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  • Writer's pictureJeff Robbins

Solana Beach Landscaping: Urban Farming & Sustainable Landscaping Facilitate Organic Living

Updated: Nov 5, 2018

Transformation. That’s the word we choose for this beautiful, plentiful yard in the hills of Solana Beach. When our clients reached out to us to transform their home into a more sustainable and bountiful living space, we knew we had our work cut out for us. What now lies drought tolerant ornamentals, fruit trees and vegetables was out of control crab and bermuda grasses.


While these invasive grasses presented a major challenge we had a sustainable solution we call sheet mulching. We put down a 8” layer of organic compost over the entire yard on top of all the grasses. We then put down large sheets of black plastic over the compost which proceeded to heat up and decimate the grasses over the 2 summer months preceding the landscape installation. This action in itself not only allowed us to kill the grasses but also to amend and build the soil. A bonus was the preexisting citrus trees that sat on the property picked up the new nutrients from the soil and immediately began to produce an abundance of larger and more flavorful fruits!

After building up a nutritious soil base, we had to address another important coastal problem – water runoff. In our efforts to create an aesthetically pleasing and sustainable space we used a decorative grave to construct meandering pathways and a patio.


This porous gravel helps to retain runoff and protect the home that sits at the bottom of the landscaped hillside. Permeable foundations also provide drink during rains for the native plants, perennial ornamentals, and fruit trees. Additionally, runoff from neighboring houses is naturally filtered and be used by our plants. One of the most delightful treats of this home, lies its ability to supply fresh, organic food for the homeowner and possibly the lucky neighbors surrounding. So how did we propagate such a decadent harvest within this hardscaped space? The answer – raised vegetable beds. Again, as sustainability remains our focus we venture into the land of building materials. We chose to construct these beds out of an invasive Oregon juniper lumber that has been harvested for habitat restoration. This wood can last anywhere from 30 to 50 years and is rot and insect resistant without the use of harmful chemicals. Within these beds you can find a bountiful harvest of fresh tomatoes, squash, kale and lettuce as well as many other fruiting trees that adorn the landscape. These fruiting trees (sapote, apple, avocados, fig, orange and blueberry bushes), as well as, the drought tolerant ornamentals that sprawl the space are continuously fed through the layer of organic mulch that was originally used to kill the invasive grasses. The mulch like the porous patio and pathway materials also helps to retain water and remains a great source for any drainage and run off problems.


So now you are thinking, how can I do this at my own home! The possibilities are endless and we are here to be your edible landscaping and sustainable problem solvers.

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