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Ocean Friendly Gardens

Getting Back to Basics


Green grassy lawns have undeservedly become a norm in our society. Grass lawns are the most grown crop in the U.S. despite the fact that no one can eat it; they are expensive to maintain; they utilize pesticides, herbicides, and chemical fertilizers; and require an obscene amount of water (equivalent of 200 gallons of drinking water per person per day). The better alternative our communities should work towards would include using native or drought-tolerant plants, and well designed irrigation systems. Given that San Francisco is an urban city surrounded by the ocean, while also frequently experiencing drought conditions, it is an ideal candidate for Ocean Friendly Gardens.

Ocean Friendly Gardens are designed to mimic nature and restore resilient coasts and the natural water cycle by creating native habitat, conserving water, and reducing runoff that causes pollution at the beach and in our local waterways. 


Water runoff is the #1 source of ocean pollution in urban areas

Every yard is a mini-watershed with opportunities to filter pollution and create wildlife habitat by using nature-based solutions to reduce polluted runoff and support resilient coasts.


OFG Checklist


of water and wildlife habitat with native plants

  • Climate-appropriate plants
  • Local native plants
  • No chemical fertilizers or pesticides
  • Weather-based irrigation system
  • Appropriate use of natural woodchip mulch
  • No invasive species



by creating healthy, living soil and spaces in hard surfaces to sponge up water and filter out pollution

  • Organic soil
  • Permeable hardscape materials (i.e. permeable concrete, asphalt)
  • Designs to direct surface flow of water into vegetated areas or retention/detention devices


of rainwater in the landscape and to recharge groundwater

  • Downspout re-direct
  • Sponge gardens
  • Retention devices (i.e. rainbarrels, above-ground cisterns)

Local Resources



Want to get involved? Email us at, we're excited to work with you!