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The Oakland irrigation-free landscape looking beautiful in early summer.
Another view of the Oakland irrigation-free landscape in early summer.
A diagram showing each of the plants in the Oakland irrigation-free landscape and their corresponding number.
A chart showing the actual, recorded water needs of lavender in the Oakland irrigation-free landscape.
Nepeta tuberosa and clarkia in bloom in the Oakland irrigation-free landscape.

IRRIGATION-FREE OAKLAND


FINDINGS PRESENTED AT THE AIA EAST BAY SMALL FIRM FORUM, THE CALIFORNIA GREEN SCHOOLS SUMMIT, AND NATIONAL WORKSHOPS ON HOW TO CREATE GARDENS WITHOUT IRRIGATION


Doubling as both an ornamental landscape and a data-generating science experiment, the Irrigation-Free Landscape: Oakland explores how a landscape can be created within a mediterranean climate that does not require an irrigation system or supplemental watering after the first year. Building off of the work we did on the Irrigation-Free Landscape: Minnesota, the landscape shows first-hand that irrigation-free does not have to mean desert. The landscape brims with life, color, texture, and form. containing a mix of grasses, perennials, and shrubs native to California and other mediterranean climate zones.


As the landscape is also a science experiment, we have simultaneously generated data on the actual, as opposed to perceived, water needs of plants. These data we have then translated into best practices, including building and site design, for creating landscapes without irrigation, which we have shared through trainings with the AIA East Bay, the California Green Schools Summit, and national workshops on how to create gardens without irrigation.