Gaston and Ariane Habets’ garden – #25

Pleasant Hill

Lot size: 6,000 sq. ft. back garden, 60% native, 1,200 sq. ft. front garden, 50% native

Garden Age: Back garden was installed in early 2012; front garden was installed in the fall of 2014

Years on the Bringing Back the Natives Garden Tour: 2

Showcase Feature

Inspired by the Bringing Back the Natives Garden Tour, Gaston and Ariane removed most of their very large lawn (leaving a patch the size of a volleyball court), and worked collaboratively with Liz Simpson of Liz Simpson Garden Design to create the beautiful, water-conserving, bird- and bee-friendly garden they had in mind. Among the plethora of inviting and functional features included in this expansive back garden are a drilled rock fountain, breakfast nook, custom-made stone benches, and a hidden petanque court. You’ll enjoy discovering the intimate “rooms” that are revealed as you move through the garden.  Plants serve as walls, and the rooms are connected with curving pathways that lead one onward and provide a sense of mystery. Drop down in one of the many seating areas in this spectacular garden and enjoy it; you won’t want to leave.

Other Garden Attractions habets-11

  • In the front garden a swale catches rainwater, allowing it to percolate naturally into the water table.
  • The outdoor dining area is sheltered by an arbor, shaded by Vanessa, Muscat, and Concord grapes.
  • Gaston built the shed with wood salvaged from the former deck.
  • A 500 gallon rainwater catchment is used to water the garden.
  • Just a few steps from the back door a variety of herbs and vegetables are grown, ready to be harvested for the family dinner.

  • The Habets’ electric bill is 30% of what it once was, thanks to the solar panels they installed! To learn more, see the links below.


Gardening for Wildlife habets-9

Many beneficial insects began visiting the garden when the lawns were removed and California natives planted. These days, butterflies, and carpenter, bumble, and other native bees are common sights. Woodpeckers have nested in the garden.


PG & E meter readings before and after the panels were installed

Solar panel production

Plant list

More photos: