Janis and Chris Bufkin’s garden – #21


Lot size: 400 sq. ft. front, 1,200 sq. ft. back garden, 70% native

Garden Age: Garden was installed in 2009 and 2010

Years on the Bringing Back the Natives Garden Tour: New this year!

Showcase Feature

Long-time Bringing Back the Natives Garden Tour attendees Janis and Chris had had enough of the ivy, privets, lawn, and concrete.  Inspired by the Tour, they knew they wanted a native plant garden, and they hired Alrie Middlebrook to remove the back lawn, and to design and install a native garden, leaving some of their existing plants.  In the front garden, sun-loving plants that could tolerate Pleasanton’s hot summers—such as manzanita, Santa Cruz Island and rosy buckwheats, and deer grass—were chosen.  In the shadier parts of the back garden, elderberry and red- and yellow-twigged dogwoods create a privacy screen along the fenceline.  The burbling water fountain on the back patio attracts people and birds alike.



Other Garden Attractions

  • Persistent weeds are removed with…persistent weeding.  (No herbicides are used here—or in any Tour garden.)
  • Two dry creek beds drain water away from the house.
  • Concrete from the former pathway and driveway were used to create two patios, and the front and back paths.
  • The creatively re-used stones in the front were there from a previous iteration of the garden.  The raised vegetable bed is made from the former pool walkway.
  • Enjoy the whimsical artwork.



Gardening for Wildlife

Native bees love the sages, butterflies adore the buckwheats, and hummingbirds, attracted to the native fuchsia, flit through the garden; lizards bask on the rocks.


Garden Talk

Alrie Middlebrook will be available from 10:00-1:00 to discuss how she and her staff worked with Janis and Chris to design the garden, review the challenges they encountered, and describe the merits of the plants that were installed. Bring photos of your own garden to obtain design advice and plant recommendations!

Plant list

More photos: