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What is a regenerative landscape,

and how can you create one?

Play areas, pathways for discovering, patios for entertaining, and spaces for relaxing can be designed to help nature regenerate in your landscape.


You can start right where you are to build living soil, use water wisely, conserve energy, and welcome the diverse creatures that help give life to it all.

jGrow lady bug penstemon
Healthy soil


It all begins in the soil, with soil life. We all - people, plants and animals - need healthy, living soil. Healthy soils capture and filter water, recycle nutrients from decomposing organic matter, resist wind and water erosion, and grow more vigorous plants.


Creating vibrant life above ground actually takes a wild party underground, with all kinds of “voracious creatures eating and pooping and reproducing their way toward glorious soil fertility." Billions of microbes, fungi and macroarthropods in very small spaces create the spongey soil and cycle the nutrients that plants need to thrive.


To keep the underground party going, we need to:


  • Step lightly and avoid the tiller:

       Rototilling and compaction

       destroy the microorganisms and

       fungi that bind up carbon in the

       soil. Minimize, or sheet mulch.


  • Feed the partiers good food --

       compost and mulch:                        

        Give them ‘black gold’ regularly

       (compost/decomposed organic

       material) and keep the soil

       surface covered with mulch to

       keep everyone hydrated. 


  • Use Nature’s fertilizers:                   

       Allow leaves and other plant

       materials to decompose in the 

       garden; avoid synthetic

       fertilizers and pesticides that

       harm soil organisms.

Rainwater capture


It’s not just about using less water, it’s about using it wisely and thinking holistically.


  • Create drought resistant soils   

       with compost and mulch.


  • Grow native and climate-appropriate plants that are adapted to our summer-dry climate and need no or very little water once established.


  • Replace or reduce your thirsty lawn with diverse, native pollinator-friendly plants.


  • Collect and increase the volume of rainwater you return to your soil  by creating rain gardens and storage systems, and installing permeable hardscape surfaces.


  • Use your greywater to water the plants in your landscape.


  • Install a well-designed high-efficiency irrigation system.

pollinator plants


You can grow delicious food for your family, and for your wild neighbors. Fill your garden with diverse and dense plantings to provide food and shelter for a variety of living creatures.


  • Plant native, climate-appropriate plants and nurture native pollinator habitats.


  • Reduce the lawn and replace it with easy-care perennial ornamental grasses, low-growing shrubs, or groundcovers.


  • Provide shelter for birds, butterflies, and beneficial insects with diverse planting layers and canopies.


  • Make water available to welcome and sustain a variety of helpful creatures.

energy footprint


  • Mow and shear less, harvest outside your kitchen door more.


  • Plant trees to shade buildings and paved areas.


  • Use efficient outdoor lighting that also preserves dark night skies.


  • Reuse. Are there materials and resources you can reuse on site?


  • Buy local landscape products as much as possible.


  • Think about the life-cycle of the materials you use. Like, where will all that plastic grass go someday?

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