Hoonsbeen Garden – North

In 2011 the back garden was converted to mostly Cal native plants to attract more birds.  The front garden was converted to natives in 2021. The yard distinguishes itself by showing just how beautiful natives can be all year round when created with a thoughtful design, properly maintained, and blooming in different seasons. The garden incorporates wind sculptures, other whimsical art, seating areas, Talavera pottery, and succulents to create a fun vibe.

Zimmerman Garden – North

Yet another drought in 2018 and attending a presentation by an OC California Native Plant Society member led us to take action.

We now use 60% less water. We have areas to sit and gather with family and neighbors.  We are in our front yard more than ever compared to having a lawn.

Most enjoyable is seeing the birds and butterflies so often.

Knight Garden – North

A hand-built, Calystegia-covered, cedar arbor welcomes you to this inviting cottage garden inspired by the historic English cottage home it embraces. True to the cottage garden ethos, it features wild plantings and reused materials. Antique bricks were salvaged from a local estate and used to build paths and patio spaces. Concrete was removed from the driveway and repurposed as urbanite retaining walls and paving stones.

Ollendorf Garden – North

This half acre property is mainly flat through the backyard, and then a steep drop-off in the front yard. It could be characterized as a rambling blend of native and non-natives, but most of the keystone plants are from California chaparral and coastal sage scrub communities. Some plants have been in the ground for 10-15 years. Insects, spiders, lizards, snakes, birds, owls, sphinx moths, possum, rats, bats, raccoon, coyote and a lone bobcat have all made their way through here.

Gramberg  Garden – North

A Landscape Architect’s Playground (Home) designed to capture rainwater, reuse construction by-products, plant only native California plants, and create strong indoor-outdoor connections. This garden was planted in early 2022 and continues to evolve.  With each passing rain; the Fungi on Hugelkultur continue to emerge, the dry stacked rock wall continues to settle, the “California Hollywood Hedge” (Quercus agrifolia) creeps larger, and the babies and the plants are growing into toddlers.

K. Knight Garden – North

Situated across from Santiago Creek and next to a community open space, this setting has informed the plant palette and allowed the garden to serve as an extension of those wild spaces. For roughly a decade, this rewilding transformation has been an exploration of the premise that the best plant is the one that would be growing here naturally. Most plant species are locally, to the site, native. This once sterile landscape now welcomes a variety of insect and animal species.



Baldwin Garden – North

This is a food forest yard that is predominantly California native plants. Almost every plant produces an edible fruit. The few that don’t, have another beneficial use or function in the garden. It is fed by the laundry room grey water and directed water from the rain gutters.

Huber Garden – North

This garden was inspired by two things: my volunteer work in natural resources at Chino Hills State Park, and the 2018 OCCNPS Garden Tour. Four plant communities are represented: Riparian in a shaded fountain area, Woodland in a raised bank along the side block wall, Sage Scrub in the front yard, and Desert-like along the rear fence in a raised planter. Hardscape is in a natural style having a dry creek bed with flagstone bridge, lots of boulders, and a sandstone shelf embankment.

Madden Garden – North

My garden is the product of a home remodeling effort in 2012. The intent at the onset was to experiment with different plants and see what grew best. Consequently I deliberately did not develop a landscape plan but tried different plants in both sunny and shady locations to see which ones would thrive. Twelve years later, the toyon, mule fat, western redbud, desert lavender, and coyote brush are well established as the dominate components of the garden. My garden is a work in progress as I learn more about our native California plants. I hope visitors see ideas for their own gardens.

Tsai Garden – South

I contacted the landscape designer at Tree of Life Nursery to create a space with the most beneficial plants to provide food, shelter and nesting places for native birds and insects but with enough space between plants so I can trim and keep it neat and attractive for my neighbors. I live on the busiest corner in my tract and often talk to passersby about touching and smelling my plants and showing which attract butterflies and hummingbirds. I am known around the Colony as “the plant lady.

Irvine Ranch Water District,
Sponsor Garden – South

The IRWD’s native plant garden was planted in late July 2022. California native plants are beautiful, low-maintenance, and adapted to our local rain cycle. There are thousands of varieties to choose from – everything from trees and shrubs, to grasses and succulents. Butterflies, bees, birds, and other important pollinators will want to call your garden home. No plant is better adapted to our climate than those that are found here, naturally.

McClelland Garden – South

The property has been transformed into a nature garden for the family and as a habitat/food source for birds, butterflies and insects. The garden has about 75% native plantings with the rest primarily drought-tolerant. The property is south facing, so the sun beats down on most areas, most of the day. The steep slope has been stabilized with the hardiest natives. The garden is a monarch butterfly waystation.

