California native plant front yard garden in urban drought tolerant low maintenance small space lawn alternative

Diane Fagan’s garden


Lot size: Lot size: 40 x 20 ‘ front native garden and large non-native back garden on tour; 99% native in front garden

Garden Age: Native garden was installed in 2004.

Years on the Bringing Back the Natives Garden Tour: 4

Showcase feature

This vibrant garden, designed and installed by Pete Veilleux of East Bay Wilds, is a visual delight. If you have a small garden in the flats this one is a must-see. The struggling lawn and cement from the former path were used to create high raised beds that provide privacy and drainage, and bring the plants closer to eye level. This exuberant, lush garden provides color throughout the year. In spring California lilac and lupines bloom blue and purple amidst a variety of vibrant wildflowers. In summer the reds of penstemon, fuchsia, and yarrow contrast with bright yellow goldenrod and creamy and pink buckwheats.  The diversity of plant heights and textures is a visual treat.  Coast silktassel, madrone, California lilac “Ray Hartman’ and redbud provide structure.

Other garden attractions fagan-8

  • The garden is watered once a month in the summer.
  • Permeable driveway and path allow rainwater to drain naturally.
  • The eclectic back garden, containing, according to one expert “the worst soil I have ever seen,” is Diane’s personal gardening experiment; an attractive mix of sunflowers, citrus, vegetables, roses and other ornamentals.




Gardening for Wildlife fagan-9

Hummingbirds love the California fuchsia and monkeyflower.  Salamanders, which were not found in the front garden prior to its transformation, are now occasionally seen hiding under rocks.  Butterflies, ladybugs and bees frequent this warm, welcoming habitat.

Native plants for sale

East Bay Wilds sell native plants.

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