to saunter through and around the garden. It was during the time of co-creating this garden that the notion of energy and flow came into our purview. We emphasized a comfortable, experiential flow in the garden that places anyone visiting on a ceremonial walk.

This garden harvests both rainwater from the roofs and stormwater from the street. Hugelkultur berms punctuate the spaces and optimize water-holding capacity. The all-native plant palette is a mixture of hyperlocal species and species adaptable to this sometimes harsh climate in Altadena. Planted in 2021, it is bursting with life and wildlife activity. The weeping boulder fountain, created from a boulder excavated onsite, invites all birds, mammals, and pollinators to stop in for a drink or a bath.

This garden has returned to the watershed!

“Gisela, Shawn, and Leigh at Studio Petrichor are masters of thoughtful landscape design. Their careful observation of our site led to a highly imaginative plan to transform our home into a refuge for wildlife of all kinds – and we include ourselves in that description! Best of all, Studio Petrichor has helped me to feel empowered – by sequestering carbon and infiltrating water in my landscape, I am supporting the environment right in my own yard.”


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