Ocean Friendly Gardens

Plant Don’t Pave

Urban runoff is the #1 source of ocean pollution. In San Francisco, storm drain and sewage overflows funnel into the ocean, polluting our water with motor oil, synthetic fertilizer, raw sewage, and other contaminants during heavy rain.

Plant Don’t Pave contributes to cleaner water and greener neighborhoods by removing non-permeable surfaces like concrete, and replacing them with ocean-friendly gardens.

Rainwater seeps into your garden instead of a storm drain, replenishing the local water table and reducing urban runoff and pollution.

Plant Don’t Pave is a part of Surfrider’s Ocean Friendly Gardens program. Over the past two years, we’ve helped transform more than 20 of San Francisco’s concrete yards and sidewalks into ocean-friendly gardens.

Contact us to get involved with Ocean Friendly Gardens, or use the resources below to create your own!

Transform Your Pavement

It’s easier than you might think to create an ocean-friendly garden.

1.     Review sidewalk landscaping guidelines and obtain the permit
2.     Select your site
3.     Choose native plant(s) and gather planting supplies
4.     Cut and remove concrete
5.     Plant and maintain your new green space

Sidewalk landscaping increases your home’s value, improves curb appeal, and helps reduce urban runoff.


Native San Francisco Plants

Become a part of the solution, not the pollution, by creating ocean-friendly landscapes with these and more plants native to the San Francisco coast, such as:
•    Sand Strawberry (fragaria chiloensis)
•    Idaho Fescue (festuca idahoensis)
•    Thrift (armeria maritime californica)
•    California Sagebrush (artemisia californica)
•    Liveforever (dudleya cymosa)
•    Seaside Daisy (erigeron glaucus)

Many other options are available. Visit the local chapter of the California Native Plant Society or local gardening centers to learn more.

Visit Surfrider’s Ocean Friendly Gardens blog to read about programs around the country, and learn how to:
•   properly install a plant
•   determine your soil type (helps with choosing the right plant) and see if the soil is compacted
•   remove your lawn naturally by sheet mulching
•   calculate rainwater harvesting potential and area needed to absorb it