Pasadena Wild

Bring Nature Home

Our Clients in Pasadena love hiking in the wilderness. Advocates for nature and collaborators at Eaton Canyon, they invited us to bring what they love most to their home surroundings. They came to a Landscape Design Forum, hosted by Pasadena Water and Power, to see Shawn and Leigh present on regenerative landscapes and were transformed by what they experienced.

They invited us to their home with the very specific request for a no frills approach that included what we had presented. Their main focus was to harvest water, build healthy soils, support habitat, and keep it simple. The outcome: a garden to saunter in, savor and witness the seasons of California in a cozy, home setting. Our clients were also very keen on our suggestion to involve our non-profit, Poly/Ana, to facilitate community workshops where we could teach others how to reimagine a lawn-dominated landscape.

Both the front and back areas were covered in Bermuda grass, a very pernicious, common warm-season turf grass that is not easy to eliminate. Our technique of thorough lasagna mulching helped to eliminate 95% of the grass with the intention to manually remove the breakthroughs, by landcare with Saturate (link), a specialized maintenance group we work with.

This garden is a habitat oasis in a neighborhood covered in water-thirsty lawns. It demonstrates rainwater harvesting through thriving bioswales and rain gardens, hugelkultur berms and lasagna mulching. Fragrant California native plants dominate the garden surroundings and meandering paths allow our active Clients to wander through the spaces and interact with the plants. Each year, wildflowers emerge and put on a dazzling display of color and diversity while pollinators and native birds flourish year round. An existing native oak enhances, supports and benefits from the living systems in this enchanted location.

This garden design became the standard for all Studio Petrichor gardens, which we call “whole-system” gardens. It’s an environment that invites us to remember the scents of hiking, the delight of birdsong and the gentle magic of butterflies. It encourages mindful approaches to how we care for our homes, ourselves and our planet.

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