Hurd Garden – South

When we bought our Dana Point house in 1993 we decided to make the front yard all native. One thing I enjoy the most is observing the wildlife that visits, or takes up residence. We are host to about 30 species of plants in a very small yard. We have nearly that many species of birds visit, with several that nested over the years. There are well over 30 species of insect, butterflies to bees, that are visitors or residents.

Falahee Garden – South

The premise of this garden is twofold. One, to create a native garden where all the local wildlife can hang out and party. Secondly, to allow a space to walk around and chill with a cup of coffee or a glass of wine. The natives in this garden are not fussy and planted just right to allow for maximum growth without getting overcrowded. The Kurapia (Lippia) groundcover mimics the look of lawn, creates a path and requires minimal water/care. [CNPSOC finds the Kurupia lawn to be an intriguing feature.]

Colony Park HOA Landscape Area – South

In July 2022, the Colony HOA Board of Directors approved funding to convert a 30×33 ft turf area between the pedestrian walkway and pool fence to natives. We were the first HOA in Orange County to do this. My neighbor partner and I dug up soil, created 3 mounds and 1 swale. A decomposed granite path was installed around a mature strawberry tree in the middle which remains. New soil and 3-inch layer of wood mulch were laid to qualify for turf removal rebate. The turf removal rebate check will be used to install a park bench onsite plus a pedestal plaque that displays reasons why to grow CA natives.

Olmstead Garden – South

This garden was started in 2015. I designed it around being a coastal sage scrub habitat of both mainland and island species. I was inspired by hikes, especially those in Laguna and Crystal Cove areas. I really enjoy the seasonality of the coastal scrub so because of this, this garden is naturalized. To give the garden texture, we mounded the dirt and made a lower lying area for annuals and milkweed. Higher areas are for perennials. Each year I add more diversity to this garden. It brings me great joy to watch it grow and evolve.

Jayne Garden – South

My garden can best be described as a 30-year-old garden in transition, a 30×30 backyard in a townhouse neighborhood in Irvine. Once under the increasing shade of a sycamore, it is now adjusting to full sun! The plants are a serendipitous mix inspired by local wildscapes, benefit to the environment, and curiosity.

Curran Garden – South

This small garden (15’ by 8’) replaced a concrete patio. It is in a walkable neighborhood and features Manzanita, Catalina Island Cherry Trees, CA Grapes, Opuntia, Bladderpod, Yarrow, Coral Bells, Hedge Nettle, CA Aster. Pleasant for seeing hummingbirds, small critters, relaxing and talking to neighbors. Birds I see: Allen’s Hummingbird, American Robin, Cassin’s Kingbird, House Finch, Northern Mockingbird, Orange-crowned Warbler, Song Sparrow, Yellow-rumped Warbler.

Moulton Niguel Water District,
Sponsor Garden – South

This native garden, installed in 2020, stands as a testament to the District’s focus on sustainability and water conservation. Utilizing native plants serves as an impactful means to familiarize our customers and other agencies with the beauty and advantages of indigenous flora. This garden showcases thriving Engelmann Oaks and flourishing native plants in a commercial setting. Among the District’s accomplishments was the successful education of landscaping companies on native plant care—an ongoing initiative aimed at raising awareness and embedding best practices.

Ensminger Garden – South

Four years ago, we decided to convert our lawn into a water-wise garden. It has been a trial-and-error process with some plants thriving immediately while others are still figuring out whether they like it here. Overall, it is a joyful place filled with color and movement. Birds hide in the buckwheat and ceanothus bushes, hummingbirds zoom around monkey flowers, and lizards bask on rocks. My favorite inhabitants are the bees, and I am happy that our yard has become a perfect little haven for them.

Bohn Garden – South

My Garden is a collection of CA native plants arranged by geographic location. The front yard has island and central California and as you move to the back you end up in San Diego and a few Baja plants as well. Over time I have included bulbs and perennials and have used natives in non-traditional ways. For example, I use Cercocarpus as a hedge and espalier Dendromecon on fences. My wife loves flowers so there is an emphasis on flowers.

Newport Civic Center – South

Southern California is highly urbanized now, but before we planted palm trees, built the 5 freeway, and shopped at Fashion Island, the landscape looked quite different! At the City Hall Sculpture Garden are examples of the four main plant communities found in Southern California, three of which are in Orange County. Those plant communities (aka biomes) are: Coastal Sage Scrub, Chaparral/Grassland, Wetland, and Desert (not in OC). Most plants in this garden have a native range within 100 miles of City Hall